05/28/2015 11:19AM

Mohawk: Stubborn Belle seeks WEG-SBOA final win

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Stubborn Belle win her 2015 debut last week at Mohawk.

John Bax is no stranger to success, having collected nearly $20 million in lifetime earnings.

On Saturday evening, the veteran conditioner will be looking to add another win to his collection with Stubborn Belle in the $129,661 WEG-S.B.O.A Final for three-year-old filly trotters at Mohawk Racetrack.

Her first start of the season came in the eliminations a week prior, with an impressive win in 1:55 2/5.

“I was real happy with her,” said Bax. “I think it was a good tightener for her. We’ve got the inside (in the S.B.O.A. final) so I’m hoping she’ll be just one race better. Touch wood, hopefully she stays healthy.”

The daughter of Taurus Dream spent her winter across the border before returning to the track, fresh and ready for her sophomore campaign.

“She enjoyed Florida as much as I did! She’s come back pretty good, a few hiccups here and there. She can be a bit hard on herself so we’ve got the odd bump and bruise. Despite that, I think she’s getting back to where she needs to be.”

According to Bax, his trainee can certainly put the “stubborn” in “Stubborn Belle” and though somewhat calmer as a three-year-old, she still considers herself to be the boss. Heading into the final, she’ll be looking to prove it to a strong field.

“I think she’s got as good a chance as any. Obviously I’m hoping for a win but I think she looks good in there. There’s a couple new horses coming out of the woodwork and I’m sure they’re going to be heard from.”

Bill Budd’s Meadow Seelster certainly made herself known last week, finishing a strong second to Stubborn Belle after making a break at the start. Since returning to the track in 2015, she’s continued to trot faster with each start.

Another one to watch will be Second Sister as she looks to build upon her gate-to-wire 1:55 win in the second WEG-S.B.O.A elimination for Team McNair.

“The three-year-old year, you always have to step up,” said Bax. “It’s a long year so I won’t read too much into one race, but I’m looking forward to a good three-year-old season with her.”

In 2014, Stubborn Belle picked up another win off the track, capturing the O’Brien Award for Two-Year-Old Trotting Filly to cap off a season with earnings in excess of $500,000. She edged out fellow nominee Danielle Hall, who broke stride early in her elimination, rallying for sixth and the also eligible position in Saturday’s event.

“I felt disappointed for Carl (Jamieson),” said Bax.  “It would have been nice if he could have gotten a good start in her somewhere. That’s the problem with making all that money as a two-year-old, it’s hard to put a horse in for their first start back and get a race where they don’t get beat up by older horses.

“I’m sure it’s just a blip, (Danielle Hall) is a nice mare. She always liked to beat the good ones.”

Stubborn Belle will be headed next to Ontario Sires Stakes action and Bax has Grand Circuit events such as the Casual Breeze and Elegantimage stakes also on her radar.

“I’m hopeful she’ll be good enough for the Hambletonian Oaks in August. There’s lots of racing for her, it’s a long season so you don’t want to stretch them out too much too early. It’s going to be a good year.”

Saturday night’s card at Mohawk will be highlighted by the WEG-S.B.O.A finals for both three-year-old filly trotters and pacers. The $129,661 final for trotting fillies is carded as Race 3, while the $127,661 final for sophomore pacing fillies will take place as Race 6. Post time is 7:25 p.m.

-edited release (Hannah Beckett for WEG)