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Bax Discusses Stubborn Belle

Published: September 12, 2014 2:36 pm ET

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A two-year-old filly trotting a mile in 1:53 would ordinarily grab headlines. Unfortunately for juvenile trotter Stubborn Belle, her 1:53 mile in last week’s Peaceful Way Stakes elimination was only good enough for her to finish second, more than three lengths behind Mission Brief, who trotted to a 1:52.1 world record performance.

“I was thrilled with the way she raced,” said trainer John Bax. “It’s no shame to finish second to that filly.”

Over the last few weeks, Stubborn Belle has shown speed that would normally have her at the top of the two-year-old trotting filly ranks.

She won the Champlain Stakes on August 28 in a stakes record time of 1:54.2, and last week her mile of 1:53 would’ve broken the previous track record by three fifths of a second.

Her 1:53 mile was also more than two seconds faster than the other elimination, won by Jolene Jolene in 1:55.1.

While Mission Brief’s speed show overshadowed a great mile by Stubborn Belle, the daughter of Taurus Dream – Musetta Hanover will get another crack at the world champion in Saturday’s $385,000 Peaceful Way Stakes final at Mohawk Racetrack.

The elimination victory allowed Mission Brief’s connections to select Post 5 for her on Saturday evening, while Stubborn Belle went into the open draw and was assigned the rail.

“We’ll find out what the rail does, it’s better than the 10-hole,” said Bax.

Stubborn Belle has won three of her last five starts, but the smooth, speedy filly that has been showing up in recent weeks is also the distaffer that made breaks in her first two starts.

“She’s a lot like her name,” said Bax. “She was touching a little bit and kind of wanted to do everything her own way.”

Bax said his filly ‘just had to grow up a little bit’ and noted the faster the race goes, the easier she is to handle.

Once Stubborn Belle started to put it all together, Bax said she started to reach the potential he saw when training her down.

“I’m not going to say (she showed) :53 speed, but she was always big, strong and looked like a colt.”

Stubborn Belle sold for $85,000 as a yearling and has already earned more than $116,000 for owners Al Libfeld and Parkhill Stud Farm.

On Saturday, Stubborn Belle, who will be driven by regular pilot Paul MacDonell, has a big opportunity to increase that bankroll and give her trainer his second consecutive Peaceful Way Stakes victory.

Stubborn Belle is not Bax’s only shot at a repeat, as he will also send out Southwind Champane.

A daughter of Muscle Hill – Caerphilly, Southwind Champane finished fourth in her elimination with driver Steve Byron.

The duo will start from Post 6 in the final.

Although Southwind Champane hasn’t shown the extreme speed to compete with her stablemate, Bax is still thrilled by what she has shown on the track.

“I’m tickled with her, trot a mile in :54 and your not good enough. Where she started out the year I had to back up with her a bit, she had a chip taken out, so I’m real happy with her.”

While Stubborn Belle and Southwind Champane will look to give their trainer the repeat in the Peaceful Way, the filly that put Bax in the winner's circle last year will also be in action on Saturday night.

Almost a year to the date, Bax will once again send out Riveting Rosie in a big money event.

The daughter of Muscle Mass – Rose De Vie Stena will start from Post 3 in Saturday’s $409,000 Elegantimage Stakes.

Last season, Riveting Rosie dominated as a two-year-old, but this year she has not been able to find the same success at the age of three.

“It’s been a tough year with her,” said Bax. “Every time you think you’ve got everything straightened out something else happens to her.”

Riveting Rosie, who will also be driven by MacDonell, isn’t being given much of a chance with morning line odds of 15-1, but Bax isn’t ruling her out to be a factor.

“If she is on her game she is competitive.”

Post time for Saturday night’s card, which will be highlighted by the $682,000 Canadian Trotting Classic, is 7:25 p.m.

Saturday is also ‘Fan Appreciation Night.’ The first 1,000 fans on-track will receive a free $5 food voucher and prizes will be given away after every race.

To view the harness racing entries for Saturday at Mohawk, click the following link: Saturday Entries – Mohawk Racetrack.


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