Marion Marauder, Alicorn impress in Mohawk qualifiers
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Two-year-old trotting colts and geldings commanded the spotlight during Woodbine Mohawk Park's Thursday, June 18 qualifying session, as the first five races on the 11-dash card were devoted to the youngsters. The back half of the program featured a pair of O'Brien Award winners, Alicorn and Marion Marauder.
The conditions were ideal for the session, and a “fast” track welcomed those that made the trek to Mohawk to get some charted lines in.
The quickest of the rookie miles was recorded in Race 3, as the Blake McIntosh-trained and Chris Christoforou-driven Black Tie Bash launched a big first-up move along the backstretch and held on late for an impressive win.
After his post 7 start, Black Tie Bash was 15 lengths off the lead early. The son of Chapter Seven-Daylon Mermaid waiting until after the 30-second opening quarter to uncork his move, but when he did, everyone in attendance surely saw him flash a strong brush.
Black Tie Bash made up 10 lengths during the second quarter, as he was overland and five lengths off the lead as the half-mile indicator was clicked off in 1:00.3. He cleared to the lead early in the third quarter and then opened up a 4 1/2-length lead by the time he trotted past the three-quarter pole in 1:30.1.
Black Tie Bash finished the festivities with a :28.3 final quarter and held off a fresh challenger (Lincoln Hanover) that was closing hard with a ton of trot. When the dust settled, it was Black Tie Bash that posted a one-length win in 1:58.4 for owners Fred Brayford, Blake MacIntosh, the Mortgage Boys Stable, and the Black Tie Bash Stables.
Black Tie Bash was a $50,000 Lexington Selected yearling purchase during last fall's sale.
The other victorious 2-year-old male trotters during the session were Walkonthemoon (1:59.2), Fox Valley Britzka (1:59.4), Four Wheelin (2:00) and Day At The Gym (2:00.3).
After the mid-session break, the 2019 O'Brien Award winner Alicorn recorded her third consecutive qualifying effort in preparation for her 3-year-old campaign. The daughter of Bettor’s Delight was sharp from the word “go,” as she crossed over from post 6, cut all the fractions (:26.4, :56.1, 1:25.3), and fired home in :26.4 with the earplugs popped out. The career winner of seven of 13 races and $536,000 in purses was on her game in the lane and hit the wire in 1:52.2. Alicorn was driven by Louis-Philippe Roy for trainer Chantal Mitchell and owners Windermere Stable LLC and Robert Muscara.
They may have had to wait for the final qualifying mile of the morning, but those that were looking forward to watching the 2016 O'Brien Award winner Marion Marauder make his 7-year-old qualifying debut surely weren't disappointed. The $3.5-million earner lined up in post 8 in Race 11 and had to trot around a breaker early as the field headed into the first turn. The bay son of Muscle Hill raced overland into the first turn and cleared to the lead in the vicinity of the :28.2 quarter pole. After he settled to the lead early in the second panel, driver Bob McClure guided the 2016 Hambletonian winner through middle splits of :58 and 1:26.1. The pair would go on to kick home for a convincing victory in 1:53.4. Mike Keeling trains Marion Marauder for owners Marion Jean Wellwood and Devin Keeling. (SC)