08/07/2017 4:56PM

Grand River: Play The Bell best in Battle of the Belles

Dave Landry
Trainer Casie Coleman said Play The Bell was "built like a tank" after her Battle of the Belles triumph

Play The Bell decimated her foes in the C$139,250 Battle of the Belles for Ontario-sired 2-year-old pacing fillies on Monday afternoon at Grand River Raceway, taking the lead in the final quarter and drawing off to a convincing 1:54 4/5 victory.

When 6-5 favorite Azure Seelster (Sylvain Filion) made a break before the start from post one, it enabled Sudden Passing (Doug McNair) to make the front from post three, and she would lead through opening-half stations of 27 4/5 and 57.  Play The Bell had gotten away third for driver Bob McClure, and she was sent first-over out of the third position before the half.

Play The Bell gained steadily on the rim after coming to the outside, and she would join Sudden Passing on the lead at the 1:25 2/5 three-quarters before overhauling her early in the final bend.  It was a race for second from that point as Play The Bell poured it on, reaching the finish line 6 1/4 lengths clear of 70-1 Rendezvous Hanover (Corey Callahan), who overcame post eight to finish second.  Lady Bubbles (James MacDonald) drew in off the also-eligible list after a scratch and wound up third at 50-1.

"I probably could have cleared about halfway up the backside, but I was just taking it easy," said McClure, who is the leading driver in the standings at the Elora, Ontario, half-mile oval.  "Then I just kept her attention all the way home.  She was flicking her ears and looking at stuff, so I don't think we've seen the bottom of her."

Casie Coleman trains Play The Bell, a daughter of Shadow Play, for owners West Wins Stable, Mac Nichol, and Calhoun Racing Ltd.  Play The Bell scored her third victory from five starts, and she has now earned C$96,888.  Bred by Winbak Farm, Play The Bell is out of the Noble Ability mare Bell Bottom Pans ($135,377), making her a three-quarter sister to Panfully Cool (The Panderosa, $307,694) and a half-sister to Bottom Deals (American Ideal, $227,625).  Play The Bell was the 3-2 second choice and paid $4.90 to win.

"I absolutely loved her when I bought her at the sale," recalled Coleman.  "She's built like a tank, and I liked her a lot.  I didn't plan to have to spend that much money for her, but I did, so I was real happy we got her.  Saying that, she wasn't the easiest filly to break.  Anybody that might have watched her post parade or warm-up, she's always kind of half galloping when she's going slow.  It took me a little while to figure out how to get her to pace.  She scared me for a while with the money we paid for her, but she's obviously coming around good now."