Day At The Track

Front runners emerge in Massachusetts Sire Stakes

12:19 AM 15 Oct 2019 NZDT
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Plainville, MA --- With two of the three preliminary harness racing legs of the $1.8 million Massachusetts Sire Stakes (MASS) in the books, six stake records have been either broken or tied and leaders have emerged in several divisions. With the stake taking a break from action this week, many of its competitors have too and it's a good time to evaluate what has happened so far.

The 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings have had the largest field of eligibles and as a result, have been racing two divisions each week. And the four races held in the first two legs have yielded four different winners.

Han Solo (Mister Big-Leah) won in week one in a new stake record of 1:54.4 with Spatterdash (Deuce Seelster-Poster Hanover) winning the other division, but in a much slower 1:56.3. But the story in that second division was fourth place finisher R Maddy Blue Chip (American Ideal-Frontierpan) and third place finisher Kevmarvalous (Delmarvalous-Shady Sabrina) who both emerged the following week.

R Maddy Blue Chip lowered the stake record to 1:54.3 in the second leg on the strength of a dominant performance while Kevmarvalous also had a coming-out party, winning in 1:56.3 and blowing up the tote board at 45-1.

The points are well spread among this group with the top four currently being Han Solo (75), Kevmarvalous (62), R Maddy Blue Chip (58) and Spatterdash (58).

The 2-year-old pacing filly division has been a one-horse show; Odds On Orlando (Captaintreacherous-Lindys Old Lady). Both weeks Odds On Orlando has come from off the pace to win in consecutive lifetime marks. After having been stretched out in Lexington for three starts prior to coming to Massachusetts, she has finished very strong in her two efforts at Plainridge and remains the perfect leader with 100 points.

Currently sitting in third place with 26 points is She's A Fireball (Western Maverick-Fire Can Fly). This filly finished a very strong second in the first MASS leg before making an untimely break in the second. On Saturday (Oct. 12) she won the $55,073 final of 2-year-old pacing filly division of the Maine Sire Stakes (MSS) in a new lifetime mark with a strong first-over trip. That race will definitely set her up for a big effort in the next leg in Massachusetts and moving forward into the final.

The 2-year-old trotting colt and gelding division has been a two-horse race so far. Life Is A Feast (Royalty For Life-Luau Hanover) took a new lifetime mark of 1:55.4 in the first leg which also set a new MASS stake record and a new Plainridge Park track record for 2-year-old trotting geldings.

In the second leg, Crazy For Luca (Crazed-Teachmehowto Lindy) earned a hard fought 1:57.3 victory over Life Is A Feast to take his first lifetime win, which also set a new track record for 2-year-old trotting colts. As a result each horse now has 75 points and look to continue a head to head battle down to the final.

The 2-year-old trotting fillies has been dominated by Without A Warning (RC Royalty-Concentration) who had won two straight starts and has tied the stake and track record of 1:57.3 in the process. However RT's Warrior has become an emerging force.

RT's Warrior (Noble Venture-Oye Oye) has finished third and second behind Without A Warning through two legs but the filly just won the $55,045 MSS final on Saturday (Oct. 12) by 3-1/4 lengths in a new lifetime mark. When the MASS reconvenes next week, that race should provide forward momentum in RT's Warrior's continued development.

Moving on to the sophomore class, all four 3-year-old divisions have seen two-time winners after the first two legs and two of the four were 2-year-old MASS champions that are looking to repeat.

3-year-old trotting gelding Simple Kaos (RC Royalty-Ksenia) has won back to back legs and leads with 100 points. The first week he was a wrapped-up winner in 1:54.3 and that set a new track record at Plainridge Park for 3-year-old trotting geldings. Simple Kaos was the freshman Mass champion and is well on his way to taking another crown.

Jake G's Champion (RC Royalty-Super Starlet) and The Fixer (Trixton-Give You My Word) have been second and third once each and look to be the main rivals in here. Each currently have 37 points.

3-year-old pacing filly Karan's Choice (Sportswriter-Denverlove) is the other 2018 champion and she is off to a great start this year as well. After sweating out a mere head victory over So Beautiful (So Surreal-Leanback Coco) in week one, Karan's Choice rebounded to a more handy 1-1/2 length win over So Beautiful once again in week two. These two top the points standings with 100 and 50 points respectively heading into week three.

The 3-year-old colt and gelding pace has a developing dynamic between last year's top two finishers that should provide an interesting race to the final this fall.

Current MASS leader CBF Bantam (Baron Biltmore-Cohenucopia) is two for two and alone at the top with 100 points. But Victoria's Maverick (Western Maverick-Perfect Launch), who was the 2-year-old champion and has finished second and third behind CBF Bantam this year, just won the $82,195 MSS final on Saturday (Oct. 12). In that race CBF Bantam, who also competed, made a break at the start and finished third at the wire. This rivalry will renew next week and should keep this division very competitive through the final.

Victoria's Maverick is tied for second with Levi (Pet Rock-Beam Of Joy), who just won an overnight race on Sunday (Oct. 13), with 37 points each.

The MASS 3-year-old filly trotters have been dominated by Crystalline (Chapter Seven-Royalty Free) who has not only won two weeks in a row, but has also set two consecutive stake records in the process. After going winless in 2018 and finishing second and third twice each in the MASS, Crystalline has come back strong in 2019, winning six races as a dominant force in the New York Sire Stake (NYSS) Excelsior series and now in the MASS.

Crystalline has 100 points and is ahead of Ev's Girl (Crazed-Lindy's Lullaby) and Mother Teresa (Father Patrick-Highscore Kemp) who each have 37.

To date Shawn Gray is the leading driver in the MASS with six wins and is ahead of Drew Monti and Jimmy Whittemore who are tied with three and Jim Hardy who has won two.

The top trainer in the series so far is George Ducharme with seven victories while Tony Alagna, David Crochere and Jim Hardy are tied for second with two apiece.

The series will resume on Sunday (Oct. 20) at Plainridge Park at 2 p.m.

For a complete set of Massachusetts Sire Stake points listings and all the remaining race dates, please log onto the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts website at www.sominc.net and click on the links on the homepage.

By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

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