Washington, PA — If there were any doubts that freshman champion Huntsville would come out smoking for his 3-year-old debut, he quickly dispelled them in Saturday’s (May 6) $151,280 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes at The Meadows when he roared to victory by an eye-popping 10 lengths. His time of 1:50.3 in the slop not only is the fastest this year by a sophomore on a five-eighths-mile track, but it also was at least 1.3 seconds faster than the clocking of any of the other three divisional winners Saturday.
Downbytheseaside, runner-up to Huntsville in last year’s Dan Patch Award voting, also fashioned a successful if less spectacular seasonal debut, scoring in 1:52.1.
Filibuster Hanover and Fear The Dragon also won splits, the latter giving Brian Brown, trainer of Downbytheseaside, a PASS double.
Huntsville had qualified well for his sophomore campaign, but even trainer Ray Schnittker, who owns the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Wild West Show with Ted Gewertz, Charles Iannazzo and Steven Arnold, wasn’t expecting a runaway.
“I thought he might win by a length or two,” Schnittker said, “but I guess he’s right back to where he was last year. He looked really good.”
Huntsville quarter-poled around Highalator, opened up five lengths at the three-quarters and poured it on from there. Highalator, who saw his nine-race winning streak snapped, saved second, with Blood Line third.
Winning driver Tim Tetrick had mixed feelings about the huge performance of Huntsville, who now boasts $708,724 in lifetime earnings.
“That was all him, that was Ray getting him ready,” Tetrick said. “I was hoping I didn’t have to go that fast. I wanted to save that for another month. He just dragged me around there — he’s that talented.”
Using Lasix for the first time, Downbytheseaside was efficient in victory, powering to the lead from fifth before the half for Chris Page and holding sway in a business-like manner — Page never popped his earplugs — to down the first-over Normandy Beach by 1-1/4 lengths. Boogie Shuffle earned show.
“I thought he was a little dull getting out of the gate,” Brown said, “but Chris kept him really quiet. Last year we had trouble taking him off the gate. This was perfect for the first start. Everything went as easy as it could.”
Country Club Acres, Joe Sbrocco, Richard Lombardo and Diamond Creek Racing campaign Downbytheseaside, a son of Somebeachsomewhere-Sprig Hanover who extended his career bankroll to $596,016.
Their trainers indicated the next starts for Huntsville and Downbytheseaside likely will occur in two weeks in the PASS leg at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.
Filibuster Hanover defeated both Huntsville and Downbytheseaside early last year. In fact, trainer Ron Burke once regarded him as the most promising 2-year-old in his stable. But the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Fashion Ecstasy became unfocused and willful as the year progressed and so was gelded.
He was fast and professional Saturday, moving three wide into the final turn for Matt Kakaley and downing Point Somewherelse by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:52.2, with Candell third.
“He’s a lot smarter and way more manageable to drive,” Kakaley said. “I think he has things figured out now. The front wasn’t too good in the early races, so I just tried to get him in the middle where he could make a big move on the end.”
Filibuster Hanover has earned $133,309 for Burke Racing Stable, Joseph DiScala Jr., J&T Silva Stables and Weaver Bruscemi LLC.
– By Evan Pattak, for The Meadows