Day At The Track

McNair shines in round one of Blizzard Series

07:30 PM 20 Jan 2017 NZDT
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Stonebridge Pearl Senseless Beauty
Stonebridge Pearl won by half a length in a career-best 1:55
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Senseless Beauty scored a two-length victory in 1:55.4
New Image Media Photo

TORONTO, January 19 - Harness racing driver Doug McNair has been off to a flying start in 2017 and Thursday night he continued his hot streak by sweeping round one of the Blizzard Series at Woodbine Racetrack.

McNair guided Stonebridge Pearl and Senseless Beauty to victories to take both $17,000 first leg divisions of the Blizzard for three and four-year-old pacing fillies and mares.

The first division of the evening saw all the attention go towards Niagara Series winner Jimbelina, but the heavy-favourite just couldn't go all the way over the "off-track".

Sent to the front from post-ten by driver Sylvain Filion, Jimbelina cut out fractions of :27.1, :57 and 1:25.2. However, Stonebridge Pearl and McNair stalked the leader's every move from the pocket and were able to pounce in the lane.

Stonebridge Pearl powered by Jimbelina in deep stretch to win by half a length in a career-best 1:55. Sparkle finished third, while Franschoek was fourth.

A four-year-old daughter of Mach Three, Stonebridge Pearl made her first start of the New Year a winning effort Thursday after winning just once in 21 appearances in 2016.

Owned by Mark Ford and trained locally by Gregg McNair, Stonebridge Pearl banked $26,100 last season and her Blizzard opening leg victory now gives her three career wins and a bankroll of $69,880.

She paid $22 to win.

Stonebridge Pearl

The second division saw McNair once again crossing the wire first, but this time he did it with the public's choice.

Senseless Beauty was pointed directly to the front right from the beginning by McNair and was able to clear Collective Wisdom for the lead just after the opening-quarter of :28.

After posting middle-fractions of :57.1 and 1:27, Senseless Beauty was tested in the lane by Collective Wisdom from the two-hole, but the favourite was able to turn aside the challenger and score a two-length victory in 1:55.4.

Kloof Street turned in a strong final-quarter to come all the way from ninth and last to finish second just ahead of Collective Wisdom. Xelene Bayama finished fourth.

A four-year-old daughter of Vintage Master, Senseless Beauty was making just the fourth start of her career Thursday. The Tony O'Sullivan trainee raced twice as a rookie in August of 2015, but didn't make another start until last month.

Owned by Let It Ride Stables Inc. and Dana Parham, Senseless Beauty has now won back to back starts at Woodbine and is on a three-race win streak after finishing second in her career debut. Thursday's victory increases her career earnings to $24,500. She paid $4.40 to win.

Senseless Beauty

Round two of the Blizzard Series will take place next Friday (January 26).

Three and four-year-old pacing fillies and mares, who were non-winners of two-races or $30,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2016, were eligible to the Blizzard.

Live racing continues Friday night at Woodbine with round one of the Snowshoe Series for three and four-year-old pacers headlining the 11-race card. Post time is 7:30 p.m.

Mark McKelvie

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