Nineteen pacers of the female persuasion faced the gate in Thursday’s opening leg of the Blizzard Series, and it was driver Doug McNair who mapped out the winning trips for the round one winners.
Stonebridge Pearl turned a two-hole trip into a 10-1 upset in her $17,000 assignment for Team McNair.
Race favourite Jimbelina shot to the lead from Post 10 and carved out fractions of :27.1, :57 and 1:25.2 before being confronted by the pocket-sitting Stonebridge Pearl. Doug McNair angled her off the pylons late and the Gregg McNair trainee responded with a final quarter clocked in :29.2. It was good enough to earn her the win by a half-length margin over Jimbelina. Sparkle tagged along at long odds to finish third.
The 1:55 score for Stonebridge Pearl goes down as a career-best performance. Mark Ford of Campbell Hall, NY owns the four-year-old daughter of Mach Three-Stonebridge Appeal, who won for the third time in her career. The lion’s share of the purse puts her earnings just shy of $70,000.
Senseless Beauty was a popular winner in the other division for driver McNair and trainer Tony O’Sullivan.
The four-year-old daughter of Vintage Master-Ms Ladyshark, who hadn’t raced in over a month, parked past the quarter in :28 before muscling her way to the lead and wheeling the field through middle panels of :57.1 and 1:27. She summoned up a :28.4 closing quarter to win by two lengths over Kloof Street in 1:55.4. Collective Wisdom tagged along to grab the show dough.
Sent off as the 6-5 favourite, Senseless Beauty picked up the third win of her career for partners Let It Ride Stables Inc of Boca Raton and Dana Parham of Fort Lauderdale, FL. The $8,500 payday bumped her bankroll to $24,500.