08/20/2016 9:39PM

Pocono: Darlinonthebeach romps in Valley Forge

Nikki Sherman
It was all smiles after Darlinonthebeach's victory in the Valley Forge

Darlinonthebeach dominated the $350,000 Valley Forge for 3-year-old pacing fillies on Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, opening up in the final quarter to win in 1:49 3/5.

In the early going it was Blue Moon Stride (Andrew McCarthy) on the lead, but she would give way to the charge of Darlinonthebeach (David Miller) as they raced in front of the grandstands for the first time.  The half went on the board in 54 4/5, with Darlinonthebeach fully in control over a parked-out I Said Diamonds (George Napolitano Jr.).  Pure Country (Brett Miller), who had started from the outside post nine, was stuck second-over behind the dull cover.

Darlinonthebeach would go on to reach three-quarters in 1:21 4/5, and she began to draw away on Blue Moon Stride past that marker.  Through the stretch that remained the same, with Darlinonthebeach going on to score by about four lengths.  It was a furious fight for second, but Blue Moon Stride held off Call Me Queen Be (Scott Zeron).  Pure Country was up for fourth after the traffic-plagued journey.

"She's just been very sharp here the last couple, three starts, and she's holding her form really good," said the winning driver.  "I was going to wait to see what happened off the gate.  Only a couple of them left and I figured I could get back to the lead pretty easy, so I went ahead and moved her right away.  She's settled down quite a bit and lets me do what I need to do with her, and she's been racing great doing that.

"I've always had a lot of confidence in her.  She ran into a few hiccups there, but she's stuck with it, and now she's getting what she deserves."

Darlinonthebeach, a daughter of Somebeachsomewhere, is trained by Nancy Johansson for owner/breeder White Birch Farm.  Darlinonthebeach scored her tenth victory from 22 career starts, and she has banked $663,272.  The 6-5 favorite, Darlinonthebeach paid $4.40 to win.

"It's like every time she goes for big money something happens. Not tonight. I guess third times the charm," said Johansson, who added Darlinonthebeach will be heading back to the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes next.