CLEVELAND, Ohio -- L A Delight, a millionaire pacing filly, has a Hall of Fame trainer (Bob McIntosh) who has enlisted a Hall of Fame driver (John Campbell) to join him in a paddock stall prior to Saturday's $120,000 Courageous Lady at Northfield Park.
After drawing the dreaded No. 8 post, the usually fleet-footed L A Delight, winner of the prestigious Jugette at the Delaware County Fair on Sept. 21, will need the skill of both accomplished horsemen to prevail in the final major stake race on Northfield's 2016 calendar.
Winning from the far outside wing of the mobile starting gate is difficult on a half-mile track, the configuration of the Rt. 8 oval. Post position statistics at Northfield through Nov. 16 reveal that horses starting from the extreme outside win only 4.5 percent of the time. Horses from the No. 1 post win 19.1 percent of its starts.
Despite drawing the No. 8 post, L A Delight, a winner of 20 of 30 career starts and $1,193,323, has been installed the Courageous Lady's 5-2 morning line favorite.
McIntosh is confident in his Ontario-sired daughter of Bettor's Delight
"She's never really raced a bad race," he recently told reporters. "She's just a good filly, and she just wants to win, and that's something you can't teach them, it's bred right in them. She's pretty much the best filly that I've had that has a made a million dollars."
Rock Me Baby, starting from the No. 5 post, is the Courageous Lady's 7-2 second choice. She prepped for the race with a 1:52 4/5 qualifier at Saratoga Raceway. Tim Tetrick, another member of Harness Racing Hall of Fame, will drive her.
The Courageous Lady, part of harness racing's fabled Grand Circuit, is the 11th race on Saturday's 15-race. It is named for a filly that raced from 1977 until 1981 and earned $418,256 for Julian and Ruth Cohen of Mayfield Hts. Cohen, a lawyer, purchased Courageous Lady for his wife, who had been diagnosed with cancer and was given two years to live.
"We followed her to all her races," said Julian Cohen, who died in 1997. "Ruth lived another eight years, primarily because of her horse."
The 2016 $120,000 Courageous Lady field:
PP, Horse, Trainer, Driver, Morning Line
1. Mother Of Art, Ron Burke, Ronnie Wrenn Jr., 9-2
2. Time On My Hands, Chris Ryder, Aaron Merriman, 4-1
3. Bellatricks, Virgil Morgan Jr., Ryan Stahl, 10-1
4. Yankee Moonshine, Doug Hinklin, Don Irvine Jr., 8-1
5. Rock Me Baby, Heidi Rohr, Tim Tetrick, 7-2
6. Free Show, Ron Burke, Jason Merriman, 12-1
7. Dime A Dance, Doug Snyder, Mike Wilder, 15-1
8. L A Delight, Robert McIntosh, John Campbell, 5-2
-- Bob "Railbird" Roberts
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