Grand Circuit week got underway with the Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old trotting fillies Thursday night at Mohawk. Twenty-six freshman fillies were split into three divisions worth more than $83,000.
Stubborn Belle captured the first division in style with a 1:54.2 stakes record performance.
A daughter of Taurus Dream-Musetta Hanover, Paul MacDonell sent the filly to the lead and posted an opening quarter of :27.3 and a half mile time of :57.1. As the field made their way to the half, Speak To Me, the second choice at odds of 7-5, made a break while racing along in fifth.
In the third quarter, Spirit To Win, the even money favorite, was sent first-up to challenge Stubborn Belle and the fillies went toe-to-toe as they reached the three-quarter pole in 1:26.2. In the stretch, Stubborn Belle turned aside the favorite and trotted away by two lengths to win the first division in a stakes and career best 1:54.2.
Spirit To Win held on for second, while Summer Jewel took the show spot.
Speak To Me recovered to finish up her mile strong and pick up a fourth place check.
Trained by John Bax for owners Al Libfeld and Parkhill Stud Farm, Stubborn Belle was bought as a yearling at Harrisburg for $85,000.
Stubborn Belle has had success on the Ontario Sires Stakes circuit this season and has now won three times in six career starts for earnings of over $108,000.
She paid $9.70 to win.
In the second division, Danielle Hall cut the mile and showed a lot of heart to win in 1:55.1.
A daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe–Debbie Hall, Danielle Hall was sent to the lead by driver Jody Jamieson, while Lock Down Lindy, the 1-2 favorite, got away in seventh. As the field reached the half, Southwind Champane was brought off the pylons from fourth allowing Lock Down Lindy to pick up cover second-over.
In the third-quarter, Southwind Champane challenged Danielle Hall, while Smexi sat in the two hole and Lock Down Lindy gapped her cover a bit. In the stretch, Danielle Hall put away Southwind Champane, allowing Smexi to come out of the two hole to take a challenge at the leader. Lock Down Lindy made a bid on the far outside, while Smokinmombo came up the rail to make it a close four horse finish.
At the wire, Danielle Hall held off Smexi by a neck in 1:55.1, while Lock Down Lindy and Smokinmombo finished third and fourth respectively by three-quarters of a length.
Carl Jamieson trains and co-owns Danielle Hall with Winnipeg Racing.
Danielle Hall sold for $21,000 at last fall's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale and has now won five times in six career starts. Three of her five victories have been in Ontario Sires Stakes Gold events.
The winner's share of the $84,871 purse increases Danielle Hall's earnings to over $179,000. The clocking of 1:55.1 was also a new career mark.
She paid $9.80 to win.
The final division went to Jolene Jolene and David Miller.
A daughter of Muscle Hill-Celebrity Speedie, Jolene Jolene, the 1/2 favorite, got away third and made a quick move to the lead in the second quarter.
After posting a half-mile time of :58.1 and a three-quarter time of 1:27., the 2-year-old filly trotted strong down the lane under a hand drive from Miller to win by three lengths in 1:55.1.
Juanitas Fury finished second, while Dynamite Dame was third.
Trained by Jonas Czernyson for owner William Joseph Donovan, Jolene Jolene was entering the Champlain Stakes off a victory in the Tompkins Stakes at Tioga.
Jolene Jolene was purchased for $87,000 last fall at Harrisburg and has now won two times in five career starts. She has never finished off the board and has earnings of over $151,000.
She paid $3.10 to win. (WEG)