Sunny Dee one of four McIntosh winners at Mohawk Park
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Hall of Fame trainer Bob McIntosh came ready to play for Friday’s qualifying session at Woodbine Mohawk Park, sending out four impressive winners.
The McIntosh quartet was headlined by the 4-year-old season debut from star Sunny Dee. The O’Brien Award winner clashed with her rival and Ontario Sires Stakes champion Bodicea in the 10th qualifier of the session.
Boadicea and driver Doug McNair shot out to grab early control, posting fractions of :27.4, :56.3 and 1:25.3. Sunny Dee and driver Trevor Henry stalked their rival from the two hole throughout, which set up a stretch showdown.
Sunny Dee angled out with an eighth of a mile to go and would reach up in the final stride for a photo finish, prevailing by a small nose in 1:53. Sunny Dee’s final-quarter was charted in :27, while Boadicea was home in :27.2 for a solid performance in her season debut.
A daughter of Sunshine Beach, Sunny Dee’s award-winning 3-year-old campaign saw her post 13 wins, 21 top-three finishes and $601,617 earned in 23 starts. She capped off her season with strong performances in Grand Circuit contests, including a victory in the USS Indianapolis Memorial and a runner-up finish in the Matron.
Sunny Dee is owned by Robert McIntosh Stables Inc, CSX Stables and Al McIntosh Holdings.
Boadicea heads into her 4-year-old season off a tremendous 2019. The Bill Budd trainee won eight of 14 starts and earned $417,652. She posted several sub-1:50 miles, holding a mark of 1:49 for owners C E Lawrence Stable and G A Lawrence Stable.
Sunny Dee’s victory capped off four consecutive wins for McIntosh on the morning, as a trio of his 3-year-old pacing fillies also impressed.
Bettor’s Delight filly Sex Appeal took the morning’s seventh qualifier in 1:55.3, shooting to the front for driver Henry and pacing home in :27.4. She won two of nine starts as a rookie with both wins coming in preliminary legs of the Ontario-sired Harvest Series.
The next qualifier saw So Delightful and Henry take the same route to victory. The daughter of Bettor’s Delight fronted the field to a 1:53.4 score, pacing her final quarter in :27.4. She won two of 10 as a rookie and was the runner-up in the OSS Grassroots Championship.
McIntosh’s third sophomore to taste victory could be poised for a big season in Grand Circuit action. Somebeachsomewhere filly Perfect Storm did the heavy-lifting to post a 1:53.3 victory with Henry in the sulky. She capped off her mile in :27.4 to just miss her career best by a fifth of a second.
Perfect Storm posted two wins and five top-three finishes in eight starts as a rookie. Her best performance at two was a runner-up finish in the Matron Stakes, which was her first taste of stakes action.
Here is a breakdown of the other winners on Friday morning.
Q1: Southwind Maritime (1:58)…this Jim Ritchie-trained 3-year-old filly, who was one for five as a rookie, got to the lead early from an outside starting spot and never looked back. The daughter of Sportswriter and driver Doug McNair ramped up the tempo in the back half, posting splits of :28.4 and :27.4 to win easily.
Q2: Highland Salsa (1:56.4)…saw a big lead shrink late, but just held on for a narrow victory with driver Sylvain Filion. The Amanda Fine trainee opened up a big lead on the far turn with a :28.1 third-quarter, before pacing home in :29.3 to win. The daughter of Sportswriter just held off Marcel Barrieau trainee Preeminence and Ritchie trainee Zephyr Seelster.
Q3: Watchful Eye (1:56.1)…shot up the inside in the final eighth to power by leader Temagami Seelster for a well-calculated score. The Tony Alagna-trained daughter of He’s Watching followed from second throughout, before pacing home in :28.1 with McNair for the win. She was winless in eight starts at two.
Q4: Queso Relleno (1:57)…called all the shots for a confident looking win. The Blake MacIntosh trainee and driver Jody Jamieson paced home in :27.4 for the win. A daughter of Betterthancheddar, Queso Relleno capped off her rookie season (four for nine) with a victory in the OSS Grassroots final.
Q5: Martinis Place (1:58.1)…circled to the top for driver McNair after the opening quarter and never looked back. The Scott McEneny trainee paced her final-quarter in :28.4. The daughter of Betterthancheddar was one for nine as a rookie.
Q6: Dreamadreamforme (1:56.4)…paced out strong to the lead and never surrendered the top spot for driver Jamieson and trainer Jack Darling. Daughter of Betterthancheddar, who was two for seven last season, paced home in :28.1.
Q11: Swifty Ally (1:53.2)…shot by rivals in the stretch after a trip in fifth for a victory in her season debut. The Greg McNair-trained 4-year-old mare was guided by Doug McNair and capped off her mile with a :27.2 kicker. Swift Ally won nine of 16 last season, including multiple OSS Grassroots events.
Qualifiers are set to resume on Monday morning at Woodbine Mohawk Park. A total of 11 races will be contested with 3-year-old trotting fillies primarily in the spotlight. Post time is 9:30 a.m. (WEG)