Current NewsCurrent News for August '19
Trotting fillies make winning look easy in Elora
The favourites in Wednesday’s two-year-old trotting filly event at Grand River Raceway made winning $70,000 Gold Series races look as easy as taking an evening stroll.
With a flawless record of three wins in three starts, fans made Warrawee Vicky a heavy favourite in the first division and driver Sylvain Filion never gave them cause to doubt their judgement. Leaving from Post 5 the reinsman eased Warrawee Vicky around the first turn and took control just after the :28.4 quarter. After leading the field of seven through a :59.2 half and a 1:31.1 three-quarters, Filion opened up the throttle slightly in the stretch and Warrawee Vicky pulled away to a two and three-quarter length victory in 2:01.1. Pocket-sitter P L Nikita finished second, three lengths ahead of Highland Foxytrotr.
“We brought her over here actually last Wednesday and schooled her and took her off the gate no problem,” said trainer Scott McEneny, who had been mildly worried that the filly was getting a little aggressive after her fist Gold Series win on July 11. “Sylvain said she was really good in the first turn, he took her out of the way then moved her back to the front, kind of a training mile he said. He got a nice third quarter into her and she was well in hand at the wire.”
McEneny trains Warrawee Vicky for Brad Grant of Milton, ON, who purchased the daughter of Royalty For Life and The Tall Poppy following her June 25 racing debut. Since then the filly has added three more wins and $80,566 to her resume.
“She’s pretty good. I’m pretty happy with her anyways right now. Robbie (Robinson) did a great job with her and I’ve got to respect Brad Grant for stepping up and buying her. He’s not afraid to do that,” said Puslinch, ON resident McEneny. “She looks the part and hopefully we keep going.”
In the second $72,266 division fans selected She Rocks Kemp and Paul MacDonell as their top choice from Post 1. The pair got away third as Emily Antoinette led the field to a :29 opening quarter and MacDonell moved She Rocks Kemp into the outer lane heading for the 1:00.1 half rung up by Shape Shifter. She Rocks Kemp made steady progress forward and had the edge on the pacesetter at the 1:31.1 three-quarters. A strong finish saw She Rocks Kemp open up a one and one-half length margin on Shape Shifter, with Emily Antoinette two more lengths back in third.
“I don’t think the half-mile track is her forte, but she was very good. I was very pleased with the way she stuck to it,” said trainer Richard “Nifty” Norman. “She got a little rough a couple times, but Mac (MacDonell) did a good job with her and she’s a good strong filly and finished up good, so I was really thrilled with the way she raced.”
New Jersey-based Norman trains the Kadabra daughter for Melvin Hartman of Ottawa, ON David McDuffee of Delray Beach, FL and Pinske Stables of Plato, MN. Wednesday’s outing was the filly’s first victory, but Norman expects the youngster will continue to progress through the three remaining Gold Series events.
“She’s really nice, I think she’s going to improve as she goes along,” said the trainer. “She’s got a good head on her and trots good, and I know Mac likes her, so we’re looking forward to the next leg.”
She Rocks Kemp and her freshman trotting filly peers will make their third Gold Series start at Woodbine Mohawk Park on August 9.
In spite of starting from Post 6, Intense Justice led from start to finish in the last division, cruising home a four and one-quarter length winner in 2:04.2. Zebs Flur finished second and SOS Playhard rounded out the top three.
Chris Christoforou engineered the victory for trainer Dany Fontaine and owner-breeder Ecurie Gaetan Bono Inc. of Montreal, QC. The win was the Justice Hall daughter’s second, but her first in Gold Series action.
“I can say nothing about her wrong, because she likes to go, she likes her job,” said Fontaine. “She’s like her brother, she’s the sister to Only For Justice, so she’s like him, they like their job and they like to work.”
Fontaine noted that Christoforou, who has piloted the filly’s three-year-old brother Only For Justice to two Gold Series wins this season, liked Intense Justice the first time he sat behind her.
“The first time when he qualified her, he said to me, ‘Dany listen, the colt is a very nice colt, but this one, she’s better’. I said, ‘You serious?’ He said, ‘Yes. This one she can trot. She has a lot of speed’,” recalled Fontaine. “She is good and she does everything right. You can’t complain about her.”
Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Grand River Raceway on Monday, Aug. 5 when the three-year-old pacing colts will compete in their third Grassroots events on the track’s popular Industry Day program.
Complete results for Wednesday’s program are available at Grand River Raceway Results — Wednesday, July 24, 2019.