05/01/2014 3:39PM

Harness: Leading ladies invade Miami Valley

Derick Giwner
Maven makes her 2014 debut on Sunday.

Miami Valley Raceway will conclude its inaugural meet on Sunday by hosting a pair of races for older mares. Topping a star-studded group is reigning Older Trotting Mare of the Year Maven, who will be making her initial foray to the track in 2014. On the pacing side, the fastest female pacer in the history of the sport—Shebestingin—heads a select group of seven behind the gate in the Sam ‘Chip’ Noble Memorial.

Maven enters her 5-year-old campaign fresh off a season where she posted 10 wins in 13 starts and increased her career earnings to $1,423,969. Following a trio of qualifiers, trainer Jonas Czernyson, who sends out four of the eight in the field, feels he has the top pupil ready for action.

“She has had enough qualifiers and I’m hoping she’s ready,” said Czernyson, who sounded more confident than the statement appears. “I’d be disappointed if she lost, but I know she gives you everything she has and she seems to be coming back sharp.”

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The Miami Valley Distaff will likely be Maven’s only start in North America before shipping off to Sweden to tackle the boys in the prestigious Elitlopp at Sovalla Racetrack on May 25. Czernyson said a decision on whether Maven will get another start or qualifier before shipping on May 17 will be made after Sunday’s race.

“I’m hoping we can win it,” said Czernyson, a native of Sweden, about his chances with Maven in the Elitlopp. “If I didn’t think she could win, I wouldn’t be going.”

In addition to Maven, who starts from post 5 with Yannick Gingras in the bike, Czernyson also has high hopes for the rest of his trio. He’ll send out D’Orsay (post 1), Ma Chere Hall (post 6) and Mistery Woman (post 8) in the $60,000 race.

“I didn’t want to race them all against each other, but I didn’t want to race them against the boys in their first starts, either,” said Czernyson. “They all qualified well and they should be sharp and ready.”

The non-Czernyson entrants in the race include Angies Lucky Star (post 7), Cowgirl Hall (post 3), Daylon Miracle (post 2) and Rockin With Dewey (post 4).

On the pacing side in the Noble Memorial, Shebestingin made her 2014 debut at the Meadowlands and posted a sparkling 1:50 4/5 mile in a conditioned race. The Joe Holloway trainee won 12 of 19 races and stopped the clock in an impressive 1:47 at the Red Mile to set the world record for distaff pacers.

The waters get deeper for Shebestingin (post 4) and regular driver David Miller in her second start of the year. Blue Chip Matchmaker runner-up Yagonnakissmeornot is signed on from post 2. The Rene Allard trainee has finished first or second in 11 of her 12 starts this year.  Fresh into the older ranks is 4-year-old Jerseylicious. A winner of almost $300k in 2013, she scored at first asking in 1:51 2/5 at the Meadowlands on April 25 and goes behind the gate from post 7.

Others in with a chance in the $50,300 race include: Ohmybelle (post 1), She’s Shocking (post 3), Best Impressions (post 5) and Camille (post 6).

Post time for the final card of the year at Miami Valley is 6:30 PM. The Noble Memorial is race 8 with the Miami Valley Distaff listed as race 9.