August 29, 2016

The Iron Horse

August 28, 2016 – Nirvana Seelster

A bargain purchase from Standardbred Canada’s Horses For Sale Board, Nirvana Seelster has proven to be a hard-knocking, Saturday night specialist for longtime participants Bill Budd and Bruce Davy. By Keith McCalmont

Iron horse. By definition, a steam locomotive. But the descriptive term implies much more than that. New York Yankees legend Lou Gehrig earned the nickname ‘Iron Horse’ by running up a streak of 2,130 consecutive games played.

The label conjures up images of strength and endurance, and in the case of Preferred pacer Nirvana Seelster, there’s also the matter of unrelenting speed.

“He leaves with the car, eh?” notes trainer Bill Budd of the five-year-old Camluck bay, who has been charted with multiple sub :26 second opening quarters including one in :25.1 on December 26, 2015 at Woodbine.

So, what else is so special about this hard-knocking Preferred pacer?

Well, for one thing, the late bloomer, since starting his career in March of 2014, has raced every month, never had any time off, and has become a regular winner at the top level. His next start will mark the 100th time his name appears in the racing program, and with a record of 22-11-20 and purse earnings of $462,096, he’s become something of a cash machine for owner Bruce Davy.

While an internationally recognized iron horse like multi-millionaire Foiled Again deservedly earns much limelight, Nirvana Seelster has proven to be a star in his own right for the 77-year-old Davy who looks at horse ownership as a hobby rather than a business.

Nirvana Seelster was purchased for $77,000 as a yearling, on October 13, 2012, at the Forest City sale by Dave Menary, but the horse was slow in developing. In January of 2013, the colt was posted for sale on Standardbred Canada’s Horses For Sale Board, at the modest price of $6,500.

“He was listed on the ‘Horses for Sale’ board and I really liked his breeding,” said Davy of the gelding who is out of the productive Western Hanover mare, No Strikes Against. “I watch the board all the time. It’s something to do. I like to see what the prices are and what’s available, it’s a pastime.”

Nirvana Seelster passed Davy’s class test and was purchased, sight unseen, and sent to the care of the veteran conditioner, Budd, to see what could be done with the underachieving youngster.

It was a long road to the races for the lanky fellow, with a few breaks along the way, but he’s now a proven commodity.

“He’s raced against a lot of the top horses,” said Budd. “He raced against Wiggle It Jiggleit and Ian Moore’s good horse State Treasurer, the Canadian (Pacing) Derby winner, who he even beat one night at Mohawk. He’s won the Preferred three or four times and beat Zeron’s good horse, Shamballa.”

It would seem that Nirvana Seelster has proven to be worth the wait.

Patience pays off. Patience is a virtue. And patience, for the most part, is something many people preach but fail to follow through with themselves.

Nirvana Seelster, with his massive frame, needed time to come good. The rich yearling purchase missed his entire two-year-old season and managed to break stride in his first qualifying attempt, as a three-year-old, on the half-mile track at Flamboro Downs.

“He lacked confidence,” explained Budd. “I just had to get the feel with him. I didn’t train him tough. I just went a slow mile with him nearly every day for 30 days. He just kept getting more confident.”

And so, Budd stayed patient and waited for the horse to come around. Day after day he brought the big fella out to the half-mile training track at Stephenson’s Training Centre in Flamborough and put him through his paces.

If it sounds easy, it isn’t.

Consider this: statistics show that 75 percent of people who sign up for a gym membership in January, manage to visit about six times before quitting.

Nirvana Seelster, with Budd as his trainer, was no quitter. The duo carved out the winter training miles, through sleet and snow and ice, and the pupil learned his craft the old fashioned way.

For Budd, a 64-year-old native of Waterdown, Ontario, hard work was a way of life growing up on his family’s dairy farm, which also happened to stock a few horses.

Budd knew from a young age that pushing paper wasn’t going to be his calling.

“I went to school but I didn’t like it. I’d always want to be on the farm. I’d go in the front door of the school and sneak out the back door to get home to the horses,” he laughed.

In 1969, Budd went to work for Bill Wellwood and soaked up an education in horse racing.

“I worked for Bill for about five years and then I went out on my own,” said Budd, who has 1,834 wins and $16.5 million in purses as a trainer and another 1,837 scores and $4.6 million as a driver. “I’ve had some good horses over the years like Sir Luck ($1.2 million) and Boulder Creek ($3.8 million). Boulder Creek was an iron horse and this horse here, ‘Nirvana’, is something like him. He just loves to go.”

And although it didn’t seem like Nirvana Seelster wanted to go at first, now that the train is on the track, this iron horse doesn’t want to stop. It’s an attribute ‘Nirvana’ shares with his soft spoken conditioner.

“I love the job,” said Budd. “It’s all I do and I’ll do it as long as I can.”

Davy, now retired, continues to grow blueberries on his farm in Brockville, Ontario, the City of the 1000 Islands.

After visiting Rideau one night with a group of friends back in the early 1980s, Davy was bitten with the racing bug. A horse, Creekside Lisa, was up for sale and Davy dove right in and enjoyed immediate success.

The modest pacing mare won 17 times.

And now, at the age of 77, Davy has plucked the sweetest berry of his 30-year career in ownership with Nirvana Seelster.

“He’s by far the best horse I’ve ever owned,” said Davy, who watches the races from his home computer most nights. “He keeps me up each Saturday night, but there’s nothing nicer than being involved with a winner.”

Nothing about this story is an overnight success. Both Davy and Budd are many decades into their careers, and Nirvana Seelster couldn’t even figure out how to pace until well into his three-year-old season.

So, it would follow suit that Nirvana Seelster is far from the first horse Davy bought off the Standardbred Canada Horses for Sale Board hoping for a winner.

“I’ve bought close to a dozen, but this is the only one we’ve had any kind of real luck with. We’ve waited a while for one like this,” said Davy. “Some we tried for a while, but they weren’t paying their way so we sold them. It’s the same as anything else. When you go through a yearling sale, you look at the breeding but you don’t know for sure how a horse is going to do.

“And it’s the same thing on the ‘SC’ board,” continued Davy. “Maybe someone has tried a few things with a young horse, but it didn’t work out for them. And I like to think, maybe somebody else has the secret.”

It turns out that time, hard work, and perhaps a special bond between horse and trainer, proved to be the magic that helped Nirvana Seelster thrive.

It’s a game that Davy enjoys and will continue to play.

“It’s a gamble and you have to enjoy it or else you wouldn’t do it,” said Davy. “For the most part though, I like the game for the people I meet and friends I’ve made along the way.”

The five-year-old Nirvana Seelster recorded his career mark of 1:48.1 as a four-year-old, on the surface of Mohawk, where he has developed into a familiar name. In August, he will once again be in the mix for the lucrative Canadian Pacing Derby…a race that he qualified for the final of in 2015 (finishing 9th to State Treasurer).

He has the talent to play with the big boys, mainly on the bigger circuits, having broke stride twice and getting beat by over thirteen lengths the other time, in three trips over the tighter half-mile oval at Flamboro.

