Caprice Hill, Flowers N Songs win Ontario Gold
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Caprice Hill captured the first $105,000 Gold division with a commanding effort from Post 3 that saw her take control after the :27.3 opening quarter and cruise through a :57 half and 1:26 three-quarters on her way to a two and one-quarter length victory in 1:53.1. Early pacesetter Emoticon Hanover finished second and Dottie closed well to be third, seven lengths behind the winner.
"She felt like she wanted to go coming out of the turn, and she got away second, so I decided to take a shot and try to control it from there and it worked out good," said driver Randy Waples of Milton, ON. "I've got a lot of respect for the filly that was on my back (Emoticon Hanover), but I've got a whole lot of respect for the one I was driving too."
Waples drove Caprice Hill to her third Gold Series win of the season for trainer Tony Alagna of Manalapan, NJ and owner Tom Hill of Hamilton, ON. The reinsman said the Kadabra daughter was in great shape after her trip to The Meadowlands for the Hambletonian Oaks, where she finished second in both her July 30 elimination and the Aug. 6 Final.
"I trained her here the other morning and she was really good. They do a really good job with their horses; they're always fit and healthy and ready to race when they come here," said Waples. "She's a special filly, she really is, just her gait and her manners and the fact that she's such a professional about whatever she does. She's a real, real beautiful thing."
In 17 lifetime starts Caprice Hill has finished no worse than third, and this season she boasts a record of four wins and three seconds in seven starts. Thursday's victory bumped her lifetime earnings to $931,877.
In the second Gold division Flowers N Songs dropped into fourth spot from Post 2 and watched as Major Muscle did all the heavy lifting, leading the field through a :26.3 quarter and :56 half. Heading by the 1:25.1 three-quarters, driver Doug McNair tipped Flowers N Songs out three-wide and the filly powered by the leaders and on to a four length victory in 1:53.4. Tymal Tempest followed Flowers N Songs into second and pacesetter Major Muscle had to settle for third.
"That's obviously the best she's been in the Gold. We've had a lot of bad luck in the Golds, but she's been very good all year," said McNair, adding that the Deweycheatumnhowe daughter is at her best off a helmet.
Thursday's win was the filly's first in Ontario Sires Stakes action. In her first three Gold Series starts Flowers N Songs finished third, fifth and sixth. In the 20 starts since her February debut the filly has tallied eight wins, six seconds and one third for earnings of $325,989. In her mid-summer forays across the border, Flowers N Songs captured the Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial at Vernon Downs on July 24, finished sixth in her Hambletonian Oaks elimination and then logged a runner-up result in the Aug. 13 Moni Maker Stake at The Meadows.
"She's been a great filly. She's been tougher than a two dollar steak, I mean she's just unreal how she can travel around and still race like that," said trainer Paul Reid, who conditions Flowers N Songs for owner-breeder Robert Key of Leechburg, PA.
"I'm real happy with the way she's going, but that's a lot of starts on her, so hopefully we can keep her like she is," the trainer continued.
Thursday's victory bumped Flowers N Songs into third spot in the division standings with 70 points, which will assure her of a berth in the season ending Super Final. Through four regular season Gold events Caprice Hill and Emoticon Hanover share ownership of top spot in the standings with 150 points.
Before they wrap up their regular season Gold Series campaign at Flamboro Downs on Oct. 2, the sophomore trotting lasses have a series of open stake opportunities at Mohawk, including the Casual Breeze on Aug. 26, the Simcoe Stakes on Sept. 2 and the eliminations and final of the Elegantimage on Sept. 9 and 17.
Before those open stake events get under way, the Campbellville oval will host the fourth regular season Grassroots leg for the two-year-old pacing fillies on Monday, Aug. 22. The fillies will battle in Races 2, 5, 7, and 9, with the first race going postward at 7:30 pm. (Ontario Sires Stakes)