By Ken Weingartner
Over the past 40 years, only three female trotters have earned at least $300,000 at age 3 after being unraced at age 2. Jim Campbell trained one of the horses in that group, Stage Show, in 2008. He hopes to add another to the list this season.
Millies Possesion is 6-for-6 this year for Campbell and breeder/owner Fashion Farms after sitting out her 2-year-old campaign because of soundness issues.
She won four times on the Pennsylvania stakes circuit before notching her first Grand Circuit victory last week in a division of the Reynolds Memorial at The Meadowlands, pushing her earnings to $107,267.
On Saturday, she competes in the second of two divisions of the Del Miller Memorial at The Meadowlands. The $126,500 race is expected to be her final prep for the Hambletonian Oaks eliminations July 27 at the Big M.
“I can’t say enough about her; she kind of speaks for herself,” Campbell said. “She made a great transition last week stepping up with tougher horses and her first time at The Meadowlands. She took to it like a true professional.
“It’s a small percentage of the ones that don’t race at 2 that come back and do what she’s done. Am I surprised? Nothing surprises me in this game anymore.
“You think you know something and then it goes the opposite way. With her, the more she’s raced, the more she’s shown that she knows what she has to do. She’s just a true professional. She gives you everything she’s got.”
Only one 3-year-old filly over the past 40 years has earned more than $564,000 after missing her 2-year-old season, pacer Yellow Diamond, with $1.31 million in 2009.
In addition to Stage Show, who won the Matron Stakes and finished third in the Oaks and Breeders Crown on her way to $394,279, the trotters to surpass $300,000 were Ontario standouts China Pearls (with $511,856 in 2011) and Donven Promise (with $456,350 in 2001). Both were O’Brien Award winners.
Campbell considered Millies Possesion, a daughter of Possess The Will out of Fashion Athena, one of his top 2-year-olds last season before shutting her down.
This season, she is the sport’s fastest 3-year-old filly trotter thanks to her 1:51.1 win in the Reynolds. Millies Possesion, with regular driver Dexter Dunn, started from post nine and raced on the outside the entire mile.
“It’s hard when you’re training them to say this one is going to be our best one because you never know what they’re going to do when they go behind the starting gate,” Campbell said.
“I’m really impressed with her gait and the way she gets over the ground, and her determination and attitude. She knows she’s a racehorse and she loves doing it. There’s nothing negative to say about her, that’s for sure.”
Among the fillies joining Millies Possesion in the second Del Miller division are Starita, who also won a Reynolds division last week, as well as The Ice Dutchess, who won last year’s Peaceful Way and Jim Doherty Memorial stakes, and multiple Pennsylvania stakes winner Asiago.
The $124,000 first division includes Reynolds division winner Cloud Nine Fashion, also from Campbell’s stable, and New Jersey Sire Stakes champion Evident Beauty.
Also in action Saturday will be Hambletonian-eligible 3-year-old male trotters in two divisions of the Stanley Dancer Memorial. The fields feature seven of the 10 horses in Meadowlands announcer/analyst Ken Warkentin’s Road to the Hambletonian rankings: No. 1 Greenshoe, No. 3 Green Manalishi S, No. 4 Pilot Discretion, No. 5 Don’t Let’em, No. 7 Super Schissel, No. 9 Swandre The Giant, and No. 10 Osterc.
Saturday’s 13-race card at The Meadowlands also includes the Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-old pacers, the Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters, Mistletoe Shalee for 3-year-old female pacers, William R. Haughton Memorial for older male pacers, Golden Girls for older female pacers, and a leg of the Miss Versatility Series for older female trotters.