3FT Royalty Deal 1:53.3 Ontario Gold winner
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Trotting fillies were in the spotlight at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Tuesday, Oct. 6, as both the two and three-year-olds wrapped up their Ontario Sires Stakes regular season with a pair of Gold Series divisions.
Fan favorite Imextraspecial battled to a neck victory in the first $105,600 two-year-old trotting filly Gold division, catching pacesetter Dashing Muscle in the last quarter. After pedestrian fractions of :29, :59.4 and 1:29 the fillies sprinted home in :27.4, with Imextraspecial digging in for the 1:56.4 victory. Up And Ready also closed hard for third.
“She raced great tonight. That was a really fast last quarter and she gutted it out first-up,” said driver Trevor Henry, who piloted Imextraspecial from Post 2. “As long as she draws good she will have a great shot in the Super Final.”
With three wins in three Gold Series appearances Imextraspecial has 150 points and heads into the $250,000 Super Final sitting second in the division standings. Prior to joining the Gold Series fillies in August, the Muscle Mass daughter also scored two wins in Grassroots action for trainer Paul Walker of Owen Sound and owner Keith Coulter of Mono, ON.
“She had to dig deep tonight to win. We wonder where she gets it from, but we were pretty happy again,” said Walker. “It’ll be a good final for those fillies. Post position is going to mean a lot, and how the race goes, it’s going to be a good race.”
The second freshman split featured a nail-biting finish as the three top fillies matched strides through the 1:56.1 finish. After careful inspection of the photograph, pacesetter Fox Valley Liza was declared the winner by a short nose ahead of Midnight Miracle and Hawaii, who could not be separated and shared the runner-up spot.
The mile was a personal best for Fox Valley Liza, who also won her Gold Series divisions in the July 12 season opener at Georgian Downs and the Aug. 19 event at Grand River Raceway. A miscue in the Sept. 21 leg at Woodbine Mohawk Park, the Muscle Mass daughter’s second of the season, caused trainer Ben Baillargeon to make a few equipment changes for Tuesday’s test.
“We made a few adjustments in her shoeing and we added trotting hopples last week after her last race when she made a break, just try to make her feel a little bit safer, and Sylvain (Filion) said she was great tonight, she was perfect,” said Baillargeon. “That’s what you want to hear going into the Super Final next week.”
Filion and Baillargeon drive and train Fox Valley Liza for Anthony Lombardi of Morris, IL, Henshaut Stable of Montgomery, IN and George Golemes of Oak Brook, IL. Tuesday’s win boosted Fox Valley Liza’s point total to 156 and gives her the top spot in the division standings heading into the Oct. 17 Super Final.
Royalty Deal returned to Ontario Sires Stakes action in the first $106,400 three-year-old trotting filly division and scored her second Gold Series win in a personal best 1:53.3. Starting from Post 5, driver Louis-Philippe Roy settled Royalty Deal briefly in third as Warrawee Vicky led the field to a :28 quarter. Roy sent Royalty Deal to the front before the :55.4 half and the filly carried on to a 1:24 three-quarters and held off Wine Rack Hanover in the stretch. Susies Lady closed for third.
“She’s a big, fast and very nice filly. As long as she behaves I really believe she is one of the best trotting fillies in the OSS,” said Roy. “She raced like she is tonight, anyway.”
Roy steers Royalty Deal for trainer Clark Beelby and owner Coyote Wynd Farm of Vancouver, BC. The Royalty For Life daughter made just two appearances in the Gold Series this season, winning both. Her 100 points send her into the Super Final ranked fifth in the division. The top 10 point earners will start in the postseason battle.
Trina and driver Robert Shepherd snuck up the inside to claim a 1:55.1 victory in the second sophomore trotting filly split. Leaving sharply from Post 7, Trina led the field to a :27.3 opening quarter and then yielded to fan favourite Massive Flirt. Shadowing Massive Flirt through a :57.3 half and 1:26.4 three-quarters, Shepherd waited patiently for room to open up in the stretch and when it did Trina powered through to a two and one-quarter length win over Magic Cape and LMC Bumble Bee.
“Shep gave her a perfect drive her again. As long as she has a helmet to follow she’ll come home good and she got a perfect drive again, and I really appreciate that,” said trainer Blake MacIntosh. “We’re very happy with her. She’s a nice filly and she’s done very well for us. After breaking at Flamboro (Sept. 27), that was my fault, so this makes up for it.”
MacIntosh shares ownership of Trina with Stan Klemencic and 30 Plus Stable of Trenton, ON. The Muscle Mass daughter was also a winner in the Aug. 13 Gold leg at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Her only off the board finish was a result of the miscue at Flamboro Downs on Sept. 27 and she heads into the Super Final ranked second in the division with 130 points.