Horses

First Time Starters Win All Five Divisions of Pennsylvania Sires Stakes

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Sonnet Grace triumphs in 1:58.1, 2-1/2 lengths better than Ladylilli to win her division of the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes for 2-year-old trotting fillies by a head in 1:58 at the Meadows. Credits: Chris Gooden
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Fate Smiled holds off Windy Corner to win her division of the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes for 2-year-old trotting fillies by a head in 1:58 at the Meadows. Credits: Chris Gooden
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WASHINGTON, Pa. — The $190,235 Pennsylvania Sires Stake at The Meadows on July 3 turned out to be a showcase for first-time starters.  All five divisions in the event for freshman filly trotters, known as the Meadow Gladys, went to youngsters making their career debuts.

The talented quintet is: Fate Smiled, Sonnet Grace, Darla P, Magical Beliefs and Personal Paradise.

Ake Svanstedt enjoyed a training/driving double with Darla P and Personal Paradise.

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Fate Smiled captured stake honors when she fronted the mile and dug in late to hold off Windy Corner by a head in 1:58. The first-over Something Spicy was third.

“My main concern was to keep her quiet; with her pedigree, they have a tendency to be hot,” said winning driver Dave Palone. “She was a perfect lady. I woke her up at the head of the stretch, but I never really felt any concern.”

Ron Burke trains the daughter of Muscle Massive-For A Dancer for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, J&T Silva, Purnell & Libby and Michelle Yanek.

Sonnet Grace found a seat third after trying for the early lead and had enough in the tank to kick by the leaders with a 28.4 final quarter. She triumphed in 1:58.1, 2-1/2 lengths better than Ladylilli, with early leader Sky Is Mine third.

“I was hoping for another qualifier for her, but I ran out of time when I came up from Florida late,” said Rod Allen, who trains and drives the daughter of Muscle Massive-I Believe for Rod Allen Inc. “But I schooled her and made the changes I had to make. I think I have her set now. She’s a big filly, and I brought her along slow. Hopefully, she’ll be a little more developed at the end of the year.”

Svanstedt said Darla P’s talent always has impressed him, but it’s something else that sets the daughter of Muscle Hill-Wilsonator apart.

“She trained down well, but some horses are nervous about racing,” he said. “She’s always been focused — before the race and during the race. “

She demonstrated that focus in the Meadow Gladys when she sprang from the pocket at the top of the lane and overpowered Ma Was Right to defeat her by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:58.1. Bushy Tails completed the ticket. The Pozefskys — Michael, Harry and David — own Darla P, who likely will race primarily in Pennsylvania but is eligible to some rich year-end stakes.

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