Ontario’s top two-year-old fillies took centre stage at Georgian Downs on Saturday night and trotter Could It Be Magic landed Fred Brayford in the winner’s circle at his local oval for the second time this summer.
Starting from post four in the third $70,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold division, trainer/driver Wayne Henry sent Could It Be Magic directly to the front and the filly sailed along through fractions of :29, :58.4 and 1:27.3. Major Muscle mounted a challenge through the final quarter, but favourite Could It Be Magic accelerated away to a one and one-quarter length win in 1:56.4. Major Muscle settled for second and I Want Kandy completed the triactor.
“She’s very natural, knew what she was doing from Day 1,” said Henry, who shares ownership of the filly with Alliston resident Brayford. “She‘s pretty plain and simple.”
The win was Could It Be Magic’s third in Gold Series action. In addition to Saturday’s victory and her win in the July 12 season opener at Georgian Downs, the Kadabra daughter was also successful at Mohawk Racetrack on Aug. 4. In her other provincial outing, Could It Be Magic finished fifth in the July 23 Gold Leg at Mohawk, giving her a total of 155 points and sole ownership of second in the division standings.
Henry selected the filly out of the 2014 Harrisburg Yearling Sale for $18,000 and in her first five starts Could It Be Magic has earned $106,750.
“The first day I looked at two and she was up first. I didn’t think I’d be able to get her for that kind of money, and for some reason I got her cheap,” noted Henry, adding that it was a combination of the filly’s pedigree, size and good looks that caught his eye at the sale.
The two-year-old trotting fillies now have a six-week break before their next Gold Series start and Could It Be Magic and several of her peers will be competing in open stake events at Mohawk Racetrack.
“She has the Champlain (Sept. 3) and the Peaceful Way (Sept. 10 and 19) — and the Balanced Image (Aug. 22 and 29), but that’s going to make it too tight, so I think we’ll keep her out of that,” said Arthur, Ont. resident Henry. “They’ve only got so many starts in them.”
Division point leader Caprice Hill will be joining Could It Be Magic on the open stakes circuit after posting her third Gold Series victory on Saturday. In spite of a brief hiccup at the start when she accelerated into the gate and went off stride, the heavy favourite took command at the three-quarter marker and cruised home a two-length winner in 1:56.1. Devils Advocate and Dewdle All Day finished second and third.
Yannick Gingras engineered the win for trainer Tony Alagna of Manalapan, New Jersey and owner Tom Hill of Hamilton, Ont. The Kadabra daughter, a $55,000 acquisition at Harrisburg last fall, boasts a record of three wins and one second in four starts for a division leading point total of 175 and earnings of $113,750.
High Heels captured the other trotting filly Gold trophy, digging in down the stretch for a three-quarter length win over Silky Flashy Nfast and favourite Its All About Sam. The 1:59 score was engineered by Rick Zeron for trainer Jimmy Takter and owners Christina Takter of East Windsor, New Jersey, John and Jim Fielding of Toronto, Ont., and Herb Liverman of Miami Beach, Florida.
The win was the Kadabra daughter’s first in four outings and gives her a total of 82 points toward a berth in the season-ending Super Final. A $115,000 purchase at Harrisburg, High Heels had scored one fourth and two thirds in the first three Gold legs.
Yannick Gingras earned owner Tom Hill a second Gold Series trophy when he guided Heavenly Hill to a 1:54.3 victory in the third pacing filly division. Gingras sent the Art Colony daughter to the front heading for the halfway marker and Heavenly Hill hit the wire two lengths ahead of Danish N Coffee and Golden Idol.
Heavenly Hill benefited from an early miscue by division point leader Thatsoveryverynice and an error by challenger Kays Shadow at the three-quarters, but Cambridge, Ont. resident Dave Menary conditions the homebred for Hill and said he was expecting a solid effort from the young pacer.
“I expected her to race good, I just didn’t expect to get paid that much,” said Menary. “Yannick let the dust settle and then moved her, and a couple horses made mistakes and we didn’t make any mistakes tonight.
“I’m really happy with tonight’s performance,” he added.
Heavenly Hill started her Ontario Sires Stakes career in the Grassroots program, scoring one win and one second before making the leap up to the Gold Series on Saturday. In four lifetime starts, she has earned $48,500.
Thisorthat Hanover was awarded the trophy in the first $70,000 pacing filly division after she was knocked off stride by a drifting Bernadette in the stretch. Bernadette crossed the wire first, but was placed back to second and Thisorthat Hanover was promoted from second to first. Free Show finished third.
Thisorthat Hanover’s mile was clocked in 1:53.2, which ties the divisional track record that was set by Canada’s 2010 Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year, Idyllic.
Randy Waples drives Thisorthat Hanover for trainer James “Friday” Dean and owner Scott Horner of Toronto. In four starts the Sportswriter daughter, who was a $110,000 purchase at the Harrisburg Yearling Sale, boasts a record of two wins, one second and one third for earnings of $67,900.
The second pacing filly division saw Waples return to the winner’s circle with L A Delight, who hit the wire one length ahead of Twin B Thong and Betty Hill in another 1:53.2 track record equalling mile. The win was L A Delight’s fifth straight and her second in Gold Series action.
Bob McIntosh of Windsor, Ont. trains the homebred Bettors Delight daughter for his partners C S X Stables of Liberty Centre, Ohio and Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington, Ont.
The two-year-old pacing fillies also have a break in Ontario Sires Stakes action during the fall Grand Circuit Stakes at Mohawk Racetrack, returning to Gold Series action at Grand River Raceway on Sept. 21.
Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Georgian Downs on Sunday, Aug. 23 with the fourth Grassroots event for the two-year-old pacing colts.
(Standardbred Canada with files from OSS)