06/12/2013 5:22PM

Mohawk: Czernyson looks to continue his hot start with Maven in the Armbro Flight

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Maven hopes to be the queen of the Older Trotting division for trainer Jonas Czernyson.

It is a bit premature to classify trainer Jonas Czernyson’s 2013 accomplishments as a career year. The 40-year-old only has 33 starts (through June 11), but with 11 wins and 6 seconds, things are certainly going his way. Czernyson hopes to keep the victories rolling in on Saturday when he sends out his prized pupil Maven in the $271,470 Armbro Flight for older trotting mares.

If her early season returns are any indication, Maven, who is but 4 years old, has the looks of a superstar. In a division that is far from the spotlight and hasn’t had a true leader since Buck I St Pat hung up her harness, Maven appears poised for great things in 2013.

To date, Maven has amassed 17 wins in 28 career starts for owner William Donovan. She won the Breeders Crown for sophomore trotting fillies last year and has come back to the races to face older company at the top of her game.

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“She filled out a lot,” said Czernyson, who said her size increased more in body mass than in height. “I’m really happy with her. She trained down really good this winter.”

Even Czernyson, never one for bold predictions, knows he has something special in Maven.

“So far, the way she looks, she seems to be the best,” said Czernyson, who stopped short at predicting anything bold. “I will let you know in November,” he chuckled on whether she could be the next great trotting mare along the lines of Buck I St Pat, Moni Maker or Scenic Regal. “I’m not going to go out on a limb. She is very easy on herself and can race from anywhere, but she has to ship all over. It is easy to say she could be great but I’ll wait until the end of the year.”

In her first start of 2013, the Miss Versatility at Woodbine, Maven equaled the Canadian record for trotting mares. Her 1:52 final clocking tied Buck I St Pat for that honor. She made her second start of the year in last week’s Armbro Flight eliminations and easily dispatched her rivals with a powerful 1:53 4/5 score.

On Saturday, Maven and driver Yannick Gingras will start from post 3 against a talented group that includes elimination winner and fellow 4-year-old Personal Style (post 2). The Brittany Farms and Melvin Hartman co-owned mare trotted a 1:53 1/5 mile in her elimination win.

Of the more experienced ladies, Cedar Dove could certainly play a major role. She finished second behind Personal Style last week while dealing with some traffic issues. Ron Pierce will drive the 5-year-old from post 5.

Czernyson’s hopes on Saturday do not end with Maven. He will send out a pair – Mistery Woman and Shared Past - in the $364,266 Elegantimage Final for 3-year-old filly trotters.

On paper Shared Past looks like the clear standout of the two, but Czernyson isn’t so sure.

“I think you will see that they are pretty equal,” said Czernyson. “Mistery Woman really hasn’t had a chance to show what she has and stretch out on a bigger track yet. She did trot (1):53 last year.”

Mistery Woman, who has yet to trot faster than 1:55 in 2013 and shows only one win from three starts this year, will begin from post 1 with driver David Miller in the bike.

Shared Past already has a pair of sub 1:54 wins and a second under her belt in current-year action. She finished second in her elimination last week, but things didn’t exactly go her way.

“Shared Past got a tough trip last week but she hung on good,” said Czernyson. “She raced in the Sire Stakes Final just six days before that and had to ship up to Canada. Because of that, her preparation wasn’t exactly perfect.”

Starting from post 9 with new driver Tim Tetrick in the bike, the task for Shared Past will prove difficult once again. The field is stacked with proven fillies like the unbeaten-in-2013 Bee A Magician. Ranked by some as the best in her division, Bee A Magician won her elimination in 1:53 3/5 last Friday. She will start from post 2 with Rick Zeron in the bike.

Fellow elimination winner Angies Lucky Star starts one spot to Bee A Magician’s right with Sylvain Filion in the bike. She cruised to a four length 1:53 1/5 victory over Shared Past last week.

To Dream On, thought by many to be good enough to take on the boys this year after her brilliant rookie campaign in 2012, will look to get back on track from post 5 in the Final. She was a disappointing third behind Bee A Magician in her elimination but retains the services of Gingras, who opted off Shared Past.

Although the Elegantimage is a nice trophy to add to any trainers’ collection, Czernyson has his eyes on the big prize – the Hambletonian Oaks.

“I want to win every race and I never enter to be second, but the Hambletonian and Oaks is highest on my list. More people are going to remember the Oaks than who won the Elegantimage,” said Czernyson.

Czernyson won the Oaks in 2005 with Jaolpy and sent Maven to the post as the second choice in the 2012 Oaks only to watch her break on the final turn. Now with what he calls “better stock” and a slightly adjusted method involving slower interval training miles, the Swedish born conditioner appears on the path to a special season.

 

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