Although Nirvana Seelster has yet to notch an added-money score at the top flight, there have been many smaller successes along the way. His best streak of racing, arguably, occurred in February of 2015 when he captured the Ontario Boys final, completing a series sweep by winning each leg on the front end.

He hasn’t always been so one dimensional, though. In fact, it wasn’t until his 22nd career start that gelding pacer with the wicked gate-speed was ever on top at the quarter.

“One night, at Mohawk, in a Sires Stakes, he was last turning for home and he won by a nose. He paid $104 to win,” recalls Budd of the 2014 OSS Grassroots Semi Final. “But, these days, he seems to want to push the car out and he cuts some wicked fractions. He likes to do all the work.”

It’s likely that the strapping gelding, who closed to be third in his Canadian Pacing Derby elimination last year, will be part of the pace scenario in the series renewal this August.

Win or lose, Budd knows that ‘Nirvana’ will leave it all out on the track.

“I really couldn’t ask for much more out of the horse. He’ll give you whatever he’s got. He’s already won this year in :49.1 and I think he’ll pace in :48 again before the year is out,” said Budd.

[Editor’s Note: Nirvana Seelster won on August 27 at Mohawk Racetrack in 1:48.3]

Always in the mix and rarely the favourite, racing fans would do well to keep Nirvana Seelster front of mind as the summer heats up in case of another long shot score.

“He can be overlooked at times,” notes owner, Davy.

Perhaps, on the tote board, but he hasn’t gone unnoticed by fellow horsemen.

“I’ve had so many phone calls from people wanting to buy him,” said Budd. “But, Bruce always says, ‘we’ve gone this far, we’re just going to keep him’.”

And why not, he’s a good thing who came to those who waited.

By Keith McCalmont

(Standardbred Canada)

Longshots Shake Up Eliminations

August 28, 2016 – The finals are now set for the Metro Pace and Shes A Great Lady after a wild elimination night Saturday (August 27) at Mohawk Racetrack.

A total of three $40,000 Metro Pace and two $35,000 Shes A Great Lady eliminations were contested with some major longshots putting an interesting spin on the action.

The Metro Pace eliminations for pacing colts and geldings started with a bang, asWindsong Napoleon pulled off a 54-1 gate-to-wire upset.

A son of Art Major, Windsong Napoleon was blasted to the front by driver Phil Hudon to post an opening quarter of :27.1. The Carl Jamieson trainee marched the field by the half in :56 and the three-quarter pole in 1:24.3.

In the stretch, Windsong Napoleon drifted out a lane and was confronted by Calvin K, who shot up the rail after sitting the two-hole. The rookie pacing colts went toe-to-toe, but Windsong Napoleon had no quit in him and fought off Calvin K to win by a neck in 1:51.3.

“I got good fractions and everything worked out,” said Hudon post-race. “He kicked in down the lane, I thought [Calvin K] was getting up the inside and he dug back in.”

Classic Pro finished third, while Pointomygranson was fourth.

Owned by Jamieson, Thomas Kyron and Doug Good, Windsong Napoleon now has three wins in eight starts. The Art Major colt was coming into the Metro elimination off a disappointing seventh in the Nassagaweya, but Hudon explained the reason for the poor effort.

“Last week, I definitely shut his air off by letting [Calvin K] go and tonight they put a choke plate on him. I didn’t rev him up as much early and he was a lot calmer.”

Windsong Napoleon now has $63,004 earned heading into next week’s final. A $2 win ticket on the Art Major colt returned $110.40.

The second elimination saw another fantastic stretch duel, but this time it was the favourites battling it out. Jimmy Takter trainee Ocean Colony defeated Ideal Wheel by a head in a national season’s best 1:50.1.

Driven by Yannick Gingras, Ocean Colony left from post two and quickly grabbed command. Following an opening quarter of :27, Ideal Wheel made his way to the front after being parked around the first turn.

The tempo was hot, as Ideal Wheel posted middle-half fractions of :54.4 and 1:22.4.

In the stretch, Ocean Colony was angled to the outside by Gingras and battled stride for stride with a gritty Ideal Wheel, but ultimately got by for the impressive victory. Bobcat Bound finished third, while fourth went to Darlings Dragon.

Saturday’s Metro elimination was the first time Ocean Colony had a different driver other than Brett Miller.

“I was really impressed,” said Gingras. “Brett told me nothing but good things about him. He said they brought him along slowly and he was really good at Tioga last week and Jimmy told me the same thing.”

A $110,000 purchase at last year’s Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, Ocean Colony is owned by Christina Takter, John Fielding, Hatfield Stables, Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld and Sam Goldband. The son of Somebeachsomewhere now has two wins in five starts and $38,079 earned.

Ocean Colony paid $6.60 to win.

The final elimination was a throw down with Beyond Delight scoring a 20-1 upset victory.

Bettors Dream fired out from post eight to post an opening quarter of :26.4. Some Attitude, who was parked around the first turn, was pushed to the front by David Miller and cleared just before reaching the half in :55.1.

Blood Line, the 8-5 favourite, was angled out from third by Gingras to come first up around the far turn. The public’s choice cleared to the front and led by two lengths at the three-quarter pole in 1:22.3. Meanwhile, Sylvain Filion was able to get Beyond Delight off the rail on the far turn and sat fifth turning for home.

In the stretch, Beyond Delight began pacing up a storm when fed open racetrack. The Tony O’Sullivan trainee powered by Blood Line to defeat him by three lengths in 1:51.

The top two finishers were clear at the wire, but the same could not be said for a trio of horses seeking third. Southwind General shot up the rail to grab third just ahead of Bettors Dream and R J P. However, a pair of inquires were posted involving the three horses.

Southwind General was disqualified from third and placed last for going inside three pylons in the stretch. The judges also looked at contact between Bettors Dream and R J P at the wire, but ruled there was no interference. Therefore, Bettors Dream was vaulted up to third and qualified for the final.

The lengthy review may have stolen some thunder from Beyond Delight, who picked the perfect time to break his maiden. Following the race, O’Sullivan discussed the recent development of Beyond Delight into a Grand Circuit contender.

“He was okay training down and then we kind of thought he would be a racehorse, but in the last three weeks he has just blossomed,” said O’Sullivan. “We sent him down to Tioga a couple weeks ago and he raced really well, took a shot at the Nassagaweya based on that and he actually got locked in last week and was very good.

“We kind of had a little bit of confidence coming in, but racing against these type of colts that are more accomplished, if he races good and makes the final it’s great, but to race the way he did is really satisfying.”

Beyond Delight was a $50,000 purchase at last year’s Harrisburg Yearling Sale and is owned by Jeffrey & Michael Snyder and Four Friends Racing Stable LLC. The son of Bettors Delight now has $40,068 earned through eight starts.

The O’Sullivan trainee paid $43.30 to win.

Similar to the Metro Pace, the Shes A Great Lady eliminations started off with a major upset.

Candlelight Dinner was the talk of the town heading into the ‘Great Lady’ eliminations, but an off night from the pacing filly allowed Thats The Ticket to strike for a 58-1 upset.

