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Fields Set For Milton & Maple Leaf Trot

Published: September 8, 2017 8:13 pm ET

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The fields are set for next weekend's Milton Stakes and Maple Leaf Trot after Friday night's (September 8) elimination round at Mohawk Racetrack.

The first of two $35,000 eliminations for the Milton Stakes featuring older pacing mares was won by favourite Pure Country, with Mark MacDonald aboard in his Canadian return.

Witch Dali (Doug McNair) crossed to command from the outside post seven and blazed through a :26 opening quarter then Call Me Queen Be (Scott Zeron) pulled the pocket while MacDonald moved Pure Country underway from fourth. After Call Me Queen Be cleared, the double millionaire took over at the midway mark in :53.3 and raced on past three-quarters in 1:21.4. She held off the late-closing L A Delight (Randy Waples) in the stretch to win by one length in 1:50 flat, with Lyons River Pride (Trevor Henry), Witch Dali and Wrangler Magic (Louis-Philippe Roy) completing the top five finish order.

"She's got a huge set of lungs, I thought I'd rather be on the front than first-over so I might as well keep pushing and I was confident she would be strong," said MacDonald.

Fresh off victories in the Lady Liberty and Artiscape Pace, Pure Country was the 2-5 favourite and paid $2.90 to win.

MacDonald, who has driven Pure Country in her last four starts while finishing no worse than second, commented on their chemistry noting that he picked up the drive at the right time when she was getting on a good roll.

"You get into September, these four-year-olds start maturing a lot more and I'm not scared of anybody with her," said MacDonald. "Not taking anything away from Lady Shadow -- she's a great mare -- but this mare is a world champion."

The homebred four-year-old Somebeachsomewhere-Western Montana mare is trained by Jimmy Takter and owned by Diamond Creek Racing of Wellsville, Pennsylvania.

With heavy favourite Lady Shadow drifting off the pylons on the lead down the stretch in the second elimination, Blue Moon Stride shot through from the pocket to steal the spotlight for driver David Miller and trainer Mark Harder.

Frost Damage Blues (Tim Tetrick) established the early lead from post five through a :26.2 first quarter while the parked out Blue Moon Stride and defending champion Lady Shadow (Yannick Gingras), from posts six and seven, forged on. Blue Moon Stride touched down on top and then Lady Shadow cleared before the half in :54.4. Lady Shadow proceeded to lead the field past three-quarters in 1:22.2, but as she drifted off the rail in the lane, Blue Moon Stride came through for the 1:50 one-length victory with Frost Damage Blues closing to her inside. Meanwhile, Sandbetweenurtoes (Doug McNair) rallied off cover to finish second. Frost Damage Blues ended up third with Darlinonthebeach (Brett Miller) fourth ahead of Lady Shadow.

Blue Moon Stride was sent postward as the 7-1 second choice on the toteboard and paid $17.70 to win.

"I raced her a couple of weeks ago and she went a big mile on the front end and she beat a couple of nice mares," noted Miller, referring to her 1:49.1 career-best victory on August 20 at Pocono Downs. "I thought if she could hold that form, she would be alright tonight."

Australia's Emilio and Maria Rosati own the four-year-old Rocknroll Hanover-Classic Star mare, who has banked more than $800,000 lifetime.

Popular trotting mare Hannelore Hanover scored a bounce back victory in the first of two $40,000 eliminations for the Maple Leaf Trot in rein to Yannick Gingras.

JL Cruze (David Miller) trotted out to an early two-length lead through a :26.4 opening quarter before the parked out Lookslikeachpndale (Dan Dube) worked his way to the top at three-eighths. JL Cruze quickly retook the lead as they raced by the half in :55.1. Meanwhile, Hannelore Hanover followed in fifth-place and she picked up cover as Homicide Hunter (Brett Miller) advanced from third and went head-to-head with the leader at three-quarters in 1:23.4. Homicide Hunter edged ahead of JL Cruze in the stretch, but Hannelore Hanover powered past those rivals to win by two and a quarter lengths in 1:52. Homicide Hunter finished second and JL Cruze was third while Odds On Amethyst (Pat Hudon) and Pasithea Face S (Tim Tetrick) completed the top five finish order.

