Day At The Track

Keystone Abbey hunts 4th straight

01:10 AM 31 May 2019 NZST
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Keystone Abbey,Harness racing
Keystone Abbey winning her May 18 stallion series division at The Meadows.
Chris Gooden photo

WASHINGTON, PA, May 30, 2019 -- Keystone Abbey has swept the first three legs of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series, but will she fare as well against tougher competition? She'll get her chance Saturday at The Meadows in the $70,000 Currier & Ives for 3-year-old harness racing filly trotters.

The stake goes as race 6, with Keystone Abbey leaving from post 4 for Aaron Merriman. Chris Beaver trains the daughter of Cantab Hall-Miss Aultsville and owns with Donald Robinson, Martin Yoder and R.B.H. Ventures.

First post is 1:05 PM.

A daughter of Cantab Hall, Keystone Abbey sold for $15,000 at Lexington as a yearling and might have been expected to flash precocious speed. Her dam trotted in 1:59.2 in a 2013 Ontario Sires Stake Gold Series split, a Canadian record at the time for freshman fillies on a half-mile track.

While Keystone Abbey wasn't exactly a disappointment at 2 -- she banked $54,625 -- she managed only a single win in 13 starts.

"She always was good gaited and quick -- she was real natural," Beaver says. "She'd be in the race and then lose interest about halfway down the lane, then come on again at the wire. Maybe she was just green, but she didn't race to her potential.

"She trained well at the start of this season, and it seems like she's turned a corner here recently. She's learned to race. In her last start, she never let them get close to her the whole mile. If her attitude has changed as it seems to have changed, I don't see why she wouldn't be able to be right there."

Keystone Abbey may have her act together, but she'll have her work cut out for her Saturday, as the talented 10-horse field includes:

- Nomo Volo, who's earned a win and a second in PA Sires Stakes this year but is stuck with post 9 for trainer/driver Jeff Gregory;

-Fade Into You (post 2, Dave Palone) from the powerful Ron Burke stable, who has hit the board in three consecutive PASS divisions and finished second in the Weiss final at Pocono;

- Altercation (post 1, Mike Wilder) and Meadowbranch Vicki (post 8, Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.), a pair of improving fillies sent out by Jenny Melander.

Beaver indicated Keystone Abbey will head next to the PA All-Stars at Pocono.

"She is eligible to a couple better stakes later in the season," he says. "I'm just trying to keep her in the right class."

Also featured on Saturday's card is the $20,000 Open Handicap Pace (race 8), which renews the "Battle of the Millionaires" -- Dapper Dude (post 4, Wrenn) and Dancin Yankee (post 7, Palone). The program also includes a $642.84 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5.

 

By Evan Pattak

for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

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