DUNDAS, ON — Notable Beauty failed to crack the top five in three Grassroots starts this summer, but trainer Alan Fair is hoping the sophomore pacing lass can earn a share of the provincial purse up for grabs in the last of three $22,947 Trillium Series divisions at Flamboro Downs on Sunday evening.
“Every time I raced her in a stake she drew bad or she was sick,” says the Binbrook resident, who shares ownership on Notable Beauty with his mother Elizabeth Fair of Ancaster. “I kept telling my mom, �She’s better than this’, but I was starting to get frustrated with her too.”
Fortunately, after almost six months of tinkering with the filly’s shoeing, equipment and drivers, Fair seems to have found the right combination. In her last three starts Notable Beauty has recorded three solid victories. The daughter of Western Terror and Fans Bikini scored a 1:54 win in a non-winners of two contest at Georgian Downs on Oct. 17, made the leap to Woodbine Racetrack on Nov. 5 and delivered a 1:53.4 victory in the non-winners of two class, and then moved up to the non-winners of three level at Woodbine on Nov. 12 and sprinted home to a 1:53.1 triumph.
“We always knew she had speed, we just had not been able to get her to use it,” says Fair of the half-sister to $351,040 winner Shipps Bikini. “She’s small, just a teeny little thing, and very temperamental.”
Fair calls the filly a wild thing, and says driver Anthony MacDonald has been a key ingredient in her recent success. While shoeing and bridle changes have helped, Fair says MacDonald has figured out how to drive Notable Beauty in a style that allows her to tap into the latent speed that has shown up in brief flashes since her freshman campaign.
“Anthony MacDonald has been driving her, and he gets along with her,” says the trainer. “You have to get her on the bit and drive her, and he’s been a big plus for her. It was a matter of finding the right driver for the horse.”
MacDonald will steer Notable Beauty from Post 2 in the ninth race on Sunday evening, facing off against Grassroots Semifinal winner Star Of Show from Post 1 and last year’s division champion St Lads Popcorn from Post 5. The filly raced over the Dundas oval earlier in the season and Fair does not anticipate any problems as she makes the transition back to a half-mile surface.
“I’m not worried about the half-mile, because she’s so small and handy,” says the horseman. “I don’t think it matters what kind of trip she gets. She’s not much of a first over horse, because she’s so small, but right now she could probably handle it.”
Following Sunday’s outing, Fair hopes Notable Beauty will appear in the last Trillium event of the season, on Nov. 30 at Woodbine Racetrack, and then can maintain her form for the Niagara Pacing Series at Woodbine in December.
“We are hoping to keep going, there’s another Trillium, and she’s paid into the Ontario Girls Series and the Niagara Pacing Series too,” says Fair. “We’ll try and get some money late, because she didn’t get any early.”
Notable Beauty and her three-year-old pacing filly peers will compete in Races 2, 6 and 9 on Sunday, with Flamboro Downs sending its first race into the starter’s hands at 6 pm.
For complete entries please go to: http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/racing/entries/data/e1122flmdn.dat.