After having broken stride in his 2014 pari-mutuel debut, San Pail looked to correct himself on Friday during a blustery qualifying session at Mohawk Racetrack.
The 10-year-old San Pellegrino gelding had his regular driver, Randy Waples, in tow when he lined up in Post 6 for the first dash on the nine-race qualifying docket. Over a ‘fast' track rated one second slow, Waples and San Pail worked their way into the two hole as Magic Lindy (Paul MacDonell) crossed over and clicked off the opening quarter in :28.4.
The multiple O'Brien Award-winning San Pail assumed control in the second quarter and trotted down to the half-mile marker in 1:00.3. The career winner of 52 races and over $3.1 million in earnings maintained an open-length lead along the final turn and passed by the three-quarters pole in 1:31. The multiple stakes winner kicked it up a bit during his final quarter (:27.2) as he came home for a 3 1/2-length win in 1:58.2 for trainer Rod Hughes.
The second race of the qualifying session saw Boomboom Ballykeel make his 2014 pari-mutuel debut for driver Sylvain Filion and trainer Richard Moreau. Boomboom Ballykeel has been gauged as the 13-1 fifth choice in Trot Magazine's 2014 Pepsi North America Cup Spring Book.
Filion opted to position the 2013 Metro Pace winner at the back of the pack from the word ‘go.' The Mach Three colt was a gapped second-over through the middle fractions (:58.2, 1:29) and was 3 3/4 lengths back of the leader at the head of the lane. Boomboom Ballykeel finished third at the wire, beaten a half-length, via his :26.3 final quarter.
The race was won by Weatherly, a 3-year-old Dali colt that had gone first-up and nailed the wire a quarter-length the best in 1:56.1.
Race 5 saw the return of O'Brien Award winner Riveting Rosie, who was making her 2014 charted debut for driver MacDonell and trainer John Bax. The 2013 winner of the Peaceful Way Stakes broke stride near the quarter pole and finished sixth. In Good Taste, a 3-year-old Angus Hall gelding, finished first for driver Filion and trainer William James, as he converted a pocket ride and recorded an open-length win in 2:01.3.
Champlain Stakes and Eternal Camnation winner Shes Da Bomb made her seasonal debut for trainer/driver Tony O'Sullivan in Race 6. The 3-year-old Art Major filly raced off the pace throughout the mile and finished third, defeated by open lengths. The 3-year-old Somebeachsomewhere filly Beach Gal prevailed in the dash, as she went wire to wire and posted a half-length victory in 1:55.2 for driver Jody Jamieson and trainer David Menary.
Nine-year-old millionaire trotting lass Voelz Hanover made her 2014 charted debut a winning effort, as she captured Race 7 for driver Waples and trainer Corey Johnson. The bay daughter of Astreos went wire to wire from Post 5 and got the job done in 1:55.3.
Lucky King, who has been pegged at odds of 65-1 in Trot's Spring Book, made his seasonal charted debut in Race 8. The son of Camluck, who is trained by Andrew McCabe and driven by James MacDonald, finished third after having raced on the lead into the lane. The dash was won by the Waples-driven and Shawn Robinson-trained Hope For Badlands, who was making his lifetime debut. The 3-year-old Badlands Hanover gelding excelled from the two hole and posted a 1:56.2 win off a :27.2 final quarter. (SC)