Improved by a last-minute sulky change, Hasty Impulse captured a division of Friday's $88,864 Arden Downs stake for 2-year-old filly pacers at The Meadows. The Grand Circuit harness rtacing event, known as the Catherine Baker Knoll, was contested over four divisions, with Mothermayi Hanover, Tea Pot Hanover and Whatrugonnado taking the other splits.
After fellow recent Hall of Fame inductee Murray Brown co-owned The Meadows' first stakewinner Friday, enshrinee Dave Palone showed the sulky savvy that got him to the Hall when he made a last-minute bike change, then guided Hasty Pulse to a wire-to-wire 1:54.1 win
Warming Hasty Pulse up, Palone noticed that the filly "dinged" the bike, and he remembered that when he drove her last at The Meadows, she also made leg-sulky contact. Palone asked for a bigger bike, put the now 3-of-4 filly on the lead in the race and cruised from there, despite going wide at a couple of points, Thefilly raised her earnings over $48,000 for trainer Ron Burke and Winbak Farm.
Palone completed a double in the Knoll while putting a new mark of 1:54.2 on thefilly Mothermayi Hanover, taking full advantage of track geometry from post one early, then stepping home in 55.4 to triumph for trainer Luis Porfilio, co-owner with Angela Porfilio. (Ironically, the only horse to beat the winner in three starts was - Hasty Pulse!)
The Meadows' all-time driving leader also tried the engine in another Knoll division with Foxy Lady, keeping an early parked challenger out in the air, but when driver Brett Miller noticed Palone's insistence on the top, he hustled thefilly Tea Pot Hanover up from the rail to keep the pocket closed. Tea Pot rode the two-hole to the lane, then tipped around Foxy Lady and went by easily to take a new mark of 1:54. Tim Pinske conditions the winner, now victorious in half her four starts, for Pinske Stables.
"It was like a chess match out there tonight," said driver Eric Ledford after guiding themiss Whatrugonnado to a hard-fought 1:55.1 triumph in another Knoll division. Ledford let NY Yankees loop him out of the gate to the top, then moved to the front with the 1-2 shot. More strategy came as Fashion Gal came up to contest the early issue, with Ledford yielding and then regaining before the stands. Fashion Gal came back on in the stretch to her right, and NY Yankees to her left, but Whatrugonnado proved the Queen (and Ledford the King) in the endgame for conditioner Rollie Mallar and the Anatolia Racing Stable Inc.
- Gerry CONNORS for The Meadows