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Pokagon captures first win of season in $130,000 Final
DUNDAS, ON — Three-year-old pacing colt Pokagon took full advantage of his post position at Flamboro Downs on Sunday evening, scoring a wire-to-wire victory in his Gold Final debut.
Milton resident Mario Baillargeon sent Pokagon directly to the front from Post 1, taking the talented field of eight pacing colts to the quarter mile marker in a smart :26.4. Heading for the half Baillargeon and Pokagon faced heavy pressure from Randy Waples and Galantine Hanover, but were still on top by a nose as they swept by the grandstand in :57.3.
Waples and Galantine Hanover, elimination winners one week ago, continued to challenge for the lead around the third turn and were just a quarter length back at the three-quarter pole. Straightening for home Pokagon had increased his lead to a length and the Armbro Operative son stayed game down the stretch to score the quarter length victory over Galantine Hanover, with Cozy Xample right behind the leaders in third.
The 1:55 victory was Pokagon’s first of the season and more than doubled his lifetime earnings to $125,463 for owners Gordon Wright of Charlotte, MI and Roger Welch of Beecher, IL. Ben Wallace of Milton trains the colt, who was second by a nose to Daylon Boy in last week’s elimination round.
Sent off as the fourth choice by Flamboro Downs fans, Pokagon returned $11.10 to win, $4.50 to place and $2.70 to show. Second choice Galantine Hanover paid $4.00 and $2.20 for his runner-up effort and the fans’ third pick, Cozy Xample, returned $3.80. Favourite Swingman was never a factor in the race and finished seventh, while local colt Daylon Boy, owned by Mario Macri of Oakville, Eric Udrzal of Mississauga and Carmine Cesta of Toronto, logged a fifth-place finish from the outside Post 8.
Many of the colts will now head to Windsor Raceway for next Sunday’s Provincial Cup eliminations. They return to Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series action on July 8 at Ottawa’s Rideau Carleton Raceway.
Flamboro Downs OSS schedule also resumes in July, when the three-year-old pacing fillies bring their speed show to town in Gold Elimination action.