Published: June 12, 2018 8:22 pm ET
Stranded outside without cover past the half, Ilana Z Tam bowed her head, brushed past the leader and pulled off a 22-1 shocker in Tuesday’s (June 12) $80,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series stakes at The Meadows.
The event for three-year-old pacing fillies was contested over four divisions, with Seen At Rio Deo, Miss Hill and Zuluwarriorhanover taking the other splits. Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. enjoyed a stakes double behind Miss Hill and Zuluwarriorhanover among his four wins on the 13-race card.
Ilana Z Tam followed the cover of Dark Force and Eric Goodell, but when they cleared, the daughter of Bettors Delight-Shes Rockin was in the rare air, an unenviable spot for a filly who had finished out of the money in her four previous starts this year.
“She raced good last week; she had a lot of go for the first time,” said trainer-driver Pat Lachance, who owns Ilana Z Tam with Z Tam Stables. “But I didn’t think Eric would clear; I thought I’d be second-over. I thought I was in trouble, but she showed up. She raced big.”
She bulled past Dark Force and scored in a career-best 1:53.4, a neck better than 3-5 favourite Dreams On Me, who was charging through the Lightning Lane. Dark Force saved show.
The victory by Seen At Rio Deo also was unconventional and, at 17-1, about as unexpected. She was last at the half and sneaked up the cones rather than join the outside flow, a risky move that can yield a lack of late racing room.
“The outer tier looked a little shaky when I gave it a look going down the backside,” said winning driver Jim Pantaleano. “The horse who was first-over wasn’t responding, so I just took my chances. Obviously, we got lucky going up the inside. But she looked impressive last week, and they expected another big race from her.”
When the outside challengers retreated, as Pantaleano thought they might, he angled Seen At Rio Deo off the cones. She roared through the stretch and downed Real Fine by three-quarters of a length in 1:53, a lifetime mark. Butchie Beach completed the ticket. Tony Alagna trains the winner, a daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-See And Be Seen, for Alagna Racing LLC and Deo Volente Farms.
Miss Hill’s win was more by the book, as she quarter-poled to the top and defeated Come Get The Cash by a length in 1:52.2 — yet another life mark — with Pretty Proud third.
“She paced home really easy and was well within herself,” Wrenn said. “I don’t know what stakes she has coming up, but she’s a nice filly. I’m sure she can compete in anything they want to put her in.”
Bruce Clarke conditions the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Ram Rocker and owns with Patricia Waldeck and John Coffey.