Heading into last week's Ontario Sires Stakes Gold elimination Norm Dunstan felt Lexus Helios was rounding into peak form and would be able to hold her own against the top 3-year-old trotting fillies in the province.
The filly finished a steady fourth in her elimination to qualify for Thursday night's $130,000 Gold final and Dunstan's intuition proved right on the money as Lexus Helios returned to Mohawk Racetrack and delivered a personal best effort to claim the top prize.
Lexus Helios and driver Mike Saftic lined up behind the number six on the Mohawk starting gate and the fillies to their left and right were on fire early, battling to a :13 opening eighth. Frisky Strike won the initial foot race, but Justasmalltowngirl got the early lead, taking the field to the quarter in :27.1.
Sugar Wheeler and driver Paul MacDonell sprinted up the outside from third just after the quarter and enjoyed a brief moment on the lead before being reeled in by Miss Paris and Rick Zeron, who clocked the :56 half. The fan favorites carried on to a 1:24.1 three-quarters, but there was a whole lot of movement happening in the backfield.
Elimination winner Smarty Pants was the first to swing three wide around a stalled Dancehall Mistress and she was soon joined by three more fillies, including Lexus Helios, who had been sitting seventh. As the stretch opened up in front of the fillies Saftic gave Lexus Helios a clear look at the finish line and the Ken Warkentin daughter did not need a second invitation, muscling down the Mohawk stretch to a 1:54.1 victory.
Daylon Miracle and Dave "Mr. OSS” Wall also closed hard to be second, leaving Miss Paris to settle for the third-place spoils, 4 1/4 lengths behind the winner. Thundering Ovation closed from last at the three-quarters to be fourth and Sugar Wheeler rounded out the top five.
The 1:54.1 clocking was a new personal best for Lexus Helios, who now boasts a record of six wins, one second and $136,723 through 15 sophomore starts. The filly started her sophomore campaign at the Gold Series, finishing fourth in her elimination and the July 7 final at Georgian Downs, but dropped down to the Grassroots program for the second event, scoring a win at Mohawk Racetrack on Aug. 10.
Dunstan bred, owns and trains Lexus Helios, who is the fourth foal from $195,749 winner Lexus Hall.
Lexus Helios will have an opportunity to defend her title when the 3-year-old trotting fillies return to Mohawk Racetrack for their fourth Gold Series event on Sept. 13. (ONSS)