Sent off as the wagering favourite, The Joy Luck Club ($6.00) surely brought nothing but good vibes to her connections on Sunday afternoon (July 9) at Clinton Raceway, as she was a dominant winner of the $61,200 Kin Pace final for three-year-old Ontario Sired pacing fillies.
Carded as the last dash on Clinton’s 10-race program, the Kin Pace final was a competitive affair on the tote board, as six fillies went postward at odds of 6-1 or less. That being said, it was the post-time choice, the Gregg McNair-trained and Doug McNair-driven The Joy Luck Club, that made a laugher of the festivities, which was just fine for those that hammered the bay down to the 2-1 chalk.
McNair and his mount squared off against the eight-filly field from Post 6 and were string right from the word ‘go.’ The Joy Luck Club fired out and crossed over the quickest, which allowed her to settle on the engine and lead the field to the opening quarter in 29 seconds.
The Joy Luck Club was able to throw up an identical second panel, as it took her another 29 seconds to lead her foes to the half-mile marker in 58 seconds.
McNair continued to rate his filly well in the third quarter. The Joy Luck Club posted her third consecutive 29-second panel in Quarter Three, as she marched her rivals to the three-quarters station in 1:27.
It was in the final quarter where The Joy Luck Club began to prove herself a Kin Pace winner. She opened up some real estate, as she extended her lead to four and half lengths by the time she hit the head of the stretch. She tacked on another length for good measure, and came home a five and a half-length winner in 1:55.3 off of a :28.3 closing quarter.
After having raced a first-up fourth during the middle half, Stonebridge Sundae (driven by Bob McClure) came on the finish second. Roselily (Louis-Philippe Roy) ended up finishing third, six lengths behind The Joy Luck Club.
The Joy Luck Club, by Camluck, has now won 10 of 17 seasonal starts for McNair, of Guelph, Ont., who co-owns for R A W Equine of Burlington, Ont. and Mark Horner of St. Mary’s Ontario.
“She’s perfect gaited for a half, but she had some sickness issues the last three starts,” said Doug McNair. “Dad did a good job having her healthy for today.
“Mark’s done a good job with her [too],” noted McNair. “She raced great.”
The McNairs, Horner and R A W Equine received the Kin Pace trophy from former Toronto Blue Jays star Jesse Barfield, who was on hand for photographs and autographs throughout the afternoon.
A four-pack of Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots dashes for three-year-old trotting colts helped bolster a strong undercard on the afternoon program, and the Bob McIntosh-trained and Bob McClure-driven got the provincial-bred races underway with a slight upset.
After having raced at the back of the pack early in Race 1, McClure and McIntosh clicked with Manofmanymissions colt Many A Man ($9.50), who got up for a one and a quarter-length victory in 2:01. The victor started from Post 7 and trotted from well off the tempo through the :29.2 opening quarter and :59.3 opening half. McClure had his mount positioned third-over at the 1:30.2 three-quarters and came home with a :29.2 final quarter to pass four rivals late. After having started from Post 8, Masster Blue (Travis Henry) raced well to finish second. Post 2 starter Uknow What To Do (Trevor Henry) finished third after having been on the lead through the middle half of the mile. Many A Man is a homebred of Robert McIntosh Stables Inc. (Windsor, Ont.), CSX Stables (Liberty Center, OH) and Dave Boyle (Bowmanville, Ont.) and was sent postward as the 3-1 third choice.
“I saw he had some breaking issues so I was really careful, but he was really impressive because not many horses can go last to first in Clinton,” said McClure. “He was really tough.”
The second of the OSS splits went postward for Race 3, and it was the public’s even-money choice Yo Yo Mass ($4.40) who hit the wire first. The Kyle Reibeling-trained and Trevor Henry-driven Muscle Mass gelding shrugged off a Post 7 start and posted a one-length victory in 2:00.3. Owned by Nancy Grimble (Newcastle, Ont.) and Kyle Reibeling (Campbellville, Ont.), Yo Yo Mass took a pocket trip through the fractions (:30, 1:00, 1:30) and converted the prime journey courtesy of a :29.4 final quarter. Speedycrest, who cut all the fractions for pilot Louis-Philippe Roy, held on for second. Airborne Seelster broke stride off the gate, but was able to rally for third, even though he finished more than seven lengths back of the victor.
“I raced against him in the last Gold and thought he was an alright horse. He proved today he is a legit horse,” noted Henry. “You can ask him to do anything and he responds.”
The OSS dashes took a hiatus until Race 7, where the Rene Allard-trained and Louis-Philippe Roy-driven Rose Run Speedster was sent off as the heavy post-time favourite and delivered. The brown Windsong Espoir colt was sent postward at 35 cents on the dollar. He started from Post 4, made every pole (:31.2, 1:03.3, 1:34) a winning one and closed in :29.1 to record a five-length win in 2:03.1. After a break in stride behind the gate and before the half, Gym Rat (Andy Moore) rallied for second. Addycor Royal (Trevor Henry) raced fifth for most of the mile and ended up third when all was said and done. Rose Run Speedster is owned by Rene Allard (Matamoras, PA) and the Rose Run Speedster Stable (Guelph, Ont.).
The final OSS dash of the day took place in Race 9, and it was the Pat Hudon-trained and driven Warrawee Shipshape ($17.80) that pulled a 7-1 upset in gate-to-wire fashion. After having started from Post 7, Hudon and his pupil ended up being convincing winners, as they cut the fractions (:29.3, :59, 1:30.3) before trotting home in :29.4 for a one-length victory. The win time was 2:00.2. Santini (Doug McNair) came from third to finish second, while Jayport Buddy (Steve Byron) raced first-over from fourth and got up for third. Hudon, of Rockwood, Ont., shares ownership of Warrawee Shipshape along with 8113564 Canada Ltd. (Sherwood Park, AB).
“They do a good job on this track so it helps,” said Hudon of Warrawee Shipshape’s Post 7 victory. “Some track surfaces are not so good for trotters, but this track is.”
In addition to the outstanding racing, the large Clinton Raceway crowd — who wagered a total of $36,152 on the program — was treated to a variety of giveaways and special trackside activities, including a draw for a Pineridge Backyard BBQ Bash for 20 people won by Darrell Gorvett from Elora, Ont. The Huron Heat Female Hockey Association was the racetrack’s fundraising partner on Sunday and the organisation netted over $2,500 from their barbecue, bake sale and 50/50 draw.
Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots action returns to Clinton Raceway on Sunday, July 30 when the two-year-old trotting fillies will be driven by some of harness racing’s greatest horsemen, including Ailsa Craig native John Campbell, who will make his final appearance in the race bike on Legends Day. Post time for the July 30 program is 1:30 p.m.