Lady Shadow, captured the first $159,287 SBOA three-year-old pacing filly final on home turf Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack.
Leaving from post three, Lady Shadow and driver Doug McNair gave way to the oncoming Lady Jake (Jody Jamieson) into the first turn before moving back out for the retake past the :26.4 first quarter mark. The Shadow Play-Lady Camella filly proceeded to the half in :56 and three-quarters in 1:24.3 with Badlyinclined (Jack Moiseyev) charging up from the backfield to challenge first over before ducking into the pocket around the final turn. Lady Shadow began to draw away from her nearest rival as she turned for home and prevailed in a career-best 1:51.4 by two lengths as Badlyinclined chased her home in second. Artful Impulse (Randy Waples) followed in third seven lengths behind.
Lady Shadow paid $2.40 to win as the 1-5 favourite.
The Gregg McNair trainee is owned by Michigan’s Lindsey and Connie Rankin. She now has two wins in three sophomore starts after a freshman campaign that saw her bank nearly $200,000 with stakes wins in the Battle of the Belles and Ontario Sires Stakes.
“She won her first start [this year] and then last week she got throwing her head on me and I lost her behind the gate,” explained Doug McNair after the race. “I was actually glad she did that last week because it kind of warned me for tonight. I was ready for it and she did it again tonight so I just brought her in a little late and she did the rest from there.
“Jack was right there with me — I didn’t know for sure, I wasn’t a guaranteed winner — but halfway down the lane she was back to her old self and she paced away from them. She raced good. It was a soft enough half for this group and she capitalized on it.”
Muscle Babe later powered to 1:54 stakes record victory in the $178,287 SBOA final for three-year-old trotting fillies.
Driven by James MacDonald, the David Menary trainee shaved one-fifth of a second off the former stakes record shared by Elusive Desire (2009) and Random Destiny (2010).
As favourite Magic Feeling (Mike Saftic) broke stride off the gate, Sweetie Hearts (Ron Pierce) pressed on, but also jumped it off into the first turn with Muscle Babe hot on her heels. Muscle Babe sprinted the first panel in :26.4 before taking a second quarter breather to the half in :56.4. She continued to lead the field past three-quarters in 1:26 with a stalled I Jasmin (Billy Davis Jr.) first over and then drew off down the stretch for the four length victory. Danica (Chris Christoforou) and Miss Liv (Mario Baillargeon) finished second in a dead-heat.
A 32-1 upset winner in her elimination last week, Muscle Babe was sent postward at odds of 7-2 tonight and paid $9.10 to win.
“I didn’t have a game plan going in,” said MacDonald when asked about his strategy following the race. “There was lot of early speed and I just wanted to see what was going to happen leaving the gate and when I saw no one really get out of there good other than Ronnie I thought maybe I could get close and remove. I really thought if I had any kind of a trip she was the one to beat.
“She’s flawless. For a big horse, she trots clean. She’s just flawless to sit behind. You never have to worry about her, she’s just an absolute dream to drive.”
Owned and bred by Norway’s Kjell Magne Andersen, the lightly raced Muscle Mass-Oaklea Odessa filly won two of her eight starts last year while earning $35,920 and is now two-for-three in her sophomore campaign with her latest win a new lifetime mark.