Pop Writer and Sports Chic, who were winners in the first round of Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series competition for two-year-old pacing fillies on July 11 at Mohawk Racetrack, backed up those efforts by winning again at the same level on Friday (July 18) night at Grand River Raceway.
Four $70,000 Gold Series tilts went postward in all, with Northern Starlet and Code One Hanover taking the other two splits. That meant another sweep in the Gold Series for first crop sire Sportswriter as his incredible run with his rookies continued.
Pop Writer (Doug McNair) was placed the winner in the opener after the judges determined that original first-place finisher Palette Tina (Trevor Henry) had committed interference to Fiftyshadesofbay (Rick Zeron) before the field reached three-quarters. Win The Gold (Jody Jamieson) was moved up from third to second in the official order and Fiftyshadesofbay got elevated from fourth to third. Posted by Pop Writer, the fractions were :28.4, :58.2 and 1:28.3 with the final time of the mile clocked in 1:57.1.
Tony Alagna trains Pop Writer for owners Alagna Racing of Steger, Illinois, and John Carver of Bettendorf, Iowa. Pop Writer is now a perfect two-for-two in her career and in OSS competition with earnings of $70,000. Diamond Creek Farm-bred Pop Writer, who is out of the Cambest mare Pop Or Tonic.
The biggest upset of the night was posted by Northern Starlet (Yves Filion), who rallied by the leaders in the stretch following a second-over trip to prevail by two and a quarter lengths in 1:56. Missy Tap Tina (Trevor Henry) finished in second and public choice Lady Hill (McNair), who was in front through fractions of :27.2, :56.1, and 1:25.4, had to settle for third.
Northern Starlet is trained by Stephane Larocque for owner Bayama Farms Inc. of Saint-Andre-D’Argenteuil, Que. She broke her maiden in her second attempt and she has now earned $38,500. Northern Starlet, who was bred by Dr. John McKnight, was plucked out of the 2013 Standardbred Horse Sale in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for $45,000. She is the first foal out of the Western Ideal mare Casino Nights, an earner of over $278,000 in her career and a half-sister to five other six-figure earners including Allamerican Captor ($986,982).
Code One Hanover (Paul MacDonell) went right down the road in the third Gold Series tilt, hitting the opening quarter in :29.1, the half in :59.4, and the three-quarters in 1:28.3. In the stretch there was a battle between Code One Hanover and first-over challenger Southwind Mischief (Chris Christoforou), with the former able to beat the latter by a quarter of a length in a final clocking of 1:56.4. Shes A Pansation (McNair) collected third.
Jack Darling of Cambridge, Ont owns and trains Code One Hanover, who won for the first time after a pair of runner-up efforts to start her career. Code One Hanover, an earner of $55,500, was bred by Hanover Shoe Farms Inc. and was purchased for $75,000 at last year’s Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. Code One Hanover is the third foal out of the Western Ideal mare Current Hanover ($380,248) and a half-sister to the likes of Muscle Beachboy ($116,198).
Sports Chic turned in the fastest clocking in the four divisions after she won the nightcap in 1:55.3 for driver Jody Jamieson. Her win was accomplished in similar fashion to Code One Hanover as she was on top through stations of :27.1, :56, and 1:25.4 before she kicked out a :29.4 final panel to seal the deal. Delightful Hill (Billy Davis Jr.) was up for second, beaten half a length by the winner, with Solar Sister (McNair) back in third.
Trainer Blake MacIntosh of Cambridge, Ont. also co-owns Sports Chic with partner Hutt Racing Stable of Paoli, Pennsylvania. Sports Chic has a pair of wins from three trips behind the gate and she has now earned $73,000. Sports Chic, a Winbak Farm-bred filly, is the 15th foal out of the On The Road Again mare Vesta Blue Chip, which means Sports Chic is a half-sister to the great Rainbow Blue ($1,600,012), the 2004 Canadian Horse of the Year.
In addition to the on track action, Grand River Raceway also hosted a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Ontario Sires Stakes on Friday night. Fans at the track were able to participate in merchandise giveaways, trivia contests, and also got cupcakes. .
The next Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series event for the freshman pacing fillies takes place at Georgian Downs on August 10.
(Ontario Sires Stakes)