Rebounding from his Delvin Miller Adios disappointment, Sweet Lou overpowered his Pennsylvania Sires Stakes harness racing division Saturday at The Meadows in a crisp 1:49.4.
The $290,937 event for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers, known as the Tarport Effrat, was contested over three divisions, with Dapper Dude and Shady Breeze taking the other splits. Dave Palone scored a Tarport Effrat double with Sweet Lou and Shady Breeze.
Sporting newly donned cups with slits, Sweet Lou was looped from the gate by McErlean but pressed the issue in a swift 26.2 opening panel. Once on the front, the 1-9 favorite had little trouble downing McErlean by 3-1/2 lengths. Hillbilly Hanover rallied for show.
“I was happy with the way he raced,” Palone said. “I thought he was as good as can be. I’m as high on the horse as I ever was. I wasn’t down on him; I was down on myself.”
Ron Burke trains the son of-Sweet Future, who now boasts 16 wins in 21 lifetime starts and $1,096,865 in earnings, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Larry Karr and Phillip Collura.
Dapper Dude, who won the Adios consolation as well as a North America Cup elimination, never had an anxious moment on the front after quarter-poling to the lead for John Campbell. He thwarted the first-over challenge of Easy Again and triumphed in 1:50.1, 2-3/4 lengths better than One Through Ten. Easy Again saved show.
“He was stronger tonight than he was in the Adios consolation,” Campbell said. “He wasn’t as strong finishing that race as he usually is. Tonight he paced right through the wire. He did what he was supposed to.”
Bob McIntosh conditions the son of-Dress To Suggest and owns with Al McIntosh Holdings.
Shady Breeze, on the bench for six weeks, showed no ill effects as he wired the field — his second front-end PASS victory at The Meadows this year — in 1:50. McBoogie was second, 2-1/4 lengths in arrears, with Friday At Five third.
“He got a little sick, and we decided to stop with him a little bit,” said owner/trainer/breeder Judith Welty of the-Myternintheshade ridgling. “Sometimes it’s better not to press too much with them. But he was good today.”
She said Shady Breeze will be pointed to the Battle of the Brandywine.
TAKE IT BACK TERRY FASTEST IN $60,000 PA STALLION SERIES STAKE
Saturday’s card also featured three divisions of a PA Stallion Series event for sophomore colt and gelding pacers, with Take It Back Terry the fastest winner in 1:51.4 for Palone and the Sweet Lou team. D Mac and Papa Ray also captured $20,000 splits.
Take It Back Terry blazed to the lead from post 9 and still was strongest at the wire, handily defeating Wahine and Top Of The Mark.
“He’s better every time I drive him,” Palone said. “He had to make a couple moves from the 9 hole, but he gives you 110 percent.”
Brett Miller worked out a beautiful second-over trip for D Mac, who peeled off in the lane and prevailed in 1:52, 2 lengths better than Mattacardle. Atta Boy Dan completed the ticket.
“Everything worked out perfect in the race,” Miller said. “When I got to come second over, I thought we had a real good shot.”
Sam DePinto trains D Mac, a-Art Amour gelding, for D Mac Stable.
Papa Ray erased a 6-length deficit with a wide, late rally to triumph in 1:52.3 for Aaron Merriman and trainer Ernest Masci, Jr., who owns the son of-Liamatters with John Oblinsky. I’m Just Cruisin’ was a neck back in second while Real Infusion and Upfront Countryboy dead-heated for show.
“He’s had some rough trips lately, but this one was pretty clean tonight,” Masci said. “Aaron didn’t have to check him much. With bad luck and little things here and there, he didn’t get quite straightened out the way we thought he should. Hopefully, this will turn him around.”
Stake racing at The Meadows resumes Monday with a $120,000 stallion series stake for 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters. First post is 12:55 PM.
by Evan PATTAK