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Top Fillies Shine In Diamond Eliminations

Published: August 16, 2014 6:49 pm ET

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Three-year-old pacing fillies faced off in three $6,666 eliminations for the Alberta Sires Stakes Diamond leg on Saturday afternoon at Alberta Downs.

Favourite Barona Mercedes romped to an open length victory to kick off the elimination round for trainer/driver Kelly Hoerdt.

Firing from post five, Barona Mercedes set up shop on the front end and powered through quarter panels of :27.4, :56.2, 1:25 while extending her lead to five lengths en route to a personal-best 1:53.4 victory. Freesia (Gerry Hudon) and G Ts Jamie (Bill Tainsh Jr.) were the best of the rest.

Hoerdt shares ownership of the Brandons Cowboy-Insurance Fee filly with Amy Henry of Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. and Blair Corbeil of Beaumont, Alta. After just one pari-mutuel start as a two-year-old, Barona Mercedes boasts a career record including five wins in 11 outings and $28,897 in purses. She was also a stakes winner in the Wild Rose earlier this year and came within a head of the Alberta Princess champion Nighttraintovegas in her first Sires Stakes leg.

Jamie Gray's Mothers Melody wore down favourite Make Three Wishes down the homestretch to win the next elimination.

Make Three Wishes (Keith Clark) was intent on leading the field and retook command after Wrangler Rockette (Gerry Hudon) cleared past the :28-second opening quarter mark. Make Three Wishes reached the half in :57 and was all alone on top by the 1:25.2 third quarter. However, Gray tipped Mothers Melody out from fourth as the field turned for home and she reeled in the pacesetter for a career-best victory in 1:54.3. Barona Malibu (J.F. Gagne) finished second over Make Three Wishes.

Unraced as a two-year-old, the Camystic-Pop Art filly is now two-for-eight in her debut year and was also a winner in the Alberta Princess eliminations prior to a third-place finish in the final.

Alberta Princess champion Nighttraintovegas was an easy winner in the final Diamond elimination, cruising wire-to-wire for driver Brandon Campbell.

The favoured filly quickly established the lead from post six before the first turn with insiders Triple Action (Jamie Gray) and Rs Dancer (Gary Clark) lining up in behind. Campbell rated her through fractions of :30.3, 1:00.4 and 1:29.4 before letting her roll in the final quarter. She sprinted home in :27.2 for the 1:57.1 triumph with Triple Action following her for second and Blue Star Escape (Kelly Hoerdt) advancing first over into third.

The Camystic-Midnight In Vegas homebred filly is trained by Richard Schneider for owners Dick Schneider of Sherwood Park, Alta. and Edmonton's David Halmosi. Nighttraintovegas is now five-for-eight on the year and has 10 wins in 17 career starts with earnings climbing past the $100,000 mark.

The $50,000 (added) Alberta Diamond final will be held on Saturday, August 23 at Alberta Downs.

This week's $8,400 Fillies & Mares Open Pace was won by the late-closing Skade off the claim for trainer/driver Keith Clark and co-owners Doris McDougall of Cochrane, Alta. and Verne Rea of Calgary. She out-sprinted Feelin Flush (Travis Cullen) and American Passion (Gerry Hudon) down the stretch for her third win in a row in 1:54.4.

To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Alberta Downs.

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