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Bax Discusses Stubborn Belle

Published: May 28, 2015 1:24 pm ET

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Trainer John Bax has taken some time to discuss his filly, Stubborn Belle, in advance of her next stakes dance, which will take place this Saturday (May 30) at Mohawk Racetrack.

Bax is no stranger to success, as his pupils have won nearly $20 million in lifetime purse earnings on the track. The veteran conditioner will look to add another trophy to his cabinet this Saturday, as he will send out Stubborn Belle to contest the $129,661 final of the WEG-SBOA Stakes for three-year-old filly trotters.

The bay kicked off her campaign last weekend over the Campbellville oval during the stakes’ eliminations, where she cruised in an efficient 1:55.2 victory and hit the wire two and a quarter-lengths the best.

“I was real happy with her,” said Bax. “I think it was a good tightener for her, we’ve got the inside (having drawn Post 2 for the so I’m hoping she’ll be just one race better. Touch wood, hopefully she stays healthy.”

The daughter of Taurus Dream spent her winter across the border before returning to the track, fresh and ready for her sophomore campaign.

“She enjoyed Florida as much as I did! She’s come back pretty good, a few hiccups here and there,” Bax explained. “She can be a bit hard on herself so we’ve got the odd bump and bruise. Despite that, I think she’s getting back to where she needs to be.”

According to Bax, his trainee can certainly put the ‘stubborn’ in ‘Stubborn Belle,’ and though somewhat calmer as a three-year-old, she still considers herself to be the boss. Heading into the final, she’ll be looking to prove it to a strong field.

“I think she’s got as good a chance as any. Obviously I’m hoping for a win, but I think she looks good in there. There’s a couple new horses coming out of the woodwork and I’m sure they’re going to be heard from.”

Bill Budd’s Meadow Seelster certainly made herself known last week, as she finished a strong second to Stubborn Belle after having made a break at the start of the contest. Since returning to the track in 2015, she’s continued to trot faster with each start.

Another one to watch will be Second Sister, as she looks to build upon her 1:55, gate-to-wire victory in the other elimination last weekend for ‘Team McNair.’

“The three-year-old year, you always have to step up,” said Bax. “It’s a long year so I won’t read too much into one race, but I’m looking forward to a good three-year-old season with her (Stubborn Belle).”

Stubborn Belle banked more than a half-million dollars in purse earnings during her 2014 season, and capped it off by being named the O’Brien Award winner for the two-year-old trotting filly division.

In her elimination last week, Stubborn Belle edged out fellow O’Brien Award nominee Danielle Hall, who broke stride early in the contest, but rallied to finish sixth. Danielle Hall is the also-eligible for Saturday’s final.

“I felt disappointed for Carl (Jamieson),” said Bax. “It would have been nice if he could have gotten a good start in her (Danielle Hall) somewhere. That’s the problem with making all that money as a two-year-old, it’s hard to put a horse in for their first start back and get a race where they don’t get beat up by older horses.

“I’m sure it’s just a blip, (Danielle Hall) is a nice mare. She always liked to beat the good ones.”

Stubborn Belle will be headed next to Ontario Sires Stakes action and Bax has Grand Circuit events such as the Casual Breeze and Elegantimage stakes also on her radar.

“I’m hopeful she’ll be good enough for the Hambletonian Oaks in August. There’s lots of racing for her, it’s a long season so you don’t want to stretch them out too much too early. It’s going to be a good year.”

Saturday night’s card at Mohawk will be highlighted by the WEG-SBOA finals for both three-year-old filly trotters and pacers. The $129,661 final for trotting fillies is carded as Race 3, while the $127,661 final for sophomore pacing fillies will take place as Race 6. First-race post time is 7:25 p.m.

To view the harness racing entries for Saturday at Mohawk, click the following link: Saturday Entries – Mohawk Racetrack.

(With files from WEG)

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