Twenty-eight pacing mares were at Woodbine on Friday night to contest the second round of the HorsePlayer Interactive (HPI) Series. DGs Tinkerbell, Bay Girl and You Thrill Me were the ones taking top honors in the three $30,000 divisions.
In the first tilt, the Richard Moreau-trained D Gs Tinkerbell didn’t disappoint the betting public. Driven by Luc Ouellette, the 8-5 favorite lowered her lifetime mark to 1:53.
Cheap Motel (Mario Baillargeon) cut the early fractions of :26.2, :55.3 and 1:24.1. Into the stretch, the backfield closed in on the tempo-setter, but Ouellette maneuvered D Gs Tinkerbell through traffic to score the half a length victory over Do Me Honor (Doug McNair), who won her division of the first leg. Modern Cinderella (Rick Zeron) finished third.
“She’s got the speed and is able to go, right now she is just green,” said Ouellette. “With an open bridle she is very relaxed. They will work on that. She is going to have to bring her A-game for the final.”
The 4-year-old daughter of Cambest-Bolero Ultima, who captured the Blizzard Pacing Series final on January 27 at the Toronto oval, is owned by Daniel Surprenant and Guylaine Fortin, of Saint-Valentin, Quebec. The win was DGs Tinkerbell’s third of the season in five starts and ninth lifetime, which pushes her career earnings to $112,061. DGs Tinkerbell paid $5.20 to win.
Bay Girl, a 5-year-old mare, clocked the fastest race of the three divisions with a 1:51.4 mile. The Colin Johnson pupil hit the first quarter in :27.2, the half in :56, and the three-quarters in 1:23.2. Bay Girl and reinsman Paul MacDonell were able to hold off the 4-5 favorite, Jamaica Hanover (Jody Jamieson), who made an unsuccessful bid for the lead past the half.
Bay Girl, a daughter of Royal Mattjesty-Whitley Bay, won by 1 3/4 lengths. Land Ds Taylor (Randy Waples) got up for second and Shine N Shimmer (Billy Davis Jr.) rounded out the triactor.
“Last week she got shuffled back a little bit too far and was out of the race early,” said MacDonell. “We raced her more aggressively this week. When Jody (driver Jamieson) came [first-up], it seemed like he didn’t have enough horse to get by her, so we just kept on going.”
Bay Girl has won two races in four seasonal starts. The 11-time career winnernboasts lifetime earnings of $495,381 for owner Michael Sergi of Canton, New York. Bay Girl returned $10 to win.
Three divisional winners from last week’s first leg, Day To Ponder, You Thrill Me and Synergy Seelster, battled it out in the final division of the second leg. It was You Thrill Me who scored from off-the-pace.
You Thrill Me, a 7-year-old mare, and driver Scott Zeron sat behind fractions of :27.2, :57.4 and 1:26.2, which were cut by Day To Ponder (Randy Waples). Using a :26.4 final quarter, You Thrill Me rallied from sixth to win by one length in 1:54. Betterluvnexttime (Billy Davis Jr.) finished second and Day To Ponder faded to third.
“Dave (trainer Menary) told me to make sure I have a helmet, stay glued to it and flip her off at the head of the lane and see what you can do,” said Zeron. “Last week the trip worked out perfect and this week the only thing I was worried about was the fractions, but in the end, she came through as the favorite.
“If she is just a little bit better I won’t be nervous at all next week,” he added. “I think she will prove me right.”
You Thrill Me, a daughter of Jate Lobell-Lady A is owned by Pennsylvania’s Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. The 16-time career winner is three-for-three this season with $230,133 in lifetime earnings. You Thrill Me paid $4 to win.
The $50,000 final, for mares 4-year-old and older who are non-winners of $50,000 (3-year-olds $75,000) in 2011 (minimum 10 starts in 2011), is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 18. The HorsePlayer Interactive Series, formerly the Ontario Girls Pacing Series, was renamed in 2011 after Canada’s premiere online and telephone wagering service. (WEG)