Legion Of Boom lowered the boom with a 42-1 upset in the Ontario Boys Series final on Saturday night (Feb. 27) at Woodbine Racetrack.
A compact field of six competed in the $45,000 final of the three-week series for Ontario-sired four-year-olds.
Headlining the group of six was a pair of Richard Moreau trainees. Cajon Lightning entered the final off a victory in leg one and a third in leg two, while Rafa looked to turn the tables after finishing second in both preliminary legs.
Legion Of Boom and driver Doug McNair left hard off the gate, but Rafa and Sylvain Filion also had the same strategy. McNair opted to drop in behind Rafa and take the two-hole trip.
Rafa, who was 8-5, posted an opening quarter of :27.1 and a half of :56. Outside challengers developed around the final turn with Mach Code first up and Cajon Lightning, the 4-5 favourite, second over.
After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:24, Rafa led the field into the stretch looking for the gate-to-wire victory.
In the stretch, McNair came off the pylons with Legion Of Boom and the 42-1 longshot grinded away at Rafa. Cajon Lightning also came charging with late speed and Half A Billion was flying from the back to make it a four-across finish.
Legion Of Boom hit the wire first in 1:53.1 to win by a head over Cajon Lightning. Half A Billion finished a neck back in third, while Rafa was defeated by just a half a length, but finished fourth.
Legion Of Boom had just one win in six starts this season entering the Ontario Boys final. He finished sixth in both preliminary legs.
Legion Of Boom is co-owned by driver Doug McNair, who shares ownership of the gelding with Equus Standardbreds Inc. McNair’s father Gregg is the conditioner of the four-year-old.
Saturday’s victory was the sixth career win for Legion Of Boom and it increases his career earnings to over $92,000. The clocking of 1:53.1 also established a new career mark for the son of Artistic Fella.
Legion Of Boom paid $86.20 to win.
In order to be eligible to the Ontario Boys, the Ontario sired four-year-olds had to be non-winners of $60,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2015.
In regular racing action, Nickle Bag kept his current win streak rolling in the $34,000 Preferred Handicap Pace, going from last to first with Trevor Henry in the bike for a fifth straight victory.
The Bill Robinson trainee prevailed by one length in 1:51 over Erle Dale N, who had regrouped from an miscue before the start of the race and closed off the winner’s cover for the runner-up honours.
Nickle Bag, who was assigned outside his five foes, trailed the six-horse field early on while The Rev came through with the inner advantage over a leaving Nirvana Seelster during a :26.1 first quarter. After watching the early duel up front, Rise Up Now assumed command for middle splits of :54.3 and 1:22.4. Meanwhile, Henry sent the 2-5 favourite underway down the backstretch and began to pick off rivals one by one, eventually wearing down Rise Up Now in the stretch and keeping Erle Dale N at bay. Prescotts Hope came on for third over The Rev.
A six-year-old gelded son of Rocknroll Hanover, Nickle Bag is owned by Linda Loyens and Harry Loyens. He now boasts six wins and two thirds in eight 2016 starts and a Canadian season-high annual income of $98,500. Saturday’s win was his 25th lifetime and pushed his career bankroll to $558,130.
Nickle Bag paid $2.80 to win.
McNair and Jody Jamieson were three-time winners during Saturday’s 10-race card. Both reinsmen contributed to Carmen Auciello’s training triple.