Trainer Tony Alagna and his Captaintreacherous fillies led the way with two wins in Saturday’s Eternal Camnation Stakes at Woodbine Mohawk Park. A total of 23 pacing fillies were split into three divisions of the Grand Circuit event.
Key West, sent to post as the overwhelming 1-5 mutuel favorite, held on for a narrow score in the first C$84,116 Eternal Camnation Stakes division. Trained by Tony Alagna for owners Brittany Farms LLC and Brad Grant, the daughter of Captaintreacherous-Bodacious Hanover made a bold move down the back straight to take command en route to a precarious score in the first of three divisions for juvenile pacing fillies.
Ideation Hanover was sent to the point by Jody Jamieson to carve out the opening quarter in :28 flat with Key West, in rein to Brett Miller, tracking her early pace. Miller made the quick move to the lead on the backstretch to mark the half-mile in :56.3, however Ideation Hanover continued to pressure the new leader. Tim Tetrick pushed Deb into motion to attack the pacesetters through the final turn, but a game and determined Key West found another gear and held off the late pace of Ideation Hanover and a rail skimming Queen Of The Pride to earn the victory in 1:52.4.
Key West’s backstretch swoop proved decisive, but Miller admits to regretting the bold call.
"As soon as I moved her to the front, I knew I’d made a mistake. When I was moving her to the front she was wanting to pull up and a lot of two-year-olds do that," said Miller. "She definitely didn’t want to be on the front tonight. She has always been better from off the pace or following a horse. It’s starting to show a little more and she didn’t like that on the front today.
"I will say when they started getting to her," continued Miller, "she did dig right back in."
Key West, who was bred by Vieux Carre Farms of Gettysburg, Pa., banked C$42,058 in victory. She paid $2.50 to win.
Quebec Blue Chip notched her fifth career wi, and fourth in succession, with a prominent effort under a heady drive by Jody Jamieson in the second C$83,115 Eternal Camnation Stakes.
Bestseller Hanover and Izzy Hanover were quickest off the gate in the test for juvenile pacing fillies, but Jamieson urged Quebec Blue Chip to the front to notch the opening quarter in :27. Jamieson put the field to sleep through a half in :57.1 allowing the precocious Sportswriter filly an important breather through the middle stages.
Quebec Blue Chip maintained her lead through the turn as Odds On St Lucie moved first up for driver Brett Miller with Bestseller Hanover (Sylvain Filion) content to sit in the two-hole. Odds On St Lucie, the even-money favorite, ranged to the wheels of Quebec Blue Chip down the lane, but the pacesetter had plenty in reserve to repel that charge and secure the win. Prescient Beauty rallied wide down the lane to earn the show position. Quebec Blue Chip stopped the clock in 1:53.2.
Jamieson credited the important Grand Circuit score to conditioner Dave Menary.
"The main development for this filly all along has been Dave Menary and everything he does," said Jamieson. "He’s proven year in and year out that he’s an amazing developer of young talent. He picks them out, trains them down, he owns a piece of them and I’m just lucky enough to be a part of it."
Owned by Menary Racing Inc, Michael A. Guerriero, Kenneth R. Ewen and Bruce H. Norris, Quebec Blue Chop arrived at the Eternal Camnation from a score in the Battle of the Belles at Grand River Raceway. That victory, also in front-running fashion, proved a reliable blueprint for Jamieson in the Eternal Camnation.
"I looked at the program and there were some lightly raced fillies in there. Obviously, the one horse (Odds On St Lucie), I wasn’t sure what Brett was going to do with her and being lightly raced and first time going for big money it was going to be a race. But, I got real lucky and got to steal that second quarter. This filly, just like she did in Grand River, she did it herself," said Jamieson.
Jamieson believes he may have found yet another rookie pacer with She’s A Great Lady potential.
"I don’t know why not," said Jamieson. "She just showed a bunch of real good fillies in there how to go about winning. There’s no reason why she can’t be competitive in there and competitive enough to win it."
Quebec Blue Chip, bred by Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc of Wallkill, N.Y., banked C$41,557 in victory. She paid $10.80 to win.
Tall Drink Hanover performed to her 1-9 odds with a convincing score in the third division of C$84,116 Eternal Camnation division. Trained by Tony Alagna and expertly piloted by Andrew McCarthy, Tall Drink Hanover made short work of her fellow rookie pacing fillies with a prominent effort. After Crisp Mane set the opening quarter in :27.4, McCarthy let Tall Drink Hanover loose and took control at the half-mile marker in :56.3.
Tall Drink Hanover improved her advantage to the final turn with Crisp Mane holding second position and Kylie Seelster treading water in third. The speedy Tall Drink Hanover reached three-quarters in 1:24.4 and would not be denied as she paced through the wire in 1:52.4. Kylie Seelster arrived in time for place with Blossom Onthebeach completing the trifecta.
"She was really great tonight. She’s very typical of Captaintreacherous’, she’s push button to drive," said McCarthy. "She does everything right, gets there and relaxes. I asked her to pace a little bit at the top of the stretch and off she went.
"I looked over and saw Trevor Henry (Kylie Seelster) was making up a little bit of ground and that’s when I asked her to pace a little bit," continued McCarthy. "The way she responded when I did, I knew I was pretty good."
Tall Drink Hanover arrived at the Eternal Camnation from a romping effort in the Whenuwishuponastar final on Aug. 14 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. She’s one of several talented juvenile fillies under Alagna’s tutelage including Key West who took the first division of the Eternal Camnation and Odds On St Lucie who completed the exacta in the second division, earlier on the card, that will be serious contenders in the She's A Great Lady eliminations on Sept. 15.
"I also have a filly that won yesterday at Chester, Treacherous Reign, another Captaintreacherous filly, she’ll head to the PA Sires final and then after that come up for the She's a Great Lady as well," said Alagna. "We have four really super nice fillies and we’re excited about what ‘Captain’ has done so far."
Alagna was pleased with the effort from Tall Drink Hanover who is improving with every start.
"I liked her in Florida and she was a little bit behind the other fillies that were up here tonight. They all came from Lexington and this filly came from Harrisburg, so she had six weeks of a deficit behind them, but she’s just gotten better and better," said Alagna.
A daughter of Captaintreacherous, Tall Drink Hanover was a $35,000 Harrisburg yearling purchase and is owned by Alagna Racing LLC, Marvin Katz and Riverview Racing LLC. She paid $2.30 to win.
All three of Saturday’s winners are eligible to the Champlain Stakes on Sept. 8. (WEG)