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Trotting Fillies Star In Casual Breeze

Published: August 25, 2017 9:52 pm ET

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Three-year-old trotting fillies On A Sunny Day ($5) and Southwind Tesla ($28.10) shared the spotlight with Casual Breeze Stakes victories on Friday night (August 25) at Mohawk Racetrack.

On A Sunny Day was a wire-to-wire winner in the first of two $81,412 divisions for trainer Luc Blais and owner Determination of Montreal, Que.

Driven by Sylvain Filion, 3-2 second choice On A Sunny Day established the lead from post two over inside leaver The Erm (Louis-Philippe Roy). The Muscle Mass-Dicent No filly then carved out panels of :28.2 and :58.1 before rebuffing a first-over challenge from 6-5 favourite Glitzey Gal (Trevor Henry). She raced past three-quarters in 1:26.1 with a two-length lead and turned for home with The Erm chasing from the pocket en route to a 1:54.2 victory by three-quarters of a length. Winter Sweet Frost (Doug McNair) rallied off cover to finish third.

"I was just trying to see what would unfold from the gate and only the one horse was leaving so I thought to myself maybe try to give it a shot on the front end," said Filion of his racing strategy.

"She's just a sweetheart. She's not very big, but she's all heart and tonight we got soft fractions and it was pretty easy for her."

On A Sunny Day now boasts four wins and two second-place finishes in seven seasonal starts with her annual income climbing to almost $180,000. She entered the Casual Breeze off a pair of Ontario Sires Stakes Gold victories and a "flat" runner-up effort in the most recent August 17 leg.

"She felt like she was really flat and she wasn't as strong as she usually is and they scoped after and she was a little sick actually so I'm just happy she bounced back the way she did tonight," said Filion.

Southwind Tesla downed the front-striding favourite Magic Presto in the stretch to post a 13-1 upset in the second division with Phil Hudon in the bike.

Filion was aboard another Blais trainee in Dream Together and that filly trotted out to the lead early on from post seven to put up a :28.1 first quarter. However, Magic Presto (Trevor Henry), the 1-5 favourite, made a quarter-pole move and began to advance from third, taking the lead at the three-eighths mark. As she carved out middle splits of :56.4 and 1:25.2, Southwind Tesla began to advance first-over from fifth and headed the faltering favourite, who wound up fifth, in the stretch. Dream Together emerged between horses down the lane while Dream Baby Dream (Rodney Allen) came flying late on the outside, but Southwind Tesla persevered by half a length in a career-best 1:54 mile.

"I figured Trevor would be going to the front at the quarter pole so I let James [MacDonald and Sweet Of My Heart] in front of me," said Hudon of the trip. "I was hoping to get second-over maybe, but it looked like I was going to be first-up so I kind of just grinded up slowly and she felt good when I touched her on the tail coming out of the turn and it just worked out Sylvain didn't get out until late.

"Coming past the three-quarters there she felt really good and when I headed Trevor I really thought I had a good shot."

The Chapter Seven-Southwind Sauna filly is trained by Rene Dion, who also shares ownership with Susie Kerwood of Rockwood, Ont., and David Nicol of Mount Hope, Ont.
Southwind Tesla, a New York Sire Stakes winner this year, now sports a seasonal summary reading 3-4-1 from 11 starts and almost $135,000 in earnings. She came into tonight's stakes action off of runner-up finish on August 15 at Mohawk that impressed her connections.

"She raced super last week against the boys -- she came :26 and a piece home," noted Hudon. "The trip worked out last week where I just snuck out and saved her for this week. This week I got a first-up trip so it worked out."

Grand Circuit stakes action continues Saturday evening at Mohawk with the Canadian Pacing Derby eliminations, Nassagaweya and Eternal Camnation Stakes. First race post time is 7:30 p.m.

To view Friday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Friday Results - Mohawk Racetrack.

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