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Current News for October '17

Filion takes the Lampman Cup title by a nose
October 14, 2017
By Sandra Snyder

At the last possible moment, Milton resident Sylvain Filion pulled a rabbit out of his hat at Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday night to secure his third straight and fifth overall Lampman Cup title as the leading driver in the Ontario Sires Stakes program.

Heading into the $1.8 million eight race Super Final showdown, Filion was tied with Trevor Henry for top spot in the standings with 348 points. The lead seesawed between the two men through the first five races, with Filion winning one contest and Henry finishing second in two, and a second victory by Filion put them back level at 362 points with two races remaining. Capturing the second last race with two-year-old pacing filly Percy Bluechip, Henry appeared to have secured his third Lampman Cup title, but Filion came back in the last battle to score a win with lightly rated Tymal Peacemaker and knock Henry out of top spot by a single point.

“It’s not over yet, we’ll keep going at it,” said Filion, prophetically, after knotting things up in the sixth race. “It’s a good competition me and Trevor, I think whoever wins deserves it. Trevor’s having a good go, he’s working hard at it, we’re both working hard at it, and it’s fun to watch.”

Filion drove in all eight races and scored a trio of victories with three-year-old trotting gelding R First Class, three-year-old trotting filly On A Sunny Day and three-year-old pacing gelding Tymal Peacemaker, adding 20 points to his total. Arthur, ON resident Henry drove in seven races and, in addition to the win with Percy Bluechip, finished second twice and third once for 19 points.

While Tymal Peacemaker was a longshot, both R First Class and On A Sunny Day were heavily favoured and delivered commanding victories over a rain-soaked surface that started the evening rated “Good” with a one second variance, but was downgraded to “Sloppy” with a two second variance by the ninth race.

From Post 3 in the evening’s second $225,000 Super Final Filion put R First Class on the front before the halfway marker and the Kadabra son was never threatened, trotting home to a two and one-quarter length victory over LMC Mass Gem and Tycoon Seelster in 1:54.4. Guelph resident Ben Baillargeon trains the gelding for owner-breeders Thomas and Elizabeth Rankin of St. Catharines, ON and the group is excited about what the future holds for the trotter, who wrapped up his 12 race sophomore campaign with seven wins, four seconds and earnings of $307,246.

“I hate that it’s time to stop with him, but we’ll be back next year,” said Baillargeon.

“He’s awesome, I mean, he’s getting stronger and stronger you know,” added Filion. “I’m anxious to see him as a four-year-old. He’s such a nice horse, big, strong, I’m just fortunate to drive him.”

Four divisions later the reinsman expressed similar sentiments about On A Sunny Day, who took command before the half and cruised to a four and one-half length triumph in 1:55.2. Winter Sweet Frost was second and Majestic Kat was another four and one-half lengths back in third.

“I thought she was the best one in there and I didn’t want to try to be fancy or anything you know, I wanted to avoid road trouble, so I decided to race her on the front end,” noted Filion. “She’s probably not her best on the front, but it was good enough tonight.”

The regular season point leader, On A Sunny Day is trained by Luc Blais of Lochaber Ouest and owned by Determination of Montreal, QC. The talented daughter of Muscle Mass boosted her career earnings over $546,000 with the victory, her tenth lifetime.

With the Lampman Cup title on the line, Filion also opted for front-end tactics with Tymal Peacemaker in the last Super Final. Starting from Post 9, the Mach Three gelding went after the lead heading by the half and, once he reached the front end, simply pulled away from the field, powering under the wire nine lengths on top in 1:51.2. Red John finished second and Sports Column was third.

“He was good tonight, and he did it on his own, I was just a passenger,” said Filion. “Leaving the gate he was a little more aggressive than he is usually and I just took a shot down the backside, I didn’t really know what to do, and I just cleared the front and from there he was on his own.”

The reinsman steers Tymal Peacemaker for his father Yves Filion’s Bayama Farms Inc. of Saint-Andre-D’Argenteuil, QC and Stephane Larocque of Carlisle, ON conditions the gelding, who was the Grassroots champion as a two-year-old.

Henry’s victory with two-year-old pacing filly Percy Bluechip put him within a whisker of claiming the Lampman Cup title and may have caused trainer Dr. Ian Moore to extend her freshman campaign through next weekend’s Breeders Crown Eliminations at Hoosier Park in Indiana. Sent off as the second choice behind her division co-leader Kendall Seelster, Percy Bluechip returned to her dominant early season form on Saturday, reaching the wire three and one-quarter lengths on top in 1:53.4. Play The Bell finished second and Kendall Seelster was third.

“I’m just going to talk to Trevor and see how she was,” said Moore. “We might go to the Breeders Crown maybe, I don’t know, she’s only had eight starts, so we’ve been kind of saving her a bit.”

Moore shares ownership of the daughter of Shadow Play with his partners in the Shadow Two Stable of Puslinch, James and Wilma Mackenzie of Ennismore, ON and Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC. The filly’s fifth victory of the season was the first Super Final win for both Moore and Henry.

Mark Horner also hoisted his first Super Final trophy when The Joy Luck Club captured the three-year-old pacing filly title, sailing home four lengths ahead of stablemate Action Majesty and Dudesalady in 1:51.2. Guelph resident Gregg McNair conditions the filly for owner-breeder Horner of St. Marys and R A W Equine Inc. of Burlington, ON, and Doug McNair piloted the Camluck daughter to the victory.

“We’re just elated right now,” said Horner, who trained the filly until late June when he decided to hand her over to McNair. “She’s always been really good, well mannered, well natured. She was meant to be a champion, and she is.”

Doug McNair recorded a second Super Final win in the two-year-old pacing colt division, guiding Western Passage to a 1:51.3 score for trainer Casie Coleman of Cambridge. Jimmy Freight and Sports Legend rounded out the top three. Coleman shares ownership of the Sportswriter gelding with her long-time partner in the West Wins Stable, Ross Warriner of Burlington, along with John and McKinlay Fielding of Toronto and Calhoun Racing Ltd. of Chatham, ON.

Local filly Kadabra Queen capped off her near perfect Ontario Sires Stakes season with an impressive come-from-behind score in the two-year-old trotting filly final, reeling in Henry and pacesetter Smoke And Mirrors for a one-half length victory in 1:57.3. Illusioneesta also closed well to be third. Brantford resident Scott Coulter crafted the win for trainer Chad Milner of Campbellville, owner-breeder Mileo Monte’s Harness Horsepower Inc. of Campbellville and his brother Frank Monte of Markham, ON.

“She went one, two, three, four, with a little bit of luck we would have had a fifth one, she just broke stride at the top of the stretch at Flamboro,” said Mileo Monte of the division leading daughter of Kadabra and Queen Street. “I have got to give all the credit to Chad and his wife Kajsa, they have done a fantastic job for us. And I’ve got to give Georgie (Antonio) a lot of credit for looking after this horse and Scott Coulter for believing in the horse and coming out every time to race.”

Finally, the two-year-old trotting colt trophy went home with Kadabra colt Draft Year, who got a front-end steer from Milton resident Randy Waples to reach the wire three and three-quarter lengths ahead of T Barrr and Perfetto in 1:57.1. Guelph resident Brad Maxwell conditions Draft Year for Doug Millard of Woodstock, ON, Timothy Murray of Shawville, QC, Ben Mudry of Toronto, ON and Howard Taylor of Philadelphia, PA.

For complete results please visit 2017 Ontario Sires Stakes Results