Stablemates Charlie Is A Joker and Muscle Matters were separated by just a neck at the wire in a 1-2 record finish in Sunday night’s co-featured $11,000 Preferred 2 Trot at Flamboro Downs for the Ben Baillargeon stable.
Charlie Is A Joker (driven by Bob McClure) led the field through fractions of :28.1, :57.3 and 1:25.1 before holding off his pocket-pulling stablemate Muscle Matters (Scott Coulter) by a neck for the 1:54 victory.
Charlie Is A Joker paid $3.50 to win as the 3-5 favourite. Second wagering choice Finish Line (Louis-Philippe Roy) crossed the finish line in third, four and three-quarter lengths behind the top pair after his first-over journey.
The winner, a nine-year-old homebred sired by Angus Hall out of Keystone Caprice, is owned by Thomas Rankin and Elizabeth Rankin of St. Catharines, Ont. Charlie Is A Joker earned his sixth and fastest victory of the season from 25 starts. Lifetime, he boasts 39 wins and earnings totalling $543,318.
McClure also drove Mohawk Warrior to victory in the evening’s $11,000 Preferred 2 Pace. The 8-5 favourite capitalized off of hot early fractions and a second-over trip to score in 1:51.3 by a neck in his Flamboro debut over fellow later-closer Windsong Leo (Dan O’Brian). The five-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding is trained by Richard Moreau and owned by Bradley Grant. Boomboom Ballykeel (Louis-Philippe Roy) rounded out the top three finish order.
Moreau and Grant swept the Preferred 2 pacing events as Heels On The Beach (Louis-Philippe Roy) kept slight favourite Buttermilk Hanover (Robert Shepherd) at bay to win the $10,000 distaff division by half a length in 1:53. Sing Like An Angel (Travis Cullen) finished three lengths back in third. The four-year-old Somebeachsomewhere mare returned a win mutuel of $5.10. The victory was the first of three in a row on the program for the Moreau-Roy, trainer-driver combination.
The $7,500 Preferred 3 for pacing fillies and mares went to the favoured Rod Boyd trainee Love To Roll(Shepherd) in 1:54.4. Glenn Bechtel owns the five-year-old daughter of Rocknroll Hanover, who moved first-up at the half and bested Topville Cheetah (McClure) and Tilikum (Denis St. Pierre).