05/23/2013 12:37PM

Harrah's Philadelphia: Anndrovette leads the pack in $250,000 Betsy Ross

Lisa Photo
Anndrovette is a two-time Older Pacing Mare of the Year winner.

Sunday’s $250,000 Betsy Ross Pace, an invitational at Harrah’s Philadelphia, pits 2011 champion Anndrovette against 2012 winner Royal Cee Cee N and six others in the co-feature on the afternoon program, first post 12:40 p.m.

Anndrovette, the defending Breeders Crown champion and among the toughest mares in training, survived the grueling Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers, coming away from that six-week contest no worse for wear, although her feelings may have been bruised just slightly.

“She doesn’t like to lose. She’s no fun to be around after a loss,” said P.J. Fraley, her trainer.

[HOOSIER PARK: Get HarnessEye PPs, Superfecta/Pick 4 analysis video, Watch LIVE]

“She had trouble getting around the last turn in the (Blue Chip Matchmaker) final at Yonkers. I really think had she got through that turn she would have won the race,” said Fraley, with the utmost respect for a mare with nearly $2.2 million in career earnings.

Anndrovette showed in her elimination legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker just how tough she is.

“Horses come up to her but you can see how she digs in and doesn’t want to get passed,” said Fraley.

While the scene has shifted to the more-friendly five-eighths mile track for Anndrovette, the Betsy Ross will give her the chance at a measure of revenge. The six-year-old by Riverboat King landed post five and that will place her directly inside of the past two Blue Chip Matchmaker champions, Rocklamation (2012) and Feeling You (2013), as well as Royal Cee Cee N.

“She’s bounced back nicely after the races at Yonkers,” said Fraley, “She did sleep well for a few days after the final, but she’s come back strongly.”

Anndrovette took the prep race for the Betsy Ross on May 15, a 1:50 3/5 mile, her fourth victory in 2013 in just seven starts. Driver Tim Tetrick has been a staple in the bike and Fraley is not about to start giving directions to the sport’s leading driver this Sunday.

“I’ll leave that to Tim,” Fraley said. “I think Anndrovette is better racing from off the pace, but she can leave the gate in 25 (seconds).”

The Betsy Ross, carded as race 10 on the 14-race program, is a collection of an impressive group of pacing mares. On the inside of the field are two extraordinary daughters of Western Terror. Economy Terror landed the pole position and hopes to make an impact during her four-year-old season. The Chris Oakes-trained mare has more than $1.3 million in career earnings. Drop The Ball finished second behind Anndrovette in last year’s Breeders Crown. The five-year-old mare has been known to have a mind of her own and make mistakes occasionally. However, the Ross Croghan trained millionaire has unquestioned speed and could be prominent from post two.

Feeling You has been on quite a form spree recently for the Buters, trainer Amber and driver Tyler. A six-year-old by Cambest, the Blue Chip Matchmaker champion continued her winning form with a 1:50 2/5 victory at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs on May 19. Feeling You has won 19 times in 2012-13.

The Mark Harder-trained and owned Royal Cee Cee N is another veteran mare that may have been compromised when she raced at the half-mile track at Yonkers, even though she has won her last two starts there. The defending Betsy Ross champion has the services of Ron Pierce but will need to overcome post eight with plenty of early speed inside.

Rocklamation, second to Anndrovette in the prep race, hails from the sport’s leading stable of Ron Burke and will have the driving services of Yannick Gingras. The gritty daughter of Rocknroll Hanover seems best when able to make one strong move and that could be the case on Sunday with the collection of speed and power in the field.

For Anndrovette, the Ross will be somewhat of a test for her trainer.

“It’s hard to gauge how good she is coming off the half-mile track races. I don’t think I’ll really be able to tell until we hit the big tracks,” Fraley said. “I can definitely see her pacing in 1:48 or better.”

Fraley went on further looking down the road.

“I think she’s going to be great over the Mohegan Sun at Pocono surface (site of this year’s Breeders Crown). I really think she’ll shine over that track while some others may not.”

The trainer expects Anndrovette to have around 20 starts come season’s end. She is eligible to race in the Artiscape at Tioga (June 9) and the Roses Are Red at Mohawk in July.

Co-featured on the card is the $250,000 Maxie Lee Invitational for older trotters. Recent A.J. Cutler Memorial winner Sevruga leads the field that also features Uncle Peter, Wishing Stone and Modern Family among the possible favorites.

The Maxie Lee is listed as the 12th race on the card and concludes a $15,000 guaranteed pick four which commences in race 9.