WASHINGTON, PA, May 15, 2021 — In Range was one of the top male freshman harness racing trotters last year, and the Hambletonian eligible was looking to kick off a huge sophomore campaign in Saturday’s $150,507at . But midway down the backside, he was passed by local favorite Jujubee (Tony Hall). How would he respond?
Quite nicely, thank you. In Range, driven by, overtook Jujubee in mid-stretch and scored in 1:52.3, matching the stake record established by Valley Of Sin in 2013.
IN RANGE REPLAY
The stake, known as the Hickory Smoke, was contested over three divisions, with Whiskey Blu and Johan Palema taking the other splits.
Marcus Melander, who trains In Range for AMG Stable, Kenneth Kjellgren, Tomas Ansell and Rick Wahlstedt, said he wasn’t overly concerned when the son of Bar Hopping-Ilia yielded the lead to the local upstart.
“That horse came at him very fast, and In Range is a very laid-back horse,” Melander said. “Last year, he sometimes looked at butterflies, but he came back more mature this year. He has a lot of class, and he passed in the stretch pretty easy. We’ll keep him in Pennsylvania until the Hambletonian.”
The game Jujubee held second, beaten 3/4 lengths, with Lepanto (Ake Svanstedt) third. In Range boosted his career bankroll to $436,087
Speaking of local upstarts, Whiskey Blu and Jujubee had taken turns winning late-closing series at The Meadows, and Whiskey Blu also was facing what regular driverconsidered his toughest test yet. He aced it.
“I absolutely think he’s competitive with these,” Charlino said. “He hasn’t run his best race yet. He likes the front, but I’m sure he’ll sit in the pocket if they go along a little bit. He’s come a long way, and we’re very proud of him.”
In the Hickory Smoke, Charlino gunned the Southwind Frank-Kendall Blue gelding to the point from post five, where he held off the pocket-sitting Capstone (Svanstedt) by a neck in a career-best 1:53.4. Mister Boinga (Tetrick) completed the ticket. Ron Burke conditions Whiskey Blu, who has won nine of 11 career starts and never has finished out of the money, for Burke Racing Stable, Kitefield Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC.
WHISKEY BLU REPLAY
Johan Palema was winless in six outings last year, but he was competitive in big races, leading trainerto believe he would come back strong this year — with an adjustment in racing style.
“Last year he was on the front too often, and I think he got tired mentally,” said Svanstedt, the colt’s pilot Saturday. “I think we’ll race him from behind this year.”
Svanstedt’s insight was right on, as the son of Bar Hopping-Sobti Hanover followed the live cover of Arnold N Dicky (Dexter Dunn) and roared past in the stretch to break his maiden in 1:53.2. Arnold N Dicky was second by 2 lengths while Take All Comers (Dave Miller) earned show. Bender Sweden Inc. campaigns Johan Palema.
JOHAN PALEMA REPLAY
$60,000 PA Stallion Series — 3-Year-Old Colts & Geldings
The three splits in Saturday’s subfeature went to Sunny Crockett, The Irishman and Ginger Tree Knox.
Sunny Crockett banked more than $110,000 at 2 and might have been looking to graduate to sires stakes this year. But driver Andy Miller, who piloted the son of Father Patrick-Moonlight In Miami for trainer Julie Miller and owners Willow Oak Ranch and Andy Miller Stable, said the horse is most comfortable in the stallion series.
“He’s just a notch below the sires stakes, but he’s pretty good in the stallion series,” he said. “Unless he really steps up, that’s where he’ll race. He’s very handy. He goes about his business and does his job.”
Live racing at The Meadows resumes Wednesday when the program features a $1,783.25 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5.
For full race results, click here.