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Owners hope Feels Like Magic starts a new trend Friday
CAMPBELLVILLE, ON — As the three-year-old trotting fillies head into their third Gold Final this Friday night at Mohawk Racetrack, Dr. Dan McMaster is keeping his fingers crossed that Feels Like Magic will reverse what has been a frustrating trend.
In her last three stake appearances, the Kevin O’Reilly trainee has won her elimination and then failed to deliver in the Final. The win one, lose one pattern dates back to last September, when Feels Like Magic posted her first lifetime win in a Gold Elimination at the Campbellville oval, and then made a break in the Gold Final.
“I hope we can halt a trend,” says McMaster. “She seems back on track. According to Kevin (O’Reilly) she gets a little bit of a sulk going sometimes.”
Feels Like Magic was very impressive in her Gold Elimination at Mohawk last week, sailing to a seven length victory in 1:56.2. Veteran reinsman Bill O’Donnell pilots the Kadabra daughter, and the pair controlled the fractions from the halfway marker to the finish line.
McMaster, who shares ownership on the filly with his Feels Like Magic Stable partners Dr. David Powell of Campbellville and Tine Nielsen of Moffat, has been ribbing O’Donnell that the key to reversing the trend might be finding a driver with more experience.
“I saw Bill O’Donnell this evening (Wednesday) and I said, actually to his wife, ‘We’re looking for someone with a little more experience to drive this filly,’” says the Rockwood resident, with a chuckle. “Bill said, ‘I don’t think there is anybody with more experience,’ and I said, ‘Keith Waples was in today and I was chatting him up to see if he was interested.’”
At 84, Waples has 24 more years of experience than O’Donnell, but all kidding aside, McMaster adds that 'The Magic Man' has done an exceptional job with Feels Like Magic, and O’Reilly wholeheartedly agrees.
“Billy (O'Donnell) does very well to keep his patience with that one,” says O’Reilly. “I would lose my patience all the time, because she can go so much, but she’s so immature in the brain.”
O’Reilly and McMaster are confident that one of these days Feels Like Magic will settle into her role and come up with a big mile, and McMaster at least is hoping it happens this Friday when the filly and O’Donnell will start from Post 3, while stablemate and elimination winner Bella Dolce gets the outside Post 10.
“I hope the trend is behind us, and I hope we can keep Kevin’s stablemate behind us,” says the veterinarian.
Bella Dolce moved into O’Reilly’s barn just before the July 18 Canadian Breeders elimination and has not put a foot wrong since. Fully recovered from a gluteal muscle tear that hampered her early season efforts, the Kadabra daughter cruised to a three and three-quarter length win in her Gold Elimination in a smart 1:55.4.
O’Reilly took over training duties on the filly from his friend Richard 'Nifty' Norman, and says her current three race win streak has less to do with him than all the work Norman and his staff did in New Jersey before sending the filly north. Bella Dolce continues to receive massage and magnetic therapy, but O’Reilly says time was likely the biggest factor in the filly’s return to form.
“She’s done really well to keep competing, and now she’s over the hump,” says the Moffat resident. “She’s got a bit of class to her.”
David McDuffee of Nashua, NH bred and owns Bella Dolce, who captured eight of 11 starts as a two-year-old, and rides a record of three wins and three seconds in nine sophomore starts into Friday’s $120,000 contest.
Friday night’s program also features a $20,000 Gold Consolation for ten fillies that finished fourth through seventh in the elimination round. The Consolation goes postward as Race 3, while the Gold Final is slated as Race 5. Post time for Mohawk Racetrack’s Friday evening program is 7:30 pm.
For complete entries please go to: http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/entries/data/emohsfr.html.