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Pass And Strike trots to track record at Grand River
July 23, 2005
By Sandra Snyder

ELORA, ON ó Grand River Raceway fans were treated to another track record performance on Friday evening, this time by two-year-old trotting colt Pass And Strike, who posted the fastest of three Gold Elimination wins.

With trainer-driver Jason Gilchrist in the race bike, Pass And Strike went straight to the front from Post 4 and cruised around the half-mile oval in 2:03.1, lowering the former record for freshman trotting colts by more than one second. Mr Lemon closed well to earn the second-place share of the $34,455 purse and Distant Memories rounded out the top three.

Gilchrist trains Pass And Strike for Garland Van Allen of Kemptville and Gilbert Van Allen of Gatineau, QC, who acquired the Striking Sahbra son for $22,000 at last fallís Harrisburg Yearling Sale. After winning his debut at Hippodrome de Montreal with an impressive 1:59.3 effort on June 22, Pass And Strike finished second in the season opening Gold Elimination at Georgian Downs on July 5 and then made an early break in the July 12 Gold Final that took him out of contention.

Grand River Raceway fans forgave Pass And Strike the July 12 error and sent him off as their top choice in the first elimination. The colt will have an opportunity to redeem himself again in the $130,000 Gold Final on Grand Riverís exciting Industry Day card, Monday, Aug. 1.

Trainer-driverís were also victorious in the other two eliminations, with Tom Durand piloting Yorktown Gunner to a 2:03.3 win in Race 8 and Mark Steacy teaming Majestic Son to a 2:04 score in Race 10.

Durand sent Yorktown Gunner to the front from Post 3 and then permitted Lord Valentine to take control of the race just past the quarter pole. The pair sat contentedly behind the leader until the stretch when Durand shifted Yorktown Gunner into high gear and the colt powered to a half length win over Lord Valentine and Indiana Hall.

Owned by breeder Lynn Baker of Shreve, OH and June Durand of Puslinch, Yorktown Gunner has already earned $34,712 through three Ontario Sires Stakes starts. The Balanced Image son was second in his first Gold Elimination and fourth in the July 12 Final at Georgian Downs.

In the last elimination Steacy also worked out a pocket trip for Majestic Son, in spite of starting from Post 6. Sitting behind pacesetter Campbell Hall until the three-quarter pole, Majestic Son then circled the leader and pulled away to an impressive six length victory. Campbell Hall held on for second, while reigning Gold Final winner Mr Ontario recovered from an early break to claim the last spot in the Aug. 1 Gold Final.

A $33,000 purchase out of the Forest City Yearling Sale, Majestic Son was taking his second crack at the Gold Series for owners David Reid of Glenburnie, David McDonald of Cornwall, A K Malik Stable of Ottawa and Malcolm Man Son Hing of Nepean. The Angus Hall son made a costly break at the three-quarter mark in the July 5 season opener that left him out of the Final.

The top three colts from each elimination will have their chance to compete for $130,000 in the Aug. 1 Gold Final at Grand River Raceway. Also on the program that afternoon is the $300,000 Battle of Waterloo Final for two-year-old pacing colts.

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