MILTON, September 15, 2018 – Phaetosive and trainer-driver Trond Smedshammer went from blocked at the rail to reaching up just in time on the outside in a wild $340,000 Elegantimage Stakes on Saturday at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
Although it was a field of seven three-year-old trotting fillies competing, the Elegantimage Stakes was essentially a three-horse race with superstars Atlanta, Manchego and Phaetosive clashing for the first-time this season.
Hambletonian champion Atlanta was blasted to the lead by driver Scott Zeron, posting a :27.1 opener. Manchego and driver Yannick Gingras got away right behind Atlanta, while Phaetosive and Smedshammer left from the rail in third.
Zeron used his position on the lead to grab a soft second-quarter of :29.2.
The tempo ramped up on the final-turn, as Blonde Magic and driver Jody Jamieson started pushing up on the outside from fifth. The outside mover gave Gingras his cue to pop the two-hole nearing three-quarters, while Smedshammer stayed in with Phaetosive.
Atlanta reached three-quarters in 1:24.4 and led the fillies into the lane with Manchego at her wheel. The Hambletonian Day heroes engaged in battle with Manchego overtaking the lead in the final-eighth.
As the lead pair battled, Phaetosive attempted to come up the inside, but no lane was available and Smedshammer went inside one pylon while taking back. Despite losing momentum, Phaetosive came across to the far outside and unleashed a furious late push to nail Manchego at the line for a 1:52.2 victory. The margin of victory was a neck.
Atlanta finished third, beat 2 ½ lengths.
The AGCO Judges reviewed Smedshammer’s stretch drive and determined there was no violation committed.
“Up until the three-quarter pole everything went like I planned,” said Smedshammer following the victory. “When Yannick (Gingras) pulled in front of me, I thought it was going to be easier to go inside, I really thought they were going to sprint home a little bit more.
“The rail didn’t open up,” continued Smedshammer. “I tried inside Scotty (Zeron), but he wasn’t going to open up anything and I actually skimmed a pylon there, but I want back outside. She had every opportunity to get beat tonight.”
A daughter of Explosive Matter, Phaetosive picked up her sixth win of the season Saturday and 10th win in 15 career starts. The Smedshammer trainee has only two losses this season with the first being against colts in her season debut and most recent being a second-place finish to Manchego in the Hambletonian Oaks on August 4.
“She’s been great her whole life and Manchego’s been getting the best of her in every start before, but today was our turn,” said Smedshammer, who has managed his star filly carefully. “She is fresh. She had a couple of incidents after the Oaks that set her back a little bit. She shipped up here yesterday and I knew today she was very calm and very good in the paddock. Everything was her way tonight.”
Phaetosive, who entered the Elegantimage off a victory in the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes Championship, has now earned $567,864 this season and $845,604 in her career for owner Purple Haze Stables LLC of Fairport, New York.
A $2 win ticket on Phaetosive returned $11.30.