MILTON, September 14, 2019 – The fields are set for next weekend’s $750,000 Metro Pace and $540,000 Shes A Great Lady following eliminations on Saturday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
Each event required a pair of eliminations to determine the 10-horses advancing to each final.
Alicorn jogged to a 1¾ length win in the first of two $35,000 eliminations of the She’s A Great Lady for two-year-old pacing fillies.
The prodigious daughter of Bettors Delight hit the front before the first turn from post four and – to the surprise of nobody – the 1/9 favourite led for the remainder of the mile to secure the lion’s share of the purse and her choice of post position for the $550,000 final. Somebeachsometime flew up late from the back to grab second and Betalady crossed the line third. Alexa Skye and Peaky Sneaky will also make the final after finishing fourth and fifth respectively.
Driver Louis Philippe Roy, as always, was dazzled by his drive.
“I don’t have much to say other than ‘she was fantastic tonight,” said Roy in his post-race interview. “She always impresses me, and tonight she was even better – she was perfect.”
Alicorn grabbed the lead early and required little reminding from Roy down the lane on route to a 1:50.3 victory. She hit the quarter in :26.4, took a backstretch breather to the tune of :55.3, and then kicked on to a three-quarters in 1:23.2 and a last quarter of :27.1. The backfield didn’t move a muscle until the five-eighths when Peaky Sneaky went first up and Alexa Skye grabbed her cover, but it would be Somebeachsometime to circle each of them to finish second. Betalady got a free ride along the rail and held on for third.
She has now earned more than $230,000 from eight starts for trainer Chantal Mitchell and owners Windermere Stable and Robert Muscara. This is her fifth win, and she will look to add the She’s A Great Lady trophy to a case that already includes hardware from two Ontario Sires Stakes Gold events and the Eternal Camnation.
Roy also says that she has some left in the tank for the final.
“I didn’t want to spend more than what she needed to win with the final coming next week,” he said. “I think she’ll be pretty sharp. Chantal (Mitchell, the horse’s trainer) did a good job on keeping her healthy and ready, giving her a little break last week. [There are] good things to expect in the final.
Alicorn paid $2.10 to win.
In the $35,000 second elimination, it was Lyons Sentinel who rolled by favourite Reflect With Me in the stretch to win going away in.
She was 2½ lengths the best over Reflect With Me and Jk First Lady, who finished third. Tim Tetrick piloted the filly to victory lane.
“I thought I had the best filly going in to it,” said Tetrick. “I just didn’t know how the big track would affect her and it looks like she liked it.”
Jk First Lady led going to the quarter, but Andrew McCarthy right-lined Reflect With Me to take over up the backstretch. Lyons Sentinel, who got away fourth from post five, got into gear as they entered the far turn and cruised by rivals for a track and Canadian record-equaling 1:50.1. Off the Press finished a far-back fourth, and Saulsbrook Raven claimed the last spot in the final. The three different leaders took the six-horse field to a quarter in :28.3, half in :56, three-quarters in 1:23.1, and the victor sprinted home in a speedy :26.3.
Lyons Sentinel has now won five races – the others being Pennsylvania Sires Stakes contests, including the $250,000 championship last week – and earned just shy of $300,000 for owner Threelyonsracing and trainer James King Jr. The victory tonight is also a new lifetime mark for the daughter of Captaintreacherous.
“That field that she beat at Chester last week in the final – that was a very good field of pacing fillies,” said Tetrick. “She beat those last week pretty handily, and she came back here, and I think she raced better tonight than she has been.”
A win ticket was worth $6.00.
Undefeated pacer Tall Dark Stranger took the $40,000 first elimination of the Metro Pace for two-year-olds as he reached up to nail leader Papi Rob Hanover on the line.
Papi Rob Hanover led every step but the last one after blasting to the lead early. He took the field to the quarter in :27.2, the half in :55.3, and the three-quarters in 1:23.2, but Tall Dark Stranger stopped the final timer in 1:50.1. Seeyou At Thebeach followed the winner’s cover and held on to finish third. Team Best and Captain Kirk both rode the rail and snagged the remaining spots in the $750,000 final with their fourth and fifth-place efforts respectively.
