Sportsillustrator certainly found the half-mile oval and company at The Raceway at the Western Fair District to her liking this month as the four-year-old was unstoppable in the Alliance Series for pacing fillies and mares.
In Tuesday’s $14,000 final, Watt Machs Me Win (Nick Steward) muscled to the early lead but faced immediate pressure from O See My Artist (Bruce Richardson). The quarter was reached in :29.1 with the front four racing in two-by-two fashion as Sweetshadyshark (Alfie Carroll) sat the pocket with Diduseethat (Scott Coulter) second over.
Bob McClure waited patiently in fifth with Sportsillustrator before tipping off the rail into the two path in order to maintain position through a :59.3 half.
As the field hit the backstretch for the final time, Diduseethat was sent three-wide with Sportsillustrator on her helmet. Diduseethat cleared the early pair of leaders and gained control at the third panel, reached in 1:29.4. Sportsillustrator followed that move and continued to stalk the new pacesetter heading into the final turn.
At the head of the stretch, Sportsillustrator managed to wrestle the lead from Diduseethat and paced powerfully through the wire to trip the timer in 1:59.4. Gossip Model (J Harris) closed strongly for second with a ground-saving Sweetshadyshark completing the triactor.
The win was the third in a row for Sportsillustrator, who won the first two legs of the Alliance Series, open to mares racing for a $12,500 claiming tag who haven’t won $30,000 lifetime, on December 13 and 20. Craig Gilmour trains the daughter of Sportswriter – Matt N Mouse for owners Ronald Nobes of Fergus and Shawn Brisebois of Grimsby, Ont.
Tuesday’s card also featured a pair of $7,500 Preferred 3 events, one for trotters and one for pacing fillies and mares. Sophomore Muscle Ave was a front-stepping winner in the trotting event, scoring in 2:02.1 for driver Scott Young, trainer Ian Hyatt and owners Larry Ainsworth & Wallacestandardbreds Inc. Robert Shepherd clinched a driving hat trick with his come-from-behind win aboard 15-1 shot Katherine B in the pacing preferred event. The Gord McDonnell trainee was three-parts of a length better than her closest foe Zip Car in a 1:59.2 performance for owner Tom Knight of South Woodslee, Ont.