Spotlight Shifts to Harrah's Chester for Hambletonian Preps May 27, 2010

Posted by Frank Cotolo on Friday, July 02, 2010 9:54 PM
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The Pennsylvania Sires Stakes (PASS) events at Harrah’s Chester on May 27 offered a few highlights, including the return of former-frosh-star and Breeders Crown champion Pilgrim’s Taj.

There was a quintet of events, all ranging in the purse area of $52,000, with 17 Hambletonian-eligibles in the hunts.

The return of Pilgrim’s Taj at three was the headlining elementHambletonian Contender Pilgrim's Taj and Mike Lachance for the nightcap. The Broadway Hall-son was well within himself, wiring six others in 1:55.4. Driver Mike Lachance commanded every easy step of the colt’s journey, defeating Mr Mcrail (second), B Winner K (third) and Tough Call (fourth), none of which are Hambo-eligibles.

Though it was not the fastest of the PASS splits, it was obvious that “Taj” won with only the speed he needed. The smooth ride was an exceptional return to racing for last year’s Breeders Crown champ.

The fastest split went to Cassis. He opened the PASS parade of soph-colt trotters with a strong wire-to-wire win in 1:53.4. He was, however, challenged impressively, by Pilgrims Chuckie, also driven by Lachance. That one was first over and stayed with Cassis to the wire, doing it at 13-1.

Also winning was Hambo-eligible Can’t Lose. Even though both public choices broke in the race, it is hard to imagine that Robert Rosenheim’s Hambo-dream horse would not have won. It was a strong effort at 9-1, from the top all the way, in 1:56.4. The 2-5 shot, On The Tab, broke while defying “Lose” in the stretch. Second-choice Texas Ridge broke mid-race. Two non-eligibles finished second and third.

Hard Livin has had hard times since returning for a sophomore campaign but in the PASS episode featuring Premier Hanover as the 3-5 favorite, Hard Livin made winning easy with a smoothly gaited wire-to-wire trip that showed no signs of his recent distress. Though he had early action, he went off in the 5-1 neighborhood, a steal for a horse on the precipice of rejuvenation. He defeated Mystery Photo (second) and Telephoto K (third) as “Premier” did not fire.

Kirty Dream was the only winner not eligible to the August classic. He won at 1-2 over Red Light and Chimon, the latter the only eligible on the board. But “Kirty” is from the Jean Dubois camp and if this horse continues to soar, it would be hard to think that the Dubois funds didn’t have the money to buy into many of the season’s trotting races – though there is no supplemental provision in the Hambletonian.

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