Keeling On Elusive Desire Qualifier

Published: June 8, 2010 11:13 am EDT

After finishing off the board last week in her first charted mile of the 2010 racing season, O'Brien Award winner Elusive Desire got back on track during Mohawk Racetrack's qualifying session this morning


In rein to pilot Paul MacDonell, the Mike Keeling-trained Elusive Desire started from the rail this morning in the first of seven dashes.

MacDonell and the bay were second to the opening quarter, which was cut by Rock Rico (driven by Phil Hudon) in :29.4. Elusive Desire was out and battling for the lead in the later stages of the second quarter. She would go on to trip the half-mile marker while overland in :58.

It was Rock Rico that was first to the three-quarters marker (1:27.2), as Hudon had him out on the attack headed for home. It was all Elusive Desire in the final panel, though, as the four-year-old Angus Hall mare opened up lengths via a :29.3 closing frame to post a seven-length victory in 1:57.

Elusive Desire was solid last year, as she trotted to 11 wins from 18 starts, banked $890,444 and missed the board just twice. She bagged stakes wins in the Canadian Breeders, Ontario SBOA and Simcoe Stakes, and also captured a pair of Ontario Sires Stakes Gold finals and her division of the OSS Super Finals. She suffered game and narrow defeats (of less than one length) in both the finals of the Breeders Crown and Hambletonian Oaks.

2009 OSS Super Final (3yoFT) - Elusive Desire - 1:54.1

Keeling discussed Elusive Desire this morning with the Woodbine Entertainment Group after the mare's performance. The first thing he revealed was that he was looking for the mare to go a little bit faster this morning.

"She went in (1:) 58 last week and I wanted to go in (1:) 56 this week and then re-assess," Keeling explained. "She was good today, but she only does what she has to, and that's a bit of the trouble with her -- she's more interested in actual racing. When she has a horse beat she's kind of content to go through the motions, and we're fighting that a little bit with her."

In terms of where Elusive Desire is at this point of the year, Keeling explained that she is essentially right on target.

"Everything has been on schedule with her. I've said before that she's not a great 'trainer,' so we've been in to Mohawk about six or seven times and have progressively got her down to where we are now. She's been exactly what we expected, we just wanted her to be a little bit more competitive in the qualifier and get to that speed mark before we start racing against these older mares."

Keeling explained that he is planning on having Elusive Desire's first test of the season to be the Masters Series at Georgian Downs (July 1). He also said that he thinks that she will have to qualify once more and will maybe contest an overnight before the Master tilt.

Keeling said that Elusive Desire is eligible to everything that the older mares are eligible to, and that the Armbro Flight Stakes (Mohawk, July 16) is an event that the connections are pointing to. In terms of his opinion on the older distaff trotting ranks this year, Keeling said that it could be a division to watch.

"I think they're a good solid bunch," Keeling said. "I didn't think a couple of them were coming back. I'm glad to see them back. It makes the competition harder. They're a good solid bunch of mares and it should make for an interesting summer for everyone to follow some of these mares and create a little bit of interest in that category."

It was all Cat Four in Race 2, as the Dave Menary-trained Camotion gelding was much the best in a solid 1:51.4.

After leaving from Post 3 with Jody Jamieson at his lines, Cat Four went to the top early, cut the fractions in :28.2, :56 and 1:23.4 and came home with a 28-second final quarter. The six-year-old won the dash by more than 19 lengths.

Race 3 saw the 2010 charted debut of the seven-year-old Tony Montini-trained Mr Lavec horse Misterizi, who was putting in his first charted mile since August 22, 2009.

After starting from Post 7 with pilot Rick Zeron at the helm, Misterizi went on to make every pole a winning one, as he cut the fractions in :28.1, :57 and 1:25.4. Cruising home with a 29-second final panel, Misterizi stopped the clock in 1:54.4, fourteen lengths in front of his closest rival.

To view the charted results from the Mohawk qualifying session, click here.