News ArchivesArchives for September '06
Pair of special fillies aim for Gold Final glory Friday
CAMPBELLVILLE, ON — Mohawk Racetrack will be awash with Ontario Sires Stakes gold this weekend as the Campbellville oval plays host to six Gold Series events between Friday, Sept. 22 and Monday, Sept. 25.
On Friday evening the spotlight will be on the three-year-old trotting fillies and the two-year-old pacing fillies as they compete in a pair of $130,000 Gold Finals. First out of the gate are the trotting fillies, and division leader Pure Ivory will be looking for her second Gold Final title from Post 9 in the fifth race.
“We haven’t been drawing good at all lately,” laments Chris Maxwell, who shares ownership on Pure Ivory with driver Steve Condren of Milton, breeder Harry Rutherford of Mount Pleasant and Jerry Vanboekel of Bright. “I was joking with Terry Kerr in the paddock last week, he got Post 4 (with Porsche Hall), and I said, ‘Now we’re trading places.’”
In recent weeks Pure Ivory landed the trailing Post 9 in the Aug. 31 Gold Final at Rideau Carleton Raceway and Post 8 in the Sept. 7 Simcoe Stakes at Mohawk. While she ran into trouble in the Rideau final, the Striking Sahbra daughter delivered a track record 1:53.1 performance in the Simcoe, a race that was not originally part of trainer Brad Maxwell’s master plan for the filly’s sophomore campaign.
“Brad actually had all the intentions of not racing her in it,” recalls Chris Maxwell, who is also Pure Ivory’s primary caretaker. “But she felt so good on the Monday before when I was putting her away I said, ‘You’re sure you don’t want to race this horse?’ He said, ‘You think we should put her in?’ And I said ‘Yeah. There’s nothing wrong with this filly, she feels great.’ So we took a chance and put her in and it worked out.
“I was either going to have a good ride home that night, or a bad ride home,” she adds with a laugh.
With a record of eight wins and three seconds in 14 starts this season, Pure Ivory has added $460,363 to the $465,804 she earned as a two-year-old.
“She’s just a good horse. She’s been managed properly and, of course, she gets spoiled,” says the Cambridge resident. “And she responds to anything extra you do. Not all horses do, but she does.”
Pure Ivory will try to wrestle the Gold Final crown back from two time winner Porsche Hall, who will start from Post 4 Friday. Elimination winner Oaklea Omega will be looking to replicate her personal best effort from Post 5 to become the second of trainer John Bax’s fillies to earn a Gold Final trophy this season. Stablemate Oaklea Odessa, who starts from Post 3 on Friday, captured the season opener at Western Fair Raceway in May.
Once the three-year-old trotting fillies wrap up their regular season, all eyes will turn to the talent laden two-year-old pacing filly Gold Final, which goes postward as Race 7. After delivering her second exceptional effort from an outside post in last week’s elimination round, division leader Luck Of Michelle will be looking for an easier tour of the Campbellville oval from Post 5.
“It just shows how good she is,” says driver Mike Saftic of last week’s 1:53.1 victory from Post 10, and the runner-up effort the filly delivered over a sloppy track from Post 9 in the Sept. 2 She’s A Great Lady Final. “She is handy enough to leave out of there and get herself a place up close, but her main asset is the way she finishes up a mile.”
Luck Of Michelle’s regular driver since her first baby race, Saftic has always been impressed with the Camluck filly’s skill, but the Campbellville resident says she has evolved into a real professional on the racetrack.
“In her first lifetime start she was way too aggressive and I was concerned, because you can’t race that way all the time,” he says of the 1:53.3 world record the filly clocked at Flamboro Downs on June 24. “But she’s settled in real nice. She’s a real, smart, professional two-year-old.
“She’s a special athlete for sure,” he adds.
Saftic drives the winner of $537,475 for trainer John Pentland of Dorchester and owners Karen Carroll of Shedden and Natalie Pentland of Dorchester. The pair will be looking for win number nine in an 11 race career and their sixth straight Gold Series triumph.
Post time at Mohawk Racetrack on Friday evening is 7:20 pm, with the three-year-old trotting fillies spotlighted in Race 5 and the two-year-old pacing fillies taking to the track in Race 7.
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