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Solar Sister Prevails In 'Noble'

Published: May 8, 2016 9:06 pm ET

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Facing older stakes mares in just the second start of her four-year-old campaign, O'Brien Award winner Solar Sister prevailed in a photo finish in the $100,000 Sam 'Chip' Noble III Memorial Pace co-featured on the Sunday, May 8 meet-closing card at Miami Valley Raceway.

Driven by Doug McNair, Canada's 2015 Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year Solar Sister took the lead immediately off the gate before Canada's reigning Older Pacing Mare of the Year Lady Shadow (Aaron Merriman) swept up from third to first at the :26.4 first quarter mark. Meanwhile, the 8-5 favoured Blue Chip Matchmaker champion Yagonnakissmeornot (Dan Dube) followed in third and she then tipped first over as they approached the half in :55.2.

As Yagonnakissmeornot progressed to take over command down the backstretch, Solar Sister slipped out in front of Safe From Terror (Josh Sutton) in the outer flow and charged up to challenge at the 1:22.3 third quarter mark. Purrfect Bags (Victor Kirby), who came through between horses on the backside and moved into third-place as Lady Shadow faded, rallied three-wide coming off the final turn.

A three-way battle ensued for the length of the stretch with Solar Sister ultimately edging out her rivals by a head for the 1:51.2 triumph. Yagonnakissmeornot finished second and Purrfect Bags was third in the photo finish.

Solar Sister survived a judges inquiry into interference caused in the third quarter and was deemed the official winner, paying $12.30 to her backers as the 5-1 co-third choice on the toteboard. After discussion with the drivers involved, judges ruled that confusion to trailing horses was caused by a drifting Lady Shadow, and therefore, there was no violation against Solar Sister when she moved out.

Solar Sister is a homebred Mach Three-Cabrini Hanover mare, who is trained by Gregg McNair for owners David Willmot of King City, Ont. and Toronto's Clay Harland Horner.

"She's been a good mare, pretty consistent her whole life," noted Gregg McNair after the race. "She's staked up to race against all the good mares all summer, so if she just continues like that, that's where she'll be."

Solar Sister earned her 11th career win and has now banked $821,428 in 31 starts.

In the co-featured $100,000 Miami Valley Distaff for older trotting mares, the Ron Burke-trained Hannelore Hanover and driver Ricky Macomber Jr. set a new track record, winning in 1:52.3 by one and three-quarter lengths over the late-closing Charmed Life (Jody Jamieson). Daylon Miracle (Dan Dube) was third.

A four-year-old daughter of Swan For All, Hannelore Hanover was an Indiana Sires Stakes champion last year and is riding an 11-race win streak. She is five-for-five to start her aged campaign for Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Frank Baldachino.

With the backing of the public at 1-9, Hannelore Hanover moved from third after a :27.1 first quarter to take the lead and kept first over Daylon Miracle at bay past the half in :55.4. That rival retreated into the pocket as Hannelore Hanover forged on to three-quarters in 1:23.3, but she was back out for the stretch drive with Charmed Life rallying three-wide. However, Hannelore Hanover dug in down the lane for the record-setting victory as Charmed Life edged by Daylon Miracle in a photo for place.

"She's definitely matured a lot over the last couple of years," said assistant trainer Jamie Rucker, noting this race was a good test of her capabilities against the open stakes competition. "Last year as a three-year-old, each start she got better and better because she was so green at the beginning of the season. So every start we just taught her more and more and more. She learned quick and she learned right."

Hannelore Hanover's winning time shattered the former track record for four-year-old trotting mares, which was 1:54.1 set by Honey B earlier this meet.

A pair of $20,000 Open events on the undercard were won by trotter Il Mago (1:55) and pacing mare Addys Way (1:52.1).

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