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Top pacing mares to battle in Betsy Ross
Wednesday, May 24, 2017 - by Mike Bozich, for Harrah's Philadelphia

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Chester, PA --- The 2017 edition of the Betsy Ross Mares Pacing Invitational features a classy group of older distaffers, as they vie for a $150,000 purse on Sunday (May 28) at Harrah's Philadelphia.

The race features the first ever meeting between Diamond Creek Racing's Pure Country and dominant older mare Lady Shadow.

Pure Country, who finished second in her 4-year-old debut last week at Yonkers, won 10 races of 21 starts a year ago, with earnings of more than $1 million. It was good enough for a Dan Patch Award for best 3-year-old pacing filly. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Western Montana was also a Breeders Crown champion and Dan Patch Award winner at age two. Originally, her 4-year-old debut was set for the Chip Noble Memorial at Miami Valley, but she was unable to compete due to sickness. Pure Country will start from post two on Sunday.

Lady Shadow wasted little time continuing her dominance in 2017. The multiple O'Brien Award and 2016 Dan Patch Award winner equaled the track record in 1:50.3 at Miami Valley in her seasonal debut in the Chip Noble Memorial. The 6-year-old daughter of Shadow Play-Lady Camella ended last year by winning the Breeders Crown and the TVG Free For All for mares in impressive fashion. In her career, she has won 29 of 56 races with earnings of more than $1.6 million. She draws post six for Sunday's affair.

Drawing post one is another millionaire mare in Sassa Hanover. The 5-year-old daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven had a big 3-year-old season, including victories in the Jugette and Courageous Lady. Her 4-year-old season was a bit of a disappointment, however, but she closed the season strong with door-knocking efforts against Lady Shadow. She is making her third start of the season for trainer Ron Burke.

Richard Poillucci's Nike Franco N starts from post position three. The 7-year-old New Zealander was a multiple group one winner down under before coming to North America in August of last year. She was seven of 13 in the win column in 2016 (four-for-four in North America) and already has two wins this season.

Australian import Mackenzie A will start from post position number four. The Peter Tritton pupil made her North American debut at Yonkers in February. The 5-year-old daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven won eight times before coming stateside, including the Group 2 Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. She is coming off a win in the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final at Yonkers.

Randy Bendis and Tom Pollack's Medusa will start from post position number five. The second place finisher in the Blue Chip Matchmaker will look to add to her sizable win total. She has notched 28 victories in 81 career starts. The 6-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight-Mythical has victories over many of these throughout her career.

Emilio and Maria Rosati's Blue Moon Stride will start from post seven. The 4-year-old daughter of Rocknroll Hanover-Classic Star broke through in last year's Mistletoe Shalee at The Meadowlands, with an eye-opening 1:49.2 performance. The New Jersey Sire Stakes standout is making her fourth start of the season.

The ultra-sharp Cousin Mary will start from post position number eight. The 4-year-old daughter of Camluck-Chianti Seelster swept the Bobby Weiss Series at Pocono, after completing the sweep of the Petticoat Series at Yonkers. She has won 11 of 13 starts this year. Her latest was a qualifier over the Harrah's Philly oval, in which she paced the last half in an effortless :56. The final time was 1:54.1.

The Betsy Ross is part of an all-star card coming up on Sunday (May 28) at Harrah's Philadelphia. The Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational for older trotters and the Ben Stafford Jr. Memorial for older pacers are also on the program. Post time is 12:40 p.m.

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