The first round of Canadian Breeders Championship eliminations was contested on Friday night at Mohawk Racetrack with the fields determined for the three-year-old trotters.
Fresh off a pair of Ontario Sires Stakes Gold victories, White Becomes Her ($3.50) kicked off the CBC eliminations for filly trotters with a 1:54.2 triumph as the 3-5 favourite for the driver and trainer team of Mario and Ben Baillargeon. O’Brien Award winner Riveting Rosie was scratched.
After getting away third through a :27-second opening panel, Baillargeon made his move with White Becomes Her as they neared the half-mile mark in :57. White Becomes Her swept past early leavers Tosca (Chris Christoforou) and Muscle Babe (James MacDonald) down the backstretch and led the way to three-quarters in 1:25. Miss Aultsville (Jack Moiseyev) attempted a first over bid from fourth, but broke stride as she began to advance. Down the stretch, White Becomes Her drew away from her rivals to win by four lengths. Tosca followed in second with Chelseas Chance (Steve Condren) coming on for third. Muscle Babe finished fourth and Belgravia (Ake Svanstedt) was fifth.
The Baillargeons will be vying for their second straight CBC victory in the filly trot division having captured the 2013 stakes final with Motown Muscle. White Becomes Her heads to the final with four wins and three thirds on her seven-race sophomore record and seasonal earnings of $128,055. The Angus Hall-Pursuing Keagan filly is owned by Vince Mastrangelo of Brampton, Ont.
Slight second choice Wonderland Snow ($8) came sprinting home from the backfield to prevail in 1:57.2 in the second elimination for Hall of Fame driver Mike Lachance and trainer Ron Parsons.
Please Okay (Sylvain Filion), the 2-1 favourite, led the fillies through fractions of :28.1, :58.4 and 1:28 with first over pressure mounting in the form of Love Detective (Tim Tetrick). Meanwhile, Wonderland Snow got away seventh from post six before following the outer flow. She was spotted fourth over approaching the third quarter mark and rallied wide to sweep past the field in the stretch for the two length victory. Early trailer Aphrodity (Rick Zeron) closed well for second-place honours while Just Call Me Lady (Chris Christoforou) came on for third. Pocket-sitter Flexible Woman (Steve Byron) finished fourth over Please Okay.
Another daughter of Angus Hall, the winning filly is out of Americansnowqueenk. Pennsylvania’s Bob Key owns and bred Wonderland Snow, who has put together a sophomore record reading 3-1-3 in 16 starts to add $38,095 to her bankroll.
Mayberry ($8.30) prevailed from the pocket in the third elimination for the fillies, establishing a new lifetime mark of 1:55.2 for trainer/driver Rick Zeron.
Second choice Mayberry followed the favourite, Margie (Sylvain Filion), through fractions of :28, :57.3 and 1:26.2 with Miss Liv (Mario Baillargion) advancing first over from fourth before fading in the stretch. Margie began to open up on top by more than two lengths heading towards the turn, but Mayberry was able to reel her in and she swept by down the stretch for the victory with Danica (Chris Christoforou) chasing her to the wire off a three-hole trip. The winning margin was one length. Margie settled for third nearly four lengths behind. Lenny Mac (Randy Waples) finished fourth over longshot Carousel Hall (Jack Moiseyev).
The win was Mayberry’s first this year, but the Kadabra-Pacific Photo filly has earned cheques in all five of her stakes starts and sports a seasonal bankroll of $57,197. She is owned by the Rick Zeron Stables of Oakville, Ont., Fred Brayford of Alliston, Ont. and James Walker of Port Perry, Ont.
Driven by Chris Christoforou, Jerry Durford trainee Ole Jack Magic ($15.30) prevailed in a career-best 1:55.4 in the first elimination for trotting colts and geldings, edging out fellow late-closers Entranced (Mike Saftic) and Jitterbug (Sylvain Filion) in a three-across finish. Race leaders Jack Litten (Doug McNair) and Musical Spell (Phil Hudon) finished fourth and fifth.
Jack Litten was the first to fire from post seven and put up a :27.4 opening quarter. However, his lead was short-lived as Musical Spell pulled the pocket in front of the advancing Justcallmeronald (Jody Jamieson) and took over command before the :58.1 half-mile mark. Jitterbug was positioned second over with Ole Jack Magic, who found himself parked out early on, following third over and Entranced on his back. Back on top, Musical Spell continued to lead past three-quarters in 1:27.1 and into the stretch with Jack Litten slipping up the inside. But on the far outside, Ole Jack Magic was closing quickly and prevailed by a nose over Entranced with Jitterbug a neck back in third.
The Kadabra-Whitesand Electra gelding is owned and bred by Joanne Wray of Campbellville, Ont. The 6-1 third choice in the field, Ole Jack Magic was an OSS Grassroots winner in June and now has three wins to go along with one second and one third in seven starts this season. The lion’s share of the purse leaves his 2014 earnings just shy of the $50,000 mark.
In the final CBC elimination of the night for colts and geldings, favourite Harper Blue Chip ($2.80) overcame an outside post position and powered home for a career-best victory in 1:54.4 with Canada’s reigning Driver of the Year aboard.
Sylvain Filion hustled Harper Blue Chip off the gate from post nine with Muscle Matters (Mario Baillargeon) also looking to leave from post 10. Filion gave way to his outside rival, but retook the lead after the :27.3 opening quarter. Harper Blue Chip led the way to the half in :57.4 and three-quarters in 1:26.4 with Pasadena Star (Randy Waples) looming first over before powering home to win by three lengths over Muscle Matters. Windsun Revenge (Rick Zeron) and See The Wind (Tim Tetrick) finished in a dead-heat for third while Pasadena Star was fifth.
Steacy will be racing for his third CBC colt trot title next weekend with Harper Blue Chip. He last won the event in 2006 with the colt’s sire, Majestic Son, and earned his first victory in 1999 with Concher All.
A competitor in the Goodtimes Trot and Earl Beal Jr. Memorial, Harper Blue Chip picked up his first win in five stakes starts this year and bumped his sophomore bankroll to $96,204. Steacy trains the Majestic Son-Winning Jonlin colt for his Ontario connections, Landmark 6 Racing Stable of Kingston, David McDonald of Cornwall, David Reid of Glenburnie and George Judson of Athens.
The three-year-old pacing fillies and colts will compete in their eliminations on Saturday night on Mohawk. The $100,000 (est.) finals for the Canadian Breeders Championships, which are sponsored by Standardbred Canada and the Woodbine Entertainment Group, will be contested the following Saturday, July 19 at the Campbellville, Ont. oval.
The post position draw results for the trotting finals of the Canadian Breeders Championships are listed below.
$118,090 Filly Trot Final
3. White Becomes Her
4. Wonderland Snow
5. Flexible Woman
8. Just Call Me Lady
10. Chelseas Chance
AE1. Lenny Mac
$121,958 Colt/Gelding Trot Final
2. Musical Spell
3. Harper Blue Chip
4. Ole Jack Magic
5. Pasadena Star
6. Muscle Matters
7. Jack Litten
8. Windsun Revenge
10. See The Wind
AE1. Tyrone Haji