05/26/2016 7:27PM

Mohawk: Danish Darby an S.B.O.A. Final contender for Bax

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The annual Harrisburg yearling sale has turned up its fair share of diamonds in the rough. For John Bax, it was HIP #558, Danish Darby, in 2014. Now he is sending out that contender in Saturday’s S.B.O.A. Final for 3-year-old trotting fillies at Mohawk Racetrack looking to upset the probable favorites.

“We were looking for an Ontario bred and it was the third day,” said Bax. “The pedigree was all racehorse, she’s a Majestic Son so we thought she would be a good fit and the price was right at $20,000.”

Danish Darby is the third foal from Danish Diamond, an SJS Caviar mare who traded in racing for a second career after only three starts. The Majestic Son filly is her second foal to take a mark under 1:55, the other being Andover Hall sired Danish Durango, who has become a steady competitor at the Meadowlands. 

“She was all business right from the get-go when we were breaking her, a little aggressive. A little bit of a bully but always went ahead as she started training. She seemed to have her own agenda sometimes.”

While her 2-year-old season was hardly lackluster, she failed to set the trotting world alight. A regular on the freshmen Sires Stakes circuit, Danish Darby only hit the board twice in eight starts and retained her maiden status coming into 2016.

“Physically, I thought she could play in the Gold but mentally she wasn’t mature enough,” noted Bax. “It cost her…she broke a few times, self-destructed behind the gate. Something as simple as her not getting her own way.”

Fast forward to April, where she promptly got off the wings to grab the lead and refused to relinquish it in her first qualifier of the year at Mohawk. This set the tone for her next three starts, with back to back wins and a second.

“She’s better this year; last year she didn’t capitalize on her talent. The talent was there but she was a bit hard on herself and hard on us as far as the manners part. She wanted sometimes to go more than she should or could at the time, so it cost us a little.”

Bax is quick to note that she has become a bit more agreeable since, much to the appreciation of those around the barn. Though she still has her competitive edge, she has grown both physically and mentally, developing an essential maturity coming into this season.

Danish Darby will start from post seven in the S.B.O.A Final on Saturday at the Campbellville oval, having put up an impressive second-place finish in her elimination for driver Paul MacDonell. After Rick Zeron trainee Radiant Beam broke prior to the half, MacDonnell capitalized on the situation from the pocket and held the lead to the three-quarter marker. 2015 O’Brien Award winner Caprice Hill trotted home in 28 seconds flat to steal a 1:53 1/5 victory, but Bax is confident his filly is poised to be a contender in the final.

“I was real happy with her, she had to do most of the work in that race. Any time you trot in 1:53 3/5 in your third start of the year, I think it’s impressive. I guess we will find out if she can come back to that. I’m hoping in the final that one of those two other really nice fillies will do the work.”

The $174,329 final is stacked with a group of tough trotters, featuring Caprice Hill, Celebrity Eventsy and second Bax trainee Moonlight Cocktail. Finishing fourth in her elimination, she will team up with Steve Condren from post position eight alongside her stablemate.

“She’s come a long way as well from last year; she’s been dropping in time and she’s always done it right. She’s been very well mannered and it’s a matter of her learning to go faster. She trotted in the 55 range which is new territory for her and I’m hoping that she’ll keep progressing, get a trip and pick up a cheque.”

Danish Darby will be pointed next to Ontario Sires Stakes Gold engagements in June, with her connections optimistic about what the 2016 season has in store.

“You always hope to see the best from them,” Bax said. “I’m hoping that she can trot consistently in the 1:54 range because that’s what it’s going to take to play in the big leagues.

“If she can do that we’ll have a lot of fun this year. The Anderson family are already having fun…it’s always nice to have a group of owners who take as much enjoyment in their horses as they do.”

Saturday night’s card at Mohawk also features the S.B.O.A. Final for 3-year-old filly pacers headlined by last year’s O’Brien Award winner L A Delight. The first race goes to post at 7:30pm.

Here are the fields for the S.B.O.A Finals.

(PP/Horse/Driver/Trainer)

Race 5: S.B.O.A Filly Trot – Purse: $174,329

1. Tymal Tempest (Phil Hudon – Mark Etsell)

2. Caprice Hill (Randy Waples – Tony Alagna)

3. Celebrity Eventsy (Sylvain Filion – Staffan Lind)

4. Major Muscle (Mario Baillargeon – Mark Etsell)

5. Dottie (Chris Christoforou – Jerry Duford)

6. Flowers N Songs (Doug McNair – Paul Reid)

7. Danish Darby (Paul MacDonell – John Bax)

8. Moonlight Cocktail (Steve Condren – John Bax)

9. Jangone (Dagfin Henriksen – Dagfin Henriksen)

10. P L Jill (Mike Saftic – Matt Dupuis)

AE: Treasure Gifts K (Doug McNair – Paul Reid)

 

Race 8: S.B.O.A Filly Pace – Purse: $173,329

1. Tonightimlovingyou (James MacDonald – Jimmy Takter)

2. Good Will Hanover (Chris Christoforou – Dr. Ian Moore)

3. Lay Lady Lay (Doug McNair – Chris Matthews)

4. L A Delight (Randy Waples – Bob McIntosh)

5. Free Show (Jody Jamieson – David Menary)

6. Lady Marina (Trevor Henry – Stacy Reinsma)

7. Thatsoveryverynice (Sylvain Filion – Tony Alagna)

8. Noone To Depend On (Phil Hudon – Carl Jamieson)

9. Mayhem Seelster (Jack Moiseyev – Tony O’Sullivan)

10. Divas Image (Jonathan Drury – Mark Steacy)

AE: Maniana (Trevor Henry – David Menary)

--edited release (Hannah Beckett for WEG Communications)