If there is one race that trainer Pat Fletcher looks forward to every year, it's the Roses Are Red Stakes at Mohawk. Two eliminations, featuring the continents top older pacing mares, will take place on Saturday evening with the top five finishers advancing to the rich $391,000 final on July 21, a part of Maple Leaf Trot night.
Fletcher's pupil,Dreamfair Eternal, is the defending champion. She also captured the 2009 edition of the classic followed up by a second-place effort in 2010. The winner of $2,507,360 has had nothing less than a spectacular racing career for Fletcher and owner/breeder John Lamers. The mare's resume includes victories in the Breeders Crown, Milton Stakes, Lady Liberty, Forest City Pace and Ellamony, just to name a few. On top of that, the 54-time winner was voted Canada's Horse of the Year in 2010.
AlthoughDreamfair Eternal has only posted a 1-0-3 record this season from seven starts, Fletcher expects his student to show a much-improved performance than her sixth-place finish in the Masters Series final at Georgian Downs in her most recent outing.
"That night she scoped sick after the race and had some allergy issues,” Fletcher said. "I could tell right away as soon as she began to tire at the three-quarter pole. It's not like her to ever throw the towel in unless there is an issue, which we found.”
This season, the daughter of Camluck-J Cs Natalie has earned $104,830 while lowering her life's mark to 1:49, taken at Tioga Downs in the Artiscape Pace.
"She's eight years old now, but she's still a big player in every race,” Fletcher said. "She may not have that big pop at the end of her miles like she used to, but she lets everyone know that she's a contender. She doesn't get overlooked.”
Fletcher andLamers have yet to decide on the future of their esteemed pacer.
"We're just going to wait and see,” said Fletcher. "Sure, it's been brought up because of her age, but she's such a warrior. One day that time will come, but she hasn't given us a big sign that it's time.”
Billy Davis Jr. will steer Dreamfair Eternal from post one in the second elimination (Race 7). First race post is 7:10 p.m. (WEG)