Day At The Track

Three straight PA Stakes for Southwind Storm

11:50 AM 07 Aug 2018 NZST
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Southwind Storm, harness racing
Southwind Storm and driver Dave Palone
Chris Gooden photo

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 6, 2018 -- Southwind Storm captured her third straight Pennsylvania Stallion Series split Monday at The Meadows, a facile victory in which she never was cut loose.

The $100,000 stake for freshman filly trotters was contested over five divisions, with Navarone Hanover, Sand Lauren Blu, Lollypop Lindy and Cardinale taking the other splits. Dave Palone enjoyed a stake double -- among his three wins on the 13-race card -- behind Southwind Storm and Navarone Hanover.

Hammered down to 1-5, Southwind Storm zipped to the lead from post 2 and was under restraint for much of the opening half. The daughter of Muscle Hill-Say What won comfortably in a career-best 1:58.2, 2-3/4 lengths better than the pocket-sitting Paint The Corners. Explosive Paige completed the ticket.

"She's a perfect filly -- smart," Palone said. "She was well within herself, shut down. I spoke to her off the turn and just wrapped her back up again at the wire."

Ron Burke trains Southwind Storm for Burke Racing Stable, Larry Karr, J&T Silva-Purnel&Libby and Weaver Bruscemi LLC.

Although she entered the stake with two victories under her belt, Navarone Hanover had never been first at any call except the final one. She changed all that Monday when the daughter of Explosive Matter-Nan's Conway grabbed the point and held off the prolonged challenge of Girl With A Past by a head in a stake-fastest 1:57.2, with Something Spicy third.

"She can do most anything -- that's the whole key," said Robert Baggitt, Jr., who trains the $29,000 yearling acquisition for Christine Baggitt. "You have to be on the front end when you're the best. Dave thought she was the best, and she turned out to be the best. She's a better horse following, but we thought today was the day to go down the road."

Sand Lauren Blu is a daughter of Muscle Hill out of Sand Violent Blu, one of the sport's top fillies at 2 who banked $212,552 that year but was so feisty and competitive that trainer Tye Loy took to cushioning her stall to prevent her from injuring herself. Loy, who also conditions Sand Lauren Blu, said those precautions won't be necessary with her.

"She has enough speed, but she doesn't have the killer attitude her mother did," Loy said. "I put her front shoes backwards today like she had them all last winter. She was hitting on her shins pretty good the last couple starts."

Dismissed at 31-1, she showed a spark Monday when she surged late for Jim Pantaleano to edge Chanel De Vie by a head and break her maiden in 1:59.4. Early leader Fast Reaction earned show. Bill Sanders bred and owns Sand Lauren Blu.

Live racing at The Meadows continues Tuesday, when the program features the Delmonica Hanover, a $185,836 PA Sires Stake for 2-year-old filly trotters. First post is 1:05 PM.

by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

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