Sand Royal Blue, half-brother to 2011 Pennsylvania 2-year-old filly champion Sand Violent Blu, flashed some of the family talent Wednesday (July 25) at The Meadows when he captured a harness racing division of a $60,000 Arden Downs stake in his career debut.
The Grand Circuit event for freshman colt and gelding trotters, known as the Henry Oliver, was conducted over three divisions, with Smoother Ride and Shockoe Hanover, both piloted by Dave Palone, taking the other splits.
Despite his greenness, Sand Royal Blue followed cover beautifully for Aaron Merriman, peeling off in the lane to score in 1:57.4. Whicked Hanover was second, 2-1/2 lengths back, with Waikiki Hanover third.
Sand Violent Blue is a notorious stall-kicker whose antics forced trainer Tye Loy to line her stall with protective padding. But Loy, who also conditions Sand Royal Blue, said the youngster hasn’t demonstrated his sib’s temperament yet.
“I hope he doesn’t get that way,” Loy said. “He just talks a lot. He’ll sit in a hole, and he’ll get home good. He’ll go to Indiana now for sires stakes.”
Bill Sanders bred and owns the son of-Sand Lavender Blu, who is eligible for the Breeders Crown and Matron.
Smoother Ride was away second, enabling him to get the jump down the backside on Tigress’s Legacy and defeat that rival by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:58.1. Markup Hanover earned show.
“We train them to pass horses, so we were surprised last week when he went to the front,” said Toni Rose, assistant to winning trainer Steve Elliott. “He’s just perfect. He does everything right, and he’s nice to be around.”
Elliott and Angelo Frassetto own Smoother Ride, a son of-Mazda Hanover.
Shockoe Hanover won his second straight stake in front-end fashion, prevailing in 2:00.2. New Fontaine was second, 1-1/2 lengths in arrears, with the first-up Extra Cash third.
“He’s kind of long winded, and he needs to get a little more aggressive,” Palone said. “I thought he’d have enough to hold them off. He lets them get right to his head, then he picks them up. I knew I had plenty of trot. He’s just big and lazy.”
Ron Burke trains the son of-Sharise Seelster for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Panhellenic Stable and Phillip Collura.
Grand Circuit action continues Thursday at The Meadows with three divisions of the $75,000 Judge Joe McGraw for 2-year-old filly trotters. The festivities also include the ever-popular Miss Adios Contest. First post is 6:55 PM.
by Evan PATTAK