Reigning O'Brien Award and two-time Dan Patch Award winner Lyons Sentinel will try to win her second consecutive Roses Are Red Stakes on Saturday (June 18) at Woodbine Mohawk Park, but among the nine pacing mares in her way is returning U.S. Horse of the Year Award recipient Test Of Faith.
The $315,000 Roses Are Red is part of a stakes-rich card Saturday at Mohawk, highlighted by the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup for three-year-old male pacers. Also set for that night are the $401,000 Fan Hanover for three-year-old female pacers, $251,000 Goodtimes for three-year-old male trotters and $211,000 Armbro Flight for older female trotters.
Test Of Faith, who in 2021 became only the fourth three-year-old female pacer in history to be named the Dan Patch Award Horse of the Year, is the 8-5 morning-line favourite in the Roses Are Red. She heads to the final off a 2-1/2-length victory over So Much More in her elimination last week. Test Of Faith won in 1:49.4 with a :26.2 last quarter-mile.
“The other night, she just looked as good as she could look,” said Test Of Faith’s trainer Brett Pelling. “She’s honest. She is a great horse and she just wants to keep being a great horse. Everything about her is just perfect.”
Test Of Faith, driven by David Miller, winning her Roses Are Red Stakes elimination.
Test Of Faith has won 24 of 29 career races and finished second on four occasions. She has earned $1.61 million lifetime for owners Mel Segal, Kentuckiana Racing Stable and Eddie Gran.
This season, the four-year-old daughter of Art Major-Cannae Cammie has two wins and a second in four starts. She will start the Roses Are Red from post two with driver David Miller.
“I think she’s been pretty awesome,” said Pelling. “She’s pretty foolproof. The one thing about her I’ve always said to everyone, she never lets you know too much. Sometimes you can tell when a horse is a bit off their game, or on their game, but she doesn’t give that away. That’s just the way she is.”
Five-year-old Lyons Sentinel, a Dan Patch Award winner at age two and a Dan Patch Award and O’Brien Award winner at four, will try to add her name to the recent list of repeat winners of the Roses Are Red. Over the past 10 years, only five different mares have won the event: Anndrovette captured the race three times in a row, 2012-2014, followed by three-time champion Lady Shadow and two-time winner Shartin N. Warrawee Ubeaut won the 2020 edition.
Lyons Sentinel, the 2-1 second choice on the morning line, will start from post three with driver Tim Tetrick. She won her Roses Are Red elimination by a half-length over Kobes Gigi in 1:50.1 with a :26 last quarter. No horse last Saturday at Mohawk came home faster.
“I was satisfied with the way she came out of the race,” said Lyons Sentinel’s trainer Jim King Jr. “We’re expecting pretty good stuff. She’s experienced in these races. I feel pretty good about it. We’ll see.”
Trainer Jim King Jr. and driver Tim Tetrick head to the winner's circle after Lyons Sentinel's Roses Are Red Stakes elimination win.
Lyons Sentinel has won 24 of 50 career races, hit the board a total of 43 times and earned $2.21 million for owner Threelyonsracing. This season, the daughter of Captaintreacherous-Tutu Hanover has won two of three starts.
“It’s a very nice pair of girls there,” said King, referring to Lyons Sentinel and Test Of Faith. “I know mine is pretty determined. But they’re not the only ones in the race, that’s for sure. It’s a deep field. The odds don’t indicate how deep it is.”
Six-year-old So Much More, a 2020 O’Brien Award winner, is the 5-1 third choice in the Roses Are Red. Next, at 10-1, is four-year-old Fire Start Hanover, who was a Dan Patch Award winner at age two.
“It’s fun when they all come together,” said Pelling. “I’m looking forward to it.”
On Saturday, Pelling also has the morning-line favourite in the Fan Hanover Stakes, Treacherous Dragon, who is unbeaten in four races this year. For her career, the daughter of Captaintreacherous-My Little Dragon has won eight of 14 races, missed the board only once and earned $376,420 for owner Hot Lead Farm.
Treacherous Dragon, whose mom finished second to Darlins Delight in the 2006 Fan Hanover, won her elimination last week by three-quarters of a length over Prohibition Legal in 1:50.2. Prohibition Legal, a 2021 O’Brien Award winner, is the 7-2 second choice.
“She was kind of a little bit gangly last year, even though she did everything perfect,” Pelling said about Treacherous Dragon. “But now she is all filled out and I imagine there’s still more to come as she gets older because she is a big filly.”
Treacherous Dragon and driver Tim Tetrick will start Saturday from post three.
Another filly being sent out by Pelling, Wickedly Innocent, will leave from post one and is 6-1 on the morning line with Todd McCarthy in the sulky.
Wickedly Innocent finished second to Silver Label in her elimination, which was her first loss in six starts this season. She has won six of 13 career races and earned $80,505 for owner Hot Lead Farm.
“She’s the same [as Treacherous Dragon],” said Pelling. “She caught up to her body and her gait got so much better coming back this year. She’s a real sleeper. She’s doing well.”
Racing begins at 6:30 p.m. (EDT) on Saturday at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
(With files from USTA)