Pekoe Fashion, who won last season's Matron Stakes for harness racing 2-year-old male trotters, returned to the racetrack Friday morning (April 6), winning a qualifier at the Meadowlands in 1:58.2.
Driven by David Miller for trainer Jim Campbell, the colt won by a half-length over returning stakes-winner Astarsborn Hanover after setting fractions of :29, :59.4 and 1:30.4.
"It went good; I was real happy with him," Campbell said. "I just want them to go out there and do it right. They're going to qualify twice. It just happened that he cut the mile, but there were slow fractions. I never have a specific time in mind, but you don't want to see them getting used, especially the first time out.
"He'll have an overnight somewhere along the way, but I'm just getting him ready for the first leg of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes, which is the middle of May."
Pekoe Fashion, owned by Fashion Farms, won six of 10 races last year and earned $226,900. He won his first five starts before finishing third in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final, where he was beaten by stablemate Stormin Normand.
Prior to the Matron, Pekoe Fashion had fifth-place finishes in divisions of both the Bluegrass and International Stallion Stakes at Lexington's Red Mile.
"He's a colt that's got a lot of high speed to him," Campell said. "He had bad luck in Lexington. He hit the bike one week and made a break and he got run into the second week. But he had a really good year and finished on a good note too by winning the Matron."
Campbell's other highly regarded 3-year-old trotters, Stormin Normand and Dan Patch Award winner Possess The Will, are expected to qualify in mid-May.
"I've got no complaints," Campbell said of their progress.
Also winning a qualifier Friday morning at the Big M was For A Dancer, who was last season's New York Sire Stakes 2-year-old filly trot champion. She won eight of 11 races and $262,332 for driver Jeff Gregory, trainer Joe Holloway and owner Bluestone Farms. For A Dancer trotted in 1:57.2 in her sophomore debut, with a final quarter in :27.4.
by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications