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Blais Pupils Hambo-Bound?

Published: July 21, 2017 8:47 am ET

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Trainer Luc Blais’ dream of a Hambletonian Day breakthrough will be tested this weekend.

Dream Together, a three-year-old Muscle Hill filly that he trains for Montreal`s Determination Stable, will make only her third start this season in a $15,000 trotting event at the Meadowlands Racetrack this Saturday night.

How she races likely will determine if Blais enters her in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, whose eliminations (if needed) will be contested the following weekend.

A $240,000 yearling, Dream Together won four of her seven races as a two-year-old and collected about $100,000. This year, she’s won one of two starts.

“She’s looking good,” said Blais. “She won in 1:55 (at Mohawk).”

Fellow Quebec native Daniel Dube – who had a first and third behind Emoticon Hanover and Warrawee Roo in his first drives for Blais last weekend at the Meadowlands – is down to drive the filly on Saturday.

“We decided to try Daniel for some of the U.S. races,” Blais said. “We’ve known each other a long time, but never worked together before. He did a good job Saturday.”

Blais had also hoped to see Determination’s three-year-old colt Jake in the $1-million Hambletonian, but is on the fence about sending him at this point.

“No decision’s been made yet. He did train well last week. He seems in shape, but I’d like to get a race or two into him before deciding.”

Fifth to Walner in the Breeders Crown last year, Jake has won once in four starts in 2017, a 1:56 score at Mohawk Racetrack. He qualified on Friday morning at Mohawk Racetrack, winning in 1:54.4.

Coming off a career-best $2-mlllon year in 2016, Blais’ 20-horse stable has collected about $550,000 thus far in 2017, with most of the big stakes money still to come.

Four-year-old Warrawee Roo, narrowly beaten by Marion Marauder in the Hambletonian Maturity at the Meadowlands and eligible for the Maple Leaf Trot, has been one of the nicest surprises so far, Blais said. “He’s come a long way, because he hasn’t always been a sound horse.”

Emoticon Hanover, who bested European star Pasithea Face with a 1:51 mile in a division of the Miss Versatility at the Meadowlands, is closing in on $1 million in career earnings. The four-year-old is now just shy of $900,000. “What an honest horse she is. She gives her all every time. We plan to race only against mares this year,” said Blais, who is targeting the Breeders Crown with the 2016 O’Brien Award finalist.

(A Trot Insider Exclusive by Paul Delean)

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