News ArchivesArchives for September '02
Zola Smiger smashes track record at Woodstock
WOODSTOCK, ON — Woodstock Raceway fans were treated to an exceptional afternoon of racing on Saturday when the three-year-old trotting fillies lambasted the track record in the second race and delivered one of the highest pay outs of the Ontario Sires Stakes season in the sixth.
Grassroots division leader Zola Smiger made short work of an impressive field in Race 2 to capture her third OSS victory and inscribe her name into the Woodstock history books. The Seasoned Pleasure daughter and driver Paul Matthews landed in fourth spot as the starting gate pulled away from the field of eight, but were driving up the outside before the halfway point in the mile. Taking control going by the three-quarters the duo were on top by two and a half lengths at the head of the stretch and had pulled away to a four length margin at the wire.
Zola Smiger’s 2:00.3 triumph peeled almost one full second off Just Cruising’s former three-year-old trotting filly mark of 2:01.2, set in 2000.
Gerald Smith of Locust Hill bred, owns and trains Zola Smiger, who boasts a record of six wins, seven seconds and one third in 22 starts this season. Her trio of wins and one second in Grassroots action give her a total of 175 points and a 13 point lead in the division standings with just two events remaining in the regular season.
Alexa Lou and favourite Our Pleasure rounded out the top three in the second Grassroots wild card division.
Fans who were wise enough to put Parkside Princess on top of their ticket in the sixth race earned a healthy return on their two dollar investment when the long shot romped to a five length wire-to-wire victory in 2:02.2.
The Royal Strength daughter paid $105.00 to win, $42.00 to place and $13.30 to show. Kiss My Flaps, the fans’ second choice, finished second and returned $3.80 and $3.30 and third choice Slow To Decide was third and paid $2.80 for her effort. There was no exactor ticket sold on Parkside Princess and Kiss My Flaps, so it paid out $85.50 on the combination of Parkside Princess and any other entry, while anyone playing a lucky 2 - 4 - 6 triactor pocketed a hefty $1,194.90. Favourite Dats Dixie made an early break and was never a factor.
Keith Hastie of Durham owns, trains and drives Parkside Princess, who was making her first appearance in the winner’s circle this season. The win propelled the filly into the top 16, boosting her Grassroots point total to 67.
It was an afternoon of upsets as only two of the favourites appeared in the winner’s circle. Crown Lavec eked out a narrow victory over Meisteragogo and Catch This in the third race, stopping the clock in 2:04.1 to maintain her perfect Grassroots record. Don McElroy drove the Mr Lavec daughter to the win for trainer Bob McIntosh and owners Martin Sternberg of Brookville, NY and Alvin Katz of Roslyn Heights, NY.
Equine Grace was the only other favourite to score a win, reeling off an impressive 2:00.4 score in the eighth race. The Earl daughter and trainer-driver Jason Gilchrist led from start to finish without facing a challenge and were three and three-quarter lengths ahead of Ion Rouge and Athens at the wire. Dr. Frederick Albert of Prescott bred and owns the winner of $81,491.
Everyonceinawhile captured the first Grassroots division in 2:01.4 over Smoky Sunset, owned by numbered company 874301 Ontario Limited of Scotland, and Briscos Star, owned by NGA Powerline and Brian Eadie of Brantford. Jim Haddon trains and drives Eager Seelster daughter Everyonceinawhile for Tim Towle of Kingsville.
The last division went to Grand Tiara, who maintained her second-place spot in the division standings with the 2:01.3 win. Trainer-driver Jim Whelan of Troy shares ownership on the Brisco Hanover daughter with Paul Lindsey of Fergus. The filly bested local favourite Summertimedreams, owned by John Jesson and John Lessif of Tillsonburg, Duane Hicks of Aylmer and Ronald Lee of Dundas, and Ava Hall.
The fillies make their next Grassroots start at Kawartha Downs on Saturday, Sept. 28, while Woodstock Raceway wraps up its 2002 Ontario Sires Stakes season on Saturday, Sept. 7 with the Grassroots wild card for the two-year-old pacing fillies.