Sintra rallied up the inside, surpassing Rockin Ron as he drifted on the lead through the stretch to take the $615,000 Canadian Pacing Derby, which headlined the Grand Circuit stakes action at Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday, September 2, in 1:48.1.
Nirvana Seelster, Rockin Ron, and All Bets Off launched for the lead in tandem, while Sintra floated away into a gap at the rail in fourth. Nirvana Seelster took the lead and passed the quarter in :26 before Rockin Ron circled to the lead into the backstretch. Even-money favourite Keystone Velocity was stalled first over, trying to flush out cover through a :54 half.
Rockin Ron edged away from Nirvana Seelster around the far turn. Keystone Velocity was not advancing wide of All Bets Off and in front of Sintra, who was boxed in as Rockin Ron hit three-quarters in 1:21. Through the stretch, Rockin Ron flattened out, and room at the rail opened as Nirvana Seelster and All Bets Off were both taken off the cones. Sintra lunged after the fading leader late, sliding a neck in front to win in 1:48.1. Rockin Ron finished second, Mcwicked closed for third, and All Bets Off held on for fourth.
A four-year-old gelding by Mach Three out of the Rocknroll Hanover mare Dancin Barefoot, Sintra, owned by Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero, and Menary Racing Inc., won his eighth race in 13 starts this year and his 16th in 32nd overall, earning $882,385. Trained by Gaetan Hebert and driven by Jody Jamieson, he paid $27.40 to win.
“He’s a special horse – I thought he was a half-mile track horse at the beginning of the year, but that hasn’t worked out well,” co-owner Dave Menary said. “He doesn’t like the crashing and banging on a half anymore – he likes the big track; he likes to flaunt his speed. He’s a very lightly raced horse and hopefully he’s got a couple more years ahead of him.”
“I got to tell you, the last couple of years, and the positions I’ve put myself in to not be overly successful, this win feels really good,” Jody Jamieson said. “It feels as good as any of the big wins I’ve had; never won a [Canadian Pacing] Derby before. It’s amazing to be able to do it for the people in this stable; for Dave [Menary] and his partners Mike Guerriero, Brad Gray. For them to have the seemingly unwavering confidence in me, it’s very much appreciated, and these are the nights we do all of this for.
“I wasn’t sure what I was going to do off the gate – Dave didn’t want me getting away tenth and I didn’t want to be blasting out to the lead. Simon [Allard on Keystone Velocity] moved out quickly to get his position, and I wasn’t sure it was going to work out even at the head of the stretch. Sintra, with any kind of [good] trip at all, he just explodes through.
“He’s an amazing horse – he’s been amazing all year long. I’m just so blessed to have a chance to drive him. Dave’s had this horse his whole career and had him amazing. Gaetan’s filled in for us the last couple starts, but Dave Menary is to thank for this horse. He developed the horse and turned him into what he is today.”
Sintra is pointed to start in the Jim Ewart Memorial Saturday, September 9 at Scioto Downs.