view counter
 
view counter
 
 

“I Didn’t Expect This”

Published: June 15, 2017 12:46 pm ET

No Comments | Jump to Comments

Standout four-year-old pacing mare Cousin Mary will make her debut in Yonkers Raceway’s $55,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace this Friday night (June 16). The Andrew Harris trainee is set to return to the ‘Hilltop Oval’ for the first time since she swept the Petticoat Series in March. Since then, Cousin Mary completed another series sweep, this time in the Bobby Weiss Series at Pocono Downs. She sports 11 wins this season from 14 starts and boasts a $135,000 bankroll.

“When I first got her, I didn’t expect this,” Harris said of Cousin Mary’s success. “In December, she qualified in :57. Jordan (driver Jordan Stratton) wasn’t even happy with her. I waited until Yonkers opened back up and we got a couple cheap races for her and she just started building her confidence. She grew into this mare that I don’t think any of us expected her to be.”

Since joining Harris’ stable last winter, Cousin Mary has blossomed from an immature filly into a confident mare. Her transformation was two-fold; not only did Cousin Mary grow physically, the Camluck lass out of the Modern Art mare Chianti Seelster also began to understand what her trainer and driver were asking of her.

“She’s not even recognizable anymore,” Harris said. “When she first came, she wasn’t near the size or the muscle mass she has now. She’s a different mare. When I first got her, she was green and didn’t care what she was doing, didn’t know what she was doing. She knows what she’s doing now and she’s all business.”

Although Cousin Mary can be high-strung on the racetrack, sometimes kicking at her rivals as she jogs, she is a joy to work with in the barn, Harris explained.

“She doesn’t do a thing wrong. She goes out with Jewel Lehigh; they’re best buddies. They holler at each other when they’re leaving the stalls, they hang out all the time,” he said. “My three-year-old daughter goes in and pets ‘Mary’ all the time, brushes her legs and stuff like that. She’s just a doll to have in the barn.”

Cousin Mary’s most recent race came in the $150,000 Betsy Ross Invitational at Harrah’s Philadelphia May 28. Starting from the outside, driver David Miller was forced to take her off the pace, an uncharacteristic position for her. She raced at the back of the field before advancing one position up the pylons nearing the three-quarters. As rival Sassa Hanover tired in front of her, Cousin Mary was forced to shift outside on the final turn. Although Cousin Mary finish seventh, nine lengths behind winner Lady Shadow, she paced her fastest mile to date, individually timed in 1:50.4.

“I never expected her to win that class, but it was a situation where we didn’t know what we had and we had to go to an open somewhere and we might as well take a shot for bigger money,” Harris explained. “The thing that I liked about it, it just keeps stretching her out. She just keeps dropping time, she keeps getting faster. She comes out of the race and nothing affects her. Nothing bothers her. She can turn the page quicker than I can.”

Cousin Mary will face open mares again Friday night when she starts from Post 6 in Yonkers’ weekly distaff feature. She and driver Jordan Stratton are the 5-1 morning line third choice behind 3-1 favourite I Said Diamonds, who will make her seasonal debut, and 7-2 Lispatty. Hidden Land, Sensationalgabby, Delightful Dragon, Freeze Out, and Beyonces Rockn are also set to go postward.

“I think she fits with them, I really do,” Harris sad. “If she was good enough to be in the Betsy Ross, she’s good enough to be in the Open Mares at Yonkers. I don’t think she’s in with any killers here. Some real nice mares, but I hold her in that regard as well. Jordan knows her and gets along with her really well, so I have confidence he’ll find her the right trip.”

While Harris is confident in Cousin Mary and Stratton, the new track configuration at Yonkers gives the trainer pause. Friday night’s races will be the first to feature the new finish line, located 105 feet up the stretch from its previous location. The stretch drive will now be 555 feet instead of 660 and horses will have a longer drive into the first turn.

“I’m really interested in this new starting line,” Harris said. “I’m going to be a fan watching it just seeing how it goes because I don’t know how it’s going to change the complexion of racing. My filly has great gate speed, but I don’t know how much this is going to change everything. I’m going to have to watch a couple race before I can even gauge how much of an affect this is going to have on the racing at Yonkers.”

First post time Friday at Yonkers is 7:10 p.m.

(SOANY)


view counter
 
 
 

© 2019 Standardbred Canada. All rights reserved. Use of this site signifies your agreement and compliance with the legal disclaimer and privacy policy.

Firefox 3 Best with IE 7 Built with Drupal