06/14/2012 7:13AM

Mohawk: Win Missy B looks ready to rebound in Elegantimage

World Wide Racing Photos
The No. 1-ranked 3-year-old trotting filly earlier this year, Win Missy B goes in Saturday's Elegantimage.

Put a number-one ranking on anything and you become a target. Put a number-one ranking on a three-year-old filly and suddenly you're invincible.

Win Missy B had such a ranking displayed on her expectation level early this year when the USTA-Trackmaster ratings named her the leading three-year-old trotter in North America.

The filly by Conway Hall seemed ready to meet expectations after two very sharp qualifying miles for trainer Charlie Norris at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. That set her up for a season’s debut a few weeks ago at Mohawk in a division of the Casual Breeze. Sent off as the 7-10 favorite, Win Missy B cut the pace under good rating by driver Paul MacDonell and then had no answers when All Ready Hanover pulled to challenge in the stretch.

Last week in the trials for the Elegantimage at Mohawk, Win Missy B should have been tighter and better prepared for a winning mile. Yet what happened on the racetrack proved even more puzzling than her first race. This time with Dave Miller driving, Win Missy B acted more like a runaway, storming to intense fractions of 27 1/5, 55 2/5 and 1:23 3/5 before weakening in the stretch and finishing third to current giant killer Maven.

Suddenly the theoretically best sophomore trotter in North America had been reduced in size on consecutive trips to the post by horses that hardly seemed her equal during a brilliant freshman campaign.

“I thought she raced well in her first start,” said Charlie Norris her trainer. “The second start she just went too fast for no reason.”

Norris claims that while Win Missy B, a homebred of longtime owner Robert Key, can at times be a little grabby, she is far from a runaway that can’t be controlled.

Last year when Win Missy B was doing some of her best trotting, Brian Sears was in the sulky. This Saturday for the $530,000 final of the Elegantimage, Sears will be reunited with the talented lass. “Brian had a commitment last Friday at Vernon” said Norris. “Dave (Miller) told me before last week’s drive that he was committed to the other filly (Personal Style).”

Perhaps lost by some in Win Missy B’s last start was just how fast those three fractions really were. On a night where the Mohawk track was exceptionally dead and where horses were routinely stopping in the stretch, Win Missy B’s performance, even in defeat, was exemplary. A 30 1/5 final quarter was her slowest of the year including a pair of winning qualifiers, but there were many others racing at Mohawk on the same night who stalled in the final quarter.

Check Me Out, the probable favorite for Saturday’s final trotted a final quarter in just 29 4/5, but she won an elimination in 1:54 3/5, nearly a second slower than Win Missy B traveled in finishing third.

Last year in Ontario’s biggest two-year-old trotting race for fillies, the $455,940 Peaceful Way, Win Missy B defeated her rival Check Me Out both in an elimination and final. For the most part it was probably Win Missy B’s extraordinary early speed that gave her the edge over her rival in both races. Trainer Norris knows that things can prove quite different from two to three years of age. “Sometimes you have to go to the front as a two-year-old because you’re so much better than the others. At three horses come out of the woodwork to beat you, like All Ready Hanover who didn’t even race against us as a two-year-old,” Norris said.

While Check Me Out’s connections elected to take post three for the final Win Missy B had the luck of the draw landing post two. Ideally Norris hopes that Sears can map out a trip that sees his filly covered up for some part of the mile. “I hope she can take up when Tetrick (driver of Check Me Out) moves to the lead,” said Norris.

The Elegantimage is by no means a two-filly race as Norris suggested any horse could step up and beat you. Certainly trainer Jimmy Takter has three very capable fillies in the race including Valdonna. Last week Valdonna was closely tracking Win Missy B on the final turn when she struggled with her footing and went offstride. She did recover well enough and trotted strongly through the wire.

Last year Win Missy B won eight times in 13 starts good for earnings of $731,175. In 2012 Win Missy B has failed to win in two starts. Considering her flawless gait and obvious natural ability, do not be surprised if Win Missy B picks the biggest race of the season thus far to find the winner’s circle.

The $530,000 Elegantimage is race three on Saturday’s Mohawk program, first post is slated for 7:10 p.m..