Fiyonce and driver Josh Sutton pulled off a huge upset at odds of 23-1 in capturing the $110,000 Courageous Lady Pace for three-year-old fillies Friday at Northfield Park. It was the first harness racing Grand Circuit event of the year for fillies.
The race favorite at 3-5, Kayla Grace, undefeated and going for her 16th straight career win and had her owners pay $10,000 to supplement her to the race, finished dead last.
It was Kayla Grace and driver Brad Kramer leaving from post three and taking early command from Shell Bell (Aaron Merriman) as the field raced to the opening quarter mile in :27. As they raced into the second turn, Sister Stroll and driver Ryan Stahl came first-over and that gave cover on the outside to A La Notte Hanover (Chris Page) as they raced to the half mile in :56.1.
Entering the backstretch the second time, Sister Stroll started to gain ground on Kayla Grace as Brad Kramer pulled the ear plugs and had to urge his filly on to maintain the lead to the three-quarters in 1:25.1. Also on the move at that time was Mike Wilder, who took That Woman Hanover three-wide in an attempt to loop the field. And all the while there was Fiyonce and Josh Sutton keeping close to the action in last place.
As they started down the stretch the final time, Kayla Grace began to tire as Sister Stroll collared her and started to pass her by. Then That Woman Hanover came charging by in mid stretch along with the late flying Fiyonce the fastest off all to score the victory by a head in 1:55.1. That Woman Hanover was second in the photo with Sister Stroll third.
“For sure it feels good,” said Josh Sutton after the victory. “My horse was running out pretty good. I really couldn’t get her in gear at first. Mike (Wilder) got in front of me and then they all sorta pulled out and everything worked out great.”
It was the second start this year and only second career win for Fiyonce. The daughter of Rocknroll Hanover from the Pandersoa mare, Fionavar Hanover, paid $48.60 to win for trainer Ron Burke and the Burke Racing Stable of Fredericktown, Pa. and co-owners Weaver Bruscemi of Canonsburg, Pa. The victory was one of four wins on the night for Josh Sutton, who had never driven the filly before.
“Just absolutely thrilled,” said Mickey Burke “Josh did a great job with her and the mare responded well to him. I liked that she was able to track some good horses down. We are really happy with her. She is New Jersey sired so I think she will ship back East for their Sire Stakes.”
By Steven Wolf, for Harnesslink.com