Milton, ON — Rookie trotting fillies stepped into the Grand Circuit spotlight for the Champlain Stakes on Thursday evening (Aug. 29) at Woodbine Mohawk Park. A group of 18 freshman trotting fillies were split into a pair of divisions.
The Father Patrick-Katniss filly Panem broke her maiden with a 1:55.4 score in the $73,724 first split. The Nancy Johansson trainee and driver Dexter Dunn circled to the top from second going to the half and posted fractions of :57.4 and 1:26.3 before trotting home in :29.1 to secure the victory by 1-1/2 lengths. She Rocks Kemp finished second, while Heat Wave Hanover was third.
Panem had been winless in five starts entering the Champlain, but did have a pair of runner-up finishes along with a third-place effort.
“She’s not the easiest to drive, but if you talk to her nicely and just let do her thing, she can punch out a good mile,” said Dunn about Panem. “She was getting a little bit lost on the front so I just gave her a chirp and got her going. She’s still learning, but the ability is there and she’s got a nice future.”
Panem is a homebred for Diamond Creek Racing and has now earned $49,019. She paid $9.90 to win.
Spoiled Princess spoiled the undefeated record of Whose Blues with a 1:55.2 victory in the $72,794 second division. Dunn steered the daughter of Trixton-Fashion Spooner to the victory to give the New Zealand native a sweep of Thursday’s stakes.
Race favorite Whose Blues moved to the lead in the second quarter from second, but got company quickly in the form of She Must Be Magic, who took the lead at the half in :56.4. Whose Blues angled out nearing three-quarters, which was reached in 1:25.4.
Spoiled Princess and Dunn sat patiently in fourth during the opening half, before getting underway and sitting three lengths from the top at three-quarters. In the stretch, Spoiled Princess tracked down Whose Blues and overtook the undefeated filly to win by 1-1/2 lengths. Sheer Energy finished third.
Spoiled Princess improved her record to three wins in six starts with the Champlain score. She has now earned $77,487 for owner/breeders Robert McNerney and Hauser Bros Racing.
“To have a homebred and win this is fantastic,” said McNerney. “We went easy with this horse from the beginning and didn’t want to race a lot, we want to take our time and it’s paid off.”
Spoiled Princess paid $10.30 to win.
Live racing continues Friday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings headline the 11-race card. Post time is 7:10 p.m.