Ride Away Shark devoured rivals in the stretch for her first victory of the year in the featured $10,000 Fillies & Mares Preferred 2 Pace on a sloppy Wednesday night (Feb. 24) at The Raceway at the Western Fair District.
Lorne House drove the four-year-old Classic Card Shark mare for trainer Scott McNiven and owners Kimberley McNiven and Thomas Brodhurst. It was also Ride Away Shark‘s first victory over the London, Ont. oval following two prior local attempts.
After a brief two-hole tuck, Rain Cloud Hanover overtook early leader Katherine B during a quick :27.4 opening quarter over the sloppy surface and remained the leader through middle splits of :58.3 and 1:28.3. Meanwhile, the parked out Zip Car pursued first over.
The action heated up down the backside as 3-2 favourite Insincerity angled three-high off cover while Katherine B pulled the pocket. Those two mares challenged Rain Cloud Hanover in the final turn, but as they turned for home, House launched Ride Away Shark even wider and glided by down the stretch for the half-length victory in 1:59.4. Insincerity edged out Katherine B for second-place while Rain Cloud Hanover settled for fourth.
Ride Away Shark paid $7.20 to win as the 5-2 second favourite.
Driver Alfie Carroll and trainer Vic Puddy teamed up to win the evening’s Preferred 3 events with pacing mare Eve Marie Seelster and trotting gelding O U Sexy Guy, both wagering favourites in their respective assignments.
In the $7,500 Preferred 3, 3-5 choice Eve Marie Seelster defeated the Preferred 3 mares with a wire-to-wire effort for Keith Cassell. The eight-year-old Artiscape mare cruised through panels of :28.4, :59.4 and 1:29.1 on the way to a 1:59.4 victory. She was making her fifth start of the year and is now three-for-three at The Raceway. Doo Wee Rusty and Topanga Canyon rounded out the top three finishers two and a half lengths behind.
O U Sexy Guy, the overwhelming 1-5 favourite in the trot division, went first over from mid-pack approaching the half-mile mark and eventually wore down front-runner Alacrity (:29.1, 1:00.3, 1:30.4) in the final turn en route to the 2:01.4 triumph. The seven-year-old Angus Hall gelding has now won half of his six starts this season for co-owners Gordon McDonald and Christopher Boland. Blazing Shot just out-finished Me The Boss two lengths behind the winner for the runner-up honours.