Pure Ivory wins qualifier
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Several Pepsi North America Cup eligible colts were in action during qualifiers this morning at Mohawk Racetrack, while champion trotting mare Pure Ivory also won in her first attempt of 2007.
In addition to Two Twentytwo, who won his second consecutive qualifier of the season for Rheal Bourgeois and driver Roger Mayotte, trainer Bill Elliott sent out a pair of NA Cup prospects.
Running Book won his second straight qualifier with a strong 1:54 tally for driver Mark Macdonald--final quarter in 27 seconds. He was 2 1/4 lengths better than Ontario Sires Autumn Series champion Windsun Ben.
\"He has come back really strong this year and was very good again this morning,\" says trainer Elliott. \"I get the sense that he might step up this year. He grew a lot more than Laughing Art and filled out a lot. He also much keener and focused at this point, so we\'re hoping for big things from him.\"
As a rookie, the son of Real Desire-Open Book won five of 11 starts while banking just over $137,000. Elliott would like to get him a start in the Flamboro Breeders Stakes locally before entering the Burlington and then the Pepsi North America Cup eliminations at Mohawk.
Stablemate Laughing Art was also out for his second qualifier of the season this morning. The son of Artsplace-Laughing Pro finished third behind Two Twentytwo in a 1:53.4 mile.
Laughing Art will head to the Meadowlands for an upcoming New Jersey Sire Stakes race and then point for the $500,000 New Jersey Classic. If all goes well south of the border, the colt will return to contest the Burlington and Pepsi North America Cup.
In the same qualifying race as Laughing Art, Elliott also sent out Michelles Power who finished second. It was the second qualifying appearance of the season for the daughter of Camluck-Michelles Jackpot, who was a winner last week at Mohawk in 1:56.
\"She ended off last year really strong and has come back well for us this season,\" reports Elliott. \"She also grew and filled out a bit. Towards the end of last year, she got a little hot on us, so I trained her back this year with earplugs. That\'s the only minor change to her routine. Other than that, she still has that super attitude and we expect she\'ll be a major player again this year.\"
Michelles Power will start once in an overnight before entering the first set of Ontario Sires Stakes Gold eliminations on May 25 at Western Fair Raceway. Once again this season, she has been paid into many of the lucrative Grand Circuit events.
Champion trotting mare Pure Ivory was also in action for her first qualifier of the season this morning. The now 4-year-old daughter of Striking Sahbra-Image Control was a five-length winner in 1:57 for regular driver and co-owner Steve Condren.
\"She had a very good winter and even grew up a bit more,\" says trainer Brad Maxwell. \"Steve was really happy with her today. I was a little disappointed with the scheduling of the Classic Series this year. It forced people to push to have the horses ready early and I just decided not to and took my time bringing her back. If she comes out of this morning well, we\'ll take her to Vernon Downs for her first start of the year.\"
Maxwell is alluding to the $100,000 Conway Hall Stake for older trotting mares which gets underway with eliminations on May 21.
Pure Ivory enters this season with just over $1.38 million in earnings and a mark of 1:53.1 taken last season at Mohawk. (WEG)