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A 'Pure'-Ly Talented Filly

Published: January 23, 2017 6:58 pm ET

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Pure Country and L A Delight were on-track rivals throughout the 2016 harness racing season. Now these two world-class competitors vie for honours as Canada's Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year. The winner will be announced this Saturday (January 28) as Standardbred Canada presents the 2016 O'Brien Awards at the Hilton Mississauga / Meadowvale Hotel in Mississauga, Ont.

Pure Country, a homebred daughter of Somebeachsomewhere scored 10 wins and bankrolled more than $1.1 million in her sophomore season to top the earnings chart in her division. She scored many stakes victories on both sides of the border and her richest payday of the season came in winning the Fan Hanover at Mohawk Racetrack in 1:49.3.

"Pure Country has been a blessing for us and we have enjoyed the ride through all the wins and losses," said Diamond Creek Farm's Adam Bowden. "She has raced gamely every time and even in defeat showed guts. Canada has been good to us as she won the Breeders Crown at two and then won an eventful Fan Hanover and Simcoe. She deserves to be nominated."

The pacing powerhouse even challenged male counterparts on two occasions in 2016, facing the divison's best in the Cane Pace at The Meadowlands and again in the Milstein Memorial at Northfield Park. Pure Country was saddled with Post 11 in the Cane but closed well to finish fourth. That effort was followed by an impressive second to U.S. divisional winner and O'Brien nominee Betting Line in the Milstein.

Traffic trouble was a factor in both efforts, likely one of the reasons why Bowden is proud of Pure Country's ability to consistently grind out a winning effort. When asked to name a moment or highlight that stands out from 2016, he couldn't choose just one. "All of her first over wins," he replied. "Most fillies can do it once or twice but she won the Miss Pennsylvania, her Lynch elim, the Simcoe, and her Breeders Crown elim."

While the toughness displayed during the sophomore campaign clearly speaks to the mare's desire to compete, Bowden is quick to credit the people connected to her winning efforts.

"Jimmy Takter and his staff did a phenomenal job keeping her at or near her 'A' game all year and they deserve recognition," noted Bowden."Brett Miller also did a great job piloting her too. He navigated tight spots and had her in position to win just about every start."

Pure Country could give Diamond Creek its first O'Brien Award as sole owner. The group was connected as a co-owner of trotting colt Southwind Frank, a winner in 2015. The shine is still there for Bowden having another O'Brien Award finalist.

"I feel very honoured to be part of this wonderful filly. Any award or nomination is icing on the cake," said Bowden, who owns and operates Diamond Creek along with his father, Chris. "The longer you are involved in this sport the more you realize horses like Pure Country don't come along very often and you better enjoy the highs. She is deserving of being nominating and I think she has done enough to win the award too."

Others feel the same way. In a public poll posted on the Standardbred Canada website, fans chose the three-year-old pacing filly division as the one to be the closest in terms of voting.

For a full list of 2016 O'Brien Award finalists, click here. For details about the Black Tie Gala, click here.

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