Grace Hill Upsets In Shady Daisy

Published: August 7, 2021 12:40 pm EDT

Grace Hill started off the stakes action on 2021 Hambletonian Day at The Meadowlands with an upset, albeit a mild one, in the $97,550 Shady Daisy for three-year-old pacing fillies.

Driver Andy McCarthy left strongly with Grace Hill from post three, watching Thebeachiscalling (Brian Sears) clear to the lead from the outermost post seven before pressing on to clear before a :26.4 opening quarter. That pace was accelerated as 1/9 favourite Fire Start Hanover (Dexter Dunn) was on McCarthy's helmet and not looking for a pocket.

Fire Start Hanover cleared to the lead by the three-eighths and paced through uncontested panels of :54.3 and 1:22.4 with a two-length lead turning for home. Grace Hill popped that pocket in the stretch and the front two separated from the pack with a sprint to the wire. In the final strides, Grace Hill was able to thrust a nose in front of Fire Start Hanover for the 1:49 decision. Mikala (George Brennan) was best of the rest in third.

"I pushed off the gate a little bit and figured I'd probably end up sitting the two-hole to Fire Start [Hanover]," said McCarthy. "I saw Dex was working on her a little bit, so I thought I had a shot at the head of the stretch."

Grace Hill (Always B Miki - Western Silk) is trained by Richard 'Nifty' Norman for owner Tom Hill of Lancashire, U.K. The filly earned a new career best time with her second win of the year and sixth lifetime victory, lifting her earnings to $330,448.

McCarthy picked up his third straight Shady Daisy stakes win, after winning in 2019 with Tall Drink Hanover and last year with Reflect With Me.

The Shady Daisy is part of a stakes-packed card of harness racing on Hambletonian Day. Be sure to check out the 2021 Hambletonian Day News Centre for recaps and replays of all the action.