Prospect Hill trotted the fastest mile by a two-year-old on a five-eighths mile track in 2018, 1:56.4, when he won his $30,000 division of the Pennsylvania All-Stars for colts and geldings Monday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono – a distinction he held by himself for 17 minutes, and then shared with Fashion Possessed after that one equalled the clocking in the very next race.
The sire Muscle Hill produced five of the six winners in this All-Star event.
A Muscle Hill–Louise Kemp colt who fetched $130,000 as a yearling, Prospect Hill was sent out between horses by driver Andy Miller to the lead before the :29 quarter, then rolled on in :59.2 and 1:28.4, nearing the latter station feeling pressure from first-over The Muscle Dog. But that one backed off in the middle of the far turn, and pocket-sitting favourite Demon On The Hill lapsed from gait soon thereafter – however, all that may not have mattered, as Prospect Hill finished with a powerful :28 kicker to win by 9-1/4 lengths over The Muscle Dog.
Julie Miller conditions the very promising youngster for Story Inc.
Fashion Possessed was used most of a :29 quarter by driver David Miller to get by Marseille and set the pace in his division, and when favoured Heavensdor Hanover misbehaved in the three-hole soon off the first turn, a virtual match race ensued, with middle splits of :59 and 1:27.4. Marseille inched up on Fashion Possessed in the lane, but he came up short by a head.
A Fashion Farms LLC homebred making his purse debut after two winning baby events for trainer Jim Campbell, Fashion Possessed is a son of Possess The Will and Sweet Love who carries the names of the full brother-sister team of Emilie Cas El (the dam of Trixton), Conway Hall, Angus Hall, and Andover Hall not far back in his pedigree.
For a field of six that had only four stay flat the entire 2:01.4 mile, the first division was very exciting, with six different leaders. It was the Muscle Hill–Formula Bluestone colt Expedition, who brought $230,000 as a yearling off a pedigree which had Broadway Schooner and Cooler Schooner only a couple of generations back, who proved most photogenic: he followed cover, seized a short lead after being left raw to the three-quarter pole, saw new leader Inisfallen fight back to retake the front, and then got by that one when it counted to win by a head in a :29 last quarter; favoured Forecast, who brushed to the early lead, set a slow pace, then was passed nearing the three-quarter pole, came back for more in the stretch and was another three-quarters of a length back in third.
Brian Sears guided the winner to a victory in his first purse start for trainer Marcus Melander and the AMG Stable Inc.
Sears/Melander/Muscle Hill teamed up in another division with Green Manalishi S, out of the mare Noga Morich, making his first purse start a winning one in 1:57.2 for Courant Inc. Green Manalishi S will hope to retain the racing luck he enjoyed in his initial contest: despite not the alertest of starts he still was placed third early, then moved into the pocket when pacesetter Klutzy broke soon after the :59 half. Green Manalishi stalked new leader The Rave (who had yielded to Klutzy after the :29 quarter, then after his inheriting to the lead hit the three-quarter pole in 1:28), then went by easily in the stretch while defeating that one by 2-3/4 lengths, as might be expected of a horse who has stars such as Kit Lobell and Keystone Pioneer in his bloodlines.
Marcus Melander picked up his third All-Stars training triumph (in four starters), and Muscle Hill his fourth siring credit, with Gerry, a $225,000 yearling out of the dam Viva Las Lindy (having Donerail in his pedigree likely boosted both his price and his potential), in 1:57.4 in his purse bow . Tim Tetrick drifted up to the lead past the :29.2 quarter with Gerry, rated midrace splits of :59.4 and 1:29.2, then powered home in :28.2 with little urging as the colt, now with “1”s at the end of all three of his lines, posted a three-quarter length margin over Amico Mio Bi (who is, ironically, part-owned by Arden Homestead Stable of the --- Gerry --- family). The SRF Stable owns the equine Gerry, who overcame the outside post six here.
Muscle Hill rounded out his super night with his son Dont Letem taking the final division easily in 1:57. Yannick Gingras, in his only drive on the card, left well and forced tucks in a :28.2 opener, then rated a :59.1 mid-pole clocking. The low-going trotter picked up the pace to hit the three-quarters in 1:28.1, and then despite bearing out a bit swinging out of the turn, kept to task with a :28.4 kicker, three lengths ahead of Goes Down Smooth.
Out of the mare Passageway (who can trace back to Winkys Gill, Winkys Goal, and Supergill) and an $80,000 yearling, Dont Letem is tied as the fastest freshman trotter so far, with his 1:55 mile in his debut since equalled by the colt Greenshoe and the filly Mother Bonnie (Andrew McCarthy’s 2,000th winner the other night).
Jimmy Takter trains the good-looking trotter, now two-for-two in purse starts, for Brittany Farms LLC, Christina Takter, John Fielding, and Herb Liverman.
Tuesday night, two-year-old trotting fillies will take to the Pocono track in five divisions of All-Stars action.
(PHHA / Pocono Downs)