Mohawk Racetrack’s fans enjoyed a double feature of Ontario Sires Stakes action during Bring A Friend Night on Saturday evening (July 16) as both the three-year-old trotting fillies and two-year-old pacing colts competed in a pair of $105,000 Gold Series divisions.
First up were the trotting fillies and 2015 division champ Caprice Hill was an easy winner in the opener. The Kadabra daughter and driver Randy Waples took command before the half and were on cruise control for the remainder of the mile, reaching the finish in 1:54. Pocket-sitter Emoticon Hanover was one length back second and Flowers N Songs was three more to the rear in third.
“She’s just a one of those special animals that just come around every once in a while in a guy’s career,” said Milton, Ont. resident Waples from the winner’s circle. “She has no flaws; she’s perfect gaited, she does everything you want her to do, and she loves her job. And she’s got a big motor in her.”
Waples engineered Caprice Hill’s third win in four sophomore starts for New Jersey-based trainer Tony Alagna and owner Tom Hill of Hamilton, Ont. The winner of $754,377 has only been bested once in seven Ontario Sires Stakes starts and only four times in 14 career starts.
While Caprice Hill picked up her sixth Gold Series trophy, the second division went to a filly earning her very first.
Starting from post seven in the seven-filly field, driver Jody Jamieson allowed Jarette AS to ease away from the starting gate and settle in at the back of the pack while Radiant Beam, Jangone and Tymal Tempest skirmished for position at the front. Radiant Beam won the early battle, reaching the quarter in :28.2, but fan favourite Tymal Tempest took over before the :56.3 half. Catch A Mission started the forward march from the backfield, pursued by Jarette AS and Royal Charm and it was those two fillies who thrilled fans with their late stretch combat, battling through the wire in 1:53.2. Jarette AS emerged the winner by a head, leaving Royal Charm with the second-place finisher’s spoils. Catch A Mission was three and one-half lengths back in third.
“She’s a nice little filly. She wasn’t the smoothest until she got into full gear in the stretch, and then she just trotted by,” said Moffat, Ont. resident Jamieson. “I was real impressed.”
Jamieson added that he felt fortunate to be asked to drive Jarette AS for trainer Anette Lorentzon and owners ACL Stuteri AB of Paris, Kentucky and Kjell Johansson of Sosdala, Sweden. The Striking Sahbra daughter made her first five sophomore starts south of the border, shipping north after a July 10 contest at Pocono Downs. A Grassroots winner at two, Jarette AS now boasts a sophomore record of three wins, one second and earnings of $70,675 through six starts.
The second OSS feature saw Streakavana kick things off with an impressive victory for new owners Brad Grant and Teresa Davidson of Milton, Ont., and trainer Scott McEneny of Waterdown, Ont., who acquired the two-year-old pacing colt on July 10.
In rein to Sylvain Filion, Streakavana left smartly from post two, allowed The Dark Shadow to control the pace to the :27.1 quarter, but then went straight back to the front. Brave World and driver Doug McNair came calling heading for the :56.3 half, but Filion opted to maintain his position and urged Streakavana forward to the 1:24.3 three-quarters. Once the Big Jim son had shifted into overdrive, he simply pulled away from the field, reaching the wire four and one-quarter lengths the best in 1:52.2.
“I was hoping to get covered up by one of the favourites, but nobody showed up, just Dougie [McNair] kind of came late and his horse got a little steppy, so I decided to keep going,” explained Filion. “And when I pulled the plugs at the top of the stretch, he just took off.”
The Dark Shadow followed Streakavana into second and Yogi Bayama was driven into third-place by Yves Filion, Sylvain Filion’s father. The Milton, Ont. resident had driven Yogi Bayama to a Grassroots victory at Mohawk on July 7 and encouraged his father to move Yogi Bayama up to the Gold Series level.
“He was a little upset when I told him I was going to try the other colt, but he understands,” said Filion of the conversation with his father, who will be inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame on August 3.
Similar conversations may continue to take place over the remainder of the season, as Filion also captured the second Gold Series division with Tony O’Sullivan trainee Happy Trio.
The colt fired away from post five to reach the quarter in :27 and then allowed Sports Column to take command heading for the :57 half. Sports Column continued to lead the field through the 1:25.3 three-quarters, but when Happy Trio stepped out of the pocket he was able to accelerate past the heavy favourite and claim a neck victory in 1:53.2. Sports Column settled for second and Big Bad Bill was well back in third.
“My horse raced great,” said Filion of Happy Trio, who had finished second to Sports Column in the Gold Series season opener. “I couldn’t get to him [Sports Column] last time, and tonight we were able to go by him. It’s either his wasn’t 100 per cent or mine’s getting better.”
Puslinch, Ont. resident O’Sullivan conditions the Mach Three colt for his partners Domenic Chiaravalle of Hamilton, Ont., and Lorne Keller of Exeter, Ont. In three starts, Happy Trio has tallied one win, one second and earnings of $79,870.
“They’re both nice colts, they’re both very nice colts,” said Filion of Streakavana and Happy Trio. “They’re still green, they’re still learning, so I expect they’ll go even faster miles next time out.”
In addition to sweeping the freshman stakes, Filion pushed his win count for the night to five, also scoring with American Virgin, Carracci Hanover and Poisonous.
The two-year-old pacing colts will make their third Gold Series start at Mohawk Racetrack on August 11, while the three-year-old trotting fillies head to Georgian Downs on August 7.
On Monday evening, July 18, the two-year-old pacing fillies will return to Mohawk for their second Gold Series event, facing off in races two, four, and nine. The first race rolls in behind the starting gate at 7:30 p.m.
(Standardbred Canada with files from OSS)