06/25/2016 8:18PM

Pocono: Lynch eliminations go to Newborn Sassy, Pure Country

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Curtis Salonick
Newborn Sassy hauled down favored I Said Diamonds (#4) in the first Lynch elimination

Pure Country and driver Brett Miller proved that determination is key in major races as she ground down Blue Moon Stride in the final stride to capture the second of two eliminations for the James Lynch Memorial at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Saturday night.

Off the big victory in the Fan Hanover a week earlier, Pure Country was reserved early off a 26 second opening quarter as third choice Blue Moon Stride drove to command passing the stands. The half was a moderate 55 2/5, but the activity picked up on the backstretch with Blue Moon Stride accelerating away from her first-over rival through a 1:22 4/5 three quarters.

In the homestretch Pure Country and Miller got busy and moved with purpose towards the leader, eventually wearing her down by a neck on the wire. Blue Moon Stride held for second with Darlinonthebeach rallying boldly from third-over for the third spot. Penpal and Kiss Me Onthebeach also qualified for the final in the 1:50 1/5 mile.

Jimmy Takter trains Pure Country, now a winner in 13 of 16 lifetime starts, for the Diamond Creek Racing stable.

Newborn Sassy outkicked odds-on pacesetter I Said Diamonds to capture the first $20,000 elimination for the Lynch. The race set up early with I Said Diamonds gaining control from Newborn Sassy through a 27 second opening quarter. Matt Kakaley was able to cruise to a 56 1/5 first-half clocking, and from that point had little serious outside threat with Shezarealdeal making a slow first-over advance without applying serious pressure.

I Said Diamonds had the three-quarters in 1:24 flat and appeared to be cruising, but Newborn Sassy moved with Tim Tetrick in the stretch and rolled by the pacemaker to score in 1:51 3/5. I Said Diamonds finished second with J K Fannie and Lindwood Beachgirl returning as well for the July 2 final.

Newborn Sassy won for the first time in seven starts as a sophomore for owner CC Racing LLC., as well as owner-trainer Jo Ann Looney-King.