Day At The Track

Ramona Hill remains unbeaten

06:00 PM 28 Sep 2019 NZST
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Ramona Hill, harness racing Love A Good Story, harness racing Common Sense S, harness racing Shishito, harness racing
Ramona Hill and driver Andy McCarthy
Nigel Soult Photo
Love A Good Story and driver Andy Miller
Nigel Soult Photo
Common Sense S and trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt
Nigel Soult Photo
Shishito and driver Dexter Dunn
Nigel Soult Photo
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LEXINGTON, KY--Sent the 1-5 favorite, Ramona Hill sat second through the mile before tipping from the pocket and striding to a 1:52.4 victory under a hand drive in the final of four harness racing divisions for the $330,000 Norman Woolworth Memorial Bluegrass Stakes on Friday, Sept. 27.

Panem pushed for the front moving to a :28 opening quarter with Ramona Hill floating into the pocket. Madame Sherry sat third up the backstretch as the field raced single file towards a :55.4 half. Ramona Hill then edged from the pocket passing three-quarters in 1:24.4 and lunged to the lead through the stretch as Madame Sherry gave chase in second and Panem settled for third.

"We trained the mare, Lock Down Lindy, and this filly had a very similar frame to Lock Down Lindy, but she was an end-of-May foal so she was very immature at the sale but had a great look to her," trainer Tony Alagna said after the race on purchasing Ramona Hill for $70,000 at the Lexington Yearling Sale last fall. "Knowing how fast the mare was, I thought I'd take a shot at that number.

"I didn't stake her to the [Jim] Doherty at the Meadowlands because she was a late foal and I told the partnership that I think this filly's special, but I don't want to push her early because I want to make sure we have a great three-year-old. That's what we've done by design and so far she's paying us off."

Co-owned by breeder Crawford Farms with Brad Grant, Robert LeBlanc and In The Gym Partners, Ramona Hill has won in all four of her starts, earning $66,000. Andrew McCarthy drove the $2.40 winner.

Shishito took the lead early and strode to a 1:53 victory in the opening division of the Bluegrass filly trot.

Dune Hill dashed to the front moving to a :28 first quarter before yielding command to even-money favorite Shishito moving to the backside. Second-betting choice Senorita Rita angled first over from fifth passing a :56 half and ranged towards the pacesetter nearing three-quarters in 1:24.3. Senorita Rita continued to dig into Shishito through the stretch but could only manage second while Dune Hill gave pursuit from third.

Bred by Diamond Creek Farm LLC and owned by Black Horse Racing and John Fielding, Shishito won her fourth race from eight starts, earning $222,776. Dexter Dunn drove the $4.00 winner for trainer Per Engblom.

Common Sense S handed 1-2 favorite Sister Sledge her first loss when wining the second Bluegrass split.

Trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt snagged the pocket with Common Sense S while Hello Tomorrow led the field to a :28.1 first quarter. Sister Sledge slid first over from fourth passing a :56.2 half and drew alongside Hello Tomorrow approaching three-quarters in 1:25.2. Hello Tomorrow kept Sister Sledge at bay through the lane but drifted from the pylons enough to create a seam for Common Sense S to shoot through late in the mile to win in 1:53.3. Sister Sledge settled for third.

"I bought her in Sweden on a sale," Svanstedt said after the race. "It was because I trained her mother and grandmother and they were very successful--they made around a half- to two-million Swedish kronas. [Coming from the small tracks], it's good for them to come here and stretch out here on the big track."

Co-owned by Ake Svanstedt Inc. with S R F Stable, Common Sense S won her fifth race from nine starts, earning $122,600. The Menhammer Stuteri Ab-bred Trixton filly paid $12.20 to win.

Love A Good Story surged past 3-5 favorite Ms Savannah Belle late in the stretch to take the third Bluegrass split.

In control through a :28.1 first quarter, Love A Good Story settled for the pocket past a :55.4 half after Ms Savannah Belle pushed first over for the front nearing the final turn. Seventimesalady floated first over approaching three-quarters in 1:26 but forced Love A Good Story to pop pocket heading for the top of the stretch.

Seventimesalady lost ground and gave chase as Love A Good Story and Ms Savannah Belle matched strides towards the finish, with the favorite giving way in the final sixteenth to the Julie Miller-trained Chapter Seven filly in a 1:52.2 mile.

Winning her seventh race from nine starts, Love A Good Story--bred by Celebrity Farms--has earned $216,187 for owners Pinske Stables, Kentuckiana Racing Stable and Daniel Plouffe. Andy Miller piloted the $17.80 winner.

Each division of the Norman Woolworth Memorial was sponsored by Arden Homestead Stables, Et Gerry & Peter Gerry, Margareta Wallenius-Kleberg, Stoner Manor Inc., Menhammar Stuteri Ab, Jorgen Jahre Jr., LST Stables and Lawrence S. Devan.

Grand Circuit action resumes at The Red Mile on Saturday, Sept. 28 with four divisions of the $324,800 Bluegrass Two-Year-Old Colt Pace and a single $163,100 Bluegrass division for three-year-old pacing fillies. Racing gets underway with first-race post at 1:00 p.m. (EDT).

By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile

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