Hightstown, NJ — After coming up sick in the Maple Leaf Trot in her most recent race, Atlanta will try to return to her winning ways in Friday’s (Sept. 17) C$233,000 Armbro Flight Stakes for older female trotters at Ontario’s Woodbine Mohawk Park.
Atlanta headed to the Maple Leaf Trot, also at Mohawk, off back-to-back victories, including a 1:50.1 triumph in the Sebastian K Invitational that made her the fastest female trotter in the history of The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.
She finished fifth as the 2-1 second choice in the Maple Leaf, where she got as close to the lead as second place on the final turn before losing ground in the stretch. Atlanta had won the 2020 Maple Leaf Trot in a stakes-record-equaling 1:50.4.
“Things don’t always go perfectly, even with the great ones,” trainer Ron Burke said. “Believe me, no one was more surprised. But she seems better, trained back great. I think two weeks was enough to get her all the way.
“I don’t think she loves shipping, it’s not her favorite thing. I think she likes going somewhere and getting set up there. Now, she’s been (in Canada) a couple weeks, so I’m hoping that helps her too.”
Burke said Yannick Gingras, Atlanta’s regular driver, was not thrilled with the way the mare scored down prior to the Maple Leaf, but when he moved her in the race from fourth on the backstretch toward the lead, he felt more confident. Momentarily.
“He said, ‘Ronnie, when I scored her down, I thought oh-uh. Then when I pulled her, for three strides I thought I was wrong. Three strides later, I was like, no, I was right,’” Burke said.
Atlanta, who won the 2019 Armbro Flight in a Canadian-record 1:50.2, has four wins and a second in seven starts this season. For her career, she has won 29 of 58 starts and $2.91 million. A two-time Dan Patch Award winner and one-time O’Brien Award honoree, she is owned by Crawford Farms Racing, Brad Grant, and Howard Taylor.
In the Armbro Flight, Atlanta will start from post seven in an eight-horse field. She is 5-2 on the morning line. Manchego, the 9-5 favorite with Dexter Dunn driving for trainer Nancy Takter, will leave from post eight.
Manchego is ranked No. 2 in the sport’s weekly Top 10 poll. Atlanta is ranked sixth.
The remainder of the Armbro Flight field, in post order from the inside, is Teddys Littleangel (15-1), returning champion Hey Livvy (8-1), Royalty Deal (15-1), When Dovescry (7-2), Hypnotic AM (6-1), and Sorella (10-1).
“We’re going to all race, so we’re going to have to go forward,” Burke said. “Everybody is going to have to go forward and then figure it out from there.”
Burke has won the Armbro Flight five times, three times with Hannelore Hanover and once each with Atlanta and Buck I St Pat.
Friday’s card at Mohawk also includes two eliminations for the Milton Stakes for older female pacers. Lyons Sentinel is the 4-5 favorite in the first and Rocknificent is the 8-5 choice in the second.
For free programs, visit the Woodbine Mohawk Park website here.