Fairiesdelight A made her first start off the shelf a winning one on Saturday, Feb. 10 in the $24,324 Filly and Mare Open Pace at MGM Northfield Park.
Fairiesdelight A had been off since mid-January and qualified well in preparation for her return to the races in qualifiers at The Meadows las tweek.
There were several that made a bid for the lead as the gate sprung with Fairiesdelight A (Aaron Merriman) firing off the wings, but she had to deal with immediate pressure to her inside with Rockabillycockshut (Luke Hanners) and Kat (Greg Grismore) defending pylon position.
Rockabillycockshut led into the backstretch, but Fairiesdelight A was relentless, grinding away on the outside and crossing over before the field reached the paddock. Fairiesdelight A dealt with immediate pressure from Think Of Galaxies (Billy Davis Jr.), who cleared the leader before a testing opening quarter of :27.2.
Davis got a :29.2 breather in the second panel, with not much pressure being applied. As the field passed the half, Kat began to bid for the lead first over with Creme Delight (Hunter Myers) riding his coattails. Creme Delight tipped three-wide into the backstretch and muscled her way into second past three-quarters in 1:26.
With an eighth of a mile to race, Merriman somehow found a way off the pylons and had plenty in the tank as Fairiesdelight A powered past Think Of Galaxies, holding off Creme Delight in the final strides, winning by three-quarters of a length in 1:55.4.
Owned by M T Stables Ontario Inc. and trained by Braiden Rhoades, the eight-year-old by Bettors Delight now has earnings of $179,402 with 23 victories from 110 starts.
Ferrari scores 'sweet' win in amateur driving series
Larry Ferrari scored a sweet win during Saturday's card, teaming up with trotter Kandy Sweet in a $10,811 Great Lakes Amateur Driving Association (GLADA) race.
Kandy Sweet, a seven-year-old daughter of Team Six, took charge early and withstood challenges the final half-mile to prevail by a nose in 1:59.3 on yet another cold night south of Lake Erie. Admiral Blaze (Edward Miller) found some room along the pylons turning for home and just did miss the marbles in finishing second while Deliciousstone DK (Lauren Harmon) was next after being outside the entire mile and challenging from the halfway marker. Triumphant Chip (Eric Miller) was fourth while MNC (Braiden Rhoades) picked up the nickel.
Off at 1-5 odds on the toteboard, Kandy Sweet was alert leaving from post four and in a battle with second choice Admiral Blaze, from post three, with Kandy Sweet forced to a hot :28.4 opener on this cold night.
Once on top, Kandy Sweet was able to get a :31.3 breather to get to the half in a more comfortable 1:00.2 as Deliciousstone DK moved along side. That necessitated a :28.3 third panel with Kandy Sweet and Deliciousstone DK looking each other in the eye and leaving Admiral Blaze looking for room to roam.
Turning for home, with Kandy Sweet in front, Admiral Blaze found that seam at the pylons and these two were nearly inseparable at the wire leaving Ferrari uncertain of the outcome.
“To tell you the truth, I wasn’t sure who won…it was that close," he said. "It took a quick opener to get to the top, but that second quarter breather helped. But, having said that, we were pushed pretty hard during the third quarter to hold the challenger off and just did get there…a 'head bob' as some say!”
Trained by Cory Crosier for owner Ameer Najor, Kandy Sweet now has career earnings of $307,877 with 17 of her 25 lifetime wins being on the front end.
Ferrari is on a bit of a roll himself as he has won his last three drives in amateur competition dating back to Dec, 30 of last year with So Wishfull and continuing on Jan. 12 with Wild And Crazy Guy before this latest win. He has 384 career wins in the U.S.
Kandy Sweet paid $2.60 to her multitude of faithful.
Live harness racing resumes at MGM Northfield Park on Monday, Feb. 12 at 6 p.m.
(With files from Northfield Park & GLADA)