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Filly Looks To Maintain Innisfil Streak

Published: October 5, 2012 8:13 pm ET

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There have been a few hiccups in Motown Muscle’s debut season, but the two-year-old trotting lass seems to have found her groove at Georgian Downs in recent weeks, logging track record efforts on both Sept. 25 and Oct. 2.

The filly heads back to the Innisfil oval on Tuesday, Oct. 9 for the last Gold Final of the freshman trotting filly season and owner Sebastian Benenati is hoping she delivers another impressive effort.

“She’s turned out to be quite a surprise,” says the resident of Clinton Township, Michigan. “I was really happy with her performance in the last two races.”

Motown Muscle made her first start at Georgian Downs on Sept. 25 in a non-winner's of two races event and cruised around the five-eighths mile oval in a track record 1:57.2. Trainer Ben Baillargeon used that race as a prep for last week’s Gold elimination, which saw the Muscle Mass daughter and regular reinsman Mario Baillargeon return to the Georgian Downs winner’s circle, lowering their own track record to 1:56.3.

The record did not stand for long as rival Bee A Magician came out in the other Gold elimination and rocketed home to a 1:55 clocking — lowering not just the track, but the Ontario Sires Stakes and Canadian records for two-year-old trotting fillies on a five-eighths mile oval — but Benenati and his partner Bet Max Stables Inc. of Casco, Michigan were still delighted with her effort.

“So far her times have been dropping and she’s been improving every week for us,” says the longtime owner. “We are looking forward to the rest of this season, and next year.”

Benenati and his partners also bred Motown Muscle. The winner of $73,650 is the 12th foal from their $167,886 winning broodmare Bankers Jackpot, who counts former Ontario Sires Stakes star Porsche Hall ($642,396) among her progeny.

The filly arrived in Baillargeon’s Rockwood barn last fall and was one of the trainer’s favourites through the winter. After a pair of qualifiers in June, Motown Muscle made her debut in the Grassroots program, winning a division of the July 5 season opener at Kawartha Downs in 2:00.4.

Baillargeon then boosted her up to the Gold Series where she finished second in her July 15 elimination at Flamboro Downs and fourth in the final one week later. Motown Muscle followed that effort with another second in the Aug. 2 Gold eliminations at Mohawk and a fifth in the final, but then failed to advance out of her Aug. 17 Gold elimination at Rideau Carleton Raceway, making a break at the halfway marker. Following that error, Baillargeon chose to give the filly a month’s vacation from the races before sending her to Georgian Downs for the Sept. 25 overnight test that impressed Benenati.

“She’d had a few weeks off and I thought we were just going to go an easy mile,” recalls the physician, who caught the race via live streaming from his home in Michigan. “At the three-quarters I saw her pin her ears back and I said, something’s going to happen here, and all of a sudden we were setting the track record.”

Mario Baillargeon will steer Motown Muscle from Post 1 in Tuesday’s Gold Final, and her owners know she will have to be at her best to battle Bee A Magician and the other seven contenders for the last regular season title.

“There are some awesome fillies,” says Benenati. “The competition is really strong. It’s an exciting year to be racing.”

Elimination winner Bee A Magician will line up at Post 5 on Tuesday, while reigning Gold Final champion Seeuinthespring gets Post 3. The two-year-old trotting fillies will compete in the ninth race of Georgian Downs’ Tuesday evening program, which gets under way at 7:25 p.m.

To view Tuesday's harness racing entries, click on the following link: Tuesday Entries - Georgian Downs.

(OSS)


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