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Political Starlet looks for DSBF repeat at Harrington

Monday, July 25, 2011  By: Charlene Sharpe

Political Starlet looks for DSBF repeat at Harrington

Penns Grove, NJ --- Last year, trotter Political Starlet won two Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund eliminations and the $100,000 final at Harrington Raceway. She is poised for a repeat this year, with another two DSBF elimination wins at the Delaware half-mile oval heading into Thursday’s (July 28) $100,000 final.

“She’s been training good,” said trainer Tui Stone. “We’re hoping for the best.”

Political Starlet, by Political Briefing out of the A Worthy Lad mare Worthy Starlet, is owned by Serendipity Stable of Dover. With just 16 lifetime starts, the young trotter has already accumulated earnings of $116,742. Although she comes into Thursday’s $100,000 race off a fourth place finish at Goshen, that was preceded by two convincing wins against DSBF competition in June’s eliminations. On June 12 the filly cut out a mile in 2:01.3, a new lifetime mark, and followed it up with another front end win on June 19 in 2:02.4. Ross Shand, Stone’s brother, drives the filly.

While she races well on the front end, Stone says that as long as she’s allowed to come off the gate a bit, Political Starlet can handle any trip.

“She’ll pretty much do anything you want her to,” she said.

From six starts this year, the filly has notched two wins and two thirds with earnings of $23,987. As mentioned earlier, she took her lifetime mark at Harrington in 2:01.3.

Nevertheless, Political Starlet’s success began in her 2-year-old season, when she made nearly $100,000 with three wins, two seconds and one third from just 10 starts. In addition to her three wins at Harrington, the filly managed two seconds and a third in DSBF races at Dover Downs.

Stone, who trains a stable of 11 with her brother and her mother, said they’d been optimistic about Political Starlet from the start. Her mother, Worthy Starlet, was a winner of more than $100,000 with several Maryland Sire Stakes victories. Although her first few foals found modest success on the racetrack -- Political Starlet’s full brother, Politico, made just $12,515 and never found the winner’s circle -- Stone said that very early on Political Starlet showed a desire to race.

“She’d sit behind one feeling like she could chase,” Stone said. “I think she likes to race, she likes what she does.”

Because she does Stone and her brother had the biggest win of their careers last fall in the DSBF $100,000 2-year-old filly trotting final. While it may have been their most lucrative victory to date, the Shand name has been associated with stakes winners in the Mid-Atlantic area for decades. Family patriarch Kenneth Shand campaigned stakes winners Willow Run Gracie and Yankee Windsong, and also became famous for his equipment innovations, which included knee spreaders and modern trotting hobbles. Although he died in 2009, Stone said the family’s involvement in harness racing has not decreased.

They maintain a stable of 10 trotters and one pacer at the family farm in Penns Grove, N.J. Among those in training is Political Starlet’s 2-year-old full sister.

“She’s looking good but it’s a little early yet,” Stone said.

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