Driven by Sylvain Filion, Thats The Ticket got away fifth and sat in that spot along the rail until just before the three-quarter pole. Candlelight Dinner got away third, but made a quick brush to the lead after an opening quarter of :28.1.

The 1-9 favourite led the field to the half in :56.2 and then paced a big :27.1 third-quarter to lead the field to the top of the lane. In the stretch, Candlelight Dinner surrendered the lead to Happy Hannah, who enjoyed a two-hole trip.

Happy Hannah appeared to have a victory in her sights, but Thats The Ticket burst onto the scene late and surged by on the far outside to win by half a length in 1:52.

World Apart finished third, while Blameitonthenight was fourth. Candlelight Dinner faded back to finish fifth, but did qualify for the final.

Thats The Ticket, who was a $60,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchased, is trained by Chris Ryder for owners Craig Henderson, Robert Mondillo and Lawrence Minowitz.

The daughter of Roll With Joe was winless in five starts coming into the Shes A Great Lady elimination. Last week, Thats The Ticket was fifth in a division of the Eternal Camnation, but paced home in :26.3. Despite that closing effort, Ryder wasn’t satisfied in his filly heading into Saturday’s contest.

“She paced home in :26 I know, but she’s been having trouble getting around the last turn,” said Ryder. “Even tonight, Sylvain said she wasn’t perfect, but obviously better.

“Being New York bred we went to the half-mile tracks and she couldn’t get around the turns at all and then at Vernon she paced in [1]:52…so that’s why we came here.”

Thats The Ticket now has $44,579 earned. A $2 win ticket on the Ryder trainee returned $119.

The second elimination didn’t have nearly the same fireworks, as even-money favouriteIdyllic Beach prevailed in 1:51.1.

The Jimmy Takter-trained filly was unhurried at the start by driver Gingras and found an early seat in sixth. Several fillies clashed near the front in the early going, while Gingras was able to pick up the cover of first over challenger Agent Q heading into the far turn.

Agent Q became the new leader on the turn and reached the three-quarter pole in 1:23.4. In the stretch, Idyllic Beach came off cover and hooked up with Agent Q for a battle, ultimately getting up to win by three-quarters of a length.

Awash and Everyones Watching finished third and fourth, respectively. The final spot to the Shes A Great Lady final was secured by Obvious Blue Chip.

A daughter of Somebeachsomewhere, Idyllic Beach entered Saturday’s elimination with three wins in four starts.

“Just every start she is getting stronger and stronger,” said Gingras. “Early on we were a little bit worried about her getting a little too hot, but now she’s two fingers and drives real nice.”

Idyllic Beach is the first foal out of 2010 Shes A Great Lady champion Idyllic.

A $100,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase, Idyllic Beach is owned by Christina Takter, John Fielding, Brixton Medical Inc. and Marvin Katz. She now has $102,762 in earnings through five starts.

Idyllic Beach paid $4.10 to win.

Following Saturday’s eliminations, the finals of the $661,000 Metro Pace and $427,000 Shes A Great Lady were drawn. The fourth-place finisher to draw into the Metro final was Darlings Dragon. The $616,000 Canadian Pacing Derby was also drawn on Saturday evening. The fields for next week’s finals are listed below.

The action-packed elimination night started off with Jonathan Drury celebrating a career milestone. The 27-year-old reinsman earned his 1,000th driving win in the opener as he guided the Carmen Auciello-trained trotter Cash For Gold ($4) to a 1:53.1 half-length victory over White Becomes Her.

Drury later started the quest towards his next milestone winning the 11th race finale with the Richard Moreau-trained pacer Poisonous ($12.80) and putting his own seasonal earnings over the $2 million mark for the second straight year.

$661,000 Metro Pace
1. Beyond Delight
2. Darlings Dragon
3. Windsong Napoleon
4. Ocean Colony
5. Calvin K
6. Bobcat Bound
7. Classic Pro
8. Ideal Wheel
9. Blood Line
10. Bettors Dream
AE: Pointomygranson

$427,000 Shes A Great Lady
1. Candlelight Dinner
2. Thats The Ticket
3. World Apart
4. Idyllic Beach
5. Everyones Watching
6. Agent Q
7. Awash
8. Obvious Blue Chip
9. Blameitonthenight
10. Happy Hannah
AE: Fade

$616,000 Canadian Pacing Derby
1. Wiggle It Jiggleit
2. Nickle Bag
3. State Treasurer
4. Shamballa
5. Rockin In Heaven
6. Nirvana Seelster
7. All Bets Off
8. Always B Miki
9. Dealt A Winner
10. Evenin Of Pleasure

To view Saturday’s harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results – Mohawk Racetrack.

(With files from WEG)

(Standardbred Canada)

Kadabra Fillies Sweep Casual Breeze

August 26, 2016 – Emoticon Hanover and Caprice Hill made their sire Kadabra proud with impressive victories in the Casual Breeze Stakes on Friday night (August 26) at Mohawk Racetrack.

A group of 20 three-year-old trotting fillies were split into a pair of $97,000 divisions.

Emoticon Hanover was a 1:54.2 gate-to-wire winner in the first division for driver Sylvain Filion and trainer Luc Blais. The daughter of Kadabra left alertly from post two to grab the lead and it was lights out from there.

Emoticon Hanover posted fractions of :28, :57.1 and 1:26.2 before firing home in :28 for the victory. Double Exposure left hard from post eight, landed the two-hole and ultimately finished a length and a quarter back in second. Jangone finished third, while Worldclass Hanover was fourth.

Following the race, Filion was very pleased with the Emoticon Hanover’s effort in the Casual Breeze and her progression as a three-year-old.

“I wanted to get to the front and control the pace, which we did, and she did it pretty handy,” said Filion. “Last year she was a little tough to drive, but this year she is way handier, so that makes her much better.”

Owned by Determination of Montreal, Que., Emoticon Hanover scored her fourth victory of the season on Friday in her eighth outing. She now has eight career victories and a bankroll of $436,658.

The Blais trainee paid $2.80 to win.

Caprice Hill continued her fantastic season by overcoming the 10-hole to win the second division in 1:53.3.

The Tony Alagna-trained filly was unhurried at the start by driver Randy Waples and eventually found a spot along the rail in sixth just after the :28.1 opening quarter. Side Bet Hanover led the field to the half in :57.3, but was quickly confronted entering the far turn by a charging Caprice Hill, who took the lead before five-eighths. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:26, Caprice Hill trotted home strongly in :27.3 to win by three and a quarter lengths. Side Bet Hanover held on to second over a charging Flowers N Songs.

Also a daughter of Kadabra, Caprice Hill now has five wins in 2016 and has yet to finish outside the top two in eight starts this season.

Following the race, Alagna passed along much of the credit for Caprice Hill’s excellent season to his mother, Donna Lee.

“Everybody who knows the filly knows that this is my Mom’s pride and joy and she’s done a great job with her,” he said. “[Caprice Hill] is just very easy on herself, rests, does all the right things, good eater and that’s why she looks as great now as she has all year.”

