MILTON, May 21, 2018 – The Miss Versatility Series kicked off Monday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park with a familiar face visiting the winner’s circle.
Emoticon Hanover, a winner of more than $1.2 million, unleashed a strong :27 final-quarter to capture the $50,000 first leg of the annual series for older trotting mares. The Luc Blais trainee got the best of eight other mares to win the first Grand Circuit event of the season at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
The early-stages of the race saw P L Jill fire out to post a :27.2 opening-quarter. Caprice Hill made a second-quarter move from fourth to first and led the mares by the half in :56.2.
The final-turn saw things shake up, as Caprice Hill was rough gaited throughout and eventually went off-stride while leading at three-quarters in 1:25.3. P L Jill escaped the two-hole around the off-stride leader, while Blais trainee Dream Together was moving first-up with Emoticon Hanover on her back.
P L Jill would hold the lead for nearly the entire stretch, but Emoticon Hanover tracked her down with powerful strides to win by a neck in 1:53.2. Dream Together finished third, while Southwind Tesla was fourth.
Emoticon Hanover was making her season debut after three qualifiers that could be described as average by her standards. James MacDonald was in the sulky for the first-time behind the five-year-old and the duo went off at odds of 9/2.
First impressions are everything and the superstar trotting mare wowed MacDonald.
“She’s pretty nice. Beautiful gait and she’s just an absolute professional to sit behind,” said MacDonald post-race. “I knew she was coming off a couple of qualifiers and Luc (Blais) always has them ready, so I figured if I could get her in a good spot then she would give me a good run.”
A five-year-old daughter of Kadabra, Emoticon Hanover won five of 13 starts and made $446,008 last season for owner Determination of Montreal, Quebec. The star trotting mare now has 17 career victories.
Emoticon Hanover is looking to defend her Miss Versatility crown after winning last year’s final by five-lengths.
A $2 win ticket on the Blais trainee returned $11.30.
The next leg of the Miss Versatility will take place on July 14 at The Meadowlands.