Ontario’s top two-year-old pacing colts kicked off their Gold Series season at Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday evening with three impressive performances.
“I think there are a lot of colts with speed, I was very impressed with all the elimination winners,” said trainer Dave Menary, whose Nvestment Bluechip captured the first $70,000 division.
Two colts in the first division had already scored wins in conditioned races at Mohawk, and fans made Arsenic and Matchplay Hanover their top choices based on those results. When the starting gate swung away from the field, Stonebridge Beach, Matchplay Hanover and Nvestment Bluechip left aggressively from posts one, three and four. Stonebridge Beach and Nvestment Bluechip each enjoyed a brief turn on the lead before Matchplay Hanover took command just after the :27.3 opening quarter.
Matchplay Hanover continued to lead through the :55.4 half and 1:25.4 three-quarters, with Nvestment Bluechip tucked in behind him and Stonebridge Beach applying pressure from the outside, closely followed by Arsenic. Turning for home, the colts were tightly bunched, but when Stonebridge Beach and Arsenic stalled in the outer lane driver Jody Jamieson was able to maneuver Nvestment Bluechip into open space and the Shadow Play son sprinted down the stretch to a one-quarter length win over the hard-closing Semi Automatic and Sintra.
Moffat, Ont. resident Jamieson engineered the 1:53.1 victory for trainer Menary of Cambridge, Ont. and his partners Michael Guerriero of Puslinch, Ont., Denis Breton of Welland, Ont. and Thomas Kyron of Toronto, who offered up $40,000 for Nvestment Bluechip at last fall’s Harrisburg Yearling Sale.
“He was my favourite from Day 1,” admitted Menary, who also won a pair of two-year-old pacing filly Grassroots events at Mohawk on Thursday. “We’re very happy tonight.
“I would have liked to have a start into my colt [before tonight],” the trainer added. “But we’re happy to be fresh and looking forward to the rest of the year.”
In the second division, fan favourite Betting Line took command before the half and never looked back, sailing home a two and one-half length winner in 1:52.1. Heavymetal Hanover and Imsporty finished second and third.
Chris Christoforou of Campbellville, Ont. steered Betting Line to the win for trainer Casie Coleman and her partners West Wins Stable of Cambridge, Ont., Christine Calhoun of Chatham, Ont. and Mac Nichol of Burlington, Ont. The group acquired the Bettors Delight son from the Harrisburg Yearling Sale, spending $60,000 on the half-brother to four $100,000-plus winners.
“He’s a very talented colt, he trained down like a top colt from day one,” said Coleman of the well-bred youngster. “He’s fully staked up and we have high hopes for him.”
The final Gold Series trophy of the evening was awarded to Voracity, who also sprinted home to a two and one-half length win in 1:52.1. Milton, Ont. resident Randy Waples engineered the Sportswriter son’s victory for trainer Tony Alagna of Manalapan, New Jersey and his partners Brad Grant of Milton, Ont. and John Fodera of Staten Island, New York.
“He’s been a real pleasure to train all winter,” said Alagna. “We loved him when we saw him as a yearling at Hunterton Farms. I trained his mother Lu Lu Q when I worked for Erv Miller, so I liked the pedigree and took a good run on him at the sale.”
Alagna and his partners anted up $47,000 to acquire the colt, who scored wins in both of his qualifiers at The Meadowlands before shipping north in preparation for Saturday’s Ontario Sires Stakes test.
The two-year-old pacing colts return to Mohawk for their second Gold Leg next Saturday, July 18.
Up next on Mohawk Racetrack’s action-packed Ontario Sires Stakes schedule is the Gold Series season opener for the two-year-old trotting colts. The freshman trotters are featured in races three and five on the Campbellville oval’s Monday, July 13 program, which gets under way at 7:25 p.m.
A pair of series finals were also featured on Saturday night’s harness racing card at Mohawk.
(OSS and Standardbred Canada)