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Gold Series colts raise the bar in round two
Ontario’s top two-year-old pacing colts stepped up their game at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Monday evening as both Gold Series divisions were clocked in 1:52.1, a full second faster than the quickest split in the Gold Series opener nine days ago.
Velocity Rukkus captured the first $108,000 division with an impressive late rush that saw him reel in pacesetter Denali Seelster in the stretch for a one length victory. Starting from Post 6 Velocity Rukkus left smartly and then yielded to Denali Seelster, who in turn handed off to YS Mathis just after the :28.2 quarter. Velocity Rukkus continued to sit third on the rail as Denali Seelster circled back to the front heading for the :56.3 half and seemed to be locked in when the pacesetter reached the three-quarters in 1:24.4.
Fortunately, driver Randy Waples was able to find a sliver of room and the slick-gaited Velocity Rukkus hit the opening at full speed and paced home to the win. Denali Seelster stayed game for second, just ahead of the hard closing One For Julius.
“He’s a very handy horse, quick when he needs to be and very smart,” said Waples. “He’s a real nice horse and pulled me out of a hopeless spot.”
Milton, ON resident Waples drove Velocity Rukkus to the win for trainer Mark Evers and Velocity Standardbreds of Lebanon, OH. The Sportswriter son was a hard-closing second to winner Bettor At Hightide in the July 6 Gold Series opener and now has $81,000 on his card through two lifetime starts, more than double the $40,000 bid that saw him hammered down at last fall’s Blooded Horse Sale.
The second division went to Tattoo Artist, who made his debut with a win in the July 5 Grassroots season opener. With Milton, ON resident Sylvain Filion back in the race bike, Tattoo Artist got away third from Post 6 and watched Noch Ten lead the field to a sharp :26.3 opening quarter. As Noch Ten started to slow the pace Filion sent Tattoo Artist after the lead and the colt was comfortably in control before the :55.2 half. Tattoo Artist continued to lead at the 1:24 three-quarters and pulled away to a four length victory in the stretch. Fan favourite Bettorbuckleup finished second, just ahead of third-place finisher Choir Master.
“We were sort of on the fence a little bit, humming and hawing, but then when we jogged him back, his first time jogging back he was right on the bit all proud of himself and everything and I just thought ah, we’ll give him a shot,” said trainer Dr. Ian Moore of the decision to move Tattoo Artist from the Grassroots up to the Gold Series. “And the way the draw worked out, I thought the other race was a little tougher on paper than this one and I thought, you know, if he’s all right he’ll handle them. We figured he’d step up another second or two so we’re obviously very pleased.”
Moore trains Tattoo Artist for Frank Cannon of Sanford, FL and Let It Ride Stables Inc. of Boca Raton, FL and the partners have not yet worked out where the Hes Watching son will make his third start.
“I’m going to look everything over tomorrow, including the dates for all the upcoming races, and we’re going to decide on the Battle of Waterloo. I won that race in ’09 and haven’t had much luck with that since,” said Moore. “We’ll consider it all and go from there. I’d kind of like to see this fellow go a little longer into the year because he is very young and all that sort of thing, so we’ll come up with a plan over the next couple of days for him.”
Moore also trains Denali Seelster and said while the Sunshine Beach colt improved on his effort in the Gold Series opener, where he made a break turning for home and finished eighth, he still has not demonstrated his full potential.
“We made a few changes and we’re going to have to make one more I guess. He wasn’t 100 per cent perfect, but he was a lot better than last time,” said Moore of Denali Seelster. “That was a pretty good colt, the other one that beat him, too.”
In addition to a win and a second in Gold Series action, Moore and his team also captured a two-year-old filly race with Alexa Skye, a daughter of the late Ontario Sired superstar Somebeachsomewhere. The Cambridge, ON resident tipped his hat to the role his staff played in the evening’s success.
“I’ve got good help this year, good grooms. That’s been a major influence on the early success that we’ve been having so far this year, especially with all the babies, because they’re all getting looked after well and treated properly and they respond to that, young horses do, and it’s been great,” said the trainer. “Giselle Loder looks after Tattoo (Artist). Cheryl Johnson looks after Alexa Skye and she’s looking after Denali Seelster too actually, but Dustin Boyd paddocked him tonight, he looks after (three-year-old pacing colt) Century Farroh, that’s his primary horse, so they’re all here tonight working away.”
The two-year-old pacing colts will make their third Gold Series start on August 16 at Woodbine Mohawk Park, while their Grassroots peers are back in action at the Campbellville oval Tuesday night (July 16). The colts will compete in Races 2, 4, 5, 7, 9 and 10 on Tuesday’s program, which gets under way at 7:10 pm.
Complete results for Monday’s program are available at Woodbine Mohawk Park Results — Monday, July 15, 2019.