Electric fillies Geocentric and Lyons Legend to meet for first time
And driver Tim Tetrick has the good fortune to choose between them.
by Brett Sturman
In a weekend loaded with marquee matchups across the board, perhaps the most highly anticipated of them all will come when something has to give between untouched and unbeaten 2-year-old filly pacers Geocentric and Lyons Legend in a $252,000 PA Sire Stake at Pocono Downs on Saturday (Sept. 2).
With a mark of 1:49.4 taken three races ago at Red Mile, Geocentric (Sweet Lou) is currently the sport’s fastest 2-year-old, including 2-year-old males. Between her most recent three wins coming in Kentucky Sire Stakes Championship Series competition and her wins in the first two preliminary PA Sire Stake legs in July to begin her career, she sports a perfect five-for-five record. Geocentric is trained by Brian Brown, and has been driven in all her career races by Hall of Famer Tim Tetrick.
Not to be outdone, bringing an equally-powerful resume is that of Lyons Legend (Stay Hungry). Trained by Jim King, she comes off an all-time track record at The Meadows with her 1:50.3 win taken just one week ago. In that race, she took her time working to the lead right by the finish line for the first time, continued on through honest fractions, and found another gear in the stretch to win impressively and in that process swept all four PA Sire Stake preliminary legs. With the exception of one PA All-Stars race, she too, has been driven in all other career starts by Tim Tetrick.
Depending on how you look at it, Tetrick had the enviable or unenviable task of having to pick between the unbeaten fillies for Saturday’s Sire Stake final. He chose Geocentric.
With many things that could have been considered such as performances and ties to the respective trainers for each horse, for Tetrick, it really came down to mostly one factor.
“For the most part, I think they’re very similar,” Tetrick said. “They both have so much speed; they have the
whole package. But mainly, it kind of comes down to the staking on both of them. One of them [Geocentric] is staked to many things the rest of the year and the other [Lyons Legend] isn’t as much. For example, Jimmy’s mare doesn’t have the Breeders Crown and Geocentric does. Plus, Geocentric goes right back in a couple of weeks at Lexington for $400,000 where it could be just a four-horse field.”
While Tetrick’s pick to Geocentric will solidify that horse’s status as the race favorite over Lyons Legend,
the race could completely go either way with either one capable of winning depending on how the race shakes out.
“That’s a tremendous mare,” said Tetrick, in regard to Lyons Legend. “She’s made this decision harder and harder. It’s just lucky for me that one was staked up and the other wasn’t. And she’ll still have some of the races in Pennsylvania and it’s actually good for her also as a 2-year-old to not have to overdo it. She’ll win many races this year, make good money and then hopefully come back strong at 3.”
Another filly in the race that shouldn’t be overlooked is My Girl EJ. She’s not helped whatsoever by having drawn the outside post 8, but she’s another fast 2-year-old in here and you figure that trainer Ron Burke will have her ready.
She coasted last week as the heavy favorite in wrapping up her final PASS preliminary leg and perhaps even more telling than that was her race two back from Harrah’s Philadelphia. In that race, she was motivated late to challenge the ultra-impressive Caviart Belle in a speedy 1:50.2 over the five-eighths mile surface. My Girl EJ was further flattered from that race when Caviart Belle came back to win next out earlier this week by nearly five lengths in 1:50.1 in the Eternal Camnation at Woodbine Mohawk.
Back to Tetrick, he’s well positioned in the other PASS final races on Saturday. In addition to Geocentric in the PASS final for 2-year-old filly pacers, he also drives The Moment for 2-year-old filly trotters, as well as Security Protected for 2-year-old colt trotters where he’ll seek to upend T C I.
In the 2-year-old final for colt pacers, he’ll drive Booming Economy, another high quality 2-year-old out of former 2-year-old champion Economy Terror. They’ll square off against Captain Albano (creative name by the way between Captaintreacherous—Angelou) and Rose Run Zeke. In their race just days ago in what turned into a two-horse breakaway, Rose Run Zeke blazed the way through fast fractions and held together gamely as Captain Albano gradually pushed by in the stretch following the 2-hole trip in the second fastest 2-year-old mile of the year overall and fastest all year on a five-eighth’s track, 1:50.
One final note related to Tetrick, I’d have been remiss if not asking his thoughts on the sport’s nearly-unanimous number one horse, Confederate. Of particular interest, was the approach on strategy where generally he’s elected to race Confederate from off the pace.
“It doesn’t matter to me [where he races from],” Tetrick said. “That horse can do whatever I ask him to do. It’s like, why pass up being second over. That one time in Canada I got a little too far back, but he loves to pass horses. And when you have horses like Christchurch and others out there that are really front runners, that don’t want to sit a hole, and so you know there is going to be speed in front of you, then it makes my job that much easier when we’re ending up second over in almost every race except for the Meadowlands Pace. And even then, he did all the work first over and jogged; he’s very special.”