Georgian Downs hosted the Ontario Sires Stakes three-year-old pacing colts and trotting fillies in Gold Series action on Sunday evening (August 7) and the Innisfil crowd were witness to four impressive performances, including the seventh straight victory by North America Cup champion Betting Line.
Filion was in the Ontario Sires Stakes winner’s circle after the first three-year-old trotting filly Gold division, piloting Emoticon Hanover to a commanding three and three-quarter length victory in 1:55. Catch A Mission and Dewdle All Day finished behind the fan favourite in second and third.
“I was a little concerned, because last year she made a break at Georgian. So I kind of had that in the back of my head, so I was trying to be very careful around the first turn and the last turn,” noted Filion. “My only anxious moment was when I let Chris Christoforou [with Dewdle All Day] go past the quarter. My mare didn’t want to let him go and she kind of chucked her head a little bit, so I had to be real gentle with her to let Chris go, and then as soon as I re-moved she was on her own and we were never tried.
“She was real comfortable, she was trotting perfect around the turns, so I was very happy,” the reinsman added.
Luc Blais of Lochaber Quest, Que. conditions Emoticon Hanover for Determination of Montreal, Que. The win was the Kadabra daughter’s second in Gold Series action this season and her fourth lifetime. In six starts this year, the filly now has three wins, one second and one third.
The second trotting filly Gold division was captured by Wanaka and Trevor Henry, who charged up the outer lane to reel in fan favourite and pacesetter Radiant Beam and then powered through the stretch to claim the win in a personal-best 1:56. Jangone closed hard to finish one-half length back in second and Dottie was three lengths back third.
“She’s a nice filly, we just had to get her healthy,” said Henry. “She is very fast for a piece and has the manners to go with it.
“She was out five weeks,” said the driver about the filly’s battle with sickness. “I was just hoping she was over it and I think she is.”
The Arthur, Ont. resident’s wife Shannon Henry conditions Wanaka for their partner, numbered company 1035840 Ontario Inc., also of Arthur, Ont. Sunday’s victory was Wanaka’s first in Ontario Sires Stakes action and boosts the daughter of Manofmanymissions’ sophomore record to six wins, four seconds and two thirds in 16 starts.
In regular Sunday racing action at Georgian, five-year-old Dragon Again gelding Here Comes William was a 1:52.3 front-end winner in the $7,500 Preferred 3 Pace for driver Donald Dupont and trainer/owner Marie Dupont of Campbellville, Ont.
The Ontario Sires Stakes three-year-old trotting fillies will be back in Gold Series action on August 18 at Mohawk Racetrack, while the three-year-old pacing colts make their final regular season start on September 3 at Mohawk.
Ontario Sires Stakes action is back at Georgian Downs on Tuesday, August 9 with four Grassroots divisions for the two-year-old pacing colts. The colts will wage their third Grassroots battles of the season in Races 2, 4, 6, and 8. Post time is 7:15 p.m.