Many of the sport’s finest three-year-old trotting fillies were in the spotlight at Mohawk Racetrack on Friday night competing in the Casual Breeze Stakes.
A total of 15 sophomore trotting fillies were split into two divisions of the Grand Circuit event.
Starting from post position six, trainer/driver Roger Mayotte immediately took the Kadabra filly to the lead, opening up by as much as two lengths by the half. Elegant Serenity controlled the tempo throughout, posting fractions of :27.4, :57.2, and 1:25.4. She extended her lead down the stretch up to five lengths and was chased late by Lilu Hanover to close the gap.
Smokinmombo, the odds on favourite, stalked the pace to the half, made a brief bid at the top of the stretch and eased out to a sixth-place finish. Second-place finisher Lilu Hanover trailed the field down the stretch, making a late surge in the final eighth to pass Piscean three-wide. Juanitas Fury was fourth by five and three-quarter lengths.
“She had no real races over the last month other than at Grand River and we decided not to go to the half [mile track],” said Mayotte of Elegant Serenity’s month-long layoff prior to the Casual Breeze. “We knew she’s got a big plate ahead of her the next six weeks, so we thought it was a good chance to give her a freshener. She’ll be fresh and hopefully some of the other ones that have been going will be a little bit tired.”
Millard later added that Elegant Serenity will likely be aimed towards the Elegantimage Stakes, which is fittingly named in honour of her dam.
Friday’s score was Elegant Serenity’s fourth out of her six starts in 2015. She now has lifetime earnings over $170,000 after Friday’s stakes victory.
Elegant Serenity paid $4.90 to win as the second choice in the wagering.
Ontario Sires Stakes star Muscle Baby Doll scored her sixth consecutive victory with another dominating effort in the $92,475 second Casual Breeze split.
Muscle Baby Doll, the 2-5 favourite, and driver Doug McNair left from the rail and got situated third before making a quick second-quarter move to overtake early leader Danielle Hall.
The public’s choice posted a half-mile time of :56.3 to take the field into the final turn. Lock Down Lindy, a Hambletonian Oaks elimination winner, picked up cover around the final turn behind Model Behavior.
After trotting by the three-quarter pole in 1:25.4, Muscle Baby Doll waved goodbye to her rivals and quickly extended her lead. Lock Down Lindy was unable to fire off her cover in the lane, leaving Danielle Hall to chase the favourite and finish second by two lengths as Muscle Baby Doll stopped the timer in 1:53.3. Speak To Me trotted up to get third, while Tymal Illbthere was fourth.
A daughter of Muscle Mass, Muscle Baby Doll is trained by Tony O’Sullivan for owner F Bellino And Sons LLC. The sophomore trotting filly was making her first start since a six and three-quarter length victory in the Duenna Stakes at The Meadowlands on August 7.
“What she did at The Meadowlands was pretty spectacular and she was good again tonight,” said O’Sullivan following the race. “She’s a beautiful filly, she’s a professional and she does everything good and she just wants to win.”
Muscle Baby Doll improved her record to seven wins from eight starts in 2015. The Casual Breeze score was her 11th lifetime and increased her earnings to over $390,000.
Following the race, O’Sullivan confirmed that Muscle Baby Doll is being pointed towards the Elegantimage eliminations in two weeks.
Muscle Baby Doll paid $2.90 to win.
The sophomore trotting fillies will have a final opportunity to prep for the Elegantimage Stakes next Friday (September 4) in the Simcoe Stakes.
McNair returned to the winner’s circle after he guided Lady Shadow to victory in the following race for trainer Ron Adams. The four-year-old Shadow Play mare, who swept the Roses Are Red Stakes earlier this summer in back-to-back 1:48.3 Canadian season’s record miles, was a 1:50.1 winner this time out racing against Preferred mares for a purse of $30,000.
McNair gunned 3-5 favourite Lady Shadow to the front into the first turn and went unchallenged through panels of :26.2, :54.2 and 1:22.3. Despite drifting out towards the center of the track down the stretch, Lady Shadow prevailed over American In Paris, with Witch Dali finishing back in third.
The winner is owned by David Kryway, Carl Atley, Edwin Gold and the BFJ Stable.
(Standardbred Canada with files from WEG)