On Thursday, June 11, Woodbine Mohawk Park hosted a 10-race qualifying session that featured raceway horses, returning stakes stars and some fledgling two-year-olds. The qualifiers also featured another thing: a strong stretch headwind that made the conditions challenging for the morning's participants, at times.
For the most part, the blustery conditions forced the Standardbreds to fight through a wall of wind in the stretch and get pushed down to the half in the second quarter of the races. Quick rolling clouds also cast fast moving shadows on the track, which did not make the morning session easy for the horses or the camera operators.
The presiding judges rated the track as 'good' and applied a two-second speed variant for the session.
The baby races got underway right from the word 'go,' as a field of nine juveniles lined up to contest Race 1. After having sat mid-pack through the fractions (:32, 1:03.4, 1:34) the Carmen Auciello-trained and Jonathan Drury-driven Keystone Cecilia (Cantab Hall--Caitir) shot up along the inside with late trot through the stretch and was first to the wire in 2:04.4. Robert Burgess owns the bay filly that was purchased for $30,000 during last year's yearling sale in Harrisburg.
The second and last of the morning's two-year-old qualifiers faced the gate for Race 2, and it was the Amy MacDonald-trained and James MacDonald-driven Imalovelylady (My MVP--Lovemymuscles) that left from the outside, grabbed the engine, cut all of the fractions (:32, 1:02.4, 1:32.3), and trotted to victory in 2:02.1. The bay filly was purchased for $14,000 out of a yearling auction in Ohio last fall and is owned by Thestable Imalovelylady.
In what was her second qualifying effort of the season, 2019 O'Brien Award winner Alicorn notched a win in Race 3. The three-year-old daughter of Bettors Delight started from Post 6 and worked her way into the pocket past the :29.4 quarter. Louis-Philippe Roy looped his charge to the lead early in the second panel, and the duo went on to cut the middle fractions (:59.3, 1:28.1). Alicorn was sharp late, as the Chantal Mitchell trainee paced confidently through the stretch and went on to hit the wire in 1:56.3. Alicorn, who excelled in Ontario last year, is owned by Windermere Stable LLC and Robert Muscara.
Cash Hall mare Only Take Cash continued to prep for her four-year-old campaign in Race 9, as the Bob McIntosh-trained and Trevor Henry-driven bay trotted to a comfortable win in 1:57.4. The career winner of 15 of her 22 starts sat third through the opening quarter (:29.1) and half (:58.2) before vaulting first-up and clearing to the lead in the vicinity of the 1:27.4 three-quarters pole. The O'Brien Award winning mare braved the headwind in the stretch and held on for a narrow victory in 1:57.4. Only Take Cash, who has banked $787,226 in purses, is owned by Robert McIntosh Stables Inc., Dave Boyle, and Mardon Stables.
To view the harness racing results for the Thursday qualifying session at Mohawk, click the following link: Thursday Results - Woodbine Mohawk Park (Qualifiers).