'Elusive' To Return At Four?

Published: November 18, 2009 10:11 am EST

Woodbine Racetrack will host the second of three Trillium Series events for the three-year-old trotting fillies this Saturday evening, and fans of Super Final champion

Elusive Desire will have one last opportunity to see her in action in the second $33,263 division.

Guelph, Ont. resident Paul MacDonell will steer the winner of $1,286,348 from Post 4 in the second race and hopes the filly is as sharp as she was in last weekend’s Super Final victory over the Toronto oval.

"She was as sharp as ever; 1:54.1 is a pretty significant mile for this time of year," said MacDonell. "There are not too many fillies that were around in May still doing that in November."

MacDonell has driven Elusive Desire in all but one of her 18 sophomore starts, in which the daughter of Angus Hall--Valley Amber has accumulated 11 wins, two seconds and two thirds. Among her successes are last weekend’s $300,000 Super Final, one Gold elimination and two Gold finals, her Elegantimage, Hambletonian and Breeders Crown elims, the elim and final of the Canadian Breeders Championship, the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association Stakes, and a division of the Simcoe Stakes. She finished second by three-quarters of a length in the October 24 final of the Breeders Crown and third by a head in the Hambletonian Oaks.

The veteran reinsman also piloted the filly in most of her freshman starts, and says she has developed a very competitive attitude since scoring her first win in October 2008.

"I think she’s a lot more mature now," he explained. "She’s got the idea of winning, and she just seems to do what she needs to do to win.

"Very few of them fight like that. When that mare (runner-up Novelty AS) came up behind her in the lane Saturday night (November 14) she was ready for a fight," he added. "That’s something they’re born with, not taught."

Cambridge, Ont. resident Mike Keeling trains the filly for P C Wellwood Enterprises Inc. of Cambridge, Charles Armstrong of Brampton, Ont. and Robert Fasken of Oakville, Ont. The partners are deliberating about their plans for the filly’s future and MacDonell is hoping they choose to race her as a four-year-old.

"That wouldn’t disappoint me at all," the veteran reinsman admitted. "We’ll wait and see what comes in the winter, but I think that’s the way Mike’s leaning."

This Saturday, only seven other fillies will line up against Elusive Desire in Saturday’s Trillium Series, but MacDonell still expects a fierce contest. Among the challengers is American-bred filly Windsong Soprano, who boasts a sophomore record of nine wins, two seconds and three thirds in 18 starts, for earnings of $645,127. The Bob McIntosh trainee will start from Post 1 for owners Lothlorien of Cheltenham, Ont. and gets the driving services of Randy Waples.

"She’s definitely a contender, no doubt," MacDonell said. "When it’s competitive like that, you have to be on your toes all the time."

Four of the other contestants hail from the Grassroots program, while SOS Respect comes into the $33,263 contest off a seventh in the Super Final and will start from Post 5.

The other Trillium division will see a face off between Ontario Sires Stakes record holder Friendly Amigo from Post 6 and Grassroots Champion Daylon Mystique from Post 7.

Post time for the first Trillium Series division is 7:30 p.m., with the other $33,263 division slated as Race 2 on Woodbine Racetrack’s Saturday evening program.

Click here to view the harness racing entries for Woodbine's Saturday card.