Day At The Track

The McNair's are invading Maywood Park

02:49 AM 17 Oct 2014 NZDT
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Harness Racing
Doug (left) and father Gregg McNair

Trainer Gregg Mc Nair is making the long 500 mile trek from Ontario, Canada to Melrose Park, Illinois for Windy City Night with a pair of 3-year-olds pacers with the credentials to be a force in their respective stakes. 

Both horses will be handled by Gregg’s 25-year-old son Doug who in less than eight years of driving has over 2,000 career victories and is closing in on $30 million in money won.

Mc Nair’s two Maywood Park bound pacers—the Cinderella filly Lady Shadow and the Windy City Pace starter Three Of Clubs—have chalked up close to a half-million dollars in purse earnings between them this year and figure to substantially add to their totals Friday night.

Lady Shadow has been a terror on the Ontario circuit this year, chalking up wins in 5 of her 12 starts and banking $240,835 with 24-year-old Doug in the bike.

However the Shadow Play filly ended up a far back eighth as one of the favorites in the $225,500 Ontario Sire Stake Final at Mohawk last week after being parked out to sizzling fractions of :26.1 and :54.1.

“Lady Shadow just didn’t get off the gate really good,” said the younger McNair. “I should have tried to put her in the 3-hole right away but sometimes she’s tough to back off and we ended-up outside to some fast fractions.

  “She can be a tricky horse off the gate and was making breaks earlier but she is good on a half. Last year as a 2-year-old she went some big trips at Grand River (a half-mile track).”

Lady Shadow went 5-for-8 as a 2-year-old and was 4-for-4 with Doug, including three Ontario Stake victories at Grand River Raceway.

On paper Lady Shadow looks like a stick-out in the eighth race first $37,600 Cinderella division. I told Doug: ‘I’m putting pressure on you because I made her 4-5 in my line and the best bet of the night.’

 “I like that kind of pressure,” he answered.

The morning line has Lady Shadow at 2-1, closely followed by Major Dancer (Brett Miller) at 5-2.

Stable-mate Three Of Clubs (programmed 6-1), is in a much more difficult situation in the Windy City with the morning lines favorites Let’s Drink On It (5-2, Travis Seekman) Somewhere In L A (2-1, Brett Miller) and Big Boy Dreams (4-1, Tim Tetrick) starting inside of her with posts 1, 2 and 3, while the Mach Three Colt has slot four.

  Three Of Clubs dropped his first 10 decisions as a sophomore before posting back-to-back triumphs in his last two starts, both Ontario Sire Stakes. He appears to be sharp at the right time for the $180,000 Windy City.

“He’s been sharp all year but he has been bad-gaited,” replied Doug. “It’s not that he’s been breaking but sometimes in a mile he can get rough. But the horse has got a lot of power. He’s been a lot better in his last couple of starts and his confidence right now has gone through the roof.

“The horse does get around a half real well. Last year he was just super-fast and dominated at Grand River.”

King Of Clubs won all four of his Ontario Sire Stake starts on Grand River half-miler as a freshman with Doug. The colt later was second in his Breeders Crown elimination and took the fifth place check in the $500,000 championship.

  The Windy City Pace will go as the ninth race with a scheduled post of 9:50 pm (Chicago Time) It will be preceded by the $57,100 Abe Lincoln 2-year-old colt pace, the $92,300 Galt Trot for 3-year-old males, and two $37,600 Cinderella divisions for sophomore filly pacers.

The $25,000 Associates-McKeever stake, the third leg of the Maywood Pacing Series, was also scheduled but became a “no-go” because of insufficient entries. No word yet from the track’s Race Office if the ICF stake will be re-scheduled or cancelled.

by Mike Paradise, for IHHA

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