09/10/2011 4:32PM

Parx: Levine barely misses sweep of $100,000 stakes for Pennsylvania-breds

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Bill Denver/Equiphoto
Seychelles, ridden by Victor Molina, scores at 14-1 in the Mrs. Penny, one of four stakes worth a collective $350,000 on Saturday at Parx.

Owner-trainer Carol Levine came within a head of sweeping the two richest races on Saturday’s 12-race card for Pennsylvania-breds at Parx Racing.

Levine’s 7-year-old gelding Just Don put his head in front briefly in midstretch, but was narrowly beaten by the 5-year-old mare Noble Maz in the $100,000 Mr. Jenney Handicap. But two races later, Seychelles pulled off a surprise victory for Levine by scoring a daylight victory in the $100,000 Mrs. Penny Handicap.

Both races involving Levine’s horses were originally scheduled for turf, but moved to the main track because of heavy rain in the Philadelphia region for most of the week.

Seychelles ($30.60), the second longest shot on the board in a field reduced to seven fillies and mares by four scratches, came into Saturday’s 1 1/16-mile event just 1 for 15 on fast dirt tracks, but that lone victory came a month ago in an off-the-turf first-level allowance and she repeated that kind of effort in the Mrs. Penny by pulling clear in the stretch and holding off a belated mild bid from 9-5 favorite Tap Softly to win by 1 1/2 lengths.

Victor Molina rode the 5-year-old Seychelles, who won for just the third time in 27 lifetime starts while completing the distance in 1:46.55.

In the other stakes:

Noble Maz ($11) surrendered the lead briefly to Just Don with a furlong remaining, but fought back to prevail by a head in the Mr. Jenny Handicap.

Noble Maz had won the female counterpart to the Mr. Jenny, the five-furlong Mrs. Penny, a year ago on grass. It was her first win in five starts this season for trainer William McCarthy and owner Fred Hart and her first victory in six tries on a fast dirt track. She ran the five furlongs in 57.66 seconds.

Lucky Lewis ($8.20), ridden by Joe Hampshire Jr., held off Winchill by a neck in the $75,000 Crowd Pleaser for 3-year-olds.

Gondwanan, the heavy favorite at 3-5, saw his three-race winning streak while finishing a distant third, 5 3/4 lengths behind the runner-up.

In winning his second straight stakes for trainer Steve DiMauro and owners the Winter Park Partners, Lucky Lewis covered 1 1/16 miles in a race transferred from turf to the main track in 1:45.69.

Ann’s Smart Dancer ($2.60) fought hard to prevail in a three-horse photo to win her third consecutive stakes and fifth race in six lifetime starts in the $75,000 Dr. Theresa Garofalo Memorial for 3-year-old fillies.

Ann’s Smart Dancer, ridden by Frankie Pennington for trainer Butch Reid, got up by a neck over Voodoo’s Argument, who nosed out Prize Winner for second.

Ann’s Smart Dancer, bred by former long-time Philadelphia Inquirer handicapper Craig Donnelly Harris, ran six furlongs in 1:10.57.