Day At The Track

#NACup eligible sizzles in qualifying action

06:50 AM 08 May 2018 NZST
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Courtly Choice
Courtly Choice
Melissa Simser-Iovino Photo

MILTON, May 7, 2018 - A pair of Blake MacIntosh trained three-year-old pacers stole the show during a qualifying session that included harness racing superstar Marion Marauder on Monday morning at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

A total of 10 qualifying races were contested under sunny skies with a nice breeze on the back of the pacers and trotters in the lane.

Pepsi North America Cup eligible Courtly Choice made a statement with a sizzling 1:51 victory in the morning's sixth-dash. The Blake MacIntosh trained son of Art Major was making his second qualifying appearance of the season after a strong 1:53.2 victory (last-quarter :26) on April 27.

Driven by James MacDonald, Courtly Choice made a leapfrog move from second to first nearing the half and reached the midway marker in :57.4. The son of Art Major proceeded to pace a :27.1 third-quarter and :26 final-quarter to win a career-best 1:51.

The dazzling performance by Courtly Choice shouldn't take any marks away from the effort by runner-up St Lads Neptune. The gelded son of Mach Three surrendered the lead to Courtly Choice at the half, but paced a huge mile of his own by finishing just a little over a length behind the winner and pacing a final-quarter of :25.4.

Monday's qualifier was the first of the season for the Stephanie Jamieson trained and Jody Jamieson driven St Lads Neptune, who won five of eight during his rookie season.

Courtly Choice won two of 12 and banked $54,995 during his rookie season. He is owned by Hutt Racing Stable, MacIntosh, Touch Stone Farms and Daniel Plouffe.

MacIntosh's Ubettergo Go followed up her stablemate's monster mile with a huge effort of her own in the eighth-race. The three-year-old daughter of Art Major went coast-to-coast in a career-best 1:51.3.

Driven by Jonathan Drury, Ubettergo Go posted opening-fractions of :28 and :57.2 before ramping up the tempo in the back-half. The MacIntosh trainee paced a :27.1 third-quarter followed by a :27 kicker to win by 20 lengths.

Owned by MacIntosh, Tony Basile, Reginald Petitpas and Ozzie MacKay, Ubettergo Go was qualifying for the second-time this season. Her first qualifier saw her cross the wire first in 1:54.3, while pacing a :26.2 final-quarter.

Ubettergo Go went three for eight during her rookie campaign and banked $90,084. She is eligible to next month's Fan Hanover stakes.

While rising stars were the talk of the morning, top performers Marion Marauder and Bettors Up were also victorious.

Marion Marauder, the 2016 Triple Crown champion, followed up his season debut winning-qualifier from a week ago with a 1:54.4 score. The five-year-old and driver Roger Mayotte did all the work on the front by posting fractions of :28.4, :58.3 and 1:27.2 before sprinting home in :27.2 for the victory.

Four-year-old R First Class, last season's OSS champion, finished second, while star trotting mare Emoticon Hanover was third in her second qualifier of the season.

Now five-years-old, Marion Marauder enters his second season in the older ranks with 14 wins and $2.6 million in career earnings for owners Jean Wellwood and Devin Keeling. The Mike Keeling and Paula Wellwood trainee went three for 10 last season, earning $770,120.

Four-year-old pacing mare Bettors Up rebounded from a fluke break last week to win her second qualifier of the season in 1:53.1. The Scott McEneny trainee made a mid-stretch break in her debut qualifier when a piece of paper or napkin blew across her path.

Driven by Doug McNair, Bettors Up made a quick move from third to first at the half and then finished the job with a :27.2 final-quarter.

The daughter of Bettors Delight won six of 17 last season and made just over $500,000. She enters the older ranks with 12 wins and $717,955 in career earnings for owners Brad Grant, Teresa Davidson and Michelle McEneny.

Below is the full list of Monday's qualifying winners. Click here to view the charted results.

The next qualifying session is Friday morning (May 11) at 10 a.m.

Woodbine Mohawk Park - Monday, May 7, 2018

Q1 (Pace): Bettors Up - D. McNair/S. McEneny - 1:53.1

Q2 (Trot): Finish Line - L. Roy/R. Moreau - 1:57.3

Q3 (Trot): Marion Marauder - R. Mayotte/M. Keeling - 1:54.4

Q4 (Pace): Kiwi Focus N - D. McNair/A. Montini - 1:55.3

Q5 (Trot): Galary Girl - R. Zeron/R. Zeron - 2:00.1

Q6 (Pace): Courtly Choice - J. MacDonald/B. MacIntosh - 1:51

Q7 (Trot): Mister Magic - P. Henriksen/P. Henriksen - 2:00.4

Q8 (Pace): Ubettergo Go - J. Drury/B. MacIntosh - 1:51.3

Q9 (Trot): Evan Hanover - T. Henry/G. Lance - 1:56.4

Q10 (Pace): Delorean Seelster - R. Holliday/K. Haskell - 1:55.1

Mark McKelvie

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