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Western Moonlight To Shine In Sweetheart?

Published: August 19, 2009 7:07 pm ET

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Saturday’s $440,300 Sweetheart for two-year-old pacing fillies at the Meadowlands Racetrack will be the perfect opportunity for Western Moonlight to showcase her promising skills.

“You just approach it like any other race, because there are nine other horses that want to get to the finish line first,” said trainer Jim Campbell. “You’ve got to be aware of that and prepare your horse the best way you feel necessary.”

A daughter of Western Hanover-Light Up, Western Moonlight has the best record of the field with five starts yielding three wins and two second-place finishes. Last week’s Sweetheart elimination at the Meadowlands resulted in Western Moonlight achieving her fastest time of 1:53, which is also the fastest within this weekend’s competition.

“She’s been doing everything right, and I just hope that she maintains the way that she is now,” Campbell said. “There’s nothing we’re working on to iron anything out – just hoping she stays the same.”

There will also be a familiar foe in Saturday’s race. BJs Canouan (Western Ideal-Rich N Elegant) was able to earn a bye into the final after the Sweetheart drew 11 entries and she was the richest in the box with earnings of $108,412. Big Readhead (Red River Hanover-Arts Big Girl) was the only filly not able to advance from the elimination.

It was in the Countess Adios at the Meadowlands on August 6 that BJs Canouan was able to hold off Western Moonlight for the win. Western Moonlight was able to rip across the backstretch and diminish the distance between her and leader BJs Canouan, but it wasn’t until after the three-quarter marker that she really became threatening. She ran out of ground before the finish and had to settle for second place, a half length off the pace.

“This filly (BJs Canouan) has shown that she’s a pretty decent filly, too,” Campbell said. Even with Western Moonlight blasting down the stretch, Campbell didn’t think that she would catch BJs Canouan.

“I thought the other filly had a little bit too much jump on her,” he said.

But after being so close to winning that race, Western Moonlight was able to get the job done the following week with a victory in the Sweetheart elimination.

“She’s pretty versatile even though she has only had a few starts … she has got a nice burst of speed,” Campbell said. “Right now it doesn’t really seem to matter when you use it.”

Campbell still remains cautious about his competition though. He knows that any horse could potentially take advantage of a little good fortune.

“Horses today, there are so many that are bred and trained to go fast, and there might be one in there that might capitalize on a real good trip and just come up out of anywhere,” he said. “You have to watch out for all other nine horses. They earned their chance to be here in the final, and they’re all gunning for the same thing. If there’s a slip up here or there … there’re enough of them that can go fast, that you have to be fearful. I never overlook anyone in finals.”

Here is a look at the field for the $440,300 Sweetheart final:

1. By Your Side, Jim Morrill Jr., Joseph Caraluzzi
2. Western Moonlight, David Miller, Jim Campbell
3. One Last Kiss, Ron Pierce, Ross Croghan
4. BJs Canouan, Brian Sears, Croghan
5. Full Picture, Brian Sears, Jerry Silverman
6. JK Sure I Can, Yannick Gingras, Linda Toscano
7. Camsamericangirl, Brandon Givens, Wayne Givens
8. Lover Of Art, Tim Tetrick, Chris Ryder
9. Ladybones, George Brennan, Larry Rathbone
10. Harley Girl, Andy Miller, Erv Miller

(Harness Racing Communications)

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