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Newcomers take aim on Gold Series stars Saturday
May 7, 2002
By Sandra Snyder

LONDON, MAY 7, 2002 — Western Fair Raceway raises the curtain on the 2002 Ontario Sires Stakes season at 7:30 pm on Saturday night, welcoming two divisions of three-year-old trotting colts for Gold Series Elimination action.

Among the colts competing for the $98,080 total purse are five of the top 10 finishers from the 2001 season, including number two and three horses Carrland Buddy and Whitesand Titan. Carrland Buddy and trainer-driver George Zirnis will start from Post 5 in the fourth race while Whitesand Titan takes aim on the top spot from the advantageous Post 1 in Race 3.

Hoping to challenge last year’s Gold Series stars are a pair of youngsters from the Doug McIntosh barn who spent last season competing at the Grassroots level. Semper Fi Hall and Ryan Hall will start on the outer half of the racetrack from Post 6 in Races 3 and 4, but McIntosh hopes they have what it takes to secure one of eight spots in the $130,000 Final.

“They are both coming into the season really good. We’ve had no sickness and they qualified well,” says the Wheatley resident, who trains both Balanced Image sons for breeder Walnut Hall Limited of Lexington, KY. “We are jumping up to the Gold this year from the Grassroots so what we’ve got to do is hope for some luck, mind our “p’s” and “q’s” and then maybe draw better in the Final.”

Although Semper Fi Hall was the Grassroots champion and top money earner of the two colts in 2001, McIntosh hopes that Ryan Hall will have a better opportunity to display his speed after being gelded last fall.

“Ryan has always had a little edge as far as raw talent, but Semper is the man for all seasons. Money just seems to stick to him,” says the veteran trainer with a chuckle. “Semper is great to be around and does everything right, but Ryan has been gelded since last year and we are pleased with the way he has come along. It should be better for him this year.”

Local entry Scat King is also making his Gold Series debut, after racing just three times in the Grassroots as a two-year-old. The Royal Strength son, who is trained by London resident James McInnis, will start from Post Position 2 in the fourth race and owner-breeder David Weldon hopes the inside post will work to his rookie colt’s advantage.

“So far he has only been a spender, he hasn’t been an earner, but he did qualify in 2:02.1 at Mohawk so we thought he deserved the chance,” says the Arva resident. “I’ll be cheering for him, but I think he will probably need all the help he can get.”

Scat King and his fellow contestants in Saturday’s Elimination round will need to finish in the top four in their division to advance to the $130,000 Gold Final next weekend. The top five finishers in each Elimination will also earn points toward a berth in the season ending Super Final, which is worth an impressive $300,000 this year.

Western Fair Raceway sends its first race behind the starting gate at 7:30 pm on Saturday, with the three-year-old trotting colts taking centre stage in Races 3 and 4.

ENTRIES — WESTERN FAIR RACEWAY GOLD ELIMS — SATURDAY, MAY 11 AT 7:30 PM:

RACE 3 $49,040

Post, Horse, (Sire), Driver, Trainer

1 - Whitesand Titan (Balanced Image) T.B.A. C. Curran

2 - Jetset Matt (Earl) D. McElroy B. Thorne

3 - M Rene Lavec (Mr Lavec) R. Battin G. McNair

4 - Rips Chance (Valleymeister) R. Battin M. Keeling

5 - Total Mayhem (Promising Catch) G. Zirnis G. Zirnis

6 - Semper Fi Hall (Balanced Image) T. Ritchie D. McIntosh

7 - Y Chance It (Yentls Image) R. Fritz R. O’Neill

RACE 4 $49,040

1 - Razzle Royale (Royal Strength) K. Sheppard K. Sheppard

2 - Scat King (Royal Strength) P. Core J. McInnis

3 - Abbey Road C (Incredible Abe) K. Jones K. Jones

4 - Creigmeister (Valleymeister) G. Rayner K. MacDonald

5 - Carrland Buddy (Flak Bait) G. Zirnis G. Zirnis

6 - Ryan Hall (Balanced Image) T. Ritchie D. McIntosh

7 - Frosted Flakes (Earl) J. McCaffery J. McCaffery