CAMPBELLVILLE, ON — Bella Dolce’s compass bearing on the winner’s circle at Mohawk Racetrack remained true on Friday night as the three-year-old trotting filly scored her third straight victory at the Campbellville oval.
Starting from Post 4 in the second of three Gold Eliminations, driver Paul MacDonell eased Bella Dolce off the gate and settled her in fifth as Ms Naughty sprinted away to a :27.2 opening fraction. As Benediction Lindy took command heading for the :56.1 half, MacDonell tipped Bella Dolce to the outside and started to cruise to toward the front.
When Countess Stormont stepped out in front of his filly going by the 1:25.2 three-quarters, MacDonell chose to go three-wide and take control of the race rather than wait for the stretch drive, and Bella Dolce had a half length lead by the time she turned for home. Accelerating strongly through the lane, the fan favourites hit the wire three and three-quarter lengths on top in 1:55.4.
Benediction Lindy maintained her focus to claim the runner-up share of the $40,000 Gold Elimination purse, while Countess Stormont delivered an upset third-place effort from Post 9. Fourth-place finisher Whatever Lolawants also earned a berth in next Friday’s $120,000 Gold Final.
Breeder David McDuffee of Nashua, NH owns Bella Dolce, and Moffat resident Kevin O’Reilly trains the talented daughter of Kadabra and $668,824 winner Pizza Dolce. The filly is a flawless three for three since moving to O’Reilly’s barn, but the trainer said her recent success does not reflect anything he has done since his friend Richard “Nifty” Norman shipped her north.
“The muscle over her back, the gluteal muscle, she tore that somehow, in the paddock or somewhere,” explained O’Reilly before the Gold Elimination. “And it wouldn’t have mattered who was training her once it came right. I don’t think it was anything we did, it just took time.”
Bella Dolce continues to wear a magnetic blanket over the muscle, but O’Reilly said she seems to be over the hump and well down the road to a full recovery.
The addition of Bella Dolce to O’Reilly’s barn gives the trainer a powerful entry in the three-year-old trotting filly division. His other filly, Feels Like Magic, was also an impressive winner at Mohawk on Friday, going down the road to a 1:56.2 victory.
Driver Bill O’Donnell floated Feels Like Magic away from Post 7 while fan favourite Warrawee June hustled down from Post 10 to a :28.2 opening quarter, then sent the filly to the front, reaching the half in :57.4. A conservative 1:28.2 three-quarters followed, and then O’Donnell kicked Feels Like Magic into gear and she sprinted away from the field to a seven length victory.
Kadealia and Sugar Coated Lindy delivered solid performances to round out the top three.
O’Reilly trains the Kadabra daughter for the Feels Like Magic Stable of Campbellville, who were relieved to see the young trotter deliver a strong performance after she made a break in the Canadian Breeders Championship Final at Mohawk on July 26.
Improper Hall and Paul MacDonell eked out an upset victory in the first $40,000 Gold Elimination, circling around traffic in the stretch to get a nose in front of favourite Pasadena Princess at the wire. The pair stopped the clock at 1:57.1, three and a quarter lengths ahead of third-place finisher Summerhill Abra.
Synerco Ventures Inc. of Toronto own Improper Hall, and Rockwood resident Rob Fellows trains the Striking Sahbra daughter. Friday’s victory was the filly’s first in 11 lifetime outings.
The top three fillies from each elimination, plus fortunate fourth-place finisher Whatever Lolawants, will return to Mohawk Racetrack next Friday, Aug. 8 for the third $120,000 Gold Final on their schedule. Improper Hall and Feels Like Magic will benefit from Posts 1 and 3 in the Final, while Bella Dolce will have her work cut out for her to score a fourth straight victory from Post 10. The complete field for the final is as follows:
Post 1 — Improper Hall
Post 2 — Summerhill Abra
Post 3 — Feels Like Magic
Post 4 — Kadealia
Post 5 — Whatever Lolawants
Post 6 — Benediction Lindy
Post 7 — Sugar Coated Lindy
Post 8 — Countess Stormont
Post 9 — Pasadena Princess
Post 10 — Bella Dolce
For complete results please go to: http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/results/data/rmohsfr.html.