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Star Pacers Return In Qualifiers

Published: September 18, 2015 8:35 am ET

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Two of harness racing's top pacers from 2014 made strides in returning to the races with impressive Thursday morning qualifiers.

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono hosted a session of qualifiers on Thursday, with 2014 Horse of the Year JK Shesalady making her first on-track appearance since the end of June.

As revealed last month, JK Shesalady required time to recover from a bacterial infection in her lungs. She was all systems go on Thursday morning, tripping the timer in 1:53.3 with Tim Tetrick aboard.

"We were happy with her qualifier," trainer Nancy Johansson told Trot Insider. "She went right around what we had had planned, and we were happy that she was eager to go a finished strong. Her heart rate was good after the qualifier which is positive as well."

The next step for JK Shesalady's return includes a second qualifier at The Red Mile next week, where further plans will be made.

After a perfect 12-for-12 rookie campaign, JK Shesalady (Art Major-Presidental Lady) is just 1-for-4 this year for breeders-owners 3 Brothers Stable of New York, N.Y.

Four qualifiers later, Always B Miki made his first appearance of 2015 after multiple setbacks derailed plans for his four-year-old season. The colt initially had surgery for a left hind pastern fracture after being a late scratch from the 2014 Breeders Crown Final. As he was coming back for trainer Jimmy Takter, he fractured a right hind pastern in May.

With Takter himself at the controls, Always B Miki carved out splits of :28, :55.3 and 1:22.3 before sprinting home in :27.3 to hit the wire more than 15 lengths to the good in 1:50.1.

"He's a scary good horse," Takter told "I plan to qualify him again next week, in Lexington, and we'll go from there. I'm taking it one week at a time with him."

Always B Miki (Always A Virgin - Artstopper) was a winner of 12 of 19 starts at three, with earnings in excess of $794,000 for Bluewood Stable, Val D'Or Farms and Roll The Dice Stable. From July-November 2014, Always B Miki won nine of 12 starts (finishing second in the others three) and was the morning line Breeders Crown favourite before his late scratch.

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