08/08/2016 3:03PM

Northfield: Pure Country to tackle the boys again in Milstein


Look out boys, here she comes again.

Three-year-old female pacer Pure Country, coming off a fourth-place finish against male rivals in the Cane Pace, will take on the boys in Saturday’s $300,000 Carl Milstein Memorial Invitational at Northfield Park. Among the horses also expected in the Milstein are North America Cup champion Betting Line and 2015 Dan Patch Award-winner Boston Red Rocks.

Pure Country was nosed out by JK Will Power for third place in the Cane Pace as she tried to become only the second filly to ever win the event. Countess Adios, the 1960 winner, remains the sole filly to accomplish the feat.

Control The Moment, this year’s Meadowlands Pace winner, captured the Cane Pace, which is the first jewel in the Pacing Triple Crown. He will not race in the Milstein.

Pure Country started from post 11 in the Cane Pace, in the second tier behind post No. 1 starter Check Six, and was eighth to the half-mile point in the 1-1/8 miles race. She finished 2-1/2 lengths behind Control The Moment.

“We were hoping (Check Six) would bust out of there a little better, but we were 20 lengths behind in the first turn,” said Jimmy Takter, who trains Pure Country for owner Diamond Creek Racing. “She was so far back she never really had a shot in the race. If she had a spot on the gate, she would have gotten away much further up. It’s not easy to make up lengths on those horses.”

Pure Country won all 10 of her races last season at age 2 and received the Dan Patch Award as her division’s best. For her career, she has won 16 of 20 starts and earned $1.30 million.

Her start in the Milstein will be her first race on a half-mile oval.

“Northfield is such a good half-mile track with its banked turns and she’s so slick gaited that I don’t see any problems with it,” Takter said.

Takter considered sending Pure Country to another preliminary round of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes on Saturday, but with the filly already qualified for the final decided to accept the invitation to the Milstein after consulting with driver Brett Miller and Diamond Creek’s Adam Bowden.

“Brett was happy with her in the Cane,” Takter said. “We talked and we all agreed to give this a shot.”

Betting Line, trained by Casie Coleman, has won seven consecutive races since opening his season with a second-place finish. He has raced on the Ontario Sire Stakes circuit his last three starts, which followed his victory in the North America Cup.

Steve Elliott-trained Boston Red Rocks was second in his last start to Don’tcallmefrancis, another expected Milstein participant, in the Anthony Abbatiello New Jersey Classic. Also anticipated to join the group is Sintra, who has won seven of 10 races this year for trainer Dave Menary. His three setbacks all were second-place finishes to Betting Line.

Expected to complete the Milstein field are Duel Of Truth, Magnum J, and Mr Wiggle Pants. The draw for the Milstein Memorial is Tuesday.

-Courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, please visit www.ustrotting.com