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Mission Brief Wows Over 'Sloppy' Surface

Published: September 12, 2015 12:12 am ET

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It was a wet night at Mohawk Racetrack on Friday for the eliminations of the Elegantimage Stakes and William Wellwood Memorial Trot.

A pair of eliminations were needed for both events with the top five finishers in each division advancing to their respective finals next week.

A talented pack of 16 three-year-old trotting fillies, highlighted by superstar Mission Brief, were split into two $35,000 eliminations for the Elegantimage Stakes.

World champion Mission Brief scored a dominating 15 length victory over the ‘sloppy’ track in the second elimination for driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Ron Burke.

The daughter of Muscle Hill flashed good early speed to sprint out to the front. Once on the lead, Mission Brief got to call her own shots posting fractions of :28.1, :57.2 and 1:26.

In the stretch, the superstar filly pulled away from her rivals with ease and left them in another area code. Mission Brief stopped the timer in 1:54.1, three seconds better than second-place finisher Danielle Hall. Magic Marker, Youre Majestic and Amoureuse Hanover rounded out the top five to advance to next week’s final.

Following the race, Gingras said Mission Brief was a bit fired up Friday evening and he was trying to stretch her out for her first start in three weeks.

“She was a little bit grabby in the post parade, so when she got off on the right foot I figured I would just let her go,” he said. “I just wanted to stretch her out, like I said, she was a little bit too sharp and tried to get the edge off of her a little bit.

“She hasn’t raced that many times this year, so it was not like it was going to hurt her. The plugs were still in and she had plenty left and it was just a matter of trying to get her tight for next week.”

Mission Brief has now won six of eight starts this season, including a heat of the Hambletonian. Burke added trotting hopples to his star filly in July to help her with some issues, but it appears they may not be needed for much longer.

“She’s safe now, she’s comfortable and she’s confident and she’s sound,” said Gingras. “After next week, the plan is to take them off and then go to Lexington, but we will see how it goes.”

Mission Brief is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Our Horse Cents Stable, J And T Silva Stables LLC, and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Friday night’s win was the 15th career victory for the winner of over $1.1 million.

Mission Brief paid $2.10 to win.

In the first elimination, Muscle Baby Doll stretched her current win streak to seven in a row with a 1:56 victory.

Driven by Doug McNair, Muscle Baby Doll left from post eight and took a seat early in sixth. Wild Honey, the even-money favourite, circled around from the two-hole to take command after the half in :57.2.

Muscle Baby Doll began making up ground on the outside and was able to catch the cover of Elegant Serenity around the final turn. Wild Honey posted a three-quarter time of 1:27.

In the stretch, Muscle Baby Doll flipped off cover and trotted up a storm to take over the lead and score a length and a quarter victory over Wild Honey. Elegant Serenity finished third, while Bee The Queen and Smokinmombo were fourth and fifth, respectively.

Trained by Tony O’Sullivan, Muscle Baby Doll has dominated the Ontario Sires Stakes scene this season and also has a Grand Circuit victory on her resume. The daughter of Muscle Mass now has eight wins from nine starts this season and 12 victories overall.

Muscle Baby Doll was purchased by F Bellino And Sons LLC early in her two-year-old season, as she raced on the Iowa fair circuit. Muscle Baby Doll's career earnings now exceed $400,000.

She paid $5.20 to win.

A group of 14 two-year-old trotting colts and geldings were separated into two $30,000 eliminations for the William Wellwood Memorial.

In the first elimination, Deep Impact prevailed in a stretch duel over the 4-5 favourite Brooklyn Hill.

Deep Impact and driver Steve Condren got away early in third, but quickly came to the outside nearing the :29.4 opening quarter to take the lead. Brooklyn Hill sat second on the back of Deep Impact past the half in :59.1.

Around the final turn, Brooklyn Hill came to the outside for driver David Miller to confront the leader. The colts were toe-to-toe at the three-quarter pole in 1:28.1 setting up a stretch battle.

In the lane, Deep Impact refused to give up the lead and fought tough at the rail to defeat Brooklyn Hill by half a length in 1:57.4. Tony Soprano and Lean Hanover finished up well to grab third and fourth, while Will Take Charge finished fifth to secure a spot in the final.

A son of Donato Hanover, Deep Impact scored his third career victory on Friday evening for trainer Brad Maxwell. The rookie trotter was making his fifth start and increased his earnings to over $41,000 with the win.

Deep Impact is owned by Maxwell, Van Camp Trotting Corp., Tim Murray and Doug Millard.

The Maxwell trainee paid $7 to win.

Southwind Frank extended his win streak to six in a row with a 1:56.3 victory in the second split.

Sent off as the 1-9 favourite, Southwind Frank and driver Gingras got away in the three-hole through a :27.3 opening quarter. The heavy favourite sat third until the :57.4 half-mile mark when Gingras sent him on the attack.

Southwind Frank quickly cleared to the front and trotted by the three-quarter pole in 1:28.1. Marion Marauder trotted up with a rush around the final turn to draw within half a length turning for home.

In the stretch, Marion Marauder was able to poke a head in front with an eighth of a mile to go, but Southwind Frank showed his talent by battling back under minimal urging from Gingras to retake the lead and score a length and a half victory. Adored By Masses finished almost 14 lengths behind the winner in third, while Im A Mate and Zlatan finished fourth and fifth to advance to the final.

A son of Muscle Hill, Southwind Frank now sports a record of seven wins from eight starts to begin his career for trainer Ron Burke. The rookie trotting colt now has earnings of over $327,000.

Southwind Frank is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Our Horse Cents Stable and J And T Silva Stables LLC.

The Burke trainee paid $2.10 to win.

In addition to his Elegantimage elimination win with Muscle Baby Doll, McNair drove three other winners on the card. Among them, Lady Shadow was a four-length winner in 1:52.1 over American In Paris and sophomore filly Ms Mac N Cheese in Friday's $30,000 Preferred Fillies & Mares Handicap.

The four-year-old daughter of Shadow Play worked her way to the lead from the outside post seven through a :26.3 opening panel and cruised unchallenged through middle splits of :55.2 and 1:23.4 before drawing away, despite drifting out down the stretch.

Ron Adams trains Lady Shadow, who has won five of her nine starts this year while banking over $250,000 for owners David Kryway, Carl Atley, Edwin Gold, and the BFJ Stable.

Chris Christoforou made his return to the race bike in the Preferred (third race) after being sidelined since a July 24 racing accident with a broken collarbone. Christoforou drove runner-up American In Paris and later scored his first victory back with the Dany Fontaine-trained pacing mare Victoria Semalu in the 12th.

Following Friday night’s stakes eliminations, the post positions for next week’s $370,000 William Wellwood Memorial and $404,000 Elegantimage Stakes were drawn. Elimination winners earned the right to select their post positions.

Both finals will highlight a spectacular undercard on Maple Leaf Trot and Canadian Trotting Classic night, Saturday, September 19.

$373,000 William Wellwood Memorial Trot
1. Zlatan
2. Tony Soprano
3. Deep Impact
4. Southwind Frank
5. Im A Mate
6. Will Take Charge
7. Brooklyn Hill
8. Lean Hanover
9. Marion Marauder
10. Adored By Masses
AE1. Deweylovernleaver

$404,000 Elegantimage Stakes
1. Elegant Serenity
2. Muscle Baby Doll
3. Youre Majestic
4. Mission Brief
5. Smokinmombo
6. Danielle Hall
7. Wild Honey
8. Magic Marker
9. Bee The Queen
10. Amoureuse Hanover
AE1. Juanitas Fury

To view Friday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Friday Results - Mohawk Racetrack.

(With files from WEG)


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