OTTAWA, ON — Less than a month after they battled over the Rideau Carleton Raceway oval in Trillium Series action, Ontario’s top three-year-old trotting fillies are heading back to the nation’s capital for a trio of $40,000 Gold Eliminations on Sunday, Oct. 5.

John Bax trainees finished first and second in one of the Trillium divisions on Sept. 11, and the Peterborough resident is hoping Nashotah and Gaelic Mistress are able to match that result in the last regular season Gold event.

“I hope we can get enough points to get into the Super Final,” says Bax. “If not, at least they’ve made some progress this year. I think they’re pretty competitive in there now.”

Through three Gold Series starts Gaelic Mistress has accumulated 42 points, while Nashotah is hot on her heels with 33. The current cut off for a berth in the $300,000 Super Final is 75 points. In order to have a shot at the season finale, both fillies need a top three finish on Sunday, which would also earn them a return invitation to Rideau Carleton for the Oct. 12 Gold Final.

Nashotah will make her bid for a Gold Final berth from Post 6 in the first $40,000 elimination, facing off against the division point leader Somebody To Love (Post 2), the number five ranked Pasadena Princess (Post 3), and the number nine filly Its My Time (Post 4).

“She’s just on the edge, just on the cusp of being good enough to play with those fillies,” says Bax, who trains Nashotah for owner-breeder Wescott LLC of Neenah, WI. “Hopefully there’s some kind of trip to be had in there.”

Regular reinsman Stephen Byron will steer the daughter of Duke Of York and former Ontario Sires Stakes competitor Wescott on Sunday, looking to match or better the runner-up result they posted in the Sept. 17 Gold Elimination at Flamboro Downs. Following her second-place finish in the Gold Elimination, Nashotah gave it her all in the final, carving every fraction in the mile before being caught in the stretch and relegated to fourth.

Byron will also steer Gaelic Mistress, who also finished second in her elimination at Flamboro, and then salvaged a fifth-place finish in the final from the outside Post 7. Of the stablemates, Bax says Gaelic Mistress may have slightly more ability, but notes that both fillies will need some racing luck.

“She’s maybe just a touch better than the other one,” notes the horseman, who shares ownership on Gaelic Mistress with Wooden Lissen Stable of Port Perry, Venture K Stable of Lindsay and Lewis Palmer of Oshawa. “She’s close to being a pretty good filly in there I think.”

Gaelic Mistress tested Bax’s patience as a two-year-old, but the trainer says the Striking Sahbra daughter has matured into a versatile racehorse.

“She’s actually matured, we’ve been really happy with her,” he explains. “She was a little hard to handle, but Steve (Byron) has done a pretty good job with her, he gets along well with her. You can do anything you want with her now.”

Gaelic Mistress will make her fourth Gold Series start from Post 1 in the fourth race on Sunday, facing off against top 10 point earners Benediction Lindy, Only Lonely and Condi Lane, who will start from Posts 2, 5, and 6 respectively.

Reigning Gold Final champion Whatta Hotty will make her bid for a third straight victory from Post 4 in the last elimination. The continued absence of last year’s division champion Bella Dolce — who was riding a seven race win streak when she left Ontario in September to compete in Grand Circuit events at The Red Mile in Lexington, KY — makes for a tightly contested race amongst the remaining sophomore trotting lasses.

The three-year-old trotting fillies will stage their last Gold Elimination battles in Races 1, 4 and 8 on Rideau Carleton Raceway’s Sunday evening program. The top three finishers from each elimination will return to the Ottawa oval on Oct. 12 for the last Gold Final of their careers. Post time for this Sunday’s card of racing is 6:30 pm.

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