Elimination winner D’Orsay out for Armbro Flight title

by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

Rich Fisher

Trenton, NJ — Trainer Jonas Czernyson wasn’t too surprised that D’Orsay won her Armbro Flight elimination at 54-1 odds last week.

He was more surprised that she went off at 54-1.

D’Orsay beat the odds by winning her elimination by a half-length over 2013 Horse of the Year Bee A Magician in 1:52.1.

“I guess a mare that has a world record as a 4-year-old, I don’t see that she should have gone off at 54-1,” Czernyson said. “She has won some races before; she was third in the (2013) Breeders Crown. It’s not that she had never done anything before and then just showed up.

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D’Orsay scored at odds of 54-1 in last week’s Armbro Flight eliminations.

“I think everybody was betting on Bee A Magician and on Classic Martine and I think that was what happened. That’s why the odds were so high.”

And what was going through his mind when he saw the odds?

“I’m hoping my driver won’t look over to the toteboard,” he said. “Usually they’ll get it in their heads that if you’re high odds, you’re no good. Luckily I had a driver (Sylvain Filion) who drove her before and liked her. This was the second time he drove her. He finished third the first time.”

Filion had the horse sitting in third before she made her move to win by a half-length. She trotted her final quarter-mile in :26.2.

“It wasn’t like she blew by everybody,” Czernyson said. “But she did a nice job getting up past them.”

According to the trainer, the key to getting a good trip from D’Orsay is at the start, as the mare is a bit temperamental prior to post time.

“She’s good in the barn and all of that,” he noted. “But she’s tough behind the gate; you’ve got to know what to do with her. So they have done a really good job figuring her out and how to get her out of there.

“That’s really the toughest thing with her. You get her on the gate and until the gate springs, that’s where you’ve got to be careful. She gets very rammy. If you have her too early on the gate she can be a little difficult.”

Czernyson has had D’Orsay since she was a 2-year-old and noted that the issues at the gate “have gotten better as she’s gotten older. Hopefully it gets even better this year too.”

D’Orsay will face stiff competition in the Ambro Flight Stakes final on Saturday. She will see Bee A Magician and Classic Martine again, plus Perfect Alliance, who is 11-for-11 this year.

The mare will start from post three and is 6-1 on the morning line.

“I’m hoping we can get about as close to the same kind of trip (as the elimination),” Czernyson said. “Hopefully she can sit close to them and come at the end. She can do it from anywhere really — if she wants to, that’s the other thing. She gets a little moody.

“But I’m hoping she should be able to go with the big girls there. It has a lot to do with racing luck. I think she can be pretty competitive with the others.”

Despite the stiff competition D’Orsay is facing in these races, Czernyson doesn’t feel this is a so-called measuring stick for the horse.

“I guess, kind of, but it’s still early,” he said. “A few haven’t even come out yet. There’s a lot that can happen before the year is over.”

And while his focus this weekend is on D’Orsay, Czernyson also will start getting Maven ready for her return to action in North America. Maven, who was last year’s Dan Patch Award winner for best older female trotter, last raced in Sweden, where she finished sixth in the prestigious Elitlopp Invitational.

“She got back about a week ago,” Czernyson said. “I’m getting ready to race her over here again. She’s going to tell me when she’s ready to race. I really don’t have a plan for her right now.”

Following is the field in post order for the Armbro Flight with drivers, trainers and morning line: 1. Lady Laker, Trevor Ritchie, Al Tomlinson, 20-1; 2. Bax Of Life, Chris Christoforou, Jerry Duford, 15-1; 3. D’Orsay, Sylvain Filion, Jonas Czernyson, 6-1; 4. Perfect Alliance, Yannick Gingras, Julie Miller, 6-5; 5. Classic Martine, Tim Tetrick, Chris Oakes, 5-1; 6. Upfrontluckycarol, Steve Condren, Clark Beelby, 20-1; 7. Rockin With Dewey, Mario Baillargeon, Benoit Baillargeon, 12-1; 8. Charmed Life, James MacDonald, Dave Menary, 12-1; 9. Bee A Magician, Brian Sears, Nifty Norman, 4-1; 10. Angies Lucky Star, Trevor Henry, Richard Moreau, 25-1.

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