11/17/2015 3:12PM

Meadowlands: Penpal peaking for Three Diamonds Final

Lisa Photo
Penpal has won two of her last three starts.

When dealing with 2-year-olds patience is a required trait for any trainer. For Pat Lachance, who starts Penpal in the $385,250 Three Diamonds Final on Friday at the Meadowlands, the wait may finally be about to pay dividends.

Eligible to the rich New York Sire Stakes circuit of races, Lachance began Penpal’s career on half-mile tracks and quickly realized that he needed to make a change. On the smaller tracks, the filly lacked the 26 4/5 closing speed she displayed in her final qualifier at the Meadowlands before hitting the pari-mutuel scene.

Lachance, who also co-owns the pacing filly with M & M Harness Racing LLC, moved her to Vernon Downs where she finished a solid third and then sent her to Tioga before giving her a month to regroup.

[DRF HARNESS LIVE: Watch all of the Meadowlands stakes action live this weekend + real-time insights from the DRF Harnes team.]

“We stopped and waited to race her on the bigger track,” said Lachance about the gap in her lines from September 10 to October 2. “The bigger track really helped her. We went to Lexington and she raced really well. Then we gave her a start at Chester (Harrah’s Philadelphia) and she got sounder and sounder. We gave her a start last week (Meadowlands) because she was so lightly raced.”

In her Meadowlands wagering debut, she was sent off as the heavy 2-5 favorite and won like the sure thing the bettors were expecting. The daughter of American Ideal-Copywriter scored by 3-1/2 lengths while setting a lifetime mark of 1:54 2/5. “She was loaded with pace. I just took my time and stayed out of trouble,” said Lachance, who is typically in the bike behind the filly.

Despite the large purse, divisional leader Pure Country is absent from the lineup, which clearly moves Penpal up the totem pole a notch. Lachance will guide her from post seven.

“I think she has a big shot,” said the trainer. “She had a really good week and is as good as she has been all year.”

The Three Diamonds, race eight on a 13-race Friday card with four stakes events, features five Breeders Crown participants in the eight-horse field.

Shezarealdeal, runner-up in the Crown behind Pure Country two starts back, is the most likely post time favorite. John Campbell drives the Ross Croghan trainee from post two. Call Me Queen Be was victimized by post 10 in the Crown final and qualified back in good order after the ninth-place finish. Yankee Moonshine, Skinny Dipper and Blue Moon Stride round out the Crown quintet in the final.

First race post time is 7:00 p.m., with the Three Diamonds expected to go behind the gate shortly after 9:30 E.S.T.