07/31/2015 9:51PM

Meadowlands: Broadway Donna dazzles in Doherty elimination

Lisa Photo
Broadway Donna is now undefeated in five lifetime starts.

As fans of harness racing we are always on the lookout for that special horse. Broadway Donna, one of many 2-year-old trotters competing in eliminations for rich finals to be contested on Hambletonian Day (Aug. 8), could be such an animal.

The daughter of champions Donato Hanover and Broadway Schooner, Broadway Donna came into Friday night’s Jim Doherty Memorial elimination perfect in four starts and exited as flawlessly as she arrived. The Jim Campbell-trained filly brushed to the lead and cruised to a national season’s record (for both sexes) 1:53 3/5 win with David Miller in the bike.

Listening to Campbell speak about the filly after the race, you couldn’t help but wonder about her potential.

“I’m fortunate and blessed to have a filly like this,” said Campbell. “She has done everything we’ve asked for and more. This filly acts like a true professional.”

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Celebrity Eventsy was a no match second in the mile while I’m Outstanding finished third. Both earned berths in next Saturday's final.

Womans Will brushed to the front at the half and just held off a fast-closing Miss Tezsla to capture the second Doherty elim. Silent Blessings finished third in the 1:55 3/5 mile.

“I made the move I wanted to and she got a little lost in the stretch,” said winning driver Andy Miller about his filly being green late in the mile and nearly getting caught.

In the final elimination, driver Johnny Takter absolutely stole the race with Kathy Parker. A top driver in Sweden, Takter was able to rate soft fractions and kept uncoupled stablemate Sunset Glider locked in the pocket for the win in 1:56 1/5.

“She felt strong all the way,” said Johnny Takter, steering the filly for brother/trainer Jimmy Takter.

Lindy’s On Fire aborted a leave attempt and stormed home for second at huge odds. Sunset Glider was locked in the pocket by the leader and found a seam just in time to get up for a guaranteed spot in the final.

All of the top three finishers will return for the $389,450 Doherty Memorial final on Hambletonian Day. They will be joined by one fourth-place finisher to be drawn by lot on Saturday. Completing the field of 10 will be either Encore Gold, Southwind Adele or Gifted Lady.

Southwind Frank could be the favorite in the $349,850 Peter Haughton Memorial final for freshman male trotters after his easy win in the first of two eliminations.

Driver Yannick Gingras made a slow brush to the front approaching the half and cruised to an in-hand 1:54 1/5 victory over fellow finalists Earn And Burn, Alexander Hanover, Sliding Home and Dominion Beach.

“He had plenty of trot left,” said Gingras about the Ron Burke trainee. “I was trying to go as slow as I could. We have the final next week and this was only an elimination.”

Milligan’s School pulled off the upset in the second Haughton division. After taking an early tuck third, Milligan’s School was sent to the rim by driver Andy Miller at the five-eighths and blew right by the leader at the head of the stretch. Once clear he held sway under a drive for the victory in 1:54 1/5.

“The fractions were pretty strong going to the half and I didn’t want to get trapped in there,” said Miller about his tactics behind the colt trained by his wife Julie Miller.

Bar Hoping, Brooklyn Hill, Southwind Flash and Winter Harbor were the other finalists.  The first trio had every chance at catching the winner. Winter Harbor was driven very conservatively and easily made it into fifth to advance for the big cash next week.

All elimination winners in both finals will get to draw for post positions 1-6 during the Monday (8/3) draw. The rest of the finalists are subject to an open draw.