All Heart Gal carved out a place in Pennsylvania history Tuesday at The Meadows when she captured the inaugural division in the Pennsylvania Sires Stake Stallion Series. Mollinski took the other $26,600 Stallion Series split for 2-year-old filly pacers.
The Stallion Series is designed to provide enhanced earnings opportunities for Pennsylvania-bred freshman pacers and trotters who may not be ready for A-level sires stakes. Most Stallion Series races are scheduled within a day or two of the corresponding A-level sires stakes, so that trainers must pick one or the other.
Purses for preliminary legs are set at $50,000 added and are funded from the state’s slots revenue. The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association and the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association have contributed $160,000 to finance four $40,000 divisional finals.
All Heart Gal, a daughter of-Nine Of Hearts, was unusually determined in her career debut, sustaining a first-over bid for Dave Palone that eventually wore down the leader, My Gal McKenna. All Heart Gal prevailed by a neck over that rival, with I’m Notbad Hanover third.
Trainer Luis Porfilio and his wife Angela acquired All Heart Gal for $7,000 at the Harrisburg auction, not far from the Littlestown base where Portfolio serves as a farrier for such clients as Hanover Shoe Farms.
“I thought she would race well, not necessarily win,” Porfilio said. “I knew she would race better with Palone in the bike. That’s why I didn’t drive her. I expect her to continue to race well, but the races will get tougher.”
Mollinski, who finished third in a baby race at Harrah’s Chester, retook the lead at the quarter pole for Eric Ledford and held off the stubborn bid of Janice’s Scarlett, who raced well on the outside but fell 3/4-lengths short. Anxiety Hanover was third in the 1:58.4 mile.
Roland Mallar, who trains the daughter of-Mollin Hanover, said the Stallion Series provided Mollinski with the right chance at the right time.
“She’s just starting to figure things out,” Mallar said. “This is a better spot for her than trying to go right into the sires stakes. Once she figures it out, she may get there. The Stallion Series gives you an option that you didn’t have before. With so many yearlings out there, only a handful will be the cream of the crop. This gives other people a shot.”
He said Mollinski will be pointed to the Reynolds, and that he would consider A-level sires stakes for her thereafter. The partnership of Mallar, Higgins, Perkins and Anatolia Racing Stable owns Mollinski, a $16,000 yearling acquisition.
Palone drove five winners on the 16-race card, including a narrow score in the $27,500 Preferred Pace with Third Day, who nosed out the first-over Lite Me Up in 1:52. Amorts A was third. Kevin McDermott trains Third Day, a 6-year-old gelded son of-Artoday who won his third consecutive race, for Fran Azur.