Adare Castle Wins 2024 Qualifying Debut

Adare Castle
Published: May 13, 2024 11:03 am EDT

Adare Castle, reigning Older Trotting Mare of the Year, launched her five-year-old season for O'Brien Award-winning horseman Mark Etsell during the Monday morning, May 13 qualifiers at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

For her season qualifying debut, Adare Castle was partnered with former teamster Bob McClure, who had previously driven the millionaire Muscle Mass mare to a pair of Ontario stakes victories at the start of her career.

To start her 2024 season in Monday morning's final qualifier, Adare Castle led a field of five through fractions of :29, :59 and 1:28 en route to a 1:57 victory by 4-3/4 lengths. Older male trotter Victor Invictus was second and sophomore colt Private Access, a Breeders Crown elimination winner last year for trainer Luc Blais, followed back in third.

Adare Castle, who is eligible to this year's Armbro Flight Stakes, is coming off a $200,000 season in which she won six of 20 races and her second O'Brien Award trophy for Etsell and partners Robert Newton, Graham Hopkins and Peter Porter.

Speaking of Older Trotting Mares of the Year, the Greenshoe sister to 2018 O'Brien Award winner Emoticon Hanover and the Muscle Hill daughter of the divisional champion were qualifying winners on Monday for Blais and owner Determination.

The half sister, Emoji Hanover, a Champlain Stakes winner in a five-race freshman campaign last year, won her second straight sophomore qualifier to open the morning session, topping a field of four easily in 1:59.3 with the unraced three-year-old Muscle Mass gelding Northern Looker the only one within her sights at the wire. Louis-Philippe Roy guided the filly through fractions of :31, 1:00.4 and 1:30.4 before coming home in :28.4.

The daughter, Drawn Impression, last year's Peaceful Way Stakes champion and Breeders Crown elim winner, made her sophomore qualifying debut with a 1:58.4 mile for the same connections, drawing off by 4-3/4 lengths at the end with her own :28.4 final quarter after leading through splits of :29.2, :59.3 and 1:30. One-time starter Forbidden Treasure ducked into the two-hole turning for home and he was edged out at the wire for second by the late-closing Nova Scotia stakes-winning filly West River Ivory.

Both Blais-trained three-year-old trotting filly winners are eligible to the Elegantimage Stakes.  

A replay of Woodbine's video stream from the morning's qualifiers is available below. 

To view Monday's qualifying results, click the following link: Monday Results (Qualifiers) - Woodbine Mohawk Park.

(Standardbred Canada; Photo of Adare Castle winning as a two-year-old)

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