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Pocono: Manchego still undefeated after Tuesday action
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Manchego still undefeated after Tuesday action at Pocono

Manchego kept her place in the spotlight intact Tuesday night (June 12) in one of four $30,000 divisions of the Pennsylvania All-Stars event for 3-year-old trotting fillies at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, overcoming the tuck-then-first-over trip to post a 1:52.4 victory.

The undefeated daughter of Muscle Hill found herself in the middle of a quintet of strong leavers, and Yannick Gingras backed the winner of $917,188 into a midpack tuck, then started first-over on the second turn after Nixie Volo, who had been responsible for the early numbers of :27.1 and :56.3.

Manchego started to gain the advantage at the 1:24.4 three-quarters, but for a second the upset-minded had a thrill as Nixie Volo kept the champion out on the turn. But Manchego simply increased her distance consumption in her effortless way, coming home two lengths to the good of late-closing Top Expectations, with Nixie Volo another 1-1/4 lengths back in third. Manchego’s 1:52.4 equaled her personal mark, achieved last year at both Mohawk and Lexington.

Jimmy Takter had the filly in top shape after a 22-day racetrack layoff, getting her 14th win in succession without much of a sweat for owners Black Horse Racing, John Fielding, and Herb Liverman.

Manchego commanded so much of the crowd’s respect, she drew almost $19,000 of the $22,000-plus win/place/show pool, and the exacta she headed with 43-1 Top Expectations second returned only $15.20 (the second choice was 23-1 behind the 1-9 shot).

Then, the most marked of mutuel contrasts followed 18 minutes later, as the Explosive Matter filly Highland Dynamite made the most of a pocket trip behind pacesetter Bill’s Lady, going up the Pocono Pike to catch that foe in 1:53.1 while returning $250.80 to win and combining with Bill’s Lady, the 5-2 second choice, for a $4,878.80 exacta. Simon Allard guided the Pierre Paradis-trained shocker, who reduced her mark by five and two-fifth seconds while gaining into a :55.2 back half for the Highland Thoroughbred Farm.

Southwind Angelica came out before the three-quarters to challenge pacesetting favorite Basquiat and wore her down late in their division, posting a neck victory while taking a new mark of 1:54.2. Another daughter of Muscle Hill, the winner stepped her own back fractions in :55.4–:27.4 in taking the decision for driver Andrew McCarthy, trainer Jonas Czernyson, and owner Thomas Dillon.

The final All-Stars contest was taken by the Donato Hanover filly Live Laugh Love, who gained solidly from third midrace to take the lead in early stretch and win by herself in 1:54.3. The Nifty Norman trainee, a Sire Stakes winner and then second to Manchego in her two previous starts, ran her record to four-for-five in 2018, with earnings of $117,227 lifetime for Melvin Hartman, David McDuffee, and Diamond Creek Racing.
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