It was a wet night at Mohawk Racetrack on Friday for the eliminations of the Elegantimage Stakes and William Wellwood Memorial Trot.
A pair of eliminations were needed for both events with the top five finishers in each division advancing to their respective finals next week.
A talented pack of 16 three-year-old trotting fillies, highlighted by superstar Mission Brief, were split into two $35,000 eliminations for the Elegantimage Stakes.
World champion Mission Brief scored a dominating 15 length victory over the ‘sloppy’ track in the second elimination for driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Ron Burke.
The daughter of Muscle Hill flashed good early speed to sprint out to the front. Once on the lead, Mission Brief got to call her own shots posting fractions of :28.1, :57.2 and 1:26.
In the stretch, the superstar filly pulled away from her rivals with ease and left them in another area code. Mission Brief stopped the timer in 1:54.1, three seconds better than second-place finisher Danielle Hall. Magic Marker, Youre Majestic and Amoureuse Hanover rounded out the top five to advance to next week’s final.
Following the race, Gingras said Mission Brief was a bit fired up Friday evening and he was trying to stretch her out for her first start in three weeks.
“She was a little bit grabby in the post parade, so when she got off on the right foot I figured I would just let her go,” he said. “I just wanted to stretch her out, like I said, she was a little bit too sharp and tried to get the edge off of her a little bit.
“She hasn’t raced that many times this year, so it was not like it was going to hurt her. The plugs were still in and she had plenty left and it was just a matter of trying to get her tight for next week.”
Mission Brief has now won six of eight starts this season, including a heat of the Hambletonian. Burke added trotting hopples to his star filly in July to help her with some issues, but it appears they may not be needed for much longer.
“She’s safe now, she’s comfortable and she’s confident and she’s sound,” said Gingras. “After next week, the plan is to take them off and then go to Lexington, but we will see how it goes.”
Mission Brief is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Our Horse Cents Stable, J And T Silva Stables LLC, and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Friday night’s win was the 15th career victory for the winner of over $1.1 million.
Mission Brief paid $2.10 to win.
In the first elimination, Muscle Baby Doll stretched her current win streak to seven in a row with a 1:56 victory.
Driven by Doug McNair, Muscle Baby Doll left from post eight and took a seat early in sixth. Wild Honey, the even-money favourite, circled around from the two-hole to take command after the half in :57.2.
Muscle Baby Doll began making up ground on the outside and was able to catch the cover of Elegant Serenity around the final turn. Wild Honey posted a three-quarter time of 1:27.
In the stretch, Muscle Baby Doll flipped off cover and trotted up a storm to take over the lead and score a length and a quarter victory over Wild Honey. Elegant Serenity finished third, while Bee The Queen and Smokinmombo were fourth and fifth, respectively.
Trained by Tony O’Sullivan, Muscle Baby Doll has dominated the Ontario Sires Stakes scene this season and also has a Grand Circuit victory on her resume. The daughter of Muscle Mass now has eight wins from nine starts this season and 12 victories overall.
Muscle Baby Doll was purchased by F Bellino And Sons LLC early in her two-year-old season, as she raced on the Iowa fair circuit. Muscle Baby Doll’s career earnings now exceed $400,000.
She paid $5.20 to win.
$404,000 Elegantimage Stakes
1. Elegant Serenity
2. Muscle Baby Doll
3. Youre Majestic
4. Mission Brief
6. Danielle Hall
7. Wild Honey
8. Magic Marker
9. Bee The Queen
10. Amoureuse Hanover
AE1. Juanitas Fury