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Filion, Betting Line and L A Delight defend their OSS titles
Super Final night 2016 served as a coronation for several of the Ontario Sires Stakes program’s stars and a coming out party for others.
Leading reinsman Sylvain Filion, who had locked up his fourth Lampman Cup title well before the post season got under way, piloted three of his eight Super Final mounts to victory on the $2 million program at Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday. The Milton, ON resident guided two-year-old pacing filly Yaris Bayama, three-year-old trotting colt Warrawee Roo and three-year-old trotting filly Emoticon Hanover to victory in their respective division finals.
“Every race means something, but Finals like that, it’s even more,” said Filion. “Like that Yaris Bayama, my dad raised her, on the farm where I was raised, so that made it quite special. I’m sure you can see many examples like that here tonight; it sure does make it special.”
Off a trip up the outer lane, Yaris Bayama sprinted home to a one length victory over Fade and Aint Three OK in 1:53. Carlisle, ON resident Stephane Larocque conditions the filly for Yves Filion’s Bayama Farms Inc. of Saint-Andre-D’Argenteuil, QC. The daughter of Sportswriter wrapped up her freshman season with a record of five wins, one second and two thirds in 10 starts for earnings of $231,820.
Filion teamed up with trainer Luc Blais of Lochaber Ouest, QC and owner Determination of Montreal, QC for his second and third Super Final victories.
In the three-year-old trotting colt battle Filion, who is also a three-time winner of the O’Brien Award as Canada’s leading driver, once again used come-from-behind tactics to guide Warrawee Roo to a one length victory over Will Take Charge and Dia Monde in 1:53.4.
“I feel good for them guys, they were real disappointed with the filly, she made a break, she was heavy favourite, and you know the grooms, the trainer Luc Blais, they work hard all year on them horses and it’s not as easy as it looks, there’s a lot of work, a lot of hours behind that,” said Filion, who had finished at the back of the field with two-year-old trotting filly favourite On A Sunny Day three races earlier. “So that one there feels real good with that horse. He’s always shown me a lot of talent, but he’s been making breaks. Luckily tonight Luc put it all together and he was real strong.”
Majestic Son colt Warrawee Roo boosted his three-year-old record to five wins, one seconds and one third in 14 starts with the Super Final victory, giving him a total of $246,421 in earnings.
One race later Filion stalked fan favourite Caprice Hill until the head of the stretch, when he detected a chink in the defending champion’s armour and sent Emoticon Hanover after the win. The filly hit the wire one and one-quarter lengths ahead of Caprice Hill, who was one length ahead of Wanaka, in a personal best 1:53.1.
“Turning for home I saw Timmy (Tetrick) kind of chasing his filly and I said maybe we have a shot,” said Filion. “She’s a real decent filly. She can leave the gate real fast and she stuck to Timmy’s helmet. I think maybe Caprice Hill wasn’t quite herself tonight, that’s why we got to beat her.”
Emoticon Hanover, a daughter of Kadabra and former Ontario Sires Stakes star Emmylou Who, will make her next start in the Oct. 22 Breeders Crown Eliminations at The Meadowlands, aiming to make the Oct. 29 Final. Saturday’s victory boosted her sophomore record to seven wins, two seconds and two thirds in 13 starts for earnings of $485,418.
Mohawk Racetrack fans remained glued to their seats until the very last Super Final, waiting to see if three-year-old pacing colt Betting Line could extend his win streak to 14 from the outside Post 10, and the son of Bettors Delight did not disappoint. Driver David Miller and Betting Line were almost five lengths back at the three-quarters, but the heavy favourite rocketed home in :26.3 to defend his Super Final title, hitting the wire one length ahead of pocket-sitter Gerries Sport and pacesetter Sintra in 1:49.3.
“A little bit worried at the head of the lane there,” admitted trainer Casie Coleman in the winner’s circle. “But Betting Line does that once in a while. He knows where the wire is. I’ve never had a horse that knows where the wire is as much as Betting Line. He just digs right in when he hits the flag poles there and makes sure he’s on front at the wire.”
