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Stubborn Belle Wins 2015 Debut

Published: May 23, 2015 10:36 pm ET

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Ontario-sired three-year-old pacing and trotting fillies were out in full force for the eliminations of the WEG-SBOA Stakes on Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack.

A pair of $25,000 eliminations were contested for both pacing and trotting divisions to determine the fields for next Saturday’s finals.

A group of 22 sophomore trotting fillies were split into two 11-horse eliminations.

In the first elimination, Stubborn Belle, last year’s O’Brien Award winner, made her 2015 debut a winning effort in 1:55.2.

Driven by Paul MacDonell, Stubborn Belle made a move from third to first in the second-quarter to take control at the half in :57.1. After posting a third-quarter of :28.2, Stubborn Belle trotted home under minimal urging to win by two and a quarter lengths. Meadow Seelster, who made a break after the start, made a huge comeback to finish second. Summers Jewel, Battle Mage and Tymal Illbthere rounded out the top five to secure spots in the final.

A daughter of Taurus Dream, Stubborn Belle is trained by John Bax and owned by Al Libfeld and Bax’s Parkhill Stud Farm. The sophomore trotting filly won five of 14 starts last season and compiled earnings of over $524,000.

Stubborn Belle returned $2.90 to win.

The second elimination saw Danielle Hall, last year’s Ontario Sires Stakes champion and O'Brien finalist, sent-off as the heavy favourite in her season's debut, but an early break from the star filly tossed the elimination up in the air.

Second Sister and driver Doug McNair showed early speed to grab the lead. Once on the front, McNair got to call all the shots and set fractions of :29, :58.1 and 1:26.4. In the stretch, Second Sister cruised home in :28.1 to win by three lengths over first-up challenger Kaddy in a 1:55. Yanks Ball Girl, Magic Shelley and Sumthintotalkabout picked up the remaining cheques and also earned spots in the final. Following her break, Danielle Hall caught the field and was able to finish sixth.

A daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe, Second Sister is trained by Gregg McNair for owner Jarold Hawks. The trotting filly finished third last week in her season's debut. Last year, Second Sister won three of eight starts and earned $55,760. Her clocking of 1:55 Saturday night established a new career mark.

Second Sister paid $26.70 to win.

On the pacing side, a total of 20 three-year-old fillies were split evenly into two 10-horse eliminations.

In the first elimination, Ms Mac N Cheese was able to overcome post 10 to win in 1:52.4.

Driven by Sylvain Filion, Ms Mac N Cheese, the 2-1 favourite, sprinted off the gate and was able to make the front from the far outside. The public’s choice set fractions of :26.4 and :55.4 before being challenged around the final turn. Ms Mac N Cheese reached the three-quarter pole in 1:24.1 with a first-over challenger at her wheel. In the stretch, the favourite turned aside all rivals to create some separation and paced home in :28.3 to win in 1:52.4. Code One Hanover, who got a two-hole trip, was able to close in on the leader in late stretch to finish second and narrow the margin of victory down to a length. Wrangler Magic, Capela and Southwind Ginger finished in the money and earned the final three spots in next week’s final.

A daughter of Badlands Hanover, Ms Mac N Cheese is trained by Richard Moreau for owner David Ratchford. The sophomore pacing filly is now two-for-two this season and nine-for-12 in her career with nearly $85,000 in earnings. Ms Mac N Cheese lowered her career-mark by a fifth of a second with Saturday night’s victory.

She returned $6.10 to win.

Solar Sister, the even-money favourite, made it a sweep of the pacing eliminations by post 10 starters with a 1:53 victory.

Driven by Doug McNair, Solar Sister sprinted to the front from post 10 and was able to reach the pylons at the opening quarter in :26.2. The public’s choice was then able to call the shots and posted fractions of :56 and 1:24.4. In the stretch, Solar Sister kept her momentum going and held off her rivals with a :28.1 final quarter to win. Five horses battled across the track for the remaining spots in the final one length behind. Delightful Hill came charging from the backfield to finish second. Win The Gold, Much Adoo and Twin B Honour rounded out the top five.

