She was both the star attraction and the biggest question entering Yonkers Raceway's Blue Chip Matchmaker for Open pacing mares.
Friday night featured the four-year-old debut of See You At Peelers (Brian Sears), and even though she only came away with half a loaf, she a was whole lot better.
After beginning her career with 22 consecutive victories, she became both mortal (three consecutive defeats) and sick (heart issues) in the latter part of her three-year-old season. Thus, how good she may or may not be coming back to the wars was the issue of the day.
Leaving from post position No. 3 in the last of five $40,000 divisions, 'Peelers'--as the slight 3-2 choice--watched as Chancey Lady (Tim Tetrick) threw down fractions of :28.1, :56.3 and 1:23.4. Arctic Fire N (James Rattray) was pocketed, while another longshot, Save My Shark (Jim Pantaleano), was first up.
Meanwhile, See You At Peelers found herself slightly gapping from second over. Chancey Lady, also at 3-2 but the second choice, opened a couple of lengths turning for home, only to tire. Arctic Fire N closed inside, while 'Peelers' was finding her stride...despite lugging in badly toward Save My Shark.
In a bang-bang-bang finish, Mr. Photo Finish could not separate See You At Peelers and Chancey Lady in 1:52.4, with 'Peelers' having to survive an inquiry to get her 50 per cent of the glory. Arctic Fire N was third, beaten a short schnozz, while Ginger And Fred (Jason Bartlett) was fourth.
See You At Peelers, a daughter of Bettors Delight trained by Jimmy Takter for his wife, (breeder) Christina, along with John and Jim Fielding, is six-for-six at Yonkers in her $1.5 million career. Chancey Lady, a seven-year-old Camluck ma'am owned by Baron Racing and trained by PJ Fraley, went over $1.9 million in career earnings for her first win in four seasonal starts.
Both winners paid $2.50 for their "heat" victories. The exacta paid $3.50 ('Peelers' first) and $7.30 (Chancey Lady first), the triples returned $45.20 ('Peelers') and $90 (Chancey Lady), and the superfectas paid $164.50 ('Peelers') and $254.50 (Chancey Lady).
"Since it was her first start of the season, I didn't want to get her revved up early," Sears said. "Turning for home, I just let her do her thing. She's had that issue [bearing in] in the past, but not in her recent qualifiers.
"I'm very happy with her race tonight. It's something to build on as the series moves along."
Friday night's first four Matchmaker groupings played out as such:
Mystical Diva (Brian Sears, $11.20) won the draw and the first division, powering from the pocket to defeat Breakheart Pass (Jason Bartlett) by three lengths in 1:52.3. A first up Oceans Motion (George Brennan) won her own battle against the pacesetting Keepers Destiny (Eric Goodell), while a season-debuting Krispy Apple (Tim Tetrick)--as the 7-5 choice--was a non-factor fifth from second-over.
Mystical Diva, a four-year-old daughter of Western Ideal owned by Fran Azur and trained by Kevin McDermott, is now three-for-five this season. The exacta paid $107, the triple paid $457 and the superfecta paid $863.
In the second split, favourite Western Silk (Brennan, $4) made it look simple, going up and over New Album (Tetrick), then whipping Naughtytiltheend (Brent Holland) by a length and a quarter in 1:52.3. It was more than three lengths to Summer Snow (Jordan Stratton).
Western Silk, a five-year-old daughter of Western Terror co-owned by Ross Warriner and Tom Hill and trained by Andrew Harris, won her '12 debut and is now 23-for-44 lifetime (1,572,528). The exacta paid $9.20, with the triple returning $62.50.
Rocklamation (Brennan, $23.40), last seen at Yonkers winning the 2011 Lady Maud, vaulted off cover in 1:53.2. Hulas Z Tam (Pat Lachance) closed crisply to grab second--beaten three-quarters of a length. Meanwhile, 1-9 favourite Anndrovette (Tetrick), locked in behind stopping pacesetter JK Owhatanite (Sears), settled for third.
Rocklamation, a four-year-old daughter of Rocknroll Hanover trained by Ron Burke for co-owners Our Horse Cents Stables, Stable 45 and Jerry Silva, is now two-for-four this season. The exacta paid $412, the triple returned $852 and the superfecta paid $4,617.