Action-Broadway returned to the winner's circle in last weekend's eliminations for the $376,000 Armbro Flight Stakes for older female trotters at Mohawk Racetrack, and trainer Virgil Morgan Jr. is hopeful that's a good sign.
Sent off at odds of 69-1, Action-Broadway and driver Doug McNair won by a head over favorite Cedar Dove in 1:56.1. It was the mare's second win in six starts this year and followed two off-the-board efforts.
Action-Broadway was the 2011 Dan Patch Award winner for best older female trotter in voting by the U.S. Harness Writers Association. She won 10 of 27 races last season, including the Armbro Flight, and earned $538,944 for breeder/owner Ken Sommer. For her career, Action-Broadway has 21 wins in 61 starts and $874,902.
"She hasn't come back quite to herself yet,” Morgan said. "We've had some problems with her blood work and she's been difficult so far that way. Hopefully, we've got things squared away and she's coming into her own now. Hopefully we've broken the cycle.”
Starting from post eight in her eight-horse elim, Action-Broadway was at the rear of the pack for the first half of the race before following Cedar Dove and Mystical Starlight into contention.
"I really liked the way Doug drove her,” Morgan said. "I think right now you've really got to be a little kind to her driving. Last year she could try to be a little bit of a bully; she could cut a mile or come first up. Right now, she needs to be finessed for a while and driven a little carefully until she gets a little braver.
"Hopefully that time will come. Right now I think she's a little better if you keep her on a helmet for a while.”
Action-Broadway's connections got to select their starting position for Saturday's final and will begin the race from post two.
"That was huge for her, to get the two hole,” Morgan said. "She should land a good spot and hopefully get a good trip from there and let the chips fall where they may.
"It's a very competitive group.”
China Pearls and Pembroke Heat Wave finished in a dead heat for win in the other Armbro Flight elimination. It was China Pearls' second consecutive dead-head victory.
Following is the field in post position order for Saturday's $376,000 Armbro Flight, with drivers and trainers listed from the eliminations:
1. Bax Of Life, Jason Brewer, Jerry Duford
2. Action-Broadway, Doug McNair, Virgil Morgan Jr.
3. China Pearls, Randy Waples, Carman Hie
4. Pembroke Heat Wave, Doug McNair, Gregg McNair
5. Unefoisdansmavie, David Miller, Orjan Torstensson
6. Cedar Dove, Ron Pierce, Michael Vanderkemp
7. Jersey As, Tim Tetrick, Anette Lorentzon
8. Cleopatre Duharas, Scott Zeron, Eric Cote
9. Frenchfrysnvinegar, Jody Jamieson, Jeff Gillis
10. Cameron Chip, Steve Condren, Kevin O'Reilly