Bright Eyes M captures Ontario Gold
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Grand River Raceway fans were treated to a trio of impressive performances by Ontario’s top three-year-old trotting fillies on Wednesday night, starting with a commanding track record effort by Bright Eyes M in the first $73,066 Gold Series division.
Driver Stephen Byron pointed Bright Eyes M at the front from Post 3 and, after hopping over a few shadows on the ground, the pair took command heading by the :28.1 opening quarter. Once they reached the front Byron and Bright Eyes M simply extended their lead with every stride; it was one and one-half lengths at the :57.4 half, three lengths at the 1:26.3 three-quarters, five lengths at the top of the stretch and seven and one-quarter lengths at the 1:55.4 finish. Haveoneforme and HP Bruxelles finished second and third behind the fan favorite.
The 1:55.4 clocking shaved one-fifth of a second off the former track record of 1:56, set by On A Sunny Day in a 2017 Gold Series event.
“I was not sure how things would go, but she was impressive,” said trainer John Bax, who conditions the Kadabra daughter for Menhammar Stuteri AB of Paris, KY.
There was a moment in the first turn where Bax thought things were not going to turn out well as Bright Eyes M jumped over shadows on the racetrack. After she crossed the finish line racing officials reviewed the filly’s path around the first turn to ensure that she had not caused interference to the other competitors, eventually determining that there was no violation.
“A horse, I suppose, that wasn’t good gaited would have run, but she just, you could see her head drop and her ears went up and she winged over it,” said Campbellville, ON resident Bax. “She did it a couple times.”
Her second straight win in Gold Series action gives Bright Eyes M sole possession of top spot in the three-year-old trotting filly standings with 100 points, 25 ahead of rival Haveoneforme.
The second division saw Teddys Littleangel return to the Gold Series winner’s circle with a front-end effort from Post 4 that saw her battle to a neck victory over Mattys Smilin, stopping the teletimer at 1:57.4. Angelic Speed was seven lengths behind the duelling leaders in third.
A two-time Gold Series winner last season, Archangel daughter Teddys Littleangel had been winless through six starts heading into Wednesday’s test. Doug McNair of Guelph crafted the win for trainer Ted MacDonnell of Allenford and owner-breeder Leonard Gamble of Etobicoke.
The final $73,866 division saw last year’s Super Final champion HP Titania Runner find her way back to the winner’s circle after a frustrating start to the sophomore campaign.
Starting from the trailing Post 9, driver Louis-Philippe Roy charted a come-from-behind path for the filly, sitting sixth at the :28.3 quarter, moving up the outer lane into fourth by the :59.2 half and circling out three-wide to get within striking distance of pacesetter and fan favourite Angies Luckeylady by the 1:28.1 three-quarters. As HP Titania Runner threatened, Angies Luckeylady went off stride, allowing the reigning champ to trot home to a one and one-half length win in 1:57.2. Pocket-sitter Sams Arsenal was second and Blue Magic completed the top three.
“She’s got a little more aggressive, earlier in the season, than she was last year, and that didn’t help her with a few breaking issues she had,” said driver Louis-Philippe Roy about HP Titania Runner’s early season woes, which saw her make a break in the June 3 Gold Series event. “Tonight she was trotting solid. Rene Bourassa and his team did a great job on her; I just had to wait until the good moment to move her.”
Guelph resident Roy crafted the win for trainer Rene Bourassa of Fergus, ON and owner-breeders Claude Hamel of Ayer’s Cliff and Michel Damphousse of Louiseville, QC. Her connections will be hoping HP Titania Runner delivers another solid effort when the three-year-old trotting fillies gather at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 18 for their third Gold Series event. (Ontario Sires Stakes)