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Trotting filly casts a spell over Western Fair fans
November 6, 2004
By Sandra Snyder

LONDON, ON — Two-year-old trotting filly Maleficent achieved the near impossible at Western Fair Raceway on Friday evening, coming from the outside Post 8 to capture her first $130,000 Gold Final.

With trainer-driver Tom Durand in the race bike, Maleficent landed in fifth place through the early stages of a race that saw Heartful Image and favourite Real Live Woman battle to a :28.2 opening quarter over a track rated one second slower than normal. When elimination winners Real Live Woman and Elena both went off stride just past the 1:00.2 half, Maleficent found herself in fourth-place at the 1:31.1 three-quarters and Durand realised he had a shot at the main prize.

Third at the top of the stretch, Maleficent battled to the wire with Dream On Bernie and Pretty In Plaid and prevailed by one-quarter length in a personal best 2:04.1. Dream On Bernie earned her sixth runner-up cheque of the season and Pretty In Plaid was two lengths back in third.

Western Fair Raceway fans sent Maleficent off as their second last choice in the field of eight and as a result the Royal Ballad daughter returned $31.80 to win, $8.80 to place and $3.80 to show. Dream On Bernie, the fans’ sixth choice, paid $8.60 on each place ticket and $5.20 for a show voucher. Fourth choice Pretty In Plaid returned $10.30. The exactor was worth $400.10 and the triactor paid $1,589.50.

Puslinch resident Durand trains Maleficent for breeders Thomas and Sherri Vincent of Belwood and his wife June Durand. After starting her Ontario Sires Stakes career in the Grassroots, Maleficent joined the Gold Series in time for the Sept. 28 eliminations at Mohawk Racetrack and has recorded one win, one third and two fourths through two Gold Eliminations and two Gold Finals.

The win was enough to bump Maleficent into the top 10 point earners and land her a berth in the Nov. 13 Super Final at Woodbine Racetrack. In spite of her untimely miscue in Friday’s contest, Real Live Woman will wrap up the regular season atop the standings with 175 points.

The two-year-old trotting filly Gold Final wrapped up another exciting season of Ontario Sires Stakes action at Western Fair Raceway which featured two Gold events, a Grassroots skirmish and a Trillium Series. The provincial program will return to the London half-mile next season with a fresh crop of two and three-year-olds eager to test their mettle against the cream of the Ontario Sires Stakes crop.