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Ouellette wins two elims, faces tough choice for final
September 25, 2008
By Sandra Snyder

CAMPBELLVILLE, ON — Campbellville resident Luc Ouellette guided a pair of two-year-old trotting colts to Gold Elimination victory at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday evening and now faces the enviable task of choosing between the two for next week’s Gold Final.

Ouellette’s evening did not have the ear marks of a bell ringer when he lined up from Post 7 in the seven horse field with long shot Aloft, but a crafty come from behind steer saw the pair make steady progress toward pacesetter Pointe Of Honour, and a sharp :27.4 final quarter sealed the deal. The lightly rated Aloft hit the wire a full length ahead of former Gold Final winners Sin To Win and Hibbler, stopping the clock in a personal best 1:58.1.

Thursday’s outing was the first time Ouellette had sat behind Aloft, who is conditioned by Guelph resident Paul Buer for owner and breeder Lynda Stewart and Robert Stewart of Lexington, KY. Through five starts the colt has two wins and one second for earnings of $38,000. Prior to Thursday’s impressive victory the Angus Hall son’s best result in the provincial program was a runner-up finish in his Aug. 18 Gold Elimination debut at Mohawk.

Back at Post 7 in the second $40,000 Gold Elimination, Ouellette and Striking Lindsey were sent off as the second favourites behind My Friend, but the veteran reinsman opted to set the tempo of the race. Through fractions of :28.1, :59.2 and 1:29, Striking Lindsey maintained a comfortable margin over his peers, and then the Striking Sahbra son dug in hard in the stretch to fend off My Friend and record the 1:57.4 victory. Former Gold Final winner Senator Hall was a length and a half back in third.

Guelph resident Gregg McNair trains Striking Lindsey for owner and breeder Kenneth Sommer of Sheffield, OH, and Ouellette was in the colt’s race bike for the second time in his seven race career. The second foal from former Gold Elimination winner Lindsey Fireyimage, Striking Lindsey has one win, one second and one third on his resume, with earnings of $46,900. His best Gold Series finish before Thursday was a third in the July 29 elimination at Grand River Raceway.

Mohawk fans made Ouellette the favourite in the last Gold Elimination, but Mr Escadar made an early break to prevent the driver from earning harness racing’s version of the hat trick.

Instead, another lightly regarded colt from the outside of the starting gate, this one driven by Randy Waples, swept his way around the Mohawk oval and into the winner’s circle with an impressive 1:56.1 clocking. Winning Mister and Milton resident Waples hit the wire four lengths ahead of Play Right, and 12 lengths up on third-place finisher Dr Cal.

Matador Bo will also advance to the Oct. 2 Gold Final after winning the draw between the three fourth-place finishers.

The mile marked the first time Winning Mister has appeared the winner’s circle since he captured a division of the W. N. Reynolds Memorial at Pocono Downs on July 5. Since then the Angus Hall son has struggled with breaks and added just a second and a third to his resume. Thursday’s win boosted the colt’s earnings to $46,400 for owner and breeder Robert Key of Leechburg, PA. Guelph resident Keith Klages handles training duties on the black trotter.

The top three finishers from each elimination will return to Mohawk Racetrack next Thursday for their second last $120,000 Gold Final. The field of two-year-old trotting colts will line up behind the starting gate as follows:

Post 1 — Sin To Win

Post 2 — Striking Lindsey

Post 3 — Play Right

Post 4 — My Friend

Post 5 — Matador Bo

Post 6 — Hibbler

Post 7 — Winning Mister

Post 8 — Aloft

Post 9 — Dr Cal

Post 10 — Senator Hall

For complete results please go to: http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/results/data/rmohsth.html.