Shrugging off a demanding 26.4 opening quarter, Marty Party remained strong to the wire Friday at The Meadows, capturing a Pennsylvania Sires Stake division in a stake-record 1:51.3. The $278,886 harness racing event for 3-year-old filly pacers, known as the Adios Betty, was contested over three divisions, with Podges Lady and Destiny's Chance taking the other $92,962 splits.
Dave Palone enjoyed a stake double with Marty Party and Destiny’s Chance.
In all, he drove five winners on the 15-race card, extending his career victory total to 15,131 as he pursues Herve Filion’s North American record of 15,180.
While Marty Party had to work hard for the early lead, she had no serious challenge thereafter, as she downed Tykesa Moon by 1-1/2 lengths. Yagonnakissmeornot was third. The time shaved two ticks from the previous stake record matched earlier in the card by Podges Lady.
“It’s tough to say you’re not worried about an opening quarter like that, but when she crossed over, you could tell she was slowing up,” said Joe Holloway, who trains the daughter ofNoble Marty and owns with Val D’Or Farms, Four J’s Stable and Dreamland Farms. “That was good. We got quite a breather to the half. But you have to go that fast anymore. You get quarters like that no matter where you are.”
Holloway said Marty Party, who soared past $200,000 in career earnings, will be pointed to the Hempt at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.
Podges Lady, who shares the track record for freshman fillies, made the lead with a quarter-pole move for Eric Ledford but needed every bit of her determination to hold off the late charge of Darena Hanover. She edged that rival by a nose, with the ground-saving Sara Diamond third.
“That was too close for comfort,” Ledford said. “I know I was second two steps past the wire. She likes the track, and she likes the front, so I figured I’d put her on the front today. She was a little tender last year, but she’s sounder this year.”
Joe Seekman trains Podges Lady, a daughter of-Four Starzzzz Hope who vaulted over $300,000 in lifetime earnings, for Sawgrass Farms.
Destiny’s Chance shot the Lightning Lane from the pocket to score for trainer Ron Burke and owner Randy Ringer. The daughter of-Four Starz Sands triumphed in 1:52.1, 1-3/4 lengths better than Sharkist Breeze, with early leader Dream Of Winning third.
“She was a super-nice filly last year,” Palone said. “I think she needed her first few starts this year. When I drove her in the Courageous Lady, she was just a little bit soft yet. But racing against older horses sharpened her.”
by Evan PATTAK