A homebred daughter of Mach Three, Solar Sister is trained by Gregg McNair for owners David Willmot and Clay Horner. Her elimination victory improves her 2015 record to a perfect two-for-two and it was the fourth win of her career. Last season, Solar Sister won two of 12 starts and banked over $214,000. Saturday’s clocking of 1:53 established a new career mark for the McNair trainee.

A $2 win ticket on Solar Sister paid $4.30.

The post position draws for both finals were conducted following the eliminations. The connections of the elimination winners earned the right to select their posts. The $129,661 WEG-SBOA Stakes final for trotting fillies and the $127,661 WEG-SBOA Stakes final for pacing fillies will take place next Saturday (May 30). Here is how the fields will lineup in next week’s finals (drivers not finalized):

WEG-SBOA Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly Final
1. Kaddy – Steve Condren
2. Stubborn Belle – Paul MacDonell
3. Second Sister – Doug McNair
4. Summers Jewel – Mario Baillargeon
5. Battle Mage – Jack Moiseyev
6. Meadow Seelster – Jody Jamieson
7. Sumthintotalkabout – Rick Zeron
8. Yanks Ball Girl – Randy Waples
9. Tymal Illbthere – Trevor Henry
10. Magic Shelley – Chris Christoforou
AE: Danielle Hall – Jody Jamieson

WEG-SBOA Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly Final
1. Much Adoo – Paul MacDonell
2. Ms Mac N Cheese – Sylvain Filion
3. Solar Sister – Doug McNair
4. Wrangler Magic – Yves Filion
5. Twin B Honour – Trevor Henry
6. Win The Gold – James MacDonald
7. Code One Hanover – Paul MacDonell
8. Southwind Ginger – Jody Jamieson
9. Delightful Hill – Jody Jamieson
10. Capela – James MacDonald
AE: I Wonder Why – Steve Condren

Mohawk's weekly $34,000 Preferred Pace was also contested on Saturday night's card with Spinfiniti earning his second win this month in the top class for owner/trainer Ron Adams.

A 35-1 surprise winner two weeks ago, the five-year-old son of No Spin Zone pulled off a mild 7-1 upset as he took the lead from the season-debuting, Breeders Crown champion Thinking Out Loud coming off the final turn and held off Vegas Vacation, who was making his first start since 2013.

The 4-5 favourite, Thinking Out Loud, swept to command after a :27.2 opener and took the field past the half in :55 and three-quarters in 1:23.1, but the pressure was mounting as Spinfiniti had advanced from fourth down the backstretch. Spinfiniti ultimately prevailed by half a length over the quick-closing Vegas Vacation in 1:51 with Sylvain Filion aboard. Nickle Bag finished third, with Push Back, Thinking Out Loud and Lets Rock Together rounding out the order.

The win was Spinfiniti's seventh in 17 starts this year and pushed his seasonal earnings over the $100,000 mark. Lifetime, he has 16 wins and $174,340 in purses.

In a $20,000 conditioned pace, top 2015 Pepsi North America Cup eligibles Pierce Hanover and Reverend Hanover hit the wire side-by-side in a 1:51 mile with the former ultimately edging out the latter, who was described as being "not 100 percent" in a pre-race interview by his trainer Casie Coleman. Dudes The Man, another Cup contender, finished third.

Reverend Hanover, the slight 6-5 favourite with Chris Christoforou in the sulky, had made the front at the :27.4 first quarter and led through middle splits of :56.1 and 1:23.4 while Pierce Hanover and Jody Jamieson made their move at the half, advancing from fifth, to set up the stretch duel.

Owned by Ralph Sucee and trainer Ken Sucee, Pierce Hanover is now two-for-two to start his sophomore campaign after earning four wins from 11 starts and banking over $123,000 last year. His winning time was a new career mark.

To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Mohawk Racetrack.

(With files from WEG)

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