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A Beauty-ful Vision Of Greatness

Published: January 31, 2019 10:03 am ET

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With a full-sister that was a world champion and O'Brien Award winner, and a half-brother that was also a world champion and O'Brien winner, the bar was set high for Prescient Beauty. And while racehorses can often create grandiose dreams out of the most grounded individuals, both Doug and Gregg McNair could easily see superstar potential in the regally-bred pacing filly long before she hit the racetrack and went on to garner an O'Brien Award nomination.

"We thought from last spring that she was a pretty nice filly," driver Doug McNair said of the five-time winner who banked just under half a million dollars in her freshman campaign. After starting her career with a 4-3/4 length maiden win at Woodbine Mohawk Park, the daughter of Art Major and Precious Beauty posted stakes wins at both Tioga Downs and The Red Mile before capping her campaign with a 1:50.4 triumph in the $391,250 Three Diamonds at The Meadowlands, despite being mildly inconvenienced in mid-stretch.

"That was a big win for her," Doug said of the Three Diamonds, just four weeks after her narrow miss of Warrawee Ubeaut in the Breeders Crown. "I mean, she raced great in the Breeders Crown. She ended up coming first-over, and was right there just getting beat half a length. Those two races are highlights."

"That was the best night to me all year," said Gregg McNair, Prescient Beauty's trainer. "She went some other trips as good as that — she went a big trip in the Shes A Great Lady and in the Breeders Crown. The Breeders Crown would've been her biggest mile all year, but she went a big trip — she was out the whole way and then her cover cleared to the front."

While Gregg feels that Prescient Beauty's older sister Precocious Beauty was "a little bit bigger and quite a bit lazier," Doug certainly felt a similarity between the two from the driver's seat.

"I think we raced her one time at Tioga, and I said to Dad, 'It's just a flashback to her sister [when] sitting behind her,' just with how good-gaited she is and her turn of speed is really fast. She's learning to carry it — her sister could carry high speed for a long time, especially as a two-year-old. They're kind of identical when sitting behind them; they feel like the same filly."

Whether or not Prescient Beauty will join siblings Precocious Beauty and Sportswriter among the ranks of O'Brien Award winners at Saturday night's (Feb. 2) gala event, the Jim Avritt homebred began preparing for her three-year-old campaign last week after her extended freshman season at the elder McNair's Florida farm.

"I didn't know if she would [get nominated]," Gregg admitted, noting Prescient Beauty's highest-profile Canadian races were a hard-closing second-place finish in the Shes A Great Lady and a third-place effort in her Eternal Camnation division, both at Mohawk. "She accomplished much more in the States than she did in Canada, so I was pretty happy. A little surprised, but pretty happy to see her nominated."

The McNairs, who in 2013 teamed up with Avritt and Precocious Beauty for an O'Brien, both have high praise for the annual celebration of the best in Canadian harness racing.

"It's pretty neat to see your horse or yourself, whatever's nominated," said Gregg. "They do a good job with it; it's a big night for racing."

"They do a great job there," Doug said. "You can't name anything else that compares to it really, I don't think. It's a pretty special night."

. . . and all the more special for the McNairs if Prescient Beauty prevails.

Either Prescient Beauty or Tall Drink Hanover will be named Canada's Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year as Standardbred Canada presents the 30th edition of the O’Brien Awards on Saturday at the Hilton Mississauga/Meadowvale Hotel. The black tie gala includes a cocktail reception, gourmet dinner, wine, and complimentary portrait for the night's attendees.

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