Connections hope to toast PASS title with Designer Drink
by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager
After shaking off a spate of bad luck and getting his first win a week ago, Designer Drink can be the toast of the town this weekend by making it a double in Sunday’s $252,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship for 2-year-old male trotters at Harrah’s Philadelphia.
Designer Drink last week recorded the second-fastest winning mile of the season for a 2-year-old trotter on a five-eighths-mile track when he captured a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes at Hollywood Casino at The Meadows in 1:55 with Tim Tetrick in the sulky. The triumph helped lift Designer Drink into the upper echelon of the series standings and qualify for the championship.
The gelding, trained by Symon Spicer, debuted with a second-place finish behind Once In A Lifetime — who is Sunday’s 2-1 morning-line PASS favorite — in a conditioned race on June 29, then went into the sire stakes and finished fifth, fifth, and fourth as he was hampered by two outside posts and a thrown shoe.
“Everyone that’s driven him has said he’s a nice horse, he’s just had no luck,” Spicer said. “Finally, he got in a good spot and Timmy let him rip and he showed what he’s got. He won easily. He went up the inside (from third) and was gone.”
Designer Drink is a son of Bar Hopping-Designable owned by Eli Beiler’s Keystone Stable. He was purchased privately and has earned $54,233.
“He’s nice to drive, and he’s got some speed,” Spicer said. “I love the Bar Hoppings. I think they’re really nice horses. He’s a very nice horse and I think he’s still on the way up.
“And Mr. Eli Beiler is the nicest guy in the world. He loves racing.”
Spicer, who spent his formative years working for trainers Linda Toscano and Ron Burke, is in his second full season with his own stable. Although his 22-horse barn is populated primarily by overnight stock, this is the second time Spicer will have a 2-year-old male trotter in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. Last year, Kosher Mahoney finished fourth, beaten by less than a length.
In addition, Spicer will send out Drake Hanover for Beiler in Monday’s $40,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series final at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.
“I think he’s just as good (as Designer Drink),” Spicer said. “We’re just taking it easy with him.”
Designer Drink will start Sunday’s PASS championship from post six and is the 9-2 third choice behind Once In A Lifetime and Crantini, trained by Megan Scran, at 5-2. Dexter Dunn will be in the bike for Designer Drink, with Tetrick committed to the Jim Campbell-conditioned Once In A Lifetime.
“Timmy told me after we won last week, and I understand,” Spicer said. “We were lucky enough to get Dexter, so I think we’re in a pretty good spot.”
Harrah’s Philadelphia on Sunday hosts three additional $252,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championships for 2-year-olds plus four $50,000 consolations and a $40,000 #SendItIn Invitational Pace.
In the PASS final for male pacers, Annapolis Hanover, who has won seven of nine starts for trainer Mitchell York, is the 9-5 favorite. Beach Cowgirl, 3-for-3 this season for trainer Jennifer Bongiorno, is the 9-5 choice among female pacers while Ake Svanstedt-trained Bond, with three wins and two seconds in five races, gets the 9-5 nod among female trotters.
Allywag Hanover is the 8-5 favorite in the #SendItIn Invitational.
Racing begins at 12:40 p.m. (EDT) Sunday at Harrah’s Philadelphia. For free TrackMaster programs for all Philly cards, visit the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association website