REXDALE, ON — Three weeks ago Don LeBlanc changed his plans for three-year-old trotting filly Emmamazing and, heading into the last Trillium Series of the season on Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack, the Burlington resident is still regretting that decision.
“I kind of screwed up there. I should have put her in the Flamboro Breeders, but I decided to give her a week off and then enter her in the SBOA (Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association Stake),” explains LeBlanc. “She tied up on me and I lost a lot of time.
“I tried to be nice to her and that’s what happened.”
Even more frustrating for LeBlanc and fellow owners Wayne Moriarity of Burlington, Kevin Perry of Bolton and Raymond Perry of Waterdown was the fact that the filly had raced extremely well through the month of October, winning at Woodbine on Oct. 9 in 1:57.3 and capturing her Trillium Series division at Flamboro Downs on Oct. 21.
“She was getting better. It finally looked like things were turning around,” laments LeBlanc.
“She’s well bred,” he adds. “And she always trained good, she was always a good gaited horse. I thought she might be a better horse.”
A half-sister to $556,212 winner Kingdom and a full-sister to $129,922 winner Crimmings, the daughter of Mr Lavec and Last Rites will try and recover from her late season set back with Post 1 in the second $32,216 Trillium division on Saturday. Regular reinsman Mark MacDonald will pilot Emmamazing, but LeBlanc is concerned that she will be a race or two off her peak fitness level.
“She’s probably not going to perform that well this week,” says the veteran horseman. “Hopefully we’ll do the best we can.
“There’s a Series the following week at Woodbine, non-winners of $40,000 as of Sept. 30, and she fits that perfectly, so you’re welcome to come to the winner’s circle after the first leg of that Series,” adds LeBlanc with an ironic chuckle. “She should be ready for that one.”
Also hampering Emmamazing’s chances at securing a second straight Trillium trophy is the presence of Pure Ivory at Post 6 in Race 2. The Striking Sahbra daughter has dominated her sophomore peers this season, winning 12 of 19 starts for owners Jerry Vanboekel of Bright, Harry Rutherford of Mount Pleasant, driver Steve Condren of Milton and trainer Brad Maxwell’s wife Christina Maxwell of Cambridge.
Looking on the bright side, Kevin Perry hopes that the division leader will provide Emmamazing with a favourable tour of the seven-eighths mile oval.
“Hopefully we can get to the front and get a trip behind her (Pure Ivory),” says the Bolton resident, who will be front and centre at Woodbine on Saturday, as he has been for all of Emmamazing’s 16 starts.
“We go every time,” says Perry. “That’s why we buy them, to watch them.”
Perry and his brother Raymond acquired a share of Emmamazing from Wayne Moriarity last winter and have enjoyed watching the young trotter evolve. The filly has also proven to be entertaining off the racetrack.
“She loves licorice, red licorice is her favourite,” explains LeBlanc. “She gets, four, five, six or seven a day.”
“And she likes her bananas,” adds Perry. “Somebody gave her a banana one day and she was looking for a banana the next day.”
Initially the partners expected to sell Emmamazing at the end of her sophomore season, but her success in October and her quirky personality have them leaning toward keeping her for another year.
“We’re in discussions about whether we will keep her or put her in the sale,” says Perry. “We’re leaning toward keeping her now that she’s showing us that she has some talent. She’s in the Autumn Series so we’ll see how she does.”
Post time at Woodbine Racetrack on Saturday evening is 7:40 pm and the three-year-old trotting fillies will wrap up their provincial campaign, and mark the end of the 2006 Ontario Sires Stakes season, in Races 1 and 2.
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