Donovan “ecstatic” watching Youaremycandygirl win the She’s A Great Lady

Reached on a cruise ship at sea, the owner only wished he had been near a betting window as his $150,000 yearling purchase went off at 40-1 in the $500,000 event.

by Dave Briggs and Mark McKelvie / WEG standardbred communications

Owner Bill Donovan of Delray Beach, FL, was on a cruise ship in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on Saturday night when his two-year-old pacing filly Youaremycandygirl pulled off a 40-1 upset in the $500,000 She’s A Great Lady at Mohawk.

“I am ecstatic with ‘Candygirl’s’ win tonight,” Donovan said via text. “I was confident she was going to win and all my friends and fellow passengers were excited to watch and cheer her on.”

Donovan, Youaremycandygirl’s lone owner, said some two dozen passengers gathered around the Internet feed as the Ron Burke-trained filly bested seven other two-year-old pacing fillies in a sizzling 1:50.4 to improve to four wins in six career starts.

“I wasn’t bothered by the fact the betting public didn’t respect her but I was shocked she went off at such high odds and was wishing I was near a betting window, even though I rarely wager on my horses,” Donovan said. “I thought on paper she would go off at 8-1.

“Ron Burke and his team have done an outstanding job with her. Her two losses were excusable, as she was interfered with at Vernon and then tied up when she got beat at Yonkers. Otherwise she’s been perfect with a track record at Tioga and a near record at Saratoga.”

In the Metro final, driver Louis Philippe Roy opted to blast the daughter of American Ideal—Sweet Lady Jane out from post-eight and secured the front through a :26.4 opening-quarter. Kendall Seelster, the 4-5 favorite, left from the rail and got the two-hole trip.

Youaremycandygirl rolled along through fractions of :55 and 1:23 to lead by a length and a half turning for home. The outer flow developed at the half, but didn’t advance right away, which stalled star filly Percy Blue Chip at the back.

In the stretch, Youaremycandygirl showed plenty of determination and stormed home in :27.4 to score by a length and a quarter over Kendall Seelster. Come See The Show finished third, while Percy Blue Chip came from last to finish fourth.

“Going into the last turn she did the same as the first turn and put in some bad steps and I couldn’t let her go that much,” said Roy. “I had a lot of horse in the last turn and I said if I can just get her to go around the last turn she’ll be hard to beat.

“Behind the gate I was planning to race her from behind, but I changed my mind pretty quick because no one was leaving inside of me.”

Yannick Gingras has driven Youaremycandygirl in three of her five starts and two qualifiers, but chose to drive Kissin In The Sand (who finished sixth) in the Metro final. Youaremycandygirl’s drive fell to WEG phenom Louis Philippe Roy.

“It was disappointing Yannick chose off her but I have been very impressed with Louis Philippe and was happy to have him drive her,” Donovan said. “He certainly is a young man with a great future.”

Donovan, who picked out and purchased Youaremycandygirl for $150,000 at last year’s Harrisburg yearling sale, said the filly was his top selection at the sale.

“Interestingly, I was the underbidder on Kissin In The Sand who sold for $130,000 because I rated Youaremycandygirl slightly better,” said Donovan.

“When I own the horse by myself, I pick them out myself and decide which trainer I will send them to afterwards. With ‘Candygirl,’ it was kind of a foregone conclusion I would give her to (Burke), considering Ron’s success with members of her family. I did ask his opinion because I knew I would have to bid high to get her and he obviously approved.”

Youaremycandygirl earnings soar to $331,545 following her victory Saturday.

The combination of Roy and Burke has found success this season at Mohawk and the reinsman is grateful for the opportunity he’s received from the sport’s leading trainer.

“I’m really thankful to him. I don’t even know if I’ve ever talked to him, but he puts a lot of confidence in me and I really appreciate it. The whole team, his brother, too, I really appreciate it.”

A $2 win ticket on Youaremycandygirl returned $82.70, $17.10 and $6.30. The $2 Exacta with Kendall Seelster ($2.90, $2.40) paid $178.00, while the $1 Trifecta including Come See The Show ($3.80) paid $510.80. The $1 Superfecta with Percy Blue Chip returned $1,582.05.