With prohibitive favourites Smoke And Mirrors and Kadabra Queen both making breaks in their respective events, rookie trotting fillies Zorgwijk Sophia ($35.00) and Gotta Pay To Play ($82.30) were able to spring major upsets in Wednesday evening’s (October 4) Ontario Sires Stakes Gold event at Flamboro Downs.
In the first $98,400 division, carded as race three, Zorgwijk Sophia and trainer-driver Lyle MacArthur were able to spring a major upset with the aid of breaks by the favoured pair of Smoke And Mirrors and Sorceress Seelster. Winless in seven starts to this point, the daughter of Majestic Son and Zorgwijk Haughty was away third, but well behind free-wheeling pacesetter Sorceress Seelster (Bob McClure) through early splits of :28.1 and :57.1.
Just as MacArthur angled Zorgwijk Sophia off the pegs to make a bid on second-place filly Allerage Stargazer (Jody Jamieson) with three-eighths of the mile remaining, Sorceress Seelster went on a break, enabling Zorgwijk Sophia to inherit the lead after passing Allerage Stargazer. In the backfield, her stoutest rival and fours-on favourite Smoke And Mirrors (Trevor Henry) also broke, so Zorgwijk Sophia was able to open up steadily through the final quarter mile, amassing 4-1/2 lengths of clearance over Allerage Stargazer despite decelerating late in a 2:00.1 mile. P L Layla (Randy Waples) made a steady late bid from the back in the closing stages, but narrowly missed Allerage Stargazer for second.
Linda Wellwood and Tammy Aspden share ownership of Zorgwijk Sophia, whose OSS win was the first of her career.
The second division (race eight), also carrying a $94,800 purse, saw Gotta Pay To Play and trainer-driver Wayne Henry achieve an easy lead from midfield, clearing Illusioneesta (Chris Christoforou) before reaching the first turn and rating a :59.2 first half mile. The daughter of Windsong Espoir and Phoenix Goal braced for a first-over bid from overwhelming public choice Kadabra Queen (Scott Coulter)—who emerged from third with nine-sixteenths to go and gradually gained into second a quarter from home—but caught a major break when that rival faltered midway on the final turn. Able to breathe easy at head-stretch, Gotta Pay To Play kept a two-length advantage over Illusioneesta intact all the way to a 1:59.1 victory. Shamrock Shaker (Sylvain Filion) stayed on for third after a wide journey into the first turn and a tracking trip behind the front flight.
Gotta Pay To Play, also a maiden in seven starts leading up to tonight’s event, is owned by the Henry Stable and was bred by William Loyens.