The SBOA Stakes elimination round began with a 32-1 upset as Muscle Babe and driver James MacDonald got up in the final strides for a career-best 1:54.3 triumph on Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack.
MacDonald hustled the Muscle Mass-Oaklea Odessa filly off the gate from post six and was the first to get a call as she trotted a first quarter in :27.2. However, insider Wings Of Ballykeel (Sylvain Filion) swept around the early leaver with a forwardly placed Sweetie Hearts (Jody Jamieson) hot on her heels and clearing to command next down the backstretch.
Sweetie Hearts reached the half in :56.3 and raced to three-quarters in 1:26 with favourite Lenny Mac (Chris Christoforou) advancing first over. The leader opened up two and a half lengths into the stretch, but the fast-closing Muscle Babe kicked home in :27.3 to catch her at the wire for the half-length victory. Mayberry (Rick Zeron) also closed well from the backfield and edged out Tosca (Trevor Ritchie) for third-place honours four and a half lengths behind.
Muscle Babe returned $67.70 for the upset win.
Muscle Babe was making her first start from the David Menary barn for owner/breeder Kjell Magne Andersen of Oslo, Norway. She earned a pair of wins in eight starts while banking $35,920 in purses last year and made her sophomore debut on May 8 in a Preferred event at Hoosier Park.
This year’s Celias Counsel Trotting Series champion Magic Feeling kept her perfect sophomore record intact with a career-best 1:55.1 victory in the next elimination.
Driven by Mike Saftic, the Kadabra-Dibrizzi filly left from post seven and worked her way to the lead through a :28.1 opening quarter, eventually clearing to command into the backstretch. She reached the half in :58.1 and raced to three-quarters in 1:26.4 while Miss Liv (Mario Baillargeon) advanced first over. However, Magic Feeling drew away down the stretch to win by two and three-quarter lengths. Even-money favourite Danica (Jody Jamieson) finished second while Miss Liv held on for third over Chelseas Chance (Steve Condren) more than four lengths behind.
Sent postward as the 5-2 second choice, Magic Feeling paid $7 to win.
The streaking filly, who only made one start at two, is now three-for-three this year with $37,200 banked for owners John Fielding of Toronto, trainer Frank O’Reilly of Eden Mills, Ont., and Isidoro Russo of Montreal, Que.
Margie is also off to a perfect start in her sophomore campaign and is now two-for-two after winning the final elimination in a personal-best clocking of 1:55.3.
Following a recall at the start of the race, I Jasmin (Billy Davis Jr.) inherited the lead with a pair of inside fillies making early breaks in the opening panel. However, driver Jody Jamieson sent Margie around that foe after the :27.2 first quarter and proceeded to lead through middle splits of :57.1 and 1:26.2. She then drew clear of first over challenger Suegrabbitnrun (Jack Moiseyev) into the stretch and protected rail position down the lane to win by three-quarters of a length over a locked and loaded I Jasmin. Wonderland Snow (Trevor Henry) was a quick-closing third, one and a half lengths behind. Suegrabbitnrun finished fourth. O’Brien Award winner Riveting Rosie (Paul MacDonell) finished sixth.
Margie paid $3.90 to win as the slight favourite.
The Angus Hall-Armbro Blusher filly is trained by George Ducharme, who also shares ownership with Paul Fontaine, Jim Winske, Michael Winters. Margie hit the board in six of her eight starts last year and banked $72,166.
The top three finishers from each elimination, plus one fourth-place finisher, will advance to next Saturday’s $178,287 final. The connections of the elimination winners got to pick their post positions, which are listed below along with the field for the pacing filly final that did not require eliminations.
Here is a look at the field for the SBOA Finals:
$178,287 SBOA Filly Trot
1. Chelseas Chance
2. Wonderland Snow
3. Muscle Babe
5. Magic Feeling
6. Sweetie Hearts
7. I Jasmin
10. Miss Liv
$159,287 SBOA Filly Pace
1. Artful Impulse
2. Alot Of Sense
3. Itsa Surprise Tome
4. Lady Shadow
6. Lady Jake
7. Porsche Seelster