06/17/2016 11:04AM

Mohawk: Darlinonthebeach is meant to win Fan Hanover Final

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Chris Gooden
Darlinonthebeach owns the fastest record (1:49 4/5) of all filly pacers in 2016.

If bloodlines have anything to do with it, Darlinonthebeach is a shoe-in to win Saturday’s C$438,000 Fan Hanover Final for 3-year-old fillies at Mohawk.

Overlooking her superstar dad Somebeachsomewhere, Darlinonthebeach is out of the great Darlin’s Delight, who scored in the Fan Hanover back in 2006 and followed in the footsteps of her mom, 1990 winner Town Pro.

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The third foal by Darlin’s Delight, it is no surprise that Darlinonthebeach is the first of her kin to excel on the stakes circuit as she is the first filly from a family that has produced a line of strong filly performers. Darlin’s Delight is by Bettor’s Delight, who has seen six of his foals reach the $1,000,000 mark in career earnings. Darlin’s Delight tops the list at $2,901,926.

“It’s a filly family,” said Nancy Johansson, who trains Darlinonthebeach for owner White Birch Farm.

Darlinonthebeach was a good 2-year-old, winning twice in 10 starts while earning $215,391, but she has arguably been the best sophomore pacing filly in the country in 2016.

“She matured a lot from last year,” said Johansson. “She always wanted things her own way,  but now she is more agreeable.”

The change in attitude has helped Darlinonthebeach win five of six starts this year including last week’s Fan Hanover elimination in 1:50 2/5. In that start she brushed to the front and set sizzling fractions of 54 and 1:21 3/5 while fending off her competition easily enough.

Despite a steady dose of fast miles and uncovered trips, Darlinonthebeach has been no worse for the wear. She is sound and healthy according to Johansson.

 “She is just remarkable; there’s a lot of her mother in her. She was a tough mare,” said Johansson.

While some horses stay in Canada during the week between eliminations and finals, Johansson shipped Darlinonthebeach back to her home base in New Jersey on Sunday morning to keep her happy.

“Fillies like to be in their normal environment,” said Johansson, who added that her prized filly is “very easy on herself”.

Unfortunately for 5-2 morning line favorite Darlinonthebeach, the task in the Fan Hanover final is far from an easy one. She will have to battle 2015 U.S. Dan Patch Award winning filly Pure Country and Canada’s O’Brien champion L A Delight, along with a handful of other legitimate fillies with an eye on the prize.

“I think right now she could very well be (the best), but there are a lot of good fillies this year, so things will have to go her way a bit,” said Johansson.

Starting from post two with regular pilot David Miller at the controls, Darlinonthebeach, the fastest horse in the field with a 1:49 4/5 career best clocking, will attempt to tap into her maternal bloodlines on Saturday. If so, when the dust settles for the ninth race of 15 on North America Cup night, she’ll be standing tall in the winner’s circle and join her mom in the record books.

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