MacArthur On Emmylou Who

Published: August 28, 2009 09:45 am EDT

As this year’s gifted class of two-year-old trotting fillies prepare for its third $130,000 Gold final at Mohawk Racetrack this Monday, trainer Lyle MacArthur is still unsure whether Emmylou Who will find a permanent home at the Gold level or return to the Grassroots program

where it is currently ranked among the top three.

"She raced good in Sarnia, so we thought we’d give her a shot," explains MacArthur. "We’d planned to try and race in one of them at some point."

Emmylou Who earned her way into last Monday’s Gold elimination with a runner-up effort in the second freshman filly Grassroots event. The daughter of Ken Warkentin toured the Hiawatha Horse Park oval in Sarnia in 1:59.1, finishing one and three-quarter lengths behind Oaklea Samantha, which also made a successful jump up to the Gold level last week.

In spite of Emmylou Who’s solid effort at Hiawatha, and its 2:06.2 victory in the Grassroots season opener at Clinton Raceway on July 19, Mohawk fans sent the filly off as their sixth choice in last week’s elim. MacArthur eased the filly away from Post 2 and then sent it up the outside, steadily reeling in the leaders until they reached the front on the final turn. With two other fillies hard on her heels in the stretch, Emmylou Who refused to yield, hanging on for a neck victory in 1:58.

Owners Linda Wellwood of St. George, Tammy Aspden of Caistor Centre, Anne Shunock of Dorchester and Diane Ingham of Mount Pleasant, Ont. celebrated the filly’s Gold elim win, but MacArthur admits it caught them all by surprise.

"I think they were a little surprised," says the horseman, who makes his home in St. George, Ont. "I was, too. I thought she had a shot at maybe making the final, but I didn’t know about winning."

Emmylou Who will make her second Gold Series start from Post 5 in Monday’s $130,000 final, and MacArthur is anticipating another all out battle for the top five spots.

"She drew okay, but it’s going to be tough. There are 10 real nice trotting fillies in there," he says. "I think we’ll all be fighting to try and get a prize."

The other elim winners, Poof Shes Gone and Angostura, will start from Posts 6 and 10 respectively, while reigning Gold final champ Isthatallyagot will line up at Post 8.

While many of her peers are pointed toward the September 7 Champlain Stakes after Monday’s battle, Emmylou Who will be enjoying a brief respite from the racetrack. An injury caused the filly to lose almost three months of training time in the winter, and when the March deadline for stakes payments rolled around, MacArthur was not sure Emmylou Who would even race this season.

"She didn’t have many miles in her before the first of March," explains MacArthur. "But she surprised us and came along real good.

"It will be three weeks to a month before her next start," he adds. "I’ll give her 10 days off or something, maybe just a few days at the farm turned out. Give her an easy break for the first part of September."

A strong effort in Monday’s Gold final would guarantee the filly a mid-season vacation, and a return ticket to the Gold Series in September.

Emmylou Who and her talented two-year-old trotting filly peers square off in Race 5 on Monday’s program, with the first race rolling in behind the Mohawk Racetrack starting gate at 7:20 p.m.

Click here to view Monday's harness racing entries at Mohawk Racetrack.