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"She’s Been The Big Surprise"

Published: June 26, 2012 1:15 am ET

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John Bax will make the short drive from his Peterborough farm to Kawartha Downs on Thursday evening for the Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series debut of his 2012 crop of two-year-old trotting fillies.

The season opener will see 28 fillies compete in four $40,000 Gold eliminations, meaning a top two finish will be required to secure a berth in next week’s Gold Final. The Bax fillies will compete in the last three eliminations, Charmed Life in the fifth race, Bop Too The Top in Race 7 and Her Name Is Lola in Race 9.

A modest $15,000 acquisition at last fall’s Canadian Yearling Sale, Charmed Life has exceeded Bax’s expectations through her early season efforts. The Majestic Son daughter was a solid runner-up in her June 9 qualifier at Mohawk Racetrack, leading for much of the mile over a sloppy surface before being caught in the final strides of a 2:05.3 effort.

“I guess she’s been the big surprise,” says Bax. “I paid $15,000 for her, (she was) 200 pounds overweight when I bought her, and she just kind of did what she wanted — and I let her do what she wanted — and she always did it right.

“I’m pretty happy with her, she’s good gaited, strong, I think that’s the big thing about her, she’s a big strong filly,” he adds.

The Peterborough resident shares ownership of Charmed Life with Goin To The Show Stable of Peterborough, Dale Debnam of Lindsay and John Houston of Cobourg and the group is hoping the youngster can power her way to an Ontario Sires Stakes pay cheque on Thursday. Paul MacDonell will steer Charmed Life in pursuit of that goal from Post 7 in the fifth race.

“She seems like a sound filly, and hasn’t got any issues, it’s just a matter of whether she’s fast enough,” notes Bax.

Bop Too The Top also qualified at Mohawk on June 9, touring the sloppy seven-eighths mile oval in 2:06.4 to finish fourth. The daughter of Muscle Mass was a $28,000 purchase from the Canadian Yearling Sale and was the sleeper of Bax’s freshman trotting filly contingent.

“She never really impressed me until a couple months before I qualified her,” explains the horseman. “Just kind of did her work, didn’t do anything more than she had too, and wasn’t flashy. You kind of had to ask her to do it, but when you did she did it, so I’m actually a little surprised with her too.

“She’s good gaited, very mature for her age,” he adds. “I think that is her big attribute, she was all business and never fooled around on the track, she just did what she had to do.”

Glengate Farms of Campbellville and Lorne Johnson of Cobourg share ownership of the filly with Bax’s Parkhill Stud Farm, and Stephen Byron will steer Bop Too The Top from Post 6 in Thursday’s seventh race.

Like Bop Too The Top, Bax’s final entry will start from Post 6. Her Name Is Lola heads into Race 9 off a 2:06.2 victory in the June 9 qualifiers at Mohawk. Another daughter of Majestic Son, the half-sister to $265,141 winner Pilgrims Stunner will get the driving services of Paul MacDonell.

“She’s got a great, great pedigree, and she’s got a great motor on her, but her front end hasn’t caught up with her hind end, and in her pedigree they seem to come to their speed later,” says Bax of the lyrically named filly. “So while I’m real happy that she’s there, I’m going to try to be a little careful with her as far as racing her too much this year because I think that she’s going to be better later.”

Gaelic Stable of Sharon and Don Allensen of Camlachie partnered with Bax to purchase Her Name Is Lola for $30,000 (U.S.) from last fall’s Harrisburg Yearling Sale.

The top two finishers in each Gold elimination are assured of a berth in the July 5 Gold Final, and will be joined in the $130,000 contest by one third-place finisher selected by random draw.

The two-year-old trotting fillies will battle for a Gold Final berth in Races 3, 5, 7, and 9 on a Thursday evening program that lights up the Kawartha Downs oval at 7 p.m.

To view entries for Thursday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Thursday Entries – Kawartha Downs.


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