Hannelore Hanover, who was an elimination winner and Maple Leaf Trot runner-up to Resolve last year, paid $3.90 to win as the 3-5 favourite. She has proven to be successful at Mohawk winning two editions of the Armbro Flight Stakes including this year's title as part of a four-race win streak that ended three starts ago.

"I think she's coming back around and I thought she was real sharp tonight," said Gingras. "She likes this track, no doubt about it, she's a big track mare."

Ron Burke trains the career winner of 31 races and over $1.8 million. The five-year-old daughter of Swan For All and High Sobriety is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Frank Baldachino, and J And T Silva Stables LLC.

Plainridge invader Mambo Lindy and driver Tim Tetirck pulled off a 26-1 upset winning the second elimination over a pair of longshots while the favoured defending champion, Resolve, failed to make this year's final.

Windsun Revenge (Rick Zeron) crossed to command from the outermost post and led his seven rivals through panels of :27.1, :55.3 and 1:23.3. Meanwhile, Crazy Wow (Yannick Gingras) advanced first-up from third with Mambo Lindy slipping out second-over as Resolve (Ake Svanstedt) gapped the cover. Kicking into action down the stretch, Mambo Lindy mowed down 39-1 longshot leader Windsun Revenge for the one and a quarter length victory in 1:52.2. Gural Hanover (David Miller) finished third at odds of 31-1 with 10-1 shot Musical Rhythm (Ben Baillargeon) fourth to complete a superfecta that returned $19,962.01 for a 20-cent ticket. Warrawee Roo (Sylvain Filion) was fifth.

"We got a lot of luck there," said Tetrick after the race. "Going into it, I was trying to save ground and obviously something's wrong with Resolve and some of the other ones and I got to slide out right behind Crazy Wow in the last turn and did no work. He put in a good effort and got the job done.

"When I tipped him off Yannick's back at the top of the lane, he me a gave me a really good step and it was my job not to fall off."

Paired with Tetrick for just the second time in their careers, Mambo Lindy returned $54.50 for a $2 win ticket.

"I drove him one day at Hambo Day last year and I got him locked in, but he was running horses over and trotted a really good mile," said Tetrick, who finished third with Mambo Lindy in the Vincennes Invitational that day. "He's just a really sharp horse and he thinks he's still King Kong because he's been winning every week at Plainridge. You know horses, they can't read a program."

Frank Antonacci trains the six-year-old Donato Hanover-Rum Boogie gelding, who has won 22 races and $175,260 lifetime, for owner Greathorse of Hampden, Massachusetts.

Friday's card also featured the Ontario Sires Stakes' two-year-old pacing fillies competing in their fourth $125,800 Gold Series leg.

After upsetting divisional leader Percy Bluechip in the Champlain Stakes last weekend, Kendall Seelster picked up her first OSS victory in rein to Randy Waples for trainer Paul Reid and 1187422 Ontario Inc. Closing off cover, the 3-5 favourite blew by her rivals to score by three and a quarter lengths in 1:52.4. Lady Grande (Jonathan Drury) finished second while the winner's stablemate, Just Her Luck (Trevor Henry), edged out three others for third.

Previously, the Shadow Play-Kiddie Cocktail filly was a two-time Gold runner-up to Percy Bluechip, who was not entered in Friday's leg. She went over the $200,000 earnings mark with the victory and improved her overall record to 3-4-0 in eight career starts.

"We've been fortunate. She did get locked in one start, but other than that, she's been racing really well," said Reid, who indicated Kendall Seelster would be headed to the Shes A Great Lady Stakes. For more on Kendall Seelster's victory, click here.

The post positions for next weekend’s finals were drawn following the eliminations, with the winning connections selecting their posts:

$256,000 Milton Stakes
1. Lady Shadow
2. Blue Moon Stride
3. Pure Country
4. Wrangler Magic
5. L A Delight
6. Darlinonthebeach
7. Frost Damage Blues
8. Lyons River Pride
9. Sandbetweenurtoes
10. Witch Dali
AE: Penpal

$593,000 Maple Leaf Trot
1. Windsun Revenge
2. Odds On Amethyst
3. Pasithea Face S
4. Mambo Lindy
5. Hannelore Hanover
6. JL Cruze
7. Warrawee Roo
8. Homicide Hunter
9. Musical Rhythm
10. Gural Hanover
AE: Il Sogno Dream

Eliminations continue on Saturday for the Canadian Trotting Classic and Elegantimage Stakes.

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

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