Two-time O'Brien Award winner Caprice Hill won her four-year-old season debut early Friday evening (June 2) in a $25,000 fillies and mares trot at Mohawk Racetrack for trainer Tony Alagna and owner Tom Hill.
Leaving from post nine, driver Doug McNair pointed Caprice Hill to the front and she worked to command through a :27.1 first quarter. From there, the Kadabra-Bramasole mare led the rest of the way while rebuffing first-over challenger Batoutahill (Mike Vanderkemp) through middle splits of :56.3 and 1:25.1 then holding off pocket pursuer Renegade Magic (Trevor Henry) in the stretch to score in 1:53.3 by a neck. Flowers N Songs (Randy Waples) closed off cover to finish third, four and a half lengths behind.
Caprice Hill won 15 of 25 races and earned over $1.2 million during her award-winning two and three-year-old campaigns. She prepped for her four-year-old season with a pair of qualifiers, including a 1:54 winning mile on May 22 at Mohawk. Tonight, she was sent postward as the odds-on favourite and paid $4.10 to win.
Caprice Hill has won her annual race debut in each of her three seasons on track.
McNair, Alagna and Hill also teamed up for a victory with North America Cup eligible Western Hill (Western Ideal-Cosmo Blue Chip), who recorded the first win of his sophomore season with a career-best 1:51.4 performance.
McNair also drove Bettors Up to a 1:51.1 victory -- a Canadian season's record for three-year-old pacing fillies -- for trainer Scott McEneny and owners Bradley Grant, Teresa Davidson, and Michelle McEneny. The Bettors Delight-Fresh Idea filly is eligible to the Fan Hanover Stakes.
Sandbetweenurtoes gave McNair the grand slam on the Friday night card with a 1:50.2 triumph in the $30,000 Fillies & Mares Preferred Pace.
Owned by Bradley Grant and trained by Richard Moreau, 2-1 favourite Sandbetweenurtoes swept off cover down the stretch to pass pacesetter Bernadette (Jody Jamieson), with Exhilarated (Jonathan Drury) closing within a half-length to her outside for the runner-up honours. Early speedster Bernadette settled for third after posting panels of :26.1, :54.3 and 1:22.3.
Sandbetweenurtoes is a six-year-old daughter of Somebeachsomewhere out of Als Girl who has won 29 races and over $930,000 lifetime. She boasts victories in half of her 16 seasonal starts and is the top money-earning mare currently in Canada this year with an annual income already at $150,500.
Windsun Revenge trotted the fastest mile so far this year on Canadian soil, winning this week's $34,000 Preferred Trot in 1:51.3 for trainer Jeff Durham and co-owner Robert Van Camp.
Driven by Rick Zeron, Windsun Revenge took charge off the gate from post six and cruised through fractions of :27, :55.2 and 1:23.2 en route to a one and a half length victory over the oncoming 4-5 favourite, Major Athens (Jody Jamieson). Whiskey Tax (Randy Waples) followed in third-place off a pocket trip.
Windsun Revenge paid $13.30 to win as the 5-1 third wagering choice. The 16-time career winner shaved one-fifth of a second off his lifetime mark. The six-year-old Kadabra-Oaklea Polly gelding, who scored his first victory of the year in four attempts, now has more than $390,000 banked in purses.
While McNair was the hottest reinsman of the night, Carmen Auciello led the way for trainers with three winners from his stable including D Gs Pesquero ($12.30, Jonathan Drury), Windsongmagnifique ($15, Jody Jamieson), and Dovuto Hanover ($4, Drury).
To view Friday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Friday Results - Mohawk Racetack.
For the official judges' report from Friday's card, click the following link: Judges' Report - Mohawk - June 2.