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McCall Magic hoping for third straight in Gold Final
July 6, 2004
By Sandra Snyder

REXDALE, ON — Fresh off an Ontario Sires Stakes record in elimination action last week, McCall Magic leads the three-year-old trotting fillies back to Woodbine Racetrack on Friday for their second $130,000 Gold Final.

The Angus Hall daughter and driver Steve Condren impressed Woodbine fans last week when they hit the wire two lengths ahead of the field in 1:55.2, two-fifths of a second faster than the former OSS record held by Elegantimage and Miss Michelle H. The win was the filly’s second in six outings and her first in Ontario Sires Stakes action.

“I really thought she was capable of being a winner at some point,” says trainer John Hayes. “She’d already trotted down to :27 quarters, and she’d already trotted down to 1:56, so I really thought her time would come.”

Hayes has developed the talented young trotter in a very deliberate fashion, beginning with her May 4 sophomore debut in a non-winners of two event at Georgian Downs and continuing with the decision to skip the $601,300 Elegantimage in June.

“The first time Steve Condren sat behind her he said, “Nice filly,” and “It’s a long season,”” says Hayes. “Her game starting the season wasn’t complete and it’s not yet. It’s a measured process forward and November is a long way away.”

In the weeks between the June 4 Casual Breeze and a June 22 start in Woodbine’s non-winners of two class, Hayes made some equipment adjustments that he felt would help McCall Magic continue her development and the filly has proven him correct with two straight victories.

“We’re now using pull out ear plugs and they’re working very well. I tried them in the past, but when you pulled them out you were in for a merry ride. I had to get up the nerve to try them again,” he explains. “Let’s just say, you don’t need to blink the switch twice to turn the lights on.”

As a result of her on-track enthusiasm, Condren has yet to fire McCall Magic off the gate and Woodbine fans should not expect any change in strategy when the duo line up at Post 6 in Friday’s $130,000 Final. However, Hayes does expect the filly to add a bit of gate speed to her repertoire before the season is over.

“That’s the beauty of this whole thing. It’s a dynamic process,” says the veteran horseman. “None of them are the same animal week to week to week. They just aren’t, and that’s what is interesting about a racing season.”

The Beamsville resident shares ownership on McCall Magic with Michael Horgan of Roseneath, Press Time Stable of Tillsonburg and Kim Kaplan of Worcester, MA. The partners acquired the filly’s mother Maddie Maye as a yearling in 1995, raced her 11 times with limited success and then retired her to the broodmare barn. McCall Magic is the mare’s second foal and she is named in honour of veterinarian Dr. Jack McCall.

“There is an art to reproductive work, what works on one horse doesn’t always work with another. There is a great deal of intuitiveness to it,” says Hayes. “Jack’s a good friend and, in my experience, is one of the better reproductive vets in a province that is blessed with all kinds that are superior in the field.

“The probability was that Jack’s name was going to end up where he would never see it again, and that it didn’t gives us a little bit of fun.”

McCall and the filly’s owners will be rooting for his namesake in Race 4 on Woodbine Racetrack’s Friday evening program, which gets under way at 7:40 pm. With elimination winner Miss Michelle H opting out of the Final, the group will also be keeping an eye on reigning Gold Final champion Zorgwijk Emani, who starts from Post 8.