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O'Brien Award Winners Sharpen

Published: April 25, 2019 6:54 pm ET

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On a morning marred by an accident, a pair of O'Brien Award winners made impressive appearances during the Thursday morning qualifying session at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

In what was her second charted line of the 2019 season, world record holder and O’Brien Award winner Emoticon Hanover trotted to another qualifying win in advance of her six-year-old stakes campaign.

Emoticon Hanover, who had pilot Bob McClure in her sulky, started from Post 2 in Race 2 and took her time getting down to the quarter pole, as she led the field of five down to the first marker in :29.3.

The career winner of $1.6 million in purses was in no rush through the second quarter, either, as the daughter of Kadabra made her way down to the half-mile pole in a comfortable :59.2.

After having trotted a tight nose-to-helmet trip in the pocket along the backstretch, Spark A Dream (who was driven by Blair Burgess) had seen enough, and moved on the classy leader just prior to the 1:28.3 three-quarters call.

Spark A Dream’s motion for the point seemed to spur McClure and Emoticon Hanover. The Breeders Crown winner responded by picking up the tempo a tad, and that proved to be enough to get the job done.

Emoticon Hanover cruised home in the final quarter, which was clocked in :28.2, and looked well in hand doing so.

Emoticon Hanover, who has compiled a hard fought record of 22 wins, 11 second-place finishes and 10 thirds from 53 career starts, is owned by the ‘Determination’ stable (of Montreal, Que.) and trained by Luc Blais.

Fans of Jimmy Freight had to wait until Race 9 in order to see the O’Brien Award record his second charted line of the season. Although it took a while to occur on Thursday, it was well worth the wait.

Louis-Philippe Roy and the millionaire son of Sportswriter took to the track and started from Post 5 after a scratch had brought all starters in one position.

The hard knocking horse got away third early and opted to make his move to the front after the quarter had flashed to life in :28.1. Jimmy Freight moved with a strong backside brush and cleared to the point before he tripped the half-mile timer in :57.4.

Jimmy Freight was pacing at a good clip along the turn, and he utilized a :27.4 third quarter to trip the three-quarters clock in 1:25.3.

The Richard Moreau trainee continued his tear through the stretch, as he threw down a :27.1 final quarter (and 55-second back half) to get the wire first in 1:52.4.

Jimmy Freight, who has been one of the best stories in the Ontario Sires Stakes in recent memory, has won 18 of his 33 career starts, has missed the board just once, and has taken a sub-1:49 mark of 1:48.3 over Mohawk.

Jimmy Freight is owned by Adriano Sorella, of Guelph, Ont, who was very pleased with his award winner's effort.

"Just an easy trip with him and he's ready to go," Sorella told Trot Insider. Sorella also confirmed his pacer's first major stakes test of the season will come close to home in the 2019 Confederation Cup at Flamboro Downs.

"He was good, was strong at the wire," added driver Louis-Philippe Roy. "He should be ready to put forth a big effort in the Confederation Cup."

After having suffered broken equipment and having to be pulled up during her qualifying effort last week, the undefeated Bob McIntosh trainee Sunny Dee was sharp while kicking off the session in Race 1. With Bob McClure at her lines, the three-year-old daughter of Sunshine Beach cut all the fractions (:28.2, :57, 1:25.3) before zipping home in :27.1 for a convincing victory in a sharp 1:52.2. Sunny Dee is a homebred of Robert McIntosh Stables Inc. (Windsor, Ont.), the CSX Stables (Liberty Center, OH) and Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. (Leamington, Ont.).

The fourth qualifier of the session involved an accident that injured drivers Phil Hudon, Anthony MacDonald and Bob McClure. Click this link for more information on this accident and the status of those involved.

To view the harness racing results from the Thursday qualifying session at Mohawk, click the following link: Thursday Results – Woodbine Mohawk Park (Qualifiers).


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