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Zorgwijk Emani back on track for Gold Elimination
REXDALE, ON — After spending the last four weeks battling the top fillies in North America, Ontario’s trotting queens return to Gold Series action at Woodbine Racetrack on Friday.
Leading the talented group of 17 is reigning Gold Final champion Zorgwijk Emani, who added a victory in the Casual Breeze and an elimination of the Elegantimage to her list of triumphs during the Ontario Sires Stakes hiatus. An unfortunate break in the Elegantimage Final is the only blemish on the filly’s otherwise flawless record of five wins in six starts this season.
“I shod her close to the race,” says driver Kevin Wallis of the filly’s uncharacteristic break in stride. “I didn’t change her shoeing, but when they are freshly shod there are subtle changes and she touched herself a bit and made a break, and that was the end of the story.”
Heading into Friday’s Gold Elimination Wallis and his wife Linda have the filly in perfect physical condition and the Windsor resident does not expect a repeat of the June 19 miscue.
“She seems to be coming into the race pretty healthy and fresh,” says the veteran horseman. “When she races each week I don’t train her, but I am going to train her tomorrow (Tuesday) for Friday.”
Zorgwijk Emani arrived in the Wallis’s barn at the end of her two-year-old season, which saw her post a record of four wins and two seconds in 10 starts for earnings of $124,100. The owners of Wallis’s top three-year-old pacing filly Burning Point, Cuzzins Stable of Boca Raton, FL, purchased the Valleymeister daughter from Rob Dennie of Walkerton and sent her to the Wallis’s just prior to the Nov. 8 Super Final where she finished fourth.
“The owners, Shelby Novick and Ken Solomon, were the ones that watched her race and did all the footwork,” recalls Wallis. “I got her a few days before the Super Final and then after that she was turned out until January.”
When the filly resumed her regular training regimen Wallis was not impressed with the cousins purchase. It was not until late spring that Zorgwijk Emani began to show signs that she might be a contender in the three-year-old Gold Series ranks.
“I wasn’t that impressed with her until we got close to qualifying and then she started to do her work kind of easily,” says Wallis. “Really I wasn’t that impressed until she went out and set a track record (at Pompano Park) in her first race. Then I thought we might have something.”
Zorgwijk Emani will begin to defend her Gold Series title from Post 8 in the third race on Friday evening, hoping to jump start another win streak. Among the fillies she will face is last year’s Ontario Sires Stakes champion Peaceful Way, making her first start of the season in the provincial program. Peaceful Way heads into the $50,681 contest off a 13 and one-half length victory in a June 25 qualifier at Mohawk Racetrack where she stopped the clock at 1:56.3.
Headlining the first Gold Elimination are Casual Breeze division winners and Mohawk track record holders Miss Michelle H and Ifhallscouldtalk, who will start from Posts 3 and 6.
The first elimination goes postward at 7:40 pm on Friday, with the second elimination slated as Race 3. The top five finishers from each elimination will return to Woodbine Racetrack on Friday, July 9 for their second $130,000 Gold Final.