Alicorn returns with 1:50.4 Mohawk effort
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Just over eight months since her last appearance at Woodbine Mohawk Park, three-year-old pacing filly Alicorn returned to the Milton oval on Monday evening and marched straight back into the winner’s circle.
Making her sophomore debut in the first of three $73,067 Gold Series divisions, Canada’s Two-year-old Pacing Filly of the Year eased away from Post 5 as Betalady led the field to a :26.2 opening quarter. After sitting briefly on the rail in third, driver Louis-Philippe Roy sent the fan favourite to the front and Alicorn rolled on to a :55 half and 1:23.3 three-quarters. Lauras Love and Rose Run Victoria mounted an attack in the lane, but Alicorn held them off for a three-quarter length victory in 1:50.4.
“To come off of an eight month layoff and have to pace 1:50 and change her first start, that’s not easy for any horse,” said Chantal Mitchell, who trains Alicorn for Windermere Stable LLC of New York, NY and Robert Muscara of Ivyland, PA. “She did the vast majority of the work in there tonight. I don’t know if she could have gone faster if she was pushed, but she did what she had to do and I’m quite happy with her.”
The Bettors Delight daughter came into Monday’s Gold Series season opener off a trio of qualifiers on June 4, 11 and 18, with the most recent clocked in 1:52.2. Mitchell was confident that Alicorn was ready, but the Waterdown resident was still happy to get the win in the books.
“There’s always a lot of expectations. When the stakes schedule came out and she didn’t have any races for a month then I scratched her from the (May 29) qualifier, and it was, you know people were losing their minds,” Mitchell recalled. “They said, ‘What’s wrong with her?’ It’s fine, it’s just I don’t have anywhere to race her so I’m not going to qualify her this week, we’ll qualify next week. I mapped out a plan for her after I had a stakes schedule so then it was — because everybody was questioning what I was doing — it was, hopefully I made the right decision.”
The winner of $536,907 wintered in North Carolina and Mitchell said, while she did not grow taller, Alicorn did fill out and looks stronger than she did as a two-year-old.
“She’s a lot thicker. She filled out a lot, and I think she filled out quite a bit just in the last two months. With all this extra time it did her some good. A lot of people were calling her fat tonight. I said it’s a good thing she doesn’t care what other people think because she would develop a complex,” said Mitchell with a laugh. “It’s like I said to one of her owners, it’ll take a couple more of those 1:50 miles to get her back to her fighting weight, but she’s starting in a good spot.”
Sex Appeal also started her sophomore campaign in a good spot, finding the OSS winner’s circle for the first time. The Bettors Delight daughter and driver Trevor Henry caught the pacesetting Rose Run Vantage in the stretch to record the victory in a personal best 1:51. Fan favourite Rose Run Vantage settled for second and Saulsbrook Raven was third.
“She’s a nice filly, she’s just starting to learn how to race. She grew up a lot from last year,” said Henry, who drives Sex Appeal for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor and Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington. “Hopefully she keeps it up.”
A Grassroots competitor at two, Sex Appeal now has three wins to her credit in four sophomore starts.
The final Gold Series division went to All Day Sunshine and driver James MacDonald, who tracked Probert through the mile and then circled the stalled favourite in the stretch. All Day Sunshine sprinted all the way to the wire, getting a nose in front of So Delightful in a 1:52 personal best. Keystone Kalimba completed the top three.
“I was hoping to find a nice trip with her and get as much as we could, but Dan (Lagace) has the horse great and the trip worked out,” said MacDonald. “When I gave her some racetrack, she did the rest.”
A Gold winner at two, Sunshine Beach daughter All Day Sunshine is owned by trainer Daniel Lagace of Cambridge, Christopher Nicol of Caledonia, ON and Billy Joe Timmins of Birmingham, GB.
The three-year-old pacing fillies will return to Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 17 for their second Gold Series Leg.