Day At The Track

$600,000 in purses at The Meadows

01:14 AM 11 Jul 2020 NZST
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Lyons Sentinel, harness racing
Lyons Sentinel to make 2020 debut at The Meadows Saturday
Chris Gooden photo

WASHINGTON, PA, July 10, 2020 -- There are action-packed harness racing cards, and then there's Saturday's blockbuster program at The Meadows -- 16 stake splits featuring 113 top filly pacers vying for more than $600,000 in purses. Among those outstanding fillies is Lyons Sentinel, the 2019 Dan Patch Award winner making her sophomore debut.

While the program wasn't planned to be so stakes rich, COVID 19-related rescheduling helped create Saturday's extravaganza. Now, the program includes four stakes spanning 16 divisions: the Adios Betty, a Pennsylvania Sires Stake for 3-year-olds; the Sand Tart, a PASS for freshmen, and PA Stallion Series events in both those divisions. The card also features a $1,912.68 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 12:45 PM.

As you might expect, the program shines brightly with equine luminaries, but keep your eye on these fillies:

Lyons Sentinel (race 6, post 6, Tim Tetrick). Although the divisional and PA champ has looked good in three qualifiers, trainer Jim King, Jr. would have preferred an earlier start for the daughter of Captaintreacherous-Tutu Hanover owned by Threelyonsracing.

"I didn't want her in an Open with older horses, so there was nowhere else to race her," King said. "I'm satisfied with her qualifiers, but she's not an exciting horse while training; if you saw her, you'd say 'Who's that?' When it comes to show time, look out."

Among King's eight starters Saturday, he cites Lyons Softassilk (race 7, post 4, Tetrick) and Sniper Hanover (race 4, post 1, Tetrick) as promising 2-year-olds.

Rocknificent (race 6, post 5, Scott Zeron), Baby Your The Best (race 10, post 5, David Miller). Rocknificent is a Captaintreacherous daughter out of Rocklamation, who won a Dan Patch Award as an older mare. She earned $285,006 last year for owners Enviro Stables, South Mountain Stables and Little E LLC. Baby Your the Best was no slouch, with $258,717 in winnings for Richard Young and Joanne Young.

Linda Toscano, trainer of both, indicated the cancellation of the Lynch Memorial at Pocono, typically a premier showcase for 3-year-old filly pacers, forced her to modify the schedules for her pair.

"Losing the Lynch was hard; we had prep races we'd planned to lead to the Lynch," she said. "The stakes now are a bit more concentrated then I would like, but we're all in the same boat."

Toscano said Rocknificent has come back especially well.

"Last year we had to protect her a little, make sure she was following horses," she said. "She may be able to take a bit more air this year. She's a stronger version of herself."

Let 'Er Buck (race 7, post 2, Mark MacDonald), Rodeo Beach (race 15, post 3, MacDonald). In 2017, Wild West Show was named Dan Patch Pacing Broodmare Of The Year for such outstanding offspring as Huntsville, the divisional champ at 2 who retired with more than $1.7 million in the bank. On Saturday, Wild West Show will be represented by these half-sisters.

Let 'Er Buck is of particular interest, since she's from the first crop of Betting Line and captured her stakes debut in a PASS at Harrah's Philadelphia.

"She's been a nice horse to be around," says breeder/owner/trainer Ray Schnittker. "I really don't know what her top end is, but she always digs in at the wire."

Extending his tradition, Schnittker, a rodeo devotee, named the filly for the Let 'Er Buck Room, a popular watering hole for fans at Oregon's annual Pendleton Roundup.

By Evan Pattak, for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

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