News ArchivesArchives for August '17
Feisty Percy Bluechip scores third straight Gold win at Mohawk
Two-year-old pacers were in the spotlight at Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday night, competing in four Gold Series divisions worth a total of $390,400.
The two fastest divisions were clocked in 1:51.4, one by pacing colt Declan Seelster in his first lifetime start, and the other by pacing filly Percy Bluechip in her third straight Gold win.
In the first pacing colt division, Declan Seelster and driver Jody Jamieson of Moffat, ON lined up at Post 6 and landed on the rail in seventh as Jimmy Freight took the field to a :27 opening quarter. Fan favourite Shadow Moon took command on the way to the :55.3 half and continued to lead at the 1:23.3 three-quarters, while Jamieson opted to keep Declan Seelster on the rail. In the stretch a sliver of racetrack opened up on the rail and, after some manoeuvering, Jamieson was able to squeeze Declan Seelster up the inside to a head victory over a duelling Shadow Moon and Jimmy Freight.
“Putting him in there tonight, I really wished I could have had a maiden start into him. I just told Jody (Jamieson) not to sacrifice him, you know, put him in a spot where if he can win he can win, but it’s an awful lot to ask,” said trainer Dave Menary. “That qualifier (1:55.4 on August 8) was his very first time behind the gate. We did stretch him out a little bit the last three-quarters aiming for this, but you know there’s a difference when they’re down to the quarter in :27 or they’re down to the quarter in :33.”
Declan Seelster’s debut was a long-awaited one for the Cambridge resident and his partners Michael Guerriero of Brampton, Denis Breton of Welland, ON and Tim Purkiss of Port Coquitlam, BC. Menary had been impressed with the colt early in his education, but some growing pains in the spring caused the trainer to back off with the son of Big Jim and Demi Seelster, who was a $48,000 purchase out of last fall’s Forest City Yearling Sale.
“February-March he was definitely my favourite colt. He just did a lot of growing and his feet were really bothering him right when baby races were getting started,” recalled Menary. “I backed off and worked on his feet, and actually I sent him to a friend of mine, Brian Lee, to go on the TheraPlate and swim for two weeks. Brian did a great job and that really helped him turn the corner.
“And Frank O’Toole was a very good help with the horse, and Jeff Courchesne takes care of him and does a very good job, so just everybody working together,” Menary continued. “I appreciate my partners’ patience, everybody was getting a little antsy because I touted the colt so much, so early, and they’re watching all our other colts out there racing and winning, and I kept telling them. ‘It’s gonna be okay, it’s gonna be okay,’ and tonight their patience was rewarded.”
The patience of trainer Dr. Ian Moore and driver Trevor Henry was tested in the evening’s last Gold division as Percy Bluechip arrived at Mohawk for her third start with a newfound level of aggression.
“She was a handful warming up tonight, holy smokes,” said Dr. Moore. “She took off right there on the track on me, like pretty well ran away with me tonight warming up, and I turned her to go the right way thinking that might help and that was worse, so I put ear plugs in her to race, she’s never had them in in her life.”
The ear plugs did not help Henry in the post parade as Percy Bluechip once again tried to start the race early. With some assistance Henry was able to get the filly settled and the Arthur, ON resident kept her at a walk until the starter called the fillies to the gate. Fortunately, once the gate started to roll Percy Bluechip was all business and after getting away second from Post 2, Henry sent her after the lead just after the :28 quarter and she rolled through a :56.2 half and 1:24.1 three-quarters on the way to her third Gold Series win. Kendall Seelster finished one and one-half lengths back in second and Play The Bell was another length back in third.
“I think she took a lot out of herself warming up tonight, she had to, it’s impossible that she didn’t,” said Dr. Moore. “She’s a very smart filly so I’m hoping that this is a phase she’s going through and that she will eventually settle down and relax a bit, but at least she was good in the race, so that’s good to know.”
Moore shares ownership of the daughter of Shadow Play and Advantest with his partners in the Shadow Two Stable of Puslinch, ON, James and Wilma Mackenzie of Ennismore, ON and Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC. The group, who offered up $110,000 to acquire the filly from the Forest City Yearling Sale, was hoping Percy Bluechip would make her open stake debut in the Eternal Camnation at Mohawk on August 26, but Moore is tempering expectations after Saturday’s fractious outing.
“We’re hoping to go in the Eternal Camnation next week, but it doesn’t give me much time to resolve some of that situation, to get her under control,” said the Puslinch resident. “Hopefully I’ll have a little bit of equipment on her to settle her a bit. I don’t want to T her off, but I’ve got to do something.”
The other pacing filly Gold trophy went home with Lady Grande, who went gate-to-wire from Post 6, hitting the wire three and three-quarter lengths ahead of Delaney R and Lady Ella in 1:52.3. Jonathan Drury of Guelph engineered the win for trainer Victor Puddy of Mountain, ON and owners Keith Cassell of Smiths Falls, Lloyd Stone of Portland, Jerome Voldock of Arnprior and numbered company Ontario 1085195 of Gloucester, ON. The group purchased the daughter of Big Jim and Lady Latte out of last fall’s Canadian Yearling Sale for $25,000 and Lady Grande has returned $97,992 from one win, four seconds and one third in seven starts.
Hudson Phil captured the other pacing colt division, making a successful leap up from the Grassroots Series for trainer Mark Steacy of Lansdowne, ON and owner-breeder Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC. The son of Shanghai Phil and Hazel, in rein to newly crowned World Driving Champion James MacDonald of Guelph, also found racing room along the rail, sprinting from fifth at the top of the stretch to a two and one-quarter length victory in 1:52.4. Favourite Evening Play was second and Taste Of History was third.
The two-year-old pacing fillies and colts return to Mohawk Racetrack for their fourth Gold Series event, the fillies on Friday, Sept. 8 and the colts on Saturday, Sept. 9.
Two-year-old pacing fillies will also be featured at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday, August 24 as the Campbellville oval hosts the fourth Grassroots event for the novices, with a first race post time of 7:30 pm.