FRASERVILLE, ON — Southwind Piaya makes her final start of the season in one of two Trillium Series divisions at Kawartha Downs on Tuesday, and trainer William “Jesse” James is hoping the two-year-old pacing filly bounces back to the early season form that saw her hit the top three in every one of her first six starts.
“She trains one more time, on Saturday, and races Tuesday,” says the Blackstock resident. “She wasn’t very good at Georgian, she was still sick. Hopefully she’ll be better this week.”
Her Nov. 17 seventh-place finish in the Georgian Downs Trillium event was Southwind Piaya’s first start back after being scratched sick from the Nov. 4 Trillium at Windsor Raceway. James says the daughter of McArdle and Prettytrickynikki was battling a serious case of diarrhoea, but seems to be responding to treatment with antibiotics and probiotics.
“It really knocked her backwards,” says James, who bought the filly at last year’s Harrisburg Yearling Sale for $12,000 US. “I think she’s coming. I think she should be better Tuesday.”
The half-sister to $136,048 winner Southwind Prairie caught the horseman’s eye as soon as she walked into the sales ring in Harrisburg, and trained down in stellar fashion all winter. After qualifying at Kawartha Downs on July 5, she won her debut with a 1:56.4 mile at Georgian Downs on July 15 and then finished second in an overnight event at Mohawk Racetrack on July 30.
Entered in the Robert Stewart Stakes at Mohawk on Aug. 12, Southwind Piaya delivered a solid runner-up effort to Gold Series point leader Shake That Junk and returned to Mohawk three weeks later to finish third to Super Final winner Chancey Lady in an overnight contest clocked in 1:54.1.
The filly returned to the winner’s circle on Sept. 15 at Georgian Downs with a 1:57.1 mile in a non-winners of two races battle, and was third the following week in the same class at the Innisfil oval.
Southwind Piaya missed the top three for the first time in a talent laden two-year-old filly contest at Woodbine on Oct. 11, crossing the wire in fifth, 12 lengths behind world record holder Voelz Hanover, and then picked up a fourth-place cheque over an off track at Georgian Downs on Oct. 27.
“She was good all along,” says James. “She’s the perfect size, perfect gaited, doesn’t wear any equipment other than a head pole.
“She’s just a little sweetheart. I wish all fillies were like that,” he adds.
Reg Gassien will steer Southwind Piaya from Post 4 in the second Trillium division at Kawartha on Tuesday. The pair will be flanked by last week’s winner Kingfishers Gypsy from Post 5 and recent Breeders Crown elimination starter Go Get Her from Post 3.
The first Trillium skirmish features former Gold Final winner Maddam Luck from Post 1 and last week’s runner-up Windsong Eva from Post 5.
Kawartha Downs sends its first race in behind the starting gate at 4:15 pm on Tuesday, Nov. 27 and the two-year-old pacing fillies will square off in the last Trillium event of their season in Races 2 and 6.
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