Keeling: "She's Ready"

Published: May 26, 2010 08:27 am EDT

Two-time O’Brien Award winner Elusive Desire is ready for some competition and trainer Mike Keeling says she could begin her aged career as early as

next week.

After an award-winning season at two, which she capped off with three victories in her Ontario Sires Stakes Gold elimination, final and Super Final, Elusive Desire came back better than ever to earn even more hardware. She put together a record of 11-2-3 in 18 starts during her sophomore season and added $890,444 to her bankroll to earn millionaire status. The daughter of Angus Hall-Valley Amber, who was purchased for $65,000 at the 2007 Harrisburg sale by P C Wellwood Enterprises Inc., Charles Armstrong and Robert Fasken, won the Canadian Breeders Championship, the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association Stakes, a division of the Simcoe Stakes and captured two more OSS Gold finals and the Super Final.

Elusive Desire - OSS Super Final

In addition, she finished third by a mere head in the Hambletonian Oaks and was a close second in the Breeders Crown.

Before being turned out for the winter, Elusive Desire missed her final start of the season, a Trillium event in which she was scratched sick from.

“We had decided at that point we were going to bring her back the next year and she just had a little runny nose,” explained Keeling. “We thought there was no sense in racing her if she’s not 100 per cent when we knew we were going to bring her back.”

Elusive Desire wintered at Olive Branch Farms just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina before heading to Pinehurst Training Center where Keeling’s father and the Dan Creighton Stable took care of her while she began prepping for her four-year-old campaign.

“We’re just taking it one day at a time and letting her tell us what she’s ready for and she says she’s ready to go behind the gate,” Keeling told Trot Insider. “We trained her in 2:01 at Mohawk Monday morning. Paul MacDonell came and went with her and he said she was tons good so we’ll put her in a qualifier next week if the weather is good and everything else goes well. I’ll qualify her twice for sure and if I can’t find an overnight for her then we’ll probably have to go a third time but we’re aiming for the Masters Series at Georgian Downs.”

Eliminations for the Masters Series will begin on Thursday, July 1 with the $125,000 (est.) final on Saturday, July 10.

“She just keeps herself in great shape. She’s a good doer and she enjoys her lifestyle,” said Keeling of the bay, who is known for her lack of interest in training trips due to a competitive edge. “She’s not a sour trainer, she just doesn’t see the need for it. For her, she’d be happy to go out there and train miles in three minutes and think that’s plenty. She wants to race, that’s what gets her excited is competition.”

Once Elusive Desire gets started, she will keep busy this season doing just what she loves. She is scheduled to compete in Armbro Flight before heading to the U.S. for the Miss Versatility, a possible Invitational at Meadowlands on Hambletonian Day and the Conway Hall.

“There’s a lot of good mares and I see they’ve brought Windsong Soprano back,” noted Keeling. “She’s racing really well so our work is cut out for us, that’s for sure.”