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Courtly Choice qualifies in 1:53

Thursday, April 11, 2019  By: Standardbred Canada


Mississauga, ON — The weather may not have been the best for the Thursday (April 11) qualifying session at Woodbine Mohawk Park, but that didn’t stop those in attendance from enjoying watching 2018 Meadowlands Pace and Little Brown Jug winner Courtly Choice make his 4-year-old charted debut.


Courtly Choice, the fleet-footed son of Art Major, took to the track for the 12th of Mohawk’s 13 qualifying dashes. The Blake MacIntosh trainee lined up in post three over a fast track for pilot James MacDonald.


After having been away from the races since Oct. 20 of last year, Courtly Choice took his time in the early going of his Thursday test. The career winner of $963,954 got away third and allowed the Phil Hudon-driven Shadow Margeaux to get down to the quarter pole first in :27.4.


MacDonald fired Courtly Choice up in the second panel, and the bay horse was overland and leading by a neck over Pedro Hanover (who was driven by Bob McClure) when he clicked off the half-mile timer in :57. Courtly Choice settled onto the engine and opened up a bit of daylight on the turn, as he led by 1-1/2 lengths at the 1:26.1 three-quarter call.


MacDonald called on his bay mount for more in the final quarter and Courtly Choice responded by opening up a three length lead by the head of the stretch. The duo continued to roll through the lane, as they came home with a :26.4 final panel, en route to a 3-3/4 length win in 1:53.


Afterward, MacIntosh told Trot Insider that the mile time was just the range he was hoping to see from Courtly Choice in the Thursday qualifier. He went on to explain that the plan is to bring the 4-year-old back to Mohawk for another tightener in one week’s time, in advance of his seasonal pari-mutuel debut, which will come in the first Graduate leg on May 4 at The Meadowlands Racetrack.


Courtly Choice was a force to be reckoned with last season as a 3-year-old. He paced to 10 wins and a second-place finish from 16 starts during his sophomore campaign, which was highlighted by his career-best 1:47.1 mile in the Meadowlands Pace and dramatic win in the Little Brown Jug.


Courtly Choice is owned by Hutt Racing Stable, Mac And Heim Stables, Daniel Plouffe and Touchstone Farms Inc.

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