Owned by Tom Hill of Hamilton, Ont., Caprice Hill is nearing millionaire status with $980,377 in lifetime earnings following the Casual Breeze victory.

She paid $2.90 to win.

Up next for the three-year-old trotting fillies is the Simcoe Stakes next Friday (September 2) followed by the Elegantimage eliminations. Emoticon Hanover and Caprice Hill are both eligible to those upcoming events.

Owner Tom Hill also earned another Friday night victory as his homebred four-year-old mare Delightful Hill prevailed by a nose in a wild finish in the weekly $30,000 Preferred for distaff pacers. The Carmen Auciello trainee converted off a pocket trip to score a 13-1 upset in a career-best 1:50.4 over pacesetter Bedroomconfessions, with Sandbetweenurtoes, Wrangler Magic and 4-5 favourite Katie Said spread five-across. Delightful Hill’s driver Jonathan Drury is now just one win shy of the 1,000 career win mark.

Live racing continues Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack with the eliminations of the Metro Pace and Shes A Great Lady headlining the card. Post time is 7:30 p.m.

To view Friday’s harness racing results, click on the following link: Friday Results – Mohawk Racetrack.

(With files from WEG)

(Standardbred Canada)

Metro, Shes A Great Lady Elims Set

August 23, 2016 – The pacing stars of today and tomorrow are set to clash at Mohawk Racetrack for the Canadian Pacing Derby, Metro Pace and Shes A Great Lady.

The entry box for all three major events closed Tuesday morning with no eliminations required for the Canadian Pacing Derby, as 10 of the sport’s finest older pacers were entered, sending them directly to the $616,000 final on Saturday, September 3.

The Metro Pace and Shes A Great Lady Stakes will need eliminations this Saturday (August 28) to determine the finalists for September 3.

A total of 25 two-year-old pacing colts and geldings were entered in the Metro for three $40,000 eliminations, while 15 rookie pacing fillies were dropped in the box for the Shes A Great Lady for two $35,000 eliminations.

The Canadian Pacing Derby is Canada’s oldest stakes race and the 2016 edition has attracted a field of superstars.

State Treasurer, the reigning Canadian Horse of the Year, is back to defend his ‘Pacing Derby’ crown against several of harness racing’s giants.

Always B Miki, last year’s Breeders Crown champion, will be returning to Mohawk for the first time since his track record 1:47.1 performance in the Mohawk Gold Cup. The Jimmy Takter trained five-year-old has won six of 10 starts this season, including the Ben Franklin and William Haughton Memorial. The world champion is approaching double-millionaire status and holds a mark of 1:47.

Wiggle It Jiggleit, the 2015 U.S. Horse of the Year, will look to become the third four-year-old to win the Canadian Pacing Derby in the last 10 years. Trained by Clyde Francis for George Teague, the son of Mr Wiggles has earned over $1 million this season to bring his career bankroll to over $3.3 million. Wiggle It Jiggleit has won 34 of 45 career starts and holds a career-mark of 1:47.2.

Shamballa will look to defend his home track for trainer Rick Zeron. The six-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere captured the U.S. Pacing Championship earlier this month at the Meadowlands Racetrack in a career-best 1:47.1. A local fan-favourite for his outstanding closing speed, Shamballa is a three-time winner this season and has hit the board in eight of 10 starts. The Zeron trainee finished second in last year’s Pacing Derby.

Despite facing some stiff competition, State Treasurer has recently found his best stride of the season after having dealt with an injury. The Dr. Ian Moore trainee was scratched from an August 6 start after he stepped on a nail, but has since returned and won two consecutive starts, including a 1:48.3 effort last Saturday at Mohawk. A winner of over $2 million, State Treasurer will be competing in his third consecutive Canadian Pacing Derby.

The 2016 Pacing Derby field also includes double millionaire All Bets Off, last year’s Cane Pace winner Dealt A Winner, Molson Pace winner Evenin Of Pleasure, WEG Preferred standouts Nickle Bag, Nirvana Seelster and 2015 Empire Breeders champion Rockin In Heaven.

The post position draw for the Canadian Pacing Derby will take place Saturday evening.

The Metro Pace appears wide open heading into this Saturday’s three eliminations. The top three-finishers from each elimination, plus a fourth-place finisher drawn by lot, will advance to the $661,000 final.

The first elimination features Ben Baillargeon trainee Rock This Way (PP4, Mario Baillargeon), who pulled off a 65-1 upset in a division of the Nassagaweya last Saturday. The son of 2005 Metro Pace winner Rocknroll Hanover stopped the clock in a national season’s best 1:51.3.

Calvin K (PP5, Jody Jamieson) has the highest earnings of the 25 rookies in this year’s Metro Pace, with $114,220 earned through seven career starts. The Ontario Sires Stakes standout was second in his Nassagaweya division for trainer Tony O’Sullivan.

The second elimination features Macs Jackpot (PP7, Sylvain Filion), who won the other Nassagaweya division last Saturday. The son of Somebeachsomewhere recently joined the O’Sullivan barn after racing south of the border for Jim Campbell. The third foal out of $1.3 million winner Michelles Power, Macs Jackpot has won three of six starts for just under $80,000 in earnings.

The final elimination has a several intriguing competitors, including Southwind General(PP7, Jody Jamieson) who is jumping from the OSS Grassroots to Grand Circuit competition in just his second start. The Jack Darling-trained son of Sportswriter was a $110,000 yearling purchase and won his debut by more than eight lengths.

Bettors Dream (PP8, Tim Tetrick) will also compete in the final elimination. The son of Bettors Delight won the Dream Maker Series final in convincing fashion, but suffered his first loss last Saturday in the Nassagaweya. The Scott McEneny trainee finished second after hooking up in an opening-half battle of :53.4.

The Metro Pace eliminations have been carded as Races 3,4,8.

The Shes A Great Lady Stakes will have two eliminations with the top-five finishers from each split advancing to the $427,000 final.

Candlelight Dinner (PP6, David Miller) has been the talk of the town in recent weeks and the undefeated pacing filly will star in the first elimination. The Casie Coleman trained daughter of American Ideal has won four in a row to begin her career, including victories in the Eternal Camnation and Whenuwishuponastar. Candlelight Dinner was a $110,000 yearling purchase.

The second elimination will see the Mohawk debut of Somebeachsomewhere filly Idyllic Beach (PP8, Yannick Gingras). The first foal out of $1.3 million winner Idyllic, Idyllic Beach has won three of four starts to begin her career. The Takter trainee has made each of her starts in Pennsylvania.

The Shes A Great Lady eliminations have been carded as Races 2 and 6.

The post positions for the $661,000 Metro Pace and $427,000 Shes A Great Lady finals will be drawn following the eliminations on Saturday.

Post time for Saturday’s 11-race card is 7:30 p.m.

To view the harness racing entries for Saturday at Mohawk, click the following link:Saturday Entries – Mohawk Racetrack.

Below are the fields for the Metro Pace and Shes A Great Lady eliminations.

