Adding trotting hopples to Devils Advocate’s equipment bag paid immediate dividends for trainer Jack Darling and driver Ron Waples as the filly rocketed around Flamboro Downs to a Canadian record during the Dundas oval’s Ontario Sires Stakes Celebration on Sunday.
In spite of a recall that delayed the start of the first $105,000 Gold division, Devils Advocate kept her mind on her job and led the field of two-year-old trotting fillies through fractions of :28.3, :58.1 and 1:28 on her way to the record-setting 1:57.4 result. Magical Wonder finished three lengths behind Devils Advocate in second and One Too Many was six more lengths back in third.
“The funny thing is, she really wasn’t very relaxed warming up, she was kind of back to her old self, but we snugged up the hopples a little bit and she was fine,” said Cambridge, Ont. resident Darling, who also owns the filly. “It’s all really a testament to Ron Waples. He’s been working for me for a while and that’s his baby. He just knows her inside and out, trains her and drives her, and it’s all working out pretty good.”
Darling said Guelph, Ont. resident Waples kept Devils Advocate calm during the delay by walking her around on the grass in the centre of the racetrack, but as soon as the starter called the fillies back to the gate she was raring to go.
“He had her on the grass there trying to keep her calm, walking around, and she was fine, and then they called her to the gate again and geez she goes right up in the air a couple times just like ‘Hi-Ho Silver,’” said the trainer. “She got behind the gate and then she was fine the rest of the way.”
The impressive mile obliterated the Ontario Sires Stakes and Canadian record of 1:59.2 set by Miss Aultsville at Grand River Raceway in 2013 and the Flamboro Downs record of 1:59.3 set by Birminghim in 2005 and matched by Charmed Life in 2012.
Through eight freshman starts, Devils Advocate now boasts two Gold Series wins and three seconds for earnings of $135,625. Sunday’s win moved her into a tie for top spot in the two-year-old trotting filly division standings with 175 points. The Manofmanymissions daughter will make her next start in the Oct. 10 Super Final and, if she continues to behave, also has the Breeders Crown on her calendar.
“I think it’s about two weeks to the Super Final, so that works out good, and then after that, if all goes well, we’ve still got the Breeders Crown,” said Darling. “The best fillies this year are Ontario Sired, the best in North America, and I just think she’s one of them, so hopefully we get a chance to find out.”
Like Devils Advocate, Levitator made her debut with trotting hopples at Flamboro on Sunday and, like Devils Advocate, she emerged victorious from the second $105,000 Gold division.
Starting from post four, Levitator was eased off the starting gate by driver Trevor Henry of Arthur, Ont. and watched from third as High Heels led the field to a :29 opening quarter and :59.3 half. Heading for the 1:29.4 three-quarters, Henry sent Levitator up the outer lane and the filly sailed home to a one and one-half length victory in 1:59.4. Las Vegas Seelster trotted into second and High Heels was eight and three-quarter lengths back in third.
The win was the first in four starts for Levitator, who is trained by Richard “Nifty” Norman for Melvin Hartman of Ottawa, Ont., Herb Liverman of Miami Beach, Florida, David McDuffee of Delray Beach, Florida and Little E LLC of New York, New York. The daughter of Kadabra and Shesa Priority is a full-sister to $870,153 winner Prestidigitator and was a $120,000 purchase from the 2014 Harrisburg Yearling Sale.
With one win and one second in Gold Series action, Levitator accumulated 75 points, good enough for eighth spot in the division standings and a berth in the Oct. 10 Super Final at Woodbine Racetrack.
Flamboro Downs wraps up its 2015 Ontario Sires Stakes schedule on Thursday evening with the last Gold Series events for the two-year-old pacing colts and three-year-old pacing fillies.
In other Sunday racing action, Henry teamed up with trainer Richard Moreau for victories in the Preferred pacing events with Ballykeel Racing’s Boomboom Ballykeel taking the $11,000 split in 1:53.4 and Ufdragons Rocket winning the $7,500 division in 1:54.1 for 5527920 Manitoba Ltd.
The $7,500 Preferred 3 Trot was won by Lexis D J in 1:56 with Bob McClure in the driver’s seat for owner/trainer Shane Arsenault.
(Standardbred Canada with files from OSS)