Scarborough, Maine (Saturday, August 30, 2014) - The three-year-old filly pacing division of the Maine Sire Stakes program made its final preliminary appearance at Scarborough Downs on Saturday (8-30) before sending the ladies out on their late summer fairground swing. The fillies split out into three divisions as they vied for their share of nearly $30,000 in stakes purses.
The field for the first $9850 stakes split raced single file style through the first half-mile as heavy favorite,
Cheryl Leigh and driver effortlessly grabbed the early lead while establishing rather soft fractions. Pembroke Lynn finally strayed from the parade route near the midway point as she aggressively made overland progress from the trailing position at the behest of driver only to find her forward progress stall as she was challenged by the bend as she entered the clubhouse turn.
Before she could regain momentum in the straightaway though, Mike Cushing pulled the pocket with Shurfine Babycate to test the rested leader only to fall victim to the very next bend as they reached the final turn.
All the while though, steered LP's Shyla along the conservative inside path, improving position as others took their turn in the outside lane, and itching to take his shot late.
The strategy proved sound as the daughter of SouthwindMountain rallied to score her second career victory for co-owners Elisha Lafreniere and Tammy Sowers timed in a career equaling best of 2:00.3.
Cheryl Leigh retained her perfect on the board ratio his season as she fell back for second while Shurfine Babycate survived a judges inquiry to hang on for third.
A photo-finish print never smelled so sweet as Mary Rose Of Topaz and Big Bad Rose matched strides to the wire in the second $9850 stakes division with Mary Rose Of Topaz holding off her persistent challenger to secure her 6th consecutive stakes score.
Steered down victory lane by driver , Jr for owner Andrew T. Card, the prolific winner, a daughter of , persevered through a judges inquiry for a possible pylon rule violation in deep stretch before eventually extending her skein in a leisurely clocking of 2:01 flat.
Big Bad Rose (), last season's freshman champion placed in the runner-up spot for the third consecutive start while Danville Sweetheart (Eddie Davis, Jr) held firm for the show.
The third $10,076 stakes event of the day saw Fast Pat absolutely inherit the early lead as her nose was the only nose anywhere near the gate at the start.
Her driver, , engineered a fortuitous trip featuring generously tepid fractions throughout but the advantage lasted only until mid-stretch as Shadytouch and Mike Cushing roared three-wide off the final turn to rally for their 2nd straight stakes score. Owned by Darrell Tibbetts, the daughter of was race timed in 2:02 flat.
Fast Pat settled for the bridesmaid share this week after breaking through to the stakes winner's column in her last appearance. Dansan Flicka () rallied for the show.
The Maine Sire Stakes program will next visit Scarborough Downs on Sunday (9-7) as the two-year-old championships will be decided. Freshman consolation bouts will co-anchor the Stakes Final card next weekend with total purses for the day expected to approach the $250,000 threshold.
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By Michael Sweeney, for Scarborough Downs