08/18/2017 8:09PM

The Meadows: Fear The Dragon wins as Huntsville fades in PA Sire Stakes

Chris Gooden
Fear The Dragon has won all four of his starts at The Meadows this year, including in the Adios

Harness racing's top-rated horse Fear The Dragon improved to four-for-four in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action this year by defeating a field that included Huntsville on Friday afternoon at The Meadows.  Filibuster Hanover won in the other division for 3-year-old colt pacers.

Huntsville and driver Tim Tetrick led through fractions of 26, 54 3/5, and 1:21 4/5 in the $70,714 event, but Fear The Dragon (David Miller), who worked out a second-over trip behind Some Attitude (Jim Pantaleano) swept three-wide into the lead early in the lane and pulled away to win by a length and a half in 1:50 flat.  65-1 outsider Perfectly Close (Tony Hall) was up for second and Blood Line (Dave Palone) came in third.  Huntsville faded to fifth and failed to finish first or second for the first time in 22 lifetime starts.

“It would have been nicer if he’d taken me a little further,” Miller said of his cover. “But my horse overcame it. I flipped him three-deep into the last turn, and he took off really strong.”

Fear The Dragon is a Dragon Again colt trained by Brian Brown for owner Emerald Highlands Farm.  This was Fear The Dragon's 15th career victory, and he has now earned $1,263,201.  The 2-5 favorite, Fear The Dragon paid $2.80 to win.

“He raced great today,” said winning trainer Brown. “You saw him struggling past the quarter, but that’s because Timmy was going so much. I think the horse is getting smarter, and he only does what he has to do.”

Both Fear The Dragon and Huntsville will race next in the PASS championship Sept. 3 at Harrah’s Philadelphia. Ray Schnittker, Huntsville’s trainer and co-owner, indicated the break would allow him to review his colt’s rigging.

“He looked like he was out of control,” Schnittker said. “We’ll change his rigging a little bit and see what happens. We have some time to play with it.”

In the second and final $71,114 division, Summer Side (Schnittker) chopped out the opening quarter in 26 2/5, but Q's Cruise (Tetrick) moved first-over to take the lead just past the 55 2/5 half.  Filibuster Hanover (Matt Kakaley) was left first-over when Q's Cruise cleared, but he continued to advance on the rim and got to within half a length of the pace-setter at the 1:21 4/5 three-quarters.  Q's Cruise and Filibuster Hanover continued to battle around the final bend, but Filibuster Hanover got the advantage in the stretch and went on to win by a pair of lengths in 1:50, a new lifetime mark.  Boogie Shuffle (Hall) brushed from sixth to second in the final quarter, with Q's Cruise back in third.

“He got away last in that big Cane field (rallied from 12th at the half to finish fourth) and closed so well,” said Kakaley. “He was awesome today. He did it so easy I never even pulled the plugs. If he can build on his last two starts, he could be one of the big players.”

Ron Burke trains Filibuster Hanover, a gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere, for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC., Joe Di Scala Jr., J&T Silva Stables, LLC., and Weaver Bruscemi LLC.  Filibuster Hanover is now a four-time winner in his life, and he has banked $291,040.  The 3-1 second choice, Filibuster Hanover returned $8.80 to win.

--quotes courtesy of The Meadows--