Yannick Gingras drove the winners of both divisions of the $148,148 third preliminary of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes (PASS) for three-year-old pacing fillies on Sunday evening (June 25) at Pocono Downs at Mohegan Pennsylvania.
The Betting Line filly C Is For Cookie (pictured above), who swept the Weiss Series earlier here and also won a PA All-Stars event, is now six-for-six for the year at Pocono Downs after becoming the only double-divisional Sire Stakes winner with her 1:50 victory, which gave her a new mark.
C Is For Cookie took the field to a :26.1 quarter then sat behind My Little Captain and Cultured, both in tight quarters off the first bend as they slugged it out in front of the stands with the favoured Cultured three-wide much of the first three-eighths and only on top at the :53.4 half. Before the 1:21.2 three-quarters was reached, Gingras and C Is For Cookie were back on the move. And in the stretch, C Is For Cookie went to the lead while holding off My Little Captain in the Pocono Pike by 1-1/4 lengths. The Linda Toscano-trained filly is owned by Birnam Wood Farms.
The other Sire Stakes division went a tick quicker as Gingras again used rallying tactics to reduce the mark of the Always B Miki filly Always B Naughty to 1:49.4.
Unsuccessful after leading at the stretch calls in her two previous PASS outings, Always B Naughty sat just off a pace argued by Odds On Hail Mary (:26.3 first quarter) and Front Page Story (:54.3 half) before moving up raw to a 1:22.2 three-quarters. Always B Naughty was the fresh horse late, winning by 2-1/2 lengths over favoured Odds On Hail Mary for trainer Nancy Takter, who is co-owner with J L Benson Stables Inc. and R.B.H. Ventures Inc.
Four of the five horses succeeding in the Stallion Series reduced their career marks. Three Stallion Series winners were sired by Sweet Lou, including the only two double series winners who also happened to be the only two favourites to win in the night’s stakes action.
The quicker of the two Sweet Lous with two Stallion Series wins was also the only Stallion Series winner to win by more than a neck. Quick E is now five-for-five in 2023 after a 1:51.2 mile for driver Todd McCarthy, trainer Brett Pelling and the partnership of Let It Ride Stables Inc. and Bottom Line Racing LLC.
Breaking the string of new marks, but only by the slimmest of margins, was the double winner Butterfingers, whose 1:52.4 win was a fifth slower than her mark. Tim Tetrick handled her while winning by a head for owner-trainer Michael Hall.
Completing the Sweet Lou Sunday success story was How Sweet Is That, coming from third-in to win by a neck in 1:53 for driver Andrew McCarthy, trainer Robert Cleary and owners Oompa’s Farm Inc., Robert Mondillo, Craig Henderson and Richard Gutnick.
The fastest Stallion Series winner was the one with the smallest winning margin: Racin Hungry, a Stay Hungry filly who came off a fast three-quarters to take a nose decision in 1:50.1 for driver Joe Bongiorno, trainer Jenn Bongiorno and owners Glenn Goller and Stephen Demeter.
In the other Stallion Series race, 41-1 shot Duchess Hill was not fancied to come home in :26.4 and take a neck decision in 1:53.1, but the Betting Line filly did just that for driver Dexter Dunn, trainer Chris Ryder and owner Eric Good.
Racing will continue on Monday and Tuesday at 1 p.m. (EDT) at Pocono Downs.
(PHHA / Pocono)