MILTON, ONT, October 18, 2019 – Trainer-driver Brandon Bates will make his Breeders Crown debut following a 1:50.2 blowout victory on Friday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park in the opening elimination for two-year-old pacing fillies with his Rockin Image filly Priceless.
A group of 21 rookie pacing fillies were split into three $32,500 (CAD) eliminations to determine the field for next Friday’s (October 25) $600,000 final.
The first elimination saw Bates blast Priceless to the front while Gai Waterhouse secured pocket to a :26.3 opening quarter. Priceless raced uncontested to a :55 half and faced far-turn pressure from Baby Your The Best tipping first over from third. Past three-quarters in 1:22.4, Priceless opened her lead through the stretch chased by Reflect With Me closing from third over for second while Baby Your The Best settled for third.
“Actually she did it pretty easy,” Bates said after the race. “She’s got more in the tank. I thought all year that she belongs in the conversation.”
Winning her seventh race from 10 starts, Priceless has earned $344,912 for owners Kevin Miller and Bert Hochsprung. She paid $6.50 to win.
Lyons Sentinel delivered as the 1-5 favourite in the second fastest elimination on the night to hold off a pocket move from Marloe Hanover.
Betalady launched from the outermost post in the field of seven to take the lead with Marloe Hanover sitting second to a :26.4 opening quarter. Marloe Hanover soon popped pocket to take control as driver Tim Tetrick sent Lyons Sentinel towards the front approaching a :55.1.
Lyons Sentinel led the field to the final turn, speeding to three-quarters in 1:22.4, and maintained command through the stretch as Marloe Hanover angled wide but only gave pursuit from second. Looksgoodinaromper closed from last for third.
“She just keeps impressing me more and more every time I sit behind her,” Tetrick said after the race. “I wasn’t [planning on] going to the front but I didn’t want to get away too far back and let some of the better [fillies] get away from me. I put her on the lead, which I don’t think that’s her best game, but she paced all the way to the wire today and the plugs were still in.”
Collecting her seventh-consecutive victory in her 11th start, Lyons Sentinel has finished no worse than second in her career. The daughter of Captaintreacherous—racing for owner Threelyonsracing—has surpassed $600,000 in earnings. The division leader heads into the final facing a firm challenge from other elimination winner Priceless.
“I followed Brandon Bates’ filly in the Kentuckiana,” Tetrick said. “I had a filly I thought was okay but he blew my doors off there.”
“As it stands we’re really looking forward to next week, but it’s going to be a horse race,” winning trainer Jim King Jr. said after the race. “I hope we’re ready for them. [Priceless] was impressive; that was I really good mile tonight. I hope she was watching us too. I think she has a little in reserve and I hope we don’t have to use it all up yet.”
Lyons Sentinel paid $2.50 to win.
New Year ground down 1-5 favourite Alicorn to take the second elimination, stopping the clock in 1:52.
Driver Corey Callahan floated New Year into fourth while Lady Lou led Alicorn to a :27 first quarter. Alicorn soon circled to the front moving to the backside and strolled to a :56.1 half while Callahan edged New Year first over heading to the far turn.
New Year ranged closer to Alicorn pacing to three-quarters in 1:24.4 and drew alongside the Ontario Sires Stakes champ in the stretch. Alicorn tried to stay straight through the lane as New Year dug into the pacesetter before pushing past in the final eighth to win. Lady Lou—off a pocket trip—finished third while Shouldabeenatd, with the highest earnings of the fourth-place finishers, coming from second over to qualify for the final in fourth.
“She’s like the perfect combination of Drop The Ball and Somebeach[somewhere],” Corey Callahan said after the race. “Drop The Ball [her dam] was really quick and this filly just carries her speed a long ways. You don’t really feel her change gears but she hits it. It’s a good feeling.”
A filly by Somebeachsomewhere, New Year—a homebred for Let It Ride Stables Inc. and Dana Parham—made her career debut in early September. She has since won four races from five starts and earned $99,930.
“She’s really fresh,” Callahan also said. “She’s gone a couple of big heats—that heat at Lexington was huge. Today she didn’t have to work quite as hard as she did down there, so I think we have fresh legs going into the final.”
New Year returned $6.40 to win.
The post position draw for the $600,000 2-Year-Old Filly Pace final took place following the eliminations. Elimination winners drew for post positions one through five.
1 Lyons Sentinel
4 New Year
5 Lady Lou
7 Marloe Hanover
8 Reflect With Me
9 Baby Your The Best