09/09/2015 3:12PM

Meadows: Freshmen look to remain perfect in PA Sire Stakes finals

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Chris Gooden
Broadway Donna has never lost in seven starts.

Heading into Friday’s four Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championships for 2-year-olds at The Meadows, there are four horses that have managed to reach September of their initial year on the racetrack without tasting defeat. In an era where there is so much pressure put upon young horses from the moment the opening bell rings, it’s incredible for any horse let alone four to have reached this stage letter perfect. That said, the perfect quartet have their toughest tests in Friday’s $350,000 finals.

It’s been a stellar campaign thus far for the Diamond Creek Farms owned and bred Pure Country. The juvenile pacing filly by Somebeachsomewhere hasn’t worked up a sweat in five consecutive victories and goes for number six in the first of the four finals carded as race seven of 14 on Friday afternoon. Brett Miller will steer the filly from post three as the 5-2 morning line choice. What’s interesting about Pure Country is that she has not been involved in any race with a fast opening half. In all five victories the opening half has been much slower than the last half. That’s likely to change on Friday with a stellar field that includes three-time winner Call Me Queen Be to her inside (post 1, 10-1). Also by Somebeachsomewhere, Call Me Queen Be won her Pennsylvania Sire Stakes division at The Meadows on August 19 in 1:52 3/5, the same clocking as Pure Country.

Love Matters, but winning matters more to the first-year colt by Explosive Matter. With six straight victories, Love Matters enters the 2-year-old colt and gelding trot final with confidence and the same pilot. What has changed from a week ago is that Jimmy Takter has taken control of the training after completing a major purchase prior to the concluding September 4 preliminary leg of the Sire Stakes. Marcus Miller remains in the bike, which makes sense considering how well he’s gotten along with the colt. Love Matters and Miller will start from post six in the eighth race as the 5-2 early choice.

The most intriguing match-up of the Sire Stakes championships will likely come in race 10, the championship event for 2-year-old trotting fillies. The field is rock solid, with undefeated fillies Broadway Donna (2-1) and Whitelake Hanover (9-2) having landed posts six and eight, respectively.

Broadway Donna has not only been unbeatable in Pennsylvania, but even ventured to the Meadowlands to capture the newly christened Jim Doherty Memorial against open company. The Donato Hanover-sired filly hung on by just a nose in that mile, but has since rebounded for trainer Jim Campbell with an effortless 1:55 2/5 Sire Stakes triumph on August 25 over this same oval. David Miller has stuck like glue to Broadway Donna and again has the assignment as she looks to pad her already impressive $291,036 bank account.

Whitelake Hanover has won four sire stakes events for three different listed trainers, but has Chris Oakes calling the shots for the final. The daughter of Explosive Matter had Dave Miller in the bike for three of her Sire Stakes leg victories but picks up Matt Kakaley with Miller opting for Broadway Donna.

Records, even unbeaten ones, are made to be broken. With $350,000 on the line in each of the finals, staying unbeaten won’t be easy.