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Darlinonthebeach hands Pure Country her first career defeat

Darlinonthebeach gave first notice that this year's 3-year-old pacing filly crop will not be one-dimensional. The impeccably-bred daughter of Somebeachsomewhere, out of the champion mare Darlin's Delight, roared out of the pocket and blew by previously unbeaten Pure Country to score in 1:50 4/5 in the first of three $20,000 eliminations for the inaugural Miss Pennsylvania on Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

Driven by David Miller, Darlinonthebeach jetted to the front quickly in a 26 3/5 opening quarter before readily yielding to the odds-on Pure Country with Brett Miller. Pure Country controlled the pace through fractions of 56 1/5 and three-quarters in 1:23 2/5, but at headstretch David Miller called on his filly, and she quickly rolled past the leader before pacing briskly to the wire. Newborn Sassy came along the inside to pass Pure Country near the finish line for the place spot with last year's champion third. All advance to the May 7 final.

Trained by Nancy Johansson, Darlinonthebeach is owned and bred by White Birch Farm.

I Said Diamonds came clear in the passing lane and scored in a career-best 1:51 flat in the second elimination. The daughter of Well Said, with Matt Kakaley at the controls, left alertly before yielding. Sail To The Beach quarter-moved to command after the 26 1/5 opening panel, and then set fractions of 54 2/5 and 1:22 3/5 with pressure by I Said Please on the outside. In the stretch the leader weakened some with I Said Diamonds scoring by a length. I Said Please finished second with Sail To The Beach third.

Sent off as the 3-5 favorite, I Said Diamonds is owned by Little Bapa LLC. and trained by Matias Ruiz.

In the third elimination, even-money choice Call Me Queen Be left alertly, forcing a 26 1/5 opening quarter before yielding to Ivy League at the quarter. Driver Scott Zeron sat patiently in the pocket with Call Me Queen Be, and then burst through in the stretch to score decisively in 1:51 3/5. Save The Treasure closed inside for second, and pacemaker Ivy League weakened, but earned a spot in the final with a third-place finish.

Call Me Queen Be is owned by Let It Ride Stables and Dana Parham. Ross Croghan trains the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere.