When Dovescry soared to victory in the $233,000 Armbro Flight Stakes for trotting mares during an action-packed Friday night (Sept. 17) at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
Hall of Famer David Miller drove the five-year-old daughter of Muscle Hill out of two-time Armbro Flight runner-up Cedar Dove for trainer Brett Pelling and owner John Lengacher of Grabill, Indiana.
The 2021 edition of the Armbro Flight started with defending champion Hey Livvy (Trevor Henry) breaking stride behind the gate then even-money favourite Manchego (Dexter Dunn) later blew up coming off the final turn like she had done two weeks ago in the Maple Leaf Trot.
Leaving from post four, When Dovescry established the early lead ahead of 29-1 shot Sorella (Andy McCarthy) during a :27.2 opening quarter before Hypnotic AM (Doug McNair) accelerated from third to first on the way to the half in :56.
Down the backstretch, 3-1 third choice Atlanta (Yannick Gingras), winner of the 2019 Armbro Flight in a 1:50.2 Canadian record, tipped out from fourth with Manchego following the cover before her miscue. But Miller got the jump on those mares and pulled When Dovescry from the pocket approaching three-quarters in 1:23.3.
When Dovescry took flight and caught Hypnotic AM in deep stretch then held off Sorella and Atlanta to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:51.
"She's pretty handy off the gate," said Miller. "I was planning on getting her covered up. She felt really strong tonight so I moved her maybe a bit early but it worked out. She just raced awesome."
Sent postward as the 3-1 second choice following her fourth Miss Versatility Series score of the season on September 3 at The Meadowlands, When Dovescry paid $8.20 to win.
She now boasts a seasonal summary reading 5-4-1 from 11 starts with earnings of $273,392. The win was her 17th lifetime and boosted her bankroll to $1.4 million.
Earlier on the card, the distaff pacers faced off in the elimination round for next weekend's Milton Stakes with Lyons Sentinel ($2.80) and Karma Seelster ($73.40) leading the way to the $240,000 final.
The top five finishers from each elimination will advance to the final, with the connections of the winners earning the opportunity to pick their post position.
Sent postward as the overwhelming 2-5 favourite, Roses Are Red Stakes champion Lyons Sentinel delivered a 1:49 winning effort in the first $35,000 elimination for trainer Jim King Jr.
Picking up the catch drive, James MacDonald sent the streaking Lyons Sentinel after longshot leader Warrawee Ubeaut (:27.1, :54.4, 1:22.1) from the three-hole approaching the third quarter mark and swept by down the lane to score by 1-3/4 lengths.
"That's a fun ride right there," commented MacDonald, who was subbing in for Lyons Sentinel's regular reinsman Tim Tetrick. "She's just an all-class mare. As soon as she sees the gate, she's all business. The second I edged her out, I was just sitting there hanging onto her. She was just an absolute professional."
Peaky Sneaky (Dexter Dunn) closed off the winner's cover to place while Keep Rockin A (Andy McCarthy) rallied for third ahead of Lit De Rose (Louis-Philippe Roy) and Marloe Hanover (David Miller).
Lyons Sentinel, who notched her fifth straight victory, pushed her bankroll over the $1.8 million mark while recording her 19th career win. In addition to winning the Roses Are Red two weeks ago at Mohawk, the four-year-old Captaintreacherous-Tutu Hanover mare has collected stakes victories in the Artiscape, Clara Barton and Lady Liberty this year for owner Threelyonsracing of Brantford, Ont.
Karma Seelster pulled off a 35-1 upset in the second elimination, closing late to catch 7-5 favourite Rocknificent in 1:49.2 for trainer Gregg McNair.
Driver Doug McNair hustled the four-year-old Sportswriter-Kiddie Cocktail mare home from the outer flow after following second-to-last and they hit the wire a neck in front. Rocknificent (David Miller), who powered to the lead after a :27 opening quarter and led confidently through middle splits of :54.3 and 1:22.1, settled for second with So Much More (James MacDonald) finishing in between the pair after closing off cover. JK First Lady (Dexter Dunn) and Gias Surreal (Bob McClure) finished one length behind in fourth and fifth, respectively, to secure the remaining spots in the final.
Karma Seelster, who finished fourth in the Roses Are Red, earned her second win of the season from a dozen starts. The Ontario Sires Stakes graduate has banked just over $650,000 lifetime for Durham, Ont. owners Eileen Waples, Karen Hauver and Shady Hill Racing Stable.
The field for the $240,000 Milton Stakes is listed below is post position order:
1. Marloe Hanover
2. JK First Lady
3. Lyons Sentinel*
4. Karma Seelster*
5. Keep Rockin A
7. Gias Surreal
8. Peaky Sneaky
9. Lit De Rose
10. So Much More
AE. Watch Me Now N
*Elimination winners selected post positions
To view Friday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Friday Results - Woodbine Mohawk Park.