Susie's Lady faces Ramona Hill in Simcoe at Mohawk
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Two years ago, when owner Doug Paul asked trainer Susanne Kerwood if she wanted to join him in the purchase of a trotting filly named Js Miracle Mass at the London Selected Yearling Sale, Kerwood said yes.
When the horse sold for a price that exceeded what she believed Paul intended to spend, she thought it was the end of the story.
Until Paul said, “Hello, partner.”
“I thought we didn’t get her,” Kerwood said. “Doug said, ‘We really liked her, and she’s got a great family.’ So, that’s how we became partners.
“That’s one thing about Doug and (his mother) Rosalind, they buy quality horses, horses that are out of great families. They have good people look at them, like Abe Stoltzfus and Larry Rathbone, who know what they’re looking at when they’re looking at yearlings. They’re a very good team, that’s for sure.”
Doug and Rosalind race as M And L of Delaware. They typically change the names of the horses they buy, with the colts getting a name that includes “man” and the fillies getting one that includes “lady.”
Js Miracle Mass became Susie’s Lady.
On Friday, Susie’s Lady faces the most difficult challenge of her career, meeting Ramona Hill in the second of two divisions of the Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old filly trotters at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Ramona Hill is the No. 1-ranked horse in harness racing’s weekly poll and counts the Hambletonian Stakes, where she beat the boys, among her four wins in five starts this season.
“I would say we’re racing for second,” Doug Paul said with a laugh. “I think the whole field is racing for second.”
Ramona Hill is the 1-5 morning-line favorite. Susie’s Lady is 15-1.
Susie’s Lady, purchased for $65,000, is a daughter of Muscle Mass out of I Am Special. Her family includes High Sobriety, the dam of 2017 Horse of the Year Hannelore Hanover, as well as Marla Bar, the dam of Dan Patch Award winner Bar Slide.
“She’s got a lot of good qualities,” Kerwood said about Susie’s Lady. “She’s a really good-gaited filly and she’s got a pretty good head on her shoulders. You can leave with her one week and the next week if you want to take her off the gate, you can take her off the gate. In a trotter, I find that a really good quality. She’s easy on herself, let’s put it that way.”
Susie’s Lady has won seven of 18 career races and hit the board a total of 13 times, earning $69,296. She was found to be sick following a fourth-place finish in a conditioned race on Aug. 8 but returned to action eight days later with a win in an Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots division at Georgian Downs.
The filly heads to the Simcoe off a second-place finish in a division of the Casual Breeze Stakes on Aug. 28 at Mohawk. Susie’s Lady finished one length behind McKee’s Angel but made up more than four lengths in the stretch with a :28.1 final quarter.
“She raced super,” Kerwood said. “(Driver) Scott (Coulter) had to check her a couple times down the lane and lost some momentum, but she was closing hard.
“She’s a nice filly. And she’s got a wonderful name. I love the name.”
Kerwood also trains a 3-year-old filly pacer, Betalady, for the Pauls. The daughter of Bettor’s Delight-Lady Jake is 9-2 on the morning line in the first of two Simcoe Stakes divisions Saturday at Mohawk.
Betalady is a two-time career winner on the Ontario Sire Stakes Gold circuit and has earned $143,019 lifetime. She was seventh in her Fan Hanover Stakes elimination on Aug. 22, her only off-the-board finish in a span of six races, but returned with Lasix for a Gold start Sept. 5 at Mohawk and won in 1:50.4.
“She’s a super tough little filly,” Kerwood said. “You can race her every week and she keeps coming back. I’m so disappointed we didn’t make the final in the Fan Hanover, that’s probably the first time she didn’t race to our expectations. She wants to be a good horse, that’s for sure. She’s got a great mentality. I think she’s a good horse.”--By Ken Weingartner/USTA