Lady With No Fear Upsets At Northfield

Published: November 26, 2023 10:03 pm EST

According to the betting board, Cool Kate was an absolute cinch to win the $25,000 Halloween Series final, but Lady With No Fear had other ideas, getting the perfect trip and scoring a monumental upset at MGM Northfield Park on Sunday evening (Nov. 26).

With a pair of scratches in the eight-horse field, Cool Kate (Aaron Merriman) and Lady With No Fear (Drew Neill) were both aggressively driven off the wings of the starting gate, but Lady With No Fear saved ground around the first turn, sitting the pocket behind heavy favourite Cool Kate.  

Cool Kate opened up a 1-3/4-length lead at the opening quarter in :28.4. With the field in straight alignment turning into the stretch for the first time, the back few began to mix it up with Bee A Hardtthrob (Billy Davis Jr.) leading the outer flow. At the half in :59, Cool Kate continued to put up all the numbers up top.

Into the backstretch, Bee A Hardtthrob continued to apply pressure to Cool Kate. However, at three-quarters in 1:27.4, Cool Kate was able to repel that challenge with Lady With No Fear breathing down her back after a perfect trip in the pocket. Turning for home, Lady With No Fear bounded out of the pocket and surged by winning in the final strides in 1:57.2. Cool Kate was a neck behind second, while Dotties Sea Shell (Chris Lems) rallied from the clouds to be third.

It was the 15th career victory for the three-year-old daughter by Fear The Dragon, which pushed her earnings to $104,722, for trainer and co-owner Sandra Hennessey and co-owner Paula Sugars.

Tioga Downs horsepeople were the big winners at Northfield Park on Sunday night as the Great Lakes Amateur Driving Association (GLADA) made a $2,000 donation to the horsepeople affected by the recent tragic fire. Driver Christina Johnson put some icing on the cake driving the upset winner, Dontyousayit, in the $8,000 GLADA Trot.

With windy raindrops mixing with snowflakes in the Cleveland area on the chilly Sunday night, Johnson sprung that 35-1 upset with the six-year-old Dontyouforgetit gelding, tipping wide in the lane as the visibility on track was next to zero.

With the favourite unable to handle the sloppy track conditions, there was a scramble going on early as several horses were bothered around the opening turn looking to avoid any additional mishaps. Fortunately, there were none with Johnson dropping to the back of the pack with Dontyousayit and letting the others do the heavy early workload.

At the opening marker in :29, Golden Genes (Larry Ferrari) enjoyed the top spot but, soon after, Another Breath (Floyd Rhodes) was coming to call with these two racing as a team through subsequent panels of :59.3 and 1:29.2, with Brigotto (Henry Beachy) second-over and Dontyousayit on a double-bubble binge having reached fourth.

Once they straightened away in the lane, Dontyousayit moved even wider to avoid any visibility problems and mowed them all down in the final yards for the win—the margin being a length.

Another Breath went a brave mile after being bothered a bit early and finished second with Mr Houdini (Don Sherman) next. Golden Genes, battling for the top spot the entire way, finished fourth in a mile clocked in 2:00.2. Magic MVP (Lauren Harmon) was fifth.

In a post-race interview, Johnson said, “It was pretty tough out there tonight with the wind and snow and rain all mixed in and you really couldn’t see that well with all the mud clogging our goggles, but we got the job done and we were able to help the Tioga horsemen a little, as well…so it was all good."

Trained by Larry Foos for owner Susan Foos, Dontyousayit won for the third time this year in 32 starts, sending his 2023 bankroll to $35,538 and lifetime earnings to $177,034. 

For Johnson, it was her 31st lifetime success in only 186 starts. She has been 1-2-3 in over 50 per cent of her trips behind the starting gate.

Johnson was back in the winner’s circle along with Lauren Harmon, Larry Ferrari and Steve Oldford for the cheque presentation to the Tioga horsepeople affected by the recent tragic fire, with Oldford lamenting, “This is why we race. All GLADA members donate 100 per cent of their driving earnings in our events for charitable distribution, whether it be for helping secure safe retirement homes for our horses, re-training horses for rehabilitation purposes for those in need and, of course, situations like the tragedy up at Tioga. This is what GLADA is all about!”

Live harness racing resumes on Monday, Nov. 27 at 6 p.m. Northfield Park currently races on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. In December, Northfield will add Saturday nights back through the end of the year.

(With files from Northfield Park & GLADA)