Winning driver Yannick Gingras sat second after leaving from the two-hole and popped the pocket as the field of seven turned towards the three-quarters, but then had to work on his Bettors Delight colt to get by Papi Rob Hanover in the closing stages. It was a novelty for Gingras, as his undefeated colt had never been less than three lengths ahead at the finish in any of his prior efforts.
Gingras said that his mount had a lot left in the tank.
“I took my chance out of the two-hole, but at the wire he was just starting to get in gear,” he said after the race. “He was far from tired, but he just has to learn his job.”
The $330,000 yearling purchase is owned by the partnership of Crawford Farms, Marvin Katz, Caviart Farms, and Howard Taylor. He has now recouped $124,533 for them, and is a perfect five-for-five for trainer Nancy Johansson. The elimination effort dropped the freshman’s lifetime mark by a second.
“He’s won pretty handily under wraps each week,” said Gingras. “But I think it was good for him tonight, no doubt about it; the trip worked out, the speed was good, and he didn’t get hurt going into next week. We’ll get to pick our post so it’s all positive.”
The 2/5 favourite paid $2.90 to win.
Capt Midnight had smooth sailing in his $40,000 elimination of the Metro, as he brushed to the top on the backside and glided home under minimal urging from Andrew McCarthy.
The two-year-old by Captaintreacherous and was timed in 1:51.4 and was 4½ lengths clear of Champlain Stakes winner Ys Mathis as they hit the wire. Beach Blanket Book used his seat in the three-hole to come home third. One for Julius and Esai Hanover were fourth and fifth and will complete the Metro Pace field.
Esai Hanover left with the car from the rail and held the top spot going into the turn, but had little choice but to let the speedy Capt Midnight and Andrew McCarthy, who had tucked in third from post seven, go by as the horses paced towards the half. No competitor would get within a length again, and all YS Mathis could do after moving first-over was watch the 2/5 favourite jog away. Beach Blanket Book gave a steady effort and finished third. Capt Midnight paid $2.30 to win.
“He’s a weapon, he really is,” said McCarthy. “There was a couple of guys behind me chirping in the last turn, and every time they’d yell at their horse he’d spark up and slip into another gear. On paper it obviously looked like we got in the easier division I guess, but just the way he did it tonight, he was vicious.”
The Tony Alagna trainee will up his win tally to five from seven outings and bring his earnings above $200,000 for the ownership group of Marvin Katz, Kenneth Jacobs, Bradley Grant, and Capt Midnight Racing. They threw down $350,000 to bring him home from the 2018 Harrisburg Yearling Sale.
“This horse has a lot of presence – when you see him on a racetrack, he catches your eye,” Alagna said. “We gave $350,000 for him, so we definitely had high expectations, but giving a lot of money doesn’t necessarily guarantee that (he will be good). There’s just something about him – when we bought him as a yearling, he had a look about him that you had to respect.”
Post positions were drawn for both finals following the eliminations. The winners of Saturday’s elimination earned their connections the right to select their post position.
$540,000 Shes A Great Lady
1 – Off The Press
2 – Reflect With Me
3 – Saulsbrook Raven
4 – Lyons Sentinel
5 – Alicorn
6 – Jk First Lady
7 – Peaky Sneaky
8 – Alexa Skye
9 – Somebeachsometime
10 – Betalady
AE – Temagami Seelster
$750,000 Metro Pace
1 – Ys Mathis
2 – Seeyou At Thebeach
3 – Capt Midnight
4 – Tall Dark Stranger
5 – Captain Kirk
6 – Team Best
7 – One For Julius
8 – Esai Hanover
9 – Papi Rob Hanover
10 – Beach Blanket Book
AE – Allywag Hanover
BY NICHOLAS BARNSDALE for Woodbine.com