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Star Power In Mohawk Qualifiers

Published: April 21, 2017 1:36 pm ET

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A 14-race card of qualifiers on Friday morning at Mohawk Racetrack featured some of Canadian harness racing's top talent making seasonal debuts or tuning up for a return to the track.

Leading the charge was three-time O'Brien Award winner Lady Shadow, making her first on-track appearance since concluding her award-winning five-year-old campaign with a win at The Meadowlands in the TVG Final last November. James MacDonald was at the controls, and asked Lady Shadow to slice out all the fractions over the track rated good with a two-second variant. After splits of :28.1, :57.1 and 1:25.3, Lady Shadow uncorked a :27.4 closer to hit the line in a sharp 1:53.2. Just a nose back in second was Glamour Seelster, returning to the races after just two 2016 starts for Team McNair.

Last month trainer Ron Adams told Trot Insider that he was shooting to qualify Lady Shadow around this time of the year, with plans to qualify twice before aiming for the Miami Valley Distaff on May 8.

Owned by David Kryway of Amherstburg, Ont., Carl Atley of Ohio and Philadelphia-based Ed Gold and BFJ Stable, Lady Shadow boasts a career summary of 28-8-3 from 55 starts, a mark of 1:48.1 and earnings in excess of $1.7 million.

The eleventh qualifier of the morning featured a trio high-profile North America Cup eligible pacing colts making sophomore debuts. 2016 Battle of Waterloo winner and O'Brien Award finalist Sports Column was tucked in early for driver Chris Christoforou before pulling the pocket and taking command en route to a 1:54.3 mile.

Trainer Blake MacIntosh told Trot Insider that he was "very pleased" with the mile, that the plugs were still in and the colt wasn't asked or urged. He'll give Sports Column a week off before a return qualifier two weeks from now, and aim for a start at Mohawk around the 13th of May before deciding on whether he'd be dropped in the box for the first Ontario Sires Stakes Gold event of the season, slated for May 26 at Western Fair.

MacIntosh co-owns Sports Column (Sportswriter - Lady Leslie) with Daniel Plouffe and Hutt Racing. In a six-start rookie season, the colt never finished worse than second and his accomplishments garnered him high praise as the #3 selection in Trot Magazine's 2017 Pepsi North America Cup Spring Book.

A pair of stakes-winning colts from that division qualified along with Sports Column. OSS Super Final winner Arsenal Seelster was fourth, individually timed in 1:55.4 for driver Jon Drury and trainer Colin Johnson. Metro Pace elim winner Windsong Napoleon paced his first charted mile of 2017 in 1:57.2 for Team Jamieson.

Other notable performers included Progress Pace winner Easy Lover Hanover, third in his first outing as a four-year-old, pacing his mile in 1:56.4 for driver Doug McNair, trainer Ben Wallace and owner Brad Grant. On the trotting side, 2016 OSS Super Final winner and O'Brien Award finalist Emoticon Hanover trotted a mile in 1:59.2 for driver Sylvain Filion, trainer Luc Blais and Serge Godin's Determination stable of Quebec.

For the results from all 14 races, click the following link: Friday Qualifiers - Mohawk Racetrack.

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