MILTON, March 29, 2018 – With the start of the 2018 Woodbine, Mohawk Park racing season quickly approaching, several talented older performers resurfaced Thursday morning for qualifying action.
Visibility was a bit of an issue for Thursday’s nine-race qualifying session, as fog made it difficult to see the horses from the half until mid-stretch. The track was listed as ‘Fast’ with a one-second variant.
O’Brien Award winner Sandbetweenurtoes made her 2018 debut in the opening-qualifier and finished second, beat a length and a quarter, to six-year-old pacing mare Mach Magic. The seven-year-old pacing mare teamed up with her regular driver Doug McNair for Thursday’s qualifier and sat third behind the eventual winner throughout most of the race.
Trained by Richard Moreau, Sandbetweenurtoes won 12 of 30 starts and banked $243,360 last season, en route to capturing the O’Brien Award as Canada’s Top Older Pacing Mare.
Sandbetweenurtoes capped off 2017 with back-to-back Preferred scores in October to go over $1 million in career earnings. The Winter layoff for the talented pacing mare comes after turning in at least a start in 30 consecutive months from May 2015 to October 2017.
One of three 2017 O’Brien Award winners owned by Brad Grant, Sandbetweenurtoes is again staked to this year’s Roses Are Red and Milton Stakes.
The morning’s third-qualifier saw the return of five-year-old pacer Easy Lover Hanover.
The Ben Wallace trainee was sitting third heading to the half and when the horses reappeared in the lane, ‘Easy Lover’ and McNair were on top and pacing well to a strong five-length victory in 1:54.4. Preferred regular Ellis Park finished second.
Easy Lover Hanover completed 2017 as the hottest horse on the Woodbine Circuit. The Wallace trained and Grant owned pacer won the $34,000 Preferred six-times in a row to finish the year nine for 24 with $215,487 earned.
Easy Lover Hanover is poised for a strong 2018 and is again eligible to the Canadian Pacing Derby.
Older pacers weren’t the complete story of the morning, as some notable older trotters took to the track in the second-qualifier.
Five-year-old trotting mare P L Jill was victorious in the second-qualifier, stopping the clock in 1:58.4 with driver Louis Philippe Roy at the controls. The Renaldo Morales trainee was making her first appearance since December.
P L Jill had a successful 2017, winning eight of 24 starts and earning $117,105 for Prince Lee Acres. Starting in Non-Winners of Three last Winter, P L Jill climbed her way up to compete in the Preferred and also competed against the sport’s top trotting mares in the Miss Versatility.
P L Jill is eligible to June’s Armbro Flight Stakes.
Luc Blais trainee Warrawee Roo finished third (seven-lengths behind P L Jill) in his first qualifier of 2018. The five-year-old stallion made 11 starts in 2017, with seven of those starts coming in stakes competition.
Warrawee Roo won just once, but did finish second in the $240,000 Graduate Final and third in the $458,750 Hambletonian Maturity. He finished 2017 with $175,292 earned for owner Determination.
Bob McClure steered Warrawee Roo in Thursday’s qualifier.
The Blais trainee is again eligible to this year’s Maple Leaf Trot after finishing fourth in last year’s edition.
To view the complete results from Thursday’s qualifiers, click here.
The next qualifying session at Woodbine, Mohawk Park will take place next Thursday (April 5) beginning at 10 a.m.
Live racing returns to Woodbine, Mohawk Park on Thursday, April 12.