09/15/2014 10:37AM

Delaware County Fair: Jugette victory within reach for Lady Shadow

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Lady Shadow starts from post two in the first Jugette elimination on Wednesday.

Combine a touch of luck with a quality horse and anything is possible. That dynamic combination comes into play for Lady Shadow, the morning line favorite in one of three eliminations for the $298,100 Jugette at the Delaware County Fairgrounds on Wednesday afternoon.

Lady Shadow has earned $236,861 in 2014 while working outside of the spotlight, competing almost exclusively against Ontario-bred foes. The 3-year-old filly may have something to prove against the best of her division, but according to regular driver Doug McNair, the talent is there.

“She won last week (Mohawk, 1:50 4/5) and I don’t even think she was 100 percent,” said McNair.

Lady Shadow has already paced a winning mile in 1:49 2/5, placing her right in the mix with the upper echelon in her division. In her one start versus open company she flashed early speed in the Fan Hanover only to get stuck behind tiring stablemate Precocious Beauty. Trainer Gregg McNair has guided the young lady to a stellar 18-10-3-0 record with earnings of $426,753. That’s a pretty hefty bankroll for just a $19,000 Forest City purchase.

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“The owner picked her out at the sale,” said Gregg McNair, who has never won a Jugette or Little Brown Jug. “I think this is their first start in the Jugette.”

Her on-track credentials aside, the Lindsey and Connie Rankin-owned Lady Shadow has some history in her corner. She is a daughter of 2008 Little Brown Jug winner Shadow Play.

With keen early speed and a perfect 3-for-3 record on half-mile tracks, Lady Shadow seems poised for a date in the Jugette final. That is if she behaves, something McNair admits has been her worst enemy.

“She has had a few miscues behind the gate. When you start her up, it just depends on what kind of mood she is in,” said Doug McNair.

Having avoided top Jugette contenders Beach Gal (elim 2), Gettingreadytoroll (elim 2), and Sandbetweenurtoes (elim 3), Lady Shadow’s status has risen from longshot to serious contender just by the luck of the draw.

“I never really thought of it until I saw the draw,” said Doug McNair about his chances of actually winning the Jugette.

Lady Shadow’s main competition on Wednesday could come from a fellow unknown on the Grand Circuit. Color’s A Virgin starts just to her outside in post three and was on a six race win streak prior to a second-place finish in an Indiana Sire Stakes Final on September 6 at Hoosier Park. Trace Tetrick will drive the filly.

Another contender despite drawing outside and displaying a lack of early speed is the Casie Coleman-trained Also Encouraging. David Miller will steer the Shady Daisy winner from post seven.

Beach Gal is the 5-2 morning line favorite in the second elimination from post four with Tim Tetrick in the bike. Recent Simcoe winner Gettingreadytoroll (5-2) starts from post two in the third split with Yannick Gingras holding the lines. Sandbetweenurtoes, who had been undefeated in 2014 prior to her disappointing seventh-place finish on September 7 at Harrah’s Philadelphia, drew post six in the third elim for driver Brett Miller.

The top three finishers in each of the trio of $39,746 eliminations will advance to the $178,862 final. Post positions are decided by elimination finish position, with winners choosing posts 1-3, second-place finishers starting from posts 4-6, and third-place earning posts 7-9.

Post time on Wednesday is 10:50 a.m. for the early card and approximately 11:30 a.m. for the 20-race afternoon card. The Jugette elims are races 15, 16 and 17, with the final slated as race 20.

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