Current NewsCurrent News for August '19
Sizzling mile puts Alicorn into OSS record books
Steamy summer evenings often lead to stakes records and that was the case at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday as two-year-old pacing filly Alicorn stormed to an Ontario Sires Stakes record 1:51 in Gold Series action.
“It’s hot, there’s not much wind, it’s perfect conditions to go fast,” said Chantal Mitchell, who trains Alicorn for Windermere Stable LLC of New York, NY and Robert Muscara of Ivyland, PA.
Alicorn and driver Louis-Philippe Roy lined up at Post 8 in the first of two $106,400 Gold Series divisions and the Guelph resident asked the filly for enough early speed to be sitting third through the :26.4 opening quarter rung up by Watchful Eye. As Watchful Eye attempted to take the tempo down a notch Roy sent Alicorn to the front and was quickly replaced by fan favourite Free Flyin Ticket, who reached the half in :54.4 and marched on to a 1:23.1 three-quarters.
Coming off the final turn Roy tipped Alicorn out from behind Free Flyin Ticket and the filly sprinted down the stretch to a one and three-quarter length win in an OSS record 1:51. Karma Seelster and Off The Press also closed hard to finish second and third.
The mile took two-fifths of a second off the former OSS record for two-year-old pacing fillies, set by Thatsoveryverynice and L A Delight in 2015.
“Obviously you can’t race a horse like that every single week, but I always felt she had that desire in her, and I think she’s got no quit by the looks of it,” said Mitchell. “I never thought she’d have to face 1:51 already, but it is what it is.”
A Bettors Delight daughter who was a $30,000 purchase from last fall’s Harrisburg Yearling Sale, Alicorn spent the winter in North Caroline and arrived in Mitchell’s barn in early June. It did not take long for the filly to make a positive impression on the trainer.
“We took a couple weeks just to get her adjusted to her new surroundings and put her in a qualifier (June 21). Even after training her the first time you could just feel that she was a nice filly, but when she qualified you could see that she just has that grit in her, she wants to beat them all,” said the Hamilton, ON resident. “She’s super relaxed, a very nice horse to be around, but when you turn her in and it’s time to train her and it’s time to race, she knows what her job is.”
After her June 21 qualifier the filly made her debut in an overnight event at Woodbine Mohawk Park on June 28, finishing second by nose, and then delivered a hard-closing fourth-place result in the Gold Series season opener on July 4. With a long list of potential stakes engagements on Alicorn’s calendar, Mitchell said she and the owners will have to sort out the filly’s schedule in the coming days.
“Obviously she can’t race in every single race that she’s eligible to, because that would be too much, so somewhere down the line we’re going to have to skip something,” noted the trainer. “I’ll talk with the owners and see what they’re thinking, and see what she’s thinking tomorrow morning, and we’ll go from there.”
The second $106,400 Gold division saw Martinis Place lay down a big last quarter to reel in the leaders for a one length score in 1:53.
Starting from Post 6, Martinis Place and driver Mike Saftic landed in sixth as Mach My Kiss sprinted out to a :27 opening quarter, and they continued to watch from sixth as Temagami Seelster and fan favourite All Day Sunshine swapped places heading to the :55.4 half. When P L Notorious angled into the outer lane Saftic was quick to send Martinis Place after her and the pair drafted along behind that filly into the stretch, where Saftic asked for a bigger gear and Martinis Place responded. The filly sprinted up the centre of the track to the 1:53 victory, leaving Temagami Seelster and All Day Sunshine to settle for second and third.
“She’s just a little sweetheart of a horse. I don’t have huge expectations for her, but she just seems like something that is going to learn to be a fast horse and an easy keeper,” said trainer John Pentland. “She’s just this little push button horse that anybody would have done good with.”
The Dorchester resident purchased Martinis Place out of last fall’s London Selected Yearling Sale for $24,000 because she reminded him of his current three-year-old star Powerful Chris, also a daughter of Betterthancheddar.
“She reminded me a whole lot of Powerful Chris. Had a lot of the same conformation, the same colour, same kind of head,” recalled Pentland, who shares ownership of Martinis Place with Ellie Bale of Guelph, ON. “She wasn’t as big, I naively thought she would grow a lot and she hasn’t. She’s never going to be a big strong thing like Chris I don’t think, but I mean that said, she’s not a tiny horse.”
Martinis Place made her debut in the July 8 Gold Series event, finishing second behind All Day Sunshine, and Pentland said she will likely make her third start in the Battle of the Belles eliminations at Grand River Raceway on July 29. The two-year-old pacing fillies will also make their third Gold Series start at Grand River Raceway on August 14.
Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Woodbine Mohawk Park next Thursday, July 25 with the third Grassroots event for the three-year-old pacing fillies. Post time for Thursday’s program is 7:10 pm.
Complete results for Friday's program are available at Woodbine Mohawk Park Results — July 19, 2019