(PP/Horse/Driver/Trainer)

Metro Pace Elimination #1 (Race 3)

1. Bettors Western – David Miller – Rob Fellows
2. Odds On Delray – Tim Tetrick – Tony Alagna
3. The Wall – Yannick Gingras – Jimmy Takter
4. Rock This Way – Mario Baillargeon – Ben Baillargeon
5. Calvin K – Jody Jamieson – Tony O’Sullivan
6. Windsong Napoleon – Jody Jamieson – Carl Jamieson
7. Pointomygranson – Sylvain Filion – Chris Ryder
8. Classic Pro – David Miller – Dr. Ian Moore

Metro Pace Elimination #2 (Race 4)

1. Bobcat Bound – Jody Jamieson – Carl Jamieson
2. Ocean Colony – Brett Miller – Jimmy Takter
3. Manceiver – Jody Jamieson – Howard Okusko Jr.
4. Darlings Dragon – Donald Dupont – Marie Dupont
5. Ideal Wheel – David Miller – Casie Coleman
6. Abbeydorney – Yannick Gingras – James Ciaran Morrison
7. Macs Jackpot – Sylvain Filion – Tony O’Sullivan
8. All It Takes – Doug McNair – Gregg McNair
9. Beach House – David Miller – Rich Gillock

Metro Pace Elimination #3 (Race 8)

1. Deadly Action – Randy Waples – Colin Johnson
2. Tuxedo Bay – Randy Waples – Mark Steacy
3. Blood Line – Yannick Gingras – Jimmy Takter
4. Beyond Delight – Sylvain Filion – Tony O’Sullivan
5. R J P – David Miller – Erv Miller
6. Some Attitude – David Miller – Bob McIntosh
7. Southwind General – Jody Jamieson – Jack Darling
8. Bettors Dream – Tim Tetrick – Scott McEneny

Shes A Great Lady Elimination #1 (Race 2)

1. Happy Hannah – Randy Waples – Mark Steacy
2. World Apart – Tim Tetrick – Linda Toscano
3. Thats The Ticket – Sylvain Filion – Chris Ryder
4. Manhattan Play – Mike Saftic – Nicky Comegna
5. Blameitonthenight – Randy Waples – Tony Alagna
6. Candlelight Dinner – David Miller – Casie Coleman
7. Vintage Book – Yannick Gingras – Ron Adams

Shes A Great Lady Elimination #2 (Race 6)

1. Agent Q – David Miller – Aaron Lambert
2. Obvious Blue Chip – James MacDonald – Mark Steacy
3. Awash – Tim Tetrick – Tony Alagna
4. Fade – David Miller – Casie Coleman
5. Bid Writer – Tim Tetrick – Jeff Gillis
6. Out Of Sight – Jody Jamieson – Bob McIntosh
7. Everyones Watching – Sylvain Filion – Tony Alagna
8. Idyllic Beach – Yannick Gingras – Jimmy Takter

Canadian Pacing Derby (Field listed in alphabetical order)

All Bets Off
Always B Miki
Dealt A Winner
Evenin Of Pleasure
Nickle Bag
Nirvana Seelster
Rockin In Heaven
Shamballa
State Treasurer
Wiggle It Jiggleit

(WEG)

(Standardbred Canada)

Steacy Feted For Money Milestone

August 23, 2016 – The barn of trainer Mark Steacy has been on a roll this season at Mohawk Racetrack, and Tuesday evening the conditioner celebrated a special milestone.

Three-year-old pacing filly Stylish Beachwhere got back to her winning ways with a 1:52.3 front-end score for Steacy. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere was winless in her last two starts heading into Tuesday’s contest after winning three in a row to begin her career.

Tuesday’s victory was the first for Steacy on the WEG Circuit since surpassing $20 million in career earnings last Saturday night at Pocono Downs with Nocturnal Bluechip in a consolation of the Battle of the Brandywine.

Steacy was presented with a sign recognizing his accomplishment in the winner’s circle following Stylish Beachwhere’s victory.

Steacy has enjoyed plenty of success over the course of his career, most notably with superstars Majestic Son ($1.9 million – 1:52.2) and Hana Hanover ($1.2 million – 1:48.4). His trainees have visited the winner’s circle 1,472 times during his career.

This season, Steacy sits second in the Mohawk meet trainer standings with 33 victories.

Overall, his barn has 49 wins this season with the most recent victory from Stylish Beachwhere pushing the stable over $1 million in seasonal earnings.

(WEG)

To view results for Tuesday’s card of harness racing, click the following link: Tuesday Results – Mohawk Racetrack.

Zeron Nabs 8,000th; Faves Grab Gold

August 19, 2016 – One of harness racing’s most popular drivers, Rick Zeron scored his 8,000th career driving victory Thursday night at Mohawk Racetrack.

Zeron, 59, entered the evening just a single win shy of the milestone. Driving three-year-old pacing filly Dixie Lullaby in the evening’s seventh-race, Zeron was able to get the filly up in the final strides for the milestone victory.

Nicknamed “The Whip”, Zeron has been a regular driver and trainer on the WEG Circuit for over two decades. The Oakville , Ontario resident has consistently posted impressive numbers throughout his career, including driving the winners of over $3 million in 14 of the last 16 seasons.

Zeron, who won his first race at Rideau Carleton Raceway in 1975, was the top driver in Quebec for many years before relocating to Ontario in 1995. His career best season for wins came in 1989, when he won 437 races and captured another Quebec driving title.

Zeron’s best season for earnings was recorded in 2006, when he drove the winners of over $7.7 million. Last season, he put together another solid campaign with 126 wins and earnings of nearly $3 million.

The past few weeks have been memorable for the Zeron’s, as Rick’s son, Scott, won the Hambletonian with Marion Marauder on August 6th. The father-son duo also teamed up to capture the U.S. Pacing Championship with Rick’s stable star Shamballa on the same day.

A model of consistency, Rick Zeron is on pace for another solid season with 71 victories and earnings of over $1.4 million. He currently ranks ninth in the WEG Drivers standings and sixth in the Trainers standings.

Thursday’s card also featured a number of high profile trotters, as they did battle in a set of OSS Gold Series divisions for three-year-old fillies plus the final of the Define The World Series for two-year-olds.

On the heels of her second-place finish in this year’s Hambletonian Oaks, Caprice Hillpowered to a 1:53.1 in her $105,000 OSS Gold Series division for the tandem of driver Randy Waples and trainer Tony Alagna. The daughter of Kadabra-Bramasole sat second through the opening quarter before marching to the top in the backstretch. She cleared and cut middle fractions of :57 and 1:26 before turning on the afterburners. A :27.1 closing quarter earned Caprice Hill the win by 2-1/4 lengths over Emoticon Hanover. Dottie was third.

Tom Hill of Hamilton, Ont. owns the 11-time winner who owns a 4-3-0 record from seven starts this season. The lion’s share of the loot lifted her lifetime earnings to $931,877.

Flowers N Songs was a popular winner, as well, in her $105,000 assignment for the team of driver Doug McNair and trainer Paul Reid. After getting away fourth, she held that position to the half before tipping into the flow and then making a three-wide move toward the lead at the three-quarter pole. With fractions of :26.3, :56 and 1:25.1 in front of her, the homebred powered home in :28.2 to win by four lengths over Tymal Tempest in 1:53.4. Major Muscle, who set the first three fractions, faded to finish third.

