News ArchivesArchives for October '14
OSS Super Finals By The Numbers
This evening the Ontario Sires Stakes presents eight $250,000 Super Finals at Mohawk Racetrack which will conclude the 2014 OSS racing season. This year the OSS celebrated its 40th anniversary and tonight marks the 15th edition of the Super Finals.
The Super Finals were introduced in 2000 to provide an exciting and fitting conclusion to the regular OSS season for the elite two- and three-year-old pacers and trotters, of both genders. They are the Stanley Cup of the provincial racing program and give the stars in each of the divisions one last chance to shine.
The ultimate for each OSS performer is to win the Super Final in both their two- and three-year-old season. To date only eight horses have accomplished that feat, the great trotting mare Peaceful Way (a winner of more than $3.2 million in her career), in 2003 and 2004; Lady Dillinger and Fan Favourite, both in 2004 and 2005, Pure Ivory in 2005 and 2006, Elusive Desire in 2008 and 2009, Text Me in 2009 and 2010, Prestidigitator in 2011 and 2012 and last year’s Horse of the Year in both Canada and the US, Bee A Magician in 2012 and 2013. Only Lady Dillinger is a pacer, the rest are trotters.
Two of tonight’s competitors have the opportunity to join that exclusive club, but both have been assigned post nine, not the easiest one from which to score a victory. Riveting Rosie, Canada’s two-year-old trotting filly of the year in 2013, will likely be the favourite in her Super Final, race eight. She comes into the contest having won her last two starts, both OSS Gold events.
“Right now she’s at the top of her game again, she’s feeling really good. She’s got a great gait, she’s tough and she’s game,” said her trainer John Bax who will be looking for his sixth Super Final trophy. He currently sits second in terms of wins for trainers in Super Finals. He won three in one night in 2001, the only trainer to have ever accomplished that feat, and has the chance to repeat that tonight with five starters in four of the finals.
The other horse with a shot at a repeat is Muscle Matters who has been playing the bridesmaid role this season with four seconds in four OSS races and six runner-up finishes in eight starts so far this year.
“He’s very shy of the winner’s circle this year,” said his trainer and co-owner Ben Baillargeon. “That might change and this Saturday would be the time.” Baillargeon, whose brother Mario will drive Muscle Matters, is looking for his fourth Super Final title.
The trainer who has won the most Super Finals over the past 14 years is Canada’s most decorated Standardbred conditioner, Bob McIntosh who has a total of eight (Intrepid Seelster, Ethen Seelster, In Conchnito, Please Me Please, In Trepid Water, Nebupanezzar and Text Me twice).
Paul MacDonell, who drove three of Bax’s victors (Duke Of York, Riveting Rosie and Define The World), has won more Super Finals that any other driver to date with 14 to his credit. He is the only driver to have captured four Super Finals on one night. In 2008 he guided Elusive Desire, Pointe Of Honour, Define The World and the great Somebeachsomewhere to victory. Later that year he would be crowned Canada’s Driver of the Year.
MacDonell also recorded Super Final wins with siblings Invitro and her baby brother Bigtime Ball, and father and son, Duke Of York and Define The World. That wasn’t the first sire/offspring combination in Super Final history. The initial year, 2000, Doug McIntosh’s Hambletonian winner Yankee Paco captured his Super Final for three-year-old trotting colts. Doug’s brother, Bob McIntosh, also won his first of eight Super Finals that night with Intrepid Seelster,
Six years later Yankee Paco’s son Beer Budget won the rookie trotting colt Super Final and Intrepid Seelster’s daughter In Trepid Water, took the sophomore pacing filly crown. Yankee Paco wasn’t the only Hambletonian winner to capture a Super Final the same year. Blair Burgess’s Amigo Hall also accomplished that in 2003.
Among the sires responsible for Super Final winners Kadabra leads the trotters with 14 followed by Angus Hall with 11 and Balanced Image with 10. Hall of Fame stallion Camluck, the leading pacing stallion for many years, sits atop the pacing stats with 13 winners. Seelster Farms announced earlier this week that Camluck has been retired from stud duties. He still has opportunities to up his total including three offspring competing tonight, Make Some Luck, Brescia Seelster and Prince Of Clyde.
MacDonell and McIntosh also have the chance to pad their leads tonight. MacDonell will drive Bax’s Stubborn Belle, Riveting Rosie and Verdi along with Reasonable Force and Code One Hanover. McIntosh meanwhile sends out A Little More Love and I Wonder Why.
In addition to all of the exciting races on track, there will be a multitude of activities to enjoy off track including EquiMania, a youth education program presented by the University of Guelph, live music, contests, exhibits, great food and of course, some outstanding racing by the very best colts and fillies in the province. The fun begins at 5:30 p.m. with racing starting at 7:25. Admission and parking are free.
A program for tonight’s racing is available here.