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Magical Debut Ready For Grassroots

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Published: August 4, 2009 11:56 pm ET

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Ontario’s talented three-year-old trotting fillies will battle in their third Grassroots event this Saturday afternoon, and trainer Jason Libby is hoping Woodstock Raceway will be the site of Magical Debut’s return to form.

“We’re hoping to regroup,” says the Dorchester resident, who conditions Magical Debut for Anne and Bertha Postmus of Ingersoll. “She drew the four-hole, which isn’t too bad, and Paul Mackenzie, who drove her in her first lifetime win at Flamboro, is driving her.”

After she delivered a record of two wins, two seconds and one third in 10 starts at two, Libby had high hopes for Magical Debut’s sophomore campaign. The Striking Sahbra daughter trained down well through the winter and qualified well, but came up flat in her first few races this spring, so Libby had her scoped after a June 4 overnight at Mohawk Racetrack.

“She coughed after the race so we got her scoped and she had a big, big cyst on her epiglottis,” recalls the trainer. “We took her up to the Equine Hospital and they did surgery.”

After recovering from the surgery, Magical Debut returned to the races in an elimination for the Canadian Breeders Championship at Mohawk on July 17, finishing sixth. On July 30 she logged a fourth-place finish in overnight action at Mohawk, fading through the stretch after carving most of the fractions in the 1:57.1 mile.

“I thought she was going to be a 1:55, 1:56 trotter, but it seems like 1:58 is all she can do,” laments Libby. “It’s been disappointing. These owners have been with Jen and I for about seven years, they’ve bought horses every year for us to train; you want to do well for them.”

With the Gold level fillies recording miles in 1:57 or better, Libby decided a change in strategy was in order, and is now hoping Magical Debut can secure enough points in the four remaining Grassroots events to extend her season through the Oct. 25 Semifinal and Nov. 1 Championship.

“There’s a lot of good horses in the Grassroots,” notes the trainer. “You have to be a good horse to be in the Grassroots, but you have to be a very good horse to be a Gold.

“We need to get lucky and get some points and maybe get into the Semifinal,” he adds.

The filly will make her first bid for Grassroots points from Post 4 in the sixth race on Saturday, and Libby expects to see her in the thick of things early.

“She can leave. I imagine with Paul driving she’ll get an opportunity,” says the trainer, adding that the filly’s solid gait should stand her in good stead over the Woodstock Raceway half-mile.

In preparation for Saturday’s test, Libby will train Magical Debut on Wednesday, give her Thursday to rest, and jog her lightly on Friday. After that, the trainer says all they can do is hope for the best.

Mackenzie and Magical Debut face a field of veterans in the sixth race, including two who have already earned Grassroots trophies this season. Girlsruleboyslose will start from Post 2, while Pajama Land looks for win number two from Post 6.

The three-year-old trotting fillies open Woodstock Raceway’s Saturday matinee at 1 pm, competing in the first nine races on the program.


To view Saturday’s entries, click here.

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