Paul Reid trains the daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe-Pleasures Song for owner/breeder Bob Key of Leechburg, PA. The filly has faced the gate 20 times this year, and she managed to produce an 8-6-1 record while banking over $325,000 along the way.

Seven And Seven, who captured the opening leg of the Defind The World Series before finishing second in leg two, powered home in :26.3 to capture the $36,000 final in 1:58.2 for trainer/driver Tom Durand.

The veteran horseman had the rookie positioned third for the majority of the mile before putting him into sprint mode around the final turn. AWOL Hanover and Jake took turns on the lead through first-half fractions of :30 and 1:01, but Seven And Seven showed a short lead while racing parked at the three-quarter pole in
1:32, and his blazing, final quarter speed helped him earn the half-length decision over Jake. Cant U Spell finished third.

Tom and June Durand bred and own the colt with partner Allan Smith. The group has watched the youngster put together a 2-1-0 record in his first four starts while banking $29,620 along the way.

(With files from WEG)

Nassagaweya, Eternal Camnation Set

August 18, 2016 – Two-year-old pacers will step into the spotlight Saturday night to kick off a month and a half stretch of Grand Circuit action at Mohawk Racetrack. The Nassagaweya Stakes for freshmen pacing colts and geldings and the Eternal Camnation Stakes for juvenile pacing fillies will each feature two divisions.

Each event carries a total purse of $211,000.

Many of the two-year-olds competing in this Saturday’s stakes are preparing for next week’s Metro Pace and Shes A Great Lady eliminations.

Bettors Dream, an undefeated son of Bettors Delight, headlines the Nassagaweya’s $106,250 opening division. The Scott McEneny trainee is a perfect three for three to start his career, including a three-length score in the Dream Maker Series final on August 1.

A $45,000 purchase at last October’s Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, Bettors Dream really caught the eye of his trainer.

“He was a good looking colt, he was well-bred,” McEneny said, following Bettors Dream’s series victory. “A lot of the two-year-olds in his family didn’t make it to the races, but he looked like he could’ve been a two-year-old, so I thought he was kind of cheap.”

John Fielding and Domenic Chiaravalle share ownership of Bettors Dream with McEneny, who noted that he was forced to geld the pacer early while training down.

“He’s been a pretty nice horse to train down, a little lazy, he shows that on the front end, but I think he would be a lot better horse out of a hole.”

Doug McNair will steer the undefeated gelding from Post 6 in the first split.

Listed as the 4-5 morning line favourite, Bettors Dream will be looking to follow in the footsteps of last year’s Dream Maker winner, Control The Moment, who followed up his series victory with a win in the Nassagaweya and ultimately the Metro Pace.

Trainer Casie Coleman is regularly well represented by her rookies during the Grand Circuit events at Mohawk, and this Saturday will be no different.

Ideal Wheel is two for two to start his career and will look for a stakes victory in the Nassagaweya’s $104,750 second split. The Coleman trainee hasn’t raced since July 28, but qualified last Friday at Mohawk and finished first in 1:54.4, two and three-quarter lengths ahead of Bettors Dream.

The son of American Ideal was a $150,000 purchase at last November’s Harrisburg Sale and is owned by Mac Nichol. Jonathan Drury will drive Ideal Wheel and the duo will start from Post 7.

The Eternal Camnation Stakes attracted 16 pacing fillies, but much of the focus will be on Coleman trainee Candlelight Dinner.

The daughter of American Ideal is a perfect three for three entering Saturday’s contest and has not only been the most impressive rookie pacer locally, but arguably in the entire sport.

Candlelight Dinner caught the eye of Coleman last year at Hunterton Farms and eventually was purchased for $110,000 at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale.

“There was nothing not to like about her at sale time,” said Coleman after her filly’s last start. “I went to Hunterton Farms and saw her a few weeks before the sale and I actually couldn’t turn her out.

“I love to turn my horses out in the field and see how they travel, but she had hurt her leg, just a superficial thing, and Cindy and Steve (Stewart) were like ‘we can’t turn her out’ and I understood, but there is nothing to fault on her, she’s just phenomenal.”

Candlelight Dinner appears to be a special filly based on her performances to date. Through three starts, her smallest margin of victory is four and a half lengths, and she most recently captured the final of the Whenuwishuponastar Series by five lengths in a nation’s best 1:52.2.

Drury will once again have the assignment behind the talented pacing filly and they will start from Post 5 in the first division. Candlelight Dinner is the 2-5 morning line choice.

Just like Coleman, McEneny is also well represented in both of Saturday’s event.

Bettors Up will return to Mohawk after three starts in Pennsylvania Sires Stakes action. The McEneny trainee is riding a two-race win streak, including a 1:52.3 victory in her last start on August 7 at Pocono.

A $15,000 purchase at last fall’s Lexington Sale, Bettors Up has earned $87,955 through five starts for her connections of Brad Grant, Teresa Davidson and Michelle McEneny. The four-time winner will start from post six in the second split with driver James MacDonald and has been installed as the 7/5 favourite.

The Nassagaweya divisions have been carded as Races 5 and 7, while the Eternal Camnation splits are carded as Races 3 and 9.

Saturday’s 11-race card also features a $34,000 Preferred Pace. Post time is 7:30 p.m.

To view the harness racing entries for Saturday at Mohawk, click the following link:Saturday Entries – Mohawk Racetrack.

Here are the full fields for Saturday’s Nassagaweya and Eternal Camnation Stakes.

PP/Horse/Driver/Trainer/Morning Line

Race 5: Nassagaweya (Division 1) – $106,250

1. Deadly Action (J. Drury – C. Johnson) 8-1
2. Some Attitude (P. MacDonell – R. McIntosh) 5-1
3. Beyond Delight (S. Filion – T. O’Sullivan) 10-1
4. Manceiver (T. Henry – H. Okusko Jr.) 12-1
5. Bobcat Bound (Ph. Hudon – C. Jamieson) 6-1
6. Bettors Dream (D. McNair – S. McEneny) 4-5
7. Classic Pro (C. Christoforou – Dr. Moore) 20-1
8. Rock This Way (M. Baillargeon – B. Baillargeon) 20-1
9. Richard Hill (R. Waples – T. Alagna) 8-1

Race 7: Nassagaweya (Division 2) – $104,750

1. Calvin K (P. MacDonell – T. O’Sullivan) 5-2
2. Shadow Rouge (C. Christoforou – Dr. Moore) 10-1
3. Windsong Napoleon (Ph. Hudon – C. Jamieson) 5-1
4. All It Takes (D. McNair – G. McNair) 12-1
5. Macs Jackpot (S. Filion – T. O’Sullivan) 8-1
6. Darlings Dragon (D. Dupont – M. Dupont) 4-1
7. Ideal Wheel (J. Drury – C. Coleman) 2-1
8. This Is My Song (T. Henry – C. Barss) 20-1

