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News On Returning Three-Year-Olds

Published: April 19, 2014 1:05 pm ET

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The qualifying dockets throughout North America are starting to be sprinkled with horses coming back for three-year-old campaigns, including O'Brien Award winners and North America Cup hopefuls.

Two horses that were expected to qualify on Friday at Mohawk Racetrack raised eyebrows with their absence. National Debt, #9 on the Trot North America Cup Spring Book, was listed on the entries...but not the results. Trainer Ron Coyne told Trot Insider that the pacer didn't qualify simply because it wasn't required to start in the first leg of WEG's The Diplomat Series.

"The judges said we didn't need to qualify; we were still eligible by date," said Coyne. "We schooled behind the gate [Friday] morning, he worked excellent."

Another pacer that was expected to appear at Friday's qualifying session was another N.A. Cup hopeful, Breeders Crown winner Luck Be Withyou. Trainer Bill Cass told Trot Insider that all is well with the #2 ranked pacing colt and that he'll likely qualify in about 10 days.

Some of the competition for these sophomores have made qualifying starts, and done so impressively.

On Thursday, Limelight Beach was a 1:53.4 winner at The Meadows for trainer Brian Brown and driver Dave Palone. Ranked at #10 on the N.A. Cup Spring Book, the son of Somebeachsomewhere will likely log another qualifier before making his first pari-mutuel start of 2014.

While Dr. Ian Moore lost N.A. Cup contender Arthur Blue Chip to injury, he appears to have another contender in his barn. After qualifying in 1:54.4 on April 11 at Southern Oaks Training Centre, Silverhill Shadow finished second to older stablemate State Treasurer but qualified in a sharp 1:51.3. The lightly-raced son of Shadow Play, owned by breeder Silverhill of Tignish, PEI, is listed at 90-1 in the Trot Spring Book.

Also listed at long odds in the N.A. Cup Spring Book is Surprise Hanover, a son of Bettors Delight owned by Jim Carr. That sophomore, ranked at 85-1 in the spring Book, qualified for James 'Friday' Dean in 1:55 with Hall of Famer Ron Waples aboard.

Florida's other hotbed of activity is Pompano Park, where Gregg McNair unleashed some of his returning stars on Saturday morning. Among those, world champion Precocious Beauty, 2013's two-year-old filly pacer of the year both North and South of the 49th.

With regular pilot Doug McNair in town, Precocious Beauty finished a solid second behind pacing colt Mcwicked with her mile timed in 1:54.4. Mcwicked, assessed odds of 55-1 in the N.A. Cup Spring Book, was making his second charted line of the season and also finished ahead of 65-1 rated Here Comes William.

One race earlier, two of McNair's N.A. Cup eligibles were in action. Crafty Master (28-1 Spring Book odds) was a 1:54.3 winner for Stuart Sowerby ahead of stablemate Three Of Clubs (25-1) and Doug McNair.

In New Jersey, top-ten listed JK Endofanera made his second charted line of the season and fended off a slew of N.A. Cup eligibles in 1:52.4. Finishing second by a head was Ideal Cowboy (55-1), with Somewhere Fancy (55-1) a length back in third and Avalanche Hanover (70-1) back two and one-quarter lengths.

JK Endofanera was driven by Brian Sears for trainer Ron Burke, who told Trot Insider earlier this month that he planned on qualifying JK Endofanera twice before making his first start of the season.

(A full qualifier recap from The Meadowlands' Saturday session is available here.)

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