On Friday, September 13, the Meadows will host the $1.24-million Pennsylvania Sires Stakes championships for three-year-olds, which highlight a card offering more than $1.34-million in purses.
Each of the four championships includes a $260,000 final and a $50,000 consolation, with the finals to be contested as Races 6, 8, 9 and 10. First-race post time will be 6:55 p.m.
The Colt & Gelding Trot offers an intriguing scenario, as Spider Blue Chip, one of the division’s hottest performers, will try to rebound from a break in the Zweig, but must face a trio of tough customers from the stable of trainer Jimmy Takter. Spider Blue Chip, who captured a Hambletonian elimination and the $500,000 Colonial before his misstep in the Zweig, has banked $512,113 this year, the highest seasonal bankroll of any participant in the field.
“He started making breaks, and it got so he didn’t want to try,” said Chuck Sylvester, who trains the Andover Hall-Southwind Catlin gelding — a $60,000 yearling purchase — for David McDuffee and Melvin Hartman. “We thought he was being ignorant, so we castrated him and turned him out. Turned out he had popped a gravel in his left hind and we didn’t know it.”
Sylvester called the break in the Zweig ‘freakish.’
“For some reason, he got crooked leaving out of there and got on the left line,” he said. “We checked him out, and he’s fine. He trained super Tuesday.”
Spider Blue Chip will start from Post 8 with Ron Pierce. Although all three Takter trainees — Bluto, High Bridge and Dontyouforgetit — will leave inside him, the trio combined for only one victory in August, a DQ-aided win by Bluto in a PASS leg at the Meadows. Dontyouforgetit shares the track record of 1:55.2 for two-year-old colt trotters, a mark he achieved while winning last year’s PASS championship.
“High Bridge is my very best chance,” Takter said. “He’s in very good shape. Dontyouforgetit qualified well; the Hambletonian was a very tough race for him. He’s small, but he’s a survivor. Bluto is very consistent.”
Bluto (to be driven by Andy Miller) will start from Post 4, while High Bridge (Yannick Gingras) and Dontyouforgetit (Dave Palone) will start from Post 5 and 6, respectively. The field is without points leader Valley Of Sin, sidelined with a broken bone in his foot. Takter’s horses will race as separate wagering interests.