Race 3: Eternal Camnation (Division 1) – $105,550

1. Awash (Ph. Hudon – T. Alagna) 15-1
2. Thorne Seelster (J. MacDonald – A. MacDonald) 15-1
3. Everyones Watching (S. Filion – T. Alagna) 12-1
4. Windy Sport (T. Henry – C. Coleman) 8-1
5. Candlelight Dinner (J. Drury – C. Coleman) 2-5
6. Beautiful Hill (C. Christoforou – T. Alagna) 15-1
7. Happy Hannah (R. Waples – M. Steacy) 7-2
8. Black Jack Pat (D. McNair – D. Menary) 10-1

Race 9: Eternal Camnation (Division 2) – $105,550

1. Blameitonthenight (R. Waples – T. Alagna) 7-2
2. Somemoneysomewhere (P. MacDonell – P. MacDonell) 15-1
3. Loreenas Ruffian (C. Norris – C. Norris) 6-1
4. Perplexed (C. Christoforou – T. Alagna) 10-1
5. Manhattan (M. Saftic – N. Comegna) 12-1
6. Bettors Up (J. MacDonald – S. McEneny) 7-5
7. Thats The Ticket (S. Filion – C. Ryder) 8-1
8. Fade (J. Drury – C. Coleman) 4-1

(WEG)

Woodbine Announces ‘Horse Racing 3.0’

August 16, 2016 – On Tuesday, August 16, Woodbine Entertainment Group, iBoost and Ryerson University’s Office of the Vice President, Research and Innovation announced that they are partnering to launch a new initiative that will challenge Canadian start-ups, entrepreneurs, developers and students to use technology to help bring the traditional sport of Horse Racing to the next level.

The program, called Horse Racing 3.0: Changing the Game, will seek new and innovative product solutions, to help drive sustainable growth and revenue within the horse racing industry.

“At Woodbine, we are continuously looking for ways to modernize our industry to ensure a sustainable future for horse racing in Ontario and gaming is a key piece of the equation,” said Jim Lawson, CEO of WEG. “Our plan in leading the industry is to develop ways to reach and engage a younger demographic. We are excited to partner with Ryerson and work with Canadians pushing the boundaries of technology in traditional industries that help transform our sport for generations to come.”

Kicking off on September 23, participants will engage in a one-and-a-half-day-long ‘Design Jam’ where they will work with WEG staff and mentors to develop their initial ideas. Teams will then have three months to refine their idea into a commercially viable Proof of Concept. During this stage, teams will be asked to participate in bi-weekly workshops to meet with mentors and set growth milestones. Teams that meet their milestones will be invited to present their solutions to a panel of judges for a chance to be selected as the top team.

During the program, participants will receive dedicated workspace and work alongside mentors, as well as WEG’s innovation team to help drive their product forward. Teams will be given access to data from Woodbine to help prototype their developments, as well as briefings to understand the industry, challenges and opportunities.

“This is a unique opportunity for people to innovate the traditional sport of horse racing and work with mentors over an extended period of time to develop their ideas, as opposed to the typical 1-3 day hackathon,” said John MacRitchie, senior director, business development and strategic planning at Ryerson. “Horse Racing 3.0: Changing the Game is a program dedicated to providing the time and support required in the prototyping phase to set people up for optimal success. We are excited to be working with Woodbine to bring this program to life.”

A total of $21,000 in cash prizes will be divided among the top three teams along with an eight-month enrollment in Ryerson’s iBoost incubation zone. Teams will also have the opportunity to make connections with prospective customers, partners, industry experts and investors and potentially enter into a pilot agreement with WEG.

“Our goal at iBoost is to connect the best talent with industry challenges,” said Dr. Rafik Loutfy, director of the Centre for Engineering Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Ryerson. “This opportunity will help entrepreneurs develop creative solutions that would be relevant for the horse-racing industry and accelerate their time to market.”

More information, including application details and eligibility, is available at hr3.ca. The deadline for applications is September 24, 2016.

(WEG)

Trot Heavy Card At Mohawk

August 16, 2016 – It wasn’t an all-trot Monday evening at Mohawk Racetrack, but it was pretty close. The oval featured a 10-race card, with seven of those dashes designated for square gaiters.

Dream Together captured the richest race on the card – the $37,000 final of the Pure Ivory Series – for the tandem of driver Sylvain Filion and trainer Luc Blais. The heavily-favoured filly marched to the lead from Post 4 and successfully led the group through panels of :28.2, :58.2 and 1:28.2 before kicking home in :27.4 to win by 2-3/4 lengths over Pure Kemp in 1:56.1. Southwind Tesla was third.

Determination of Montreal, QC owns the two-year-old daughter of Muscle Hill-Danae, who made it a clean sweep of the event following facile wins in the first two legs of the series. Purchased for $240,000 from last year’s Lexington Select Yearling Sale, the youngster has produced a 3-0-1 record in her first four assignments while banking $34,180 in the process.

Determination, Blais and Filion also celebrated a victory with Lookslikeachpndale, who upset heavily-favoured Musical Rhythm in the $34,000 Preferred Trot. Filion hustled his charge to the lead from Post 6 and they led the group to the quarter pole in :26.4. Race favourite Musical Rhythm shot out of third when they hit the backstretch, and he cleared to the lead before hitting the half in :55.4. He was the leader at the three-quarter marker in 1:25.1, but he couldn’t fend off Lookslikeachpndale in the closing strides. Lookslikeachpndale fired home in :27.1 to win by a length over Musical Rhythm in 1:52.4. O Narutac Perfetto took home the show dough.

It was the third win of the season in nine trips to the track for the four-year-old son of Muscle Hill-Poster Pin Up. The lion’s share of the loot bumped this year’s earnings to $79,582 while his career total climbed to $206,488.

There were four OSS Grassroots divisions on tap for two-year-old trotting fillies, with each tilt carrying a purse of $18,000.

Powerful Mission overcame a challenging trip to win by a comfortable margin for driver Phil Hudon and trainer Kevin St. Charles. The filly parked past the half before fining the front in the backstretch. She led the group to the three-quarter pole in 1:28.3, and then slipped home in :29.2 to win by 4-1/2 lenghs over even-money favourite You Cant Afford Me in 1:58. Late Shift, who was first-over in the late stages of the mile, was third.

It was the second win in four tries for the career-winner of $18,700. The daughter of Manofmanymissions-The Power Of Magic is owned by E C S Racing LLC of Rockford, MI.

Stuck In My Spanks was an overwhelming favourite in the second division, but she rolled into an early break and appeared like she might be out of it. The filly was more than 23 lengths from the lead at the half, but she kept chipping away for driver Paul MacDonell who eventually fired her five-wide coming out of the last turn. The daughter of Manofmanymissions-Puta Ring On It stormed home in :28.3 to win by a half-length margin over Jilona. Third prize was earned by Hilarious Honey.

Michelle McEneny and Teresa Davidson own the two-time winner, who was purchased for a mere $3,500 from last year’s Harrisburg Yearling Sale. She’s closing in on $20,000 in lifetime earnings.