Cambridge resident Coleman and Betting Line’s other owners Ross Warriner of Burlington, Christine Calhoun of Chatham and Mac Nichol of Burlington, ON lingered in the Mohawk winner’s circle following his Super Final victory, the colt’s last outing on Canadian soil. He will compete in the Breeders Crown at The Meadowlands at the end of October and in the Hap Hansen Pace at Dover Downs in November and then move into his new accommodations in the stallion barn at Hanover Shoe Farms in Pennsylvania.
Betting Line leaves home with a lifetime record of 20 wins, three seconds and two thirds in 27 starts and earnings of $2,238,518.
Sophomore pacing filly L A Delight also defended her Super Final title, battling to a head victory over a hard-closing Bad As Leader in 1:50.3. Party In Rome rounded out the top three.
“She does a lot of her own talking on the racetrack,” said trainer Bob McIntosh of the filly, who went undefeated in her Ontario Sires Stakes career. “She’s just a good filly, and she just wants to win, and that’s something you can’t teach them, it’s bred right in them.”
“It’s her attitude. She wouldn’t let them by,” added driver Randy Waples of Milton, who piloted the filly to the win. “But credit where credit is due, as great as she is, for him to keep her the way he has for two straight years — and every time that she’s raced for big money he’s had her exactly the way you want her to be — it says a lot for the trainer.”
Windsor resident McIntosh bred and owns L A Delight with Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington, ON and C S X Stables of Liberty Center, OH. In her 27 career starts the daughter of Bettors Delight and West Of L A has recorded 20 wins, two seconds and two thirds for earnings of $1,351,663. Like Betting Line, her next start will come in the Breeders Crown, but McIntosh added that, so long as she remains strong and healthy, fans will see her back on the racetrack in 2017.
Fans will also be looking forward to seeing two-year-old trotting colt Mass Production back in action next season. The son of Muscle Mass and All Time Favorite closed out his freshman campaign with an Ontario Sires Stakes record performance, sailing home eight and three-quarter lengths the best in 1:54.4. Tycoon Seelster and Dream Massive finished in second and third behind the fan favourite.
Trainer Rick Zeron of Oakville piloted Mass Production to the win for his partners Jim Walker of Port Perry, Bruno Dipoce of Wasaga Beach, ON and Rene Allard of Matamoras, PA. In nine starts the gelding posted five wins, one second, one third and earnings of $285,673.
“There was some stuff going on there that, you’re kind of wincing, hoping that your horse can stay out of the trouble or not have anybody run into him or make a break; all those things are possible with two-year-old trotters,” said co-owner Jim Walker of the race, which saw two colts make early errors. “But it was great, and, you know, we enjoyed it all year. He won three of the five Golds and this, there’s nothing more you could ask for in an Ontario Sired horse; it’s a great program.”
Winter Sweet Frost captured the two-year-old trotting filly Super Final title with a 1:55.4 personal best in a race that also saw several youngsters make miscues. In rein to Guelph, ON resident Doug McNair, Winter Sweet Frost cruised home a one and one-half length winner over Gravitator and Holiday Promise. Paul Reid conditions the daughter of Kadabra for owner-breeder Robert Key of Leechburg, PA.
Driver Jonathan Drury recorded his first Super Final victory in the two-year-old pacing colt division, guiding longshot Arsenal Seelster to a come-from-behind 1:53 score. Drury and Arsenal Seelster hit the wire one and three-quarter lengths ahead of Yogi Bayama, who was one length ahead of Machin A Trick.
“It was very unexpected actually,” said Drury, who crafted the win for trainer Colin Johnson of Repentigny, QC and his partners Thomas Kyron of Toronto, ON, Brian Paquet of Quebec, QC and Ecurie JGC Enrg. of Laval, QC. “I thought I was maybe a little too far out of it at one point, but they kind of bunched up at the head of the lane and my colt kicked home strong.”
The Guelph, ON resident had a career-best year on the Ontario Sires Stakes circuit in 2016 and is hoping to be back among the top drivers next season after recovering from a Nov. 25 shoulder surgery that will see him sidelined for three to six months.
The reinsman has until May before the 2017 Ontario Sires Stakes season gets under way, with this year’s two-year-olds hoping to reclaim their championship form and a new crop of pacers and trotters aiming to carve out a place in the provincial history books.
For complete results please visit Mohawk Racetrack Results — Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016