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Pure Country Set For 2018 Debut

Published: May 11, 2018 3:50 pm ET

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After making history last year, Pure Country is ready to pursue more honours. The five-year-old female pacer will begin her 2018 campaign Sunday (May 13) at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in the $30,000 Mares Open, which is part of the new Great Northeast Open Series.

Pure Country became the first female pacer in harness racing history to receive a Dan Patch Award at ages two, three, and four when she was named the sport’s best older pacing mare in December. Only two pacers have ever won more Dan Patch trophies, Anndrovette and Eternal Camnation, with four each. Those two also were female pacers.

For her career, Pure Country has won 25 of 47 races and earned $2.23 million, which puts her on the verge of joining the 10 highest-earning female pacers in North American history. Her victories include two Breeders Crown finals, the Fan Hanover Stakes, Lynch Memorial, Lady Liberty, TVG Series championship, Artiscape, and Matron.

“She is in rarified air,” said Adam Bowden, whose Diamond Creek Racing owns Pure Country and whose Diamond Creek Farm bred the mare. “This was never expected when we first had her. But with each win comes bigger expectations. Can she live up to them? She did last year. I hope she does again this year.

“She is fantastic. There are no superlatives that you can’t say. She is a blessing.”

Pure Country is a daughter of Somebeachsomewhere out of one of the first horses Diamond Creek bought, Western Montana, in the farm’s formative years. Pure Country started slowly in 2017, but won five of her last 10 races, including the Breeders Crown and TVG Series championships to close out the stakes season.

“When we decided to bring her back last year, it was always a two-year plan,” Bowden said. “I knew there would be a steep learning curve, but I think she surprised me toward the end of the year how good she was no matter what kind of trip she got.

“She came back good this year. She’s a big strong mare; she looks like a colt. She will always be that way. I think she is more mature now, she understands her role, and gets along well with (driver Mark MacDonald). I expect another big year from her. I would be disappointed if she wasn’t one of the top couple mares at the end of the year, if not the best.”

MacDonald and the Jimmy Takter-trained Pure Country will start Sunday from post six. Pure Country is 4-1 on the morning line, the third choice behind 5-2 favorite Nike Franco N and 3-1 Lady Shadow.

“There is never going to be an easy race for the mares; there are too many good horses,” Bowden said. “She’s in tough, she will always be in tough, and she’s never going to win every race. Not to say she won’t or can’t win on Sunday, but first start back it’s asking a lot. She is going to give a good accounting of herself because she always does.

“Jimmy does a great job. He’s the master. He gets everything out of her and they have a great rapport and she seems to rise to the occasion when it matters. She always has.”

In addition to the open series event for the female pacers, Pocono on Sunday hosts a $30,000 Great Northeast Open Series race for trotters. Cutler Memorial runner-up Will Take Charge is the 5-2 morning-line favourite. Racing begins at 7:00 p.m. Sunday at Pocono.

The Great Northeast Open Series -- sponsored by Pocono, Harrah’s Philadelphia, and the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association -- will feature races throughout the summer for older pacers and trotters, all leading up to $100,000 championships Sept. 2 at Pocono.


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