Freshmen dazzle in Wellwood, Peaceful Way splits
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Each event required two $30,000 eliminations with the top-five finishers in each split advancing to next Saturday's (September 15) rich finals.
Green Manalishi S posted a personal best 1:54.4 while making his Canadian debut in the first elimination of the William Wellwood Memorial.
Trained by Marcus Melander and perfectly handled by Tim Tetrick, Green Manalishi S found the point with little effort as CT Conabra went off stride into the first turn allowing the Muscle Hill colt to notch an opening quarter in :28.2.
Green Manalishi S cruised through splits of :57.4 and 1:26.2 under no pressure from a chasing Hudson River who showed some energy late in the final turn, but a smooth moving Green Manalishi S easily powered away from the field with Kings County chasing in vain and the late trot of Smart As Hill providing little threat.
"It looked very good. It was three weeks ago that he raced last time and he looked beautiful out there," said Melander.
With three wins from five starts, the Melander charge has proven to be a successful purchase.
"He was bought in Sweden as a yearling in August of last year. We shipped him over here in September or October and since we broke him, we've had him," noted Melander.
With wins already in the All-Stars at Pocono Downs and the Kindergarten Classic at The Meadowlands, as well as a strong second behind Dont Letem in the Peter Haughton Memorial when hampered with an outside post, Melander was pleased to see his charge find an easier path on this night.
"He was very good in the Peter Haughton. He was parked the entire mile. He has a lot of speed and a lot of stamina, so he can do whatever he wants," said Melander. "It was very good that he could be on the lead today. He had a tough trip in the Haughton."
Green Manalishi S, bred by Ab Svensk Reklamfinans of Sweden, paid $3.60 to win.
Union Forces wrestled the lead away from Swandre The Giant late in the lane to post a shocking 33-1 upset in the second elimination of the William Wellwood Memorial.
The previously undefeated Swandre The Giant, sent to post as the prohibitive 1/5 mutuel favourite, was purchased privately and making his first start for trainer Jimmy Takter and new owners Diamond Creek Racing, J and T Silva Stables LLC and Howard Taylor.
However, the Domenico Cecere conditioned Union Forces, recently third in the Champlain after a pair of easy scores to start his career south of the border, proved to be a worthy adversary for owners Lindy Farms, Robert Rudolph, David Anderson and John Fielding.
A talented field of rookie trotters went topsy turvy early as Trix And Stones went offstride and Gerry followed suit into the opening turn as Scott Zeron sent Union Forces to an uncontested lead through an opening quarter in :27.4.
Yannick Gingras sent Swandre The Giant to challenge the leader down the backstretch and swept to the point to mark the half in :57.3 as While Your Up, White Tiger, and Royal Rob chased from a distance.
Swandre The Giant continued to lead into the final turn with While Your Up making his move allowing White Tiger to follow his cover as three-quarters ticked by in 1:27.2. A precarious lead for the heavy favourite tumbled as upset-minded Union Forces put a strangle hold on Swandre The Giant to reign victorious in 1:55.3.
"To me, it's not a surprise. I know he's 33-1 but I know the horse and it's no surprise," said Cecere. "He's a classy horse. Great horse, great gait, great head and it was perfect. Perfect trip. When I saw him in the two-hole I said, 'they're going to be careful'."
Cecere is cautiously optimistic after the second elimination score noting that first elim winner Green Manalishi S looked strong.
"He's a great horse and was great tonight. He took off good," said Cecere of Green Manalishi S.
Union Forces, bred by Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc. of New York, paid $68.90 to win.
Doherty Memorial winner The Ice Dutchess got back on track with a 1:55.4 score in the first Peaceful Way elimination. The Jimmy Takter trained daughter of Muscle Hill was making her first start under the lights with trotting hopples following back-to-back breaks.
Driven by Yannick Gingras, The Ice Dutchess circled from second to first heading up to the half and never looked back. She posted fractions of :58.4 and 1:27.2 before trotting home in :28.2 for the victory.
"Just a matter of keeping her on stride and getting around the track and she was well-behaved tonight," said Gingras. "(Hopples) definitely make her a little safer...it's definitely a plus, but the way she was tonight she could've done it without."
Evident Beauty finished second, beat a length and three-quarters, while Presto Change O was third. The top-five was completed by Angies Luckeylady and Hp Titania Runner.
The Ice Dutchess improved to three for six with her elimination victory and will have an opportunity next week to make a significant add to her impressive bankroll of $204,790.
Coyote Wynd Farms owns The Ice Dutchess, who was a $320,000 Harrisburg yearling purchase. She paid $3.10 to win.
Father Patrick filly Sisters Promise powered to a 1:55.4 victory in the second elimination.
Driven by Tim Tetrick, Sisters Promise came first-up from fourth on the far turn to battle with Susy, who posted fractions of :28.1, :57.3 and 1:26.3.
In the stretch, Sisters Promise muscled by Susy and trotted home in :29.1 to defeat her rival by a length and a half. Speed Titan finished third, while Tommi Canu Hearme was fourth. The final spot in next week's final was secured by Teddys Littleangel.
Sisters Promise turned the tables Saturday, as she finished second to Susy in last week's Champlain Stakes.
"Last week we just got away too far back," said Tetrick about the previous meeting. "We were an easy second last week and today (Susy) had to leave and remove and got a half of :57 and from there I thought I had a good shot."
Trained by Linda Toscano, Sisters Promise picked up her second in four starts. She is owned by Brittany Farms and has now earned $42,216.
A $2 win ticket on Sisters Promise returned $8.30.
The draws for the $385,000 Peaceful Way and $400,000 Wellwood Memorial finals took place following Saturday's elimination. The $665,000 Canadian Trotting Classic and $340,000 Elegantimage were also drawn Saturday.
The fields for each final are listed below.
$385,000 Peaceful Way
#1 Presto Change O
#3 The Ice Dutchess
#4 Sisters Promise
#5 Evident Beauty
#6 Angies Luckeylady
#7 Teddys Littleangel
#8 Tommi Canu Hearme
#9 Speed Titan
#10 HP Titania Runner
AE: Fraulein Blucher
$400,000 William Wellwood Memorial
#1 White Tiger
#3 Green Manalishi S
#4 Union Forces
#5 Hudson River
#6 Smart As Hill
#7 Swandre The Giant
#8 Kings County
#9 Southwind Avenger
#10 While Your Up
AE: CT Conabra
$665,000 Canadian Trotting Classic
#1 Missle Hill
#2 Mets Hall
#3 You Know You Do
#4 For A Dreamer
#6 Alarm Detector
#7 Run Director
#9 Winning American
#10 Crystal Fashion
#11 Zephyr Kronos
#4 Blonde Magic
#5 Jordan Blue Chip
#7 Sneeker Hanover