An upset-minded Windsong Ingenius stormed home late to lower the stakes record to 1:54.4 while defeating the popular Nowucit Nowudont in the $60,000 Autumn Stakes final on Monday night at Woodbine.
With driver Mike Saftic at the helm, the 3-year-old trotting gelding scored the victory at odds of 31-1 for trainer Joseph Cirasuola.
Windsong Ingenius left swiftly from post 10 and settled into the pocket-spot behind Tyrone Showstopper (Jason Brewer), who clocked the opening quarter in a flashy :26.2. As the field approached the midway point, elimination winner Nowucit Nowudont (Scott Zeron) made a bid for command from third. The 2-5 favorite cleared past the half in :56.4, relegating Windsong Ingenius to third before entering the final turn.
Eager to re-rally, Saftic moved first-over with Windsong Ingenius and regained second, ducking his charge back into the two-hole past three-quarters in 1:26. Windsong Ingenius then used a strong late kick to capture the final by a head in a career-best performance. Nowucit Nowudont faded to second and Ima Magician Too (Scott Young) rallied for third.
Windsong Ingenius and Saftic lowered the record by one and one-fifth of a second, which the reinsman set in 2005 with the Gregg McNair-trained Wake Up Little Gus.
"He pulled me right out of there, we landed right in the two hole, got covered up and everything worked perfect,” said Saftic, who was also celebrating his 51st birthday and a driving double. "(Ducking back into the pocket) may have been the winning move. The favourite was on the front-end and I got a little breather on his back and got to ride it out.
"I really liked the way he was coming into (the final),” he added. "I got a little hemmed in last week, but he came home strong and it was a good race to set him up for the final.”
The son of Kadabra-Oaklea Ina has a lifetime record of 6-3-1 in 28 starts and career earnings of $84,795 for owner Shirley Halas of Northville, Mich.
Windsong Ingenius returned $65 to win.
This division of the Autumn is for Ontario-sired sophomore colts and gelding trotters, who are non-winners of $50,000 lifetime as of Oct. 31. (WEG)