Filion wins 2 of 3 Ontario Gold splits at Mohawk
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The sophomore pacers wrapped up their Ontario Sires Stakes regular season at Mohawk Racetrack on Monday evening and driver Sylvain Filion came within three lengths of sweeping all three Gold Series divisions.
Filion piloted Histoire Enchantee to victory in the first $98,000 three-year-old pacing colt contest, sprinting away from the outside Post 10 to a :26.4 opening quarter. The fan favorites continued to lead the field through a :54.3 half and 1:21.4 three-quarters and held off a charging Bills Fella in the stretch for a neck victory in 1:50.4. Saulsbrook Lanny closed to be third.
"He impresses me every time I drive him, he's getting better and better," said Filion. "Tonight from the 10-hole we left hard, Louis (Roy and Mach Deja Vu) came at us and he just kept digging. He raced really big tonight."
Monday's appearance was Histoire Enchantee's first in the Ontario Sires Stakes program, but not his first in the winner's circle. The son of Shanghai Phil and Eclatante has six wins to his credit through 13 sophomore starts for trainer Maxime Velaye and owner-breeder Guy Corbeil of Mirabel, QC. Monday's Gold Series win more than doubled Histoire Enchantee's earnings, boosting his lifetime bankroll to $80,633.
With one win in one appearance, Histoire Enchantee tallied 50 points in the race for a Super Final berth and sits fourteenth in the three-year-old pacing colt standings. The top 10 point earners will compete in the $225,000 Super Final at Mohawk on Oct. 14 and Histoire Enchantee could sneak in if some of the colts ahead of him in the point standings are not entered for the final.
"Sometimes horses like him — he hasn't raced against the top colts all year, so he's kind of fresh," noted Filion. "It's probably perfect timing for him."
Three races later Filion scored his second Gold Series win, guiding three-year-old pacing filly Yaris Bayama to a 1:51.2 personal best. Yaris Bayama nabbed fan favorite The Joy Luck Club in the stretch, powering home to a two and one-quarter length victory. Dancing Shadows K was hot on The Joy Luck Club's heels in third.
"When I moved her three-wide off cover, she really showed some grit," said Filion, who drives the filly for trainer Stephane Larocque and his father Yves Filion's Bayama Farms Inc. of Saint-Andre-D'Argenteuil, QC. "That was probably her best race yet. I think she's coming into the Super Final in top shape."
The win was the second of the season and the first in Ontario Sires Stakes action for Yaris Bayama, who was the Super Final and two-year-old pacing filly division champion last year. Through her first four Gold Series starts the daughter of Sportswriter and Lucky Josie tallied one second, one third and two fourths which, added to Monday's victory, gives her a total of 103 points and a berth in the Oct. 14 Super Final.
In the second pacing colt division, Filion and Tymal Peacemaker turned for home with a one-half length advantage, but could not hold off a hard charging Dreamfair B J and had to settle for second, three lengths behind the winner. Tigers Way also closed hard to be third.
"It was close, for a while I thought I had it," said Filion, who is also in a heated battle with Trevor Henry for his third straight and fifth overall Lampman Cup title as the leading driver in the Ontario Sires Stakes. "He raced good though; he just got picked up in the last sixteenth. If he draws good in the Super Final he's got a good shot."
Dreamfair B J hit the wire in 1:50.3 for his second straight victory and his first in Ontario Sires Stakes action. The son of Big Jim and Dreamfair Orchid had finished second, third, fifth and sixth in his first four Gold Series starts and was sitting twelfth on the list heading into Monday's regular season finale. The victory boosted the gelding into third spot with 95 points and positions him as a serious contender in the season finale.
Louis-Philippe Roy crafted the win for trainer Patrick Fletcher and owner-breeder John Lamers.
Mohawk Racetrack hosts one last evening of Gold Series action before the Super Finals, welcoming the two-year-old trotting colts and pacing fillies back to Campbellville for their last regular season event on Thursday, Oct. 5. The colts will kick things off at 7:30 pm in Race 1 and wrap up their season in Race 3, while the fillies compete in Races 6 and 8. (Ontario Sires Stakes)