Anikadabra blew away the foes she faced in the third division. Rick Zeron has her fourth and parked past the quarter pole in :28.4 before stepping on the accelerator and rushing to the front end. The filly cleared to the top on the way to the half, and after leading the group through middle intervals of :59 and 1:29.3 she out-kicked them home in :29.2 to win by 5-3/4 lengths over Crystal Gumdrop. Third prize was earned by Stritch.

Rob Fellows trains the homebred daughter of Kadabra-Anikawiesahalee for Edward Wilson of Seagrave, Ont. and Michael Pozefsky of Saratoga Springs, NY. Her lifetime earnings now sit at $27,840.

Magic Presto, who posted a win and a second-place finish in her first two starts versus OSS Gold Series foes, cruised to an easy triumph in the final Grassroots contest on the card. She got away fourth and held that position through first-half fractions of :29 and 1:00. Trevor Henry moved Magic Presto shortly past the half, and the son of Kadabra-In The Mean Time easily swept to the top shortly after Hab Faith hit the three-quarter pole in 1:30.1. Magic Presto uncorked a :28-second closing panel to win by 4-3/4 lengths over Royal Witch, with Northern Oath taking home third prize.

Sent off as the 1-9 favourite, the Richard ‘Nifty’ Norman student won for the second time in three starts for Mel Hartmann, Herb Liverman, David Mc Duffee and Little E LLC. Purchased for $160,000 from the 2015 Harrisburg Yearling Sale, Magic Presto has recovered $61,500 of her steep price tag.

To view results for Monday’s card of harness racing, click the following link: Monday Results – Mohawk Racetrack.

(Standardbred Canada)

Five Straight For Golden Son

August 9, 2016 – Golden Son has been the hottest thing since sliced bread in recent weeks, and Monday night he posted his fifth consecutive victory in one of five $18,000 OSS Grassroots divisions for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings at Mohawk Racetrack.

Sylvain Filion dropped into the pocket spot with the 1-5 favourite while Magic Missions worked his way to the lead at the quarter pole in :27.4. Filion quickly moved Golden Sonto the front, however, and they cleared without much of a tussle. The duo led the group through middle splits of :57.1 and 1:27 before firing home in :29.1 to seal the deal by a length over P L Jerico in 1:56.1. Are You In was third.

Richard Moreau trains the son of Majestic Son-Dawn Dream for Gary & Fay Clark of Oriskany Falls, NY. The gelding, who was unraced as a rookie, now owns a 7-1-3 record from just 12 trips to the track this season. He’s banked $41,500 to date.

Nofear Blue Chip captured his division in 1:54.4 – the quickest of the OSS winners – for the tandem of driver Trevor Henry and Paul Reid. In a trip similar to that of Golden Son, Henry got away fourth before rushing his charge to the top in the backstretch. After leading through middle fractions of :57.4 and 1:26.2 the gelding held on to win by a length over race favourite Muscles For Life. Defi Normand took home the show dough.

Norah Park of New Lowell, Ont. owns the three-time winner who improved this year’s record to 2-0-2 from six starts with the win. The $9,000 payday boosted his bankroll to $94,610.

Mass Balance was a front-stepping winner in his division, but Asterix gave him a major scare in the closing strides. Trevor Henry threw down fractions of :27.2, :57.2 and 1:26.2 with Mass Balance who then used a :30.2 closing quarter to prevail by a nose over Asterix in 1:56.4. Bow Ties N Bourbon rounded out the Triactor ticket.

Sent off as the even-money choice, the son of Muscle Mass-Aimees Image posted his first win of the season for Synerco Ventures Inc of Toronto, Ont. Rob Fellows trains the three-time winner who lifted his lifetime earnings to $102,199 with the victory.

Trevor Henry nabbed his third OSS Grassroots division of the night thanks to a pylon-skimming score with Muscles Bound. Henry treated the gelding to a ground-saving while race favourite Matza Man led the field through fractions of :27.4, :57.3 and 1:27.2. Matza Man tired late and Henry stick-handled through traffic and used a :29-second closing quarter to win by a length over Midnight Toker in 1:56.3. French Bastille came on strong to finish third.

Wayne Langille trains the homebred son of Angus Hall-Showmeyourmuscles for partners Randall Crosby of Princeton and Dale Sparks of Woodstock, Ont. The win gives the gelding a 4-1-3 record from 12 trips to the track this season. His career earnings climbed to $45,190 in the process.

Manofmanyimages overcame Post 10 in an eleven-horse field to capture the final division in 1:55.2 for driver James MacDonald and trainer John Bax. The son of Manofmanyimages-Spicey Image gained the two-hole thanks to a sharp move from the starting gate, but he was then shuffled to fourth through the middle stages of the contest. The Land Shark and Gonna Fly took turns on the lead through fractions of :27.4, :56.4 and 1:25.4, but it was Manofmanyimages who shook loose late and used a :29-second final frame to win by 1-1/4 lengths over Gonna Fly. Agent Dinozzo rounded out the top three finishers.

Richard Gutnick, T L P Stable and Joseph Lozito, Jr. share ownership on the sophomore who is 3-for-7 this season after going just 1-for-6 as a rookie. The lion’s share of the purse pushed his earnings over $40,000.

Two-year-old trotting fillies were also in action to kick off the week at the Campbellville oval as they did battle in the second leg of the Pure Ivory Series.

Dream Together was sent off as the overwhelming favourite in the $14,000 tilt, and she passed the test with flying colours. She got away third for driver Sylvain Filion, who had her moving first-over in the second quarter. A Doozy led the field through first-half fractions of :28.4 and :59.1, but Dream Together powered past that foe and proceeded to move the field to the three-quarter pole in 1:28.4. A :28.1 closing panel was enough to earn the filly the win by 2-1/4 lengths over Pure Kemp in 1:57. A Doozy settled for third prize.

Luc Blais trains the daughter of Muscle Hill-Danae for Determination of Montreal, QC. The freshman, who was a 1:58.2 winner in last week’s opening leg of the series, has stashed away more than $15,000 in her first three attempts.

The $37,000 final of the Pure Ivory Series will take place next Monday, August 15.

Monday’s card also saw a group of seven go postward in the $34,000 Preferred Trot, with Whiskey Tax taking home bragging rights thanks to his come-from-behind score in 1:52.1.

Randy Waples had the veteran buried on the rail for most of the mile while Fearless Man and Lookslikeachpndale took turns on the lead through hot fractions of :27, :54.3 and 1:23.1. Waples angled Whiskey Tax off the rail in the lane, and the gelding used a :28.1 closing panel to prevail by three-quarters of a length over Harper Blue Chip. Third prize went to race favourite Etruscan Hanover.

Trainer Tom Durand co-owns the speedster with his wife, June, and partner Allan Smith of Oakville, Ont. The eight-year-old son of Revenue S-Bourbon Belle now boasts a 2-2-4 record from 10 starts this season. The 16-time winner is quickly closing in on millionaire status.

To view results for Monday’s card of harness racing, click the following link: Monday Results – Mohawk Racetrack.

 

(Standardbred Canada)