Mystician, last year's Metro winner, made a three-wide brush down the backstretch before opening up daylight on the field of three-year-old Ontario-sired pacing colts to capture the $500,000 Upper Canada Cup and join harness racing's millionaire's club at Georgian Downs on Saturday night.
In the evening’s feature event, Mach It Big (Doug McNair) took over the lead from Grand Master (Luc Ouellette) en route to the opening quarter in :26.1 while Mystician and driver Jody Jamieson got away fifth from a Post 4 start.
Moving in front of the grandstand, Machal Jackson (J.R. Plante) advanced first over from third and applied pressure to the leader to the half in :54.4 with Some Mach Some Win (Scott Zeron) and Mystician following to the outside.
As the field raced down the backstretch, Jamieson angled the 6-5 favorite three-wide. The duo swept to command and opened up multiple lengths on the field past three-quarters in 1:22.2. Mystician laid it on thick as he sprinted away to a six and three-quarter length victory in a career-best time of 1:50.2. 47-1 Machal Jackson finished back in second and 46-1 Live And Learn (Billy Davis, Jr.) was third.
Mystician paid $4.50 to win. The son of Camluck-Mystic Mistress is trained by Jeff Gillis, who co-owns with Ken Henwood of Mississauga, Mac Nichol of Burlington, Ont. and Gerald Stay of Buffalo, New York. Last year’s Metro Pace champion finished third by half a length after making a break in his elimination last weekend, his season’s debut. The win was his sixth in 14 career starts and pushed his bankroll to $1,061,670.
Mystician is being pointed to the Pepsi North America Cup and has been assessed as the 22-1 eighth choice in Trot Magazine’s 2011 Spring Book.
The $50,000 Upper Canada Cup consolation went to Watermelonwine, who advanced to the lead from fourth after the opening quarter and cruised to a dazzling career-best 1:49.4 victory for driver Rick Zeron, trainer David Menary and owner Brad Gray of Dundas, Ont. The Life Sign-Arukiddinme colt, who finished fourth in his elimination, prevailed by one and three-quarter lengths over pocket-sitter Cam B Zipper (Jamieson) and Mach Wheel (Joe Hudon Jr.).
The time of the mile lowered Keystone Horatio's three-year-old track record by three-fifths of a second as well as Eagle Luck's Canadian record for three-year-olds on a five-eighths mile track, by one-fifth of a second. (Georgian Downs)