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Darling Weighs In On Monday Qualifiers

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Published: May 9, 2009 10:33 am ET

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Following the Monday, May 4 qualifiers at Mohawk Racetrack, Trot Insider caught up with trainer Jack Darling to get his take on O’Brien Award winner St Lads Popcorn and the first charted line of her sophomore campaign.

St Lads Popcorn left from Post 3 in Monday’s second qualifier with regular pilot Jason Brewer in the bike. She remained seventh for most of the mile and eventually finished over 11 lengths back from the winner, Cheap Motel (1:55.1), in sixth. St Lads Popcorn paced her mile in 1:57.2.

“Going into the qualifier I told Jason she had trained in [1]:59 and to just take her off the gate, keep her relaxed and just get a mile into her and that’s what he did,” Darling told Trot Insider. “The line doesn’t look too impressive on paper but when Jason came off the track I saw that he hadn’t pulled her plugs and I asked him how she was and he said she was nice and relaxed so it was fine.”

Darlings says the Twin B Champ – Hot Butter filly will qualify again on Monday and his expectations will be a little higher the second time around.

“You have to be very careful especially at Mohawk in those qualifiers and especially your first time because they can go so fast. Especially with a young one, you just don’t want to get them stretched out too much.”

North America Cup eligible Carnivore took to the track for the second time this season for Darling during Monday’s session. Coming off a 1:57.1 qualifier, the Real Desire – Party Animal colt, who is ranked at odds of 22-1 in Trot Magazine’s 2009 Pepsi North America Cup Spring Book, left from Post 6 in the fourth race and carved out all the fractions with Paul MacDonell in tow.

“Carnivore was the same the first time, he just went a mediocre mile, then this week Paul asked him for a little more and he was good in [1:54.1].”

Darling says the bay will likely race a couple of times at Mohawk or even qualify again before his first stake, which is the Burlington on June 13.

As for Cup eligible Stonebridge Terror, Darling says he was also better the second time around. Coming off a 1:57.3 qualifier, Stonebridge Terror finished seven lengths back in second to Millionaire Cam (1:53.2) in the sixth race on Monday. The 60-1 Spring Book colt, driven by Mike Saftic, left from Post 3 and sat third for most of the mile before tripping the teletimer in 1:54.4.

“I was happy with him,” says the resident of Cambridge, Ont. “He still has a little hitch in his gait that he had last year. He’s not going to be able to reach his potential if I can’t find out what it is. It's just kind of an ongoing thing we’re trying to find. He hasn’t got a sore spot on him but there’s a little something wrong. We just have to keep working on trying to find it, but other than that he comes out of the races in great shape. He’s sound and happy.”

The son Western Terror – No Paradise is eligible for the Upper Canada Cup, which begins on May 16 at Georgian Downs, but Darling says he hasn’t decided whether Stonebridge Terror will be going yet. “There are a few others that are good and ready and he’s just kind of borderline ready for it so I haven’t quite made up my mind yet on that one.”


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