A trio of fresh faces graced the winner’s circle at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday, July 31 as the two-year-old trotting fillies competed in leg two of their Gold Series campaign.

Dicentra kicked off the Ontario Sires Stakes action with a mature effort from Post 3 in the first $73,867 split. The fan favourite left well and led the field toward a :28.3 quarter before yielding to Hadiknownbetter. Driver Bob McClure sent the filly back to the front before the :59 half, but a quick challenge from Midnight Miracle saw Dicentra back in second by the 1:28.1 three-quarters. Once the fillies squared up in the stretch McClure gave Dicentra an open lane and she powered home to a one and three-quarter length victory in a personal best 1:56. Midnight Muscle finished second and Blackout Riley was seven lengths back in third.

“She’s a very nice filly that seems to be improving in dramatic fashion. In Georgian she was very green and I don’t think the surface there helped her. Since being back she has become a very top notch filly,” said McClure. “Reminiscent of her big sis On A Sunny Day.”

Dicentra finished sixth in the July 12 Gold Series season opener at Georgian Downs and then captured her Pure Ivory Series division at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 23, giving the Muscle Mass daughter a record of two wins in three lifetime starts.

Campbellville resident Luc Blais bred Dicentra and trains the full-sister to $700,000 winner On A Sunny Day for owner Determination of Montreal, QC.

In the second division Dashing Muscle and driver James MacDonald settled in third from Post 1 and waited through fractions of :29.2 and :59.2 before tipping to the outside and seizing control from Ban Ban Deo soon after the 1:29.4. A :27.1 last quarter sealed the deal, giving Dashing Muscle her first Gold Series victory in a personal best 1:57.1. Fan favourite Meadowview Lilly was two lengths back in second and Hawaii completed the top three.

“Her owner, James Armitage, he trained her down at his farm in Dunrobin and then when she was in 2:07 he gave me a call and asked me to take her and finish her off,” said trainer Chantal Mitchell of Waterdown, ON. “She’s just a very, very smart filly. The first time I jogged her she felt like an older horse and he said she was always like that. So that’s, I think, what her biggest attribute is, is she’s just very mature. For two-year-old trotting fillies, having some brains on your side is always a plus.”

Like Dicentra, Dashing Muscle now has two wins to her credit through three starts. The Muscle Mass daughter, who was a $30,000 purchase out of the London Selected Yearling Sale, finished fourth in the Gold Series opener and then captured an overnight event at Grand River Raceway on July 24.

“Up until today, every time I’d taken her to the racetrack it was different one, and every time she went somewhere it was like she’d been there before,” said Mitchell, adding that the filly had also been to Rideau Carleton Raceway under Armitage’s tutelage. ‘“She’s very nice, you couldn’t fault her. She doesn’t do anything wrong. It’s just like having an aged horse.”

In the final $73,866 division, driver Doug McNair let Up And Ready float away from the starting gate and settle into a gap in fifth as Pixies Lady led the field to a :28.3 quarter. Great Dane took control before the :57.4 half and while she was fending off a challenge from fan favourite Fox Valley Liza, Up And Ready was revving up from fifth. Circling out three wide heading by the 1:26.3 three-quarters, Up And Ready drew away from her peers in the stretch on her way to a personal best 1:56.3 victory. Exclusive Rosette was three and one-half lengths back in second, with another length back to third-place finisher Anna Bolena.

John Bax trains the Kadabra daughter, who was a $300,000 purchase out of the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale by Al Libfeld of Pickering, Marvin and Lynn Katz and Sam Goldband of Toronto, ON. While she was training down in Florida Up And Ready kicked Bax and fractured his elbow, so he is pleased to see that his perseverance with the fractious youngster is starting to pay off.

“I still remember the kick,” said Campbellville, ON resident Bax. “She hasn’t changed that way. She’s best after the harness gets on her and she’s out on the track, then she’s good, but the rest of the time it’s very careful. You let her come to you, you don’t go to her.”

Up And Ready finished sixth in an overnight event at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 3 and was third in the Gold Series season opener at Georgian Downs on July 12, just ahead of Dashing Muscle.

The fillies will make their third Gold Series start at Grand River Raceway on Aug. 19 and then both Dicentra and Up And Ready are eligible to the Champlain and Peaceful Way Stakes at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

“I think we’re Sires Stakes now and then you know, I’m hoping that she’ll progress enough to be aiming for the Peaceful Way and that kind of thing,” said Bax. “But we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, its one step at a time.”

Complete results for Friday’s program are available at Woodbine Mohawk Park Results.


Featured Image: Doug McNair drove two-year-old trotting filly Up And Ready to a 1:56.3 Gold Series win at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 31, 2020. (New Image Media photo)