Yannick Gingras will head to Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday to drive the morning line favorites in both the She's A Great Lady Stakes and Metro Pace, and the driver is impressed with both of the Jimmy Takter-trained horses.
Idyllic Beach is the 2-1 choice in the C$427,000 She's A Great Lady for 2-year-old female pacers while Ocean Colony is the 5-2 pick in the C$661,000 Metro Pace for 2-year-old male pacers. Both horses won their respective eliminations last weekend, with Idyllic Beach posting her victory by three-quarters of a length in a career-best 1:51.1 and Ocean Colony triumphing by a head in 1:50.1.
Both horses were sired bySomebeachsomewhere, who won the 2007 Metro Pace and a year later enjoyed a magical campaign that culminated with Horse of the Year honors. Idyllic Beach's dam, Idyllic, won the 2010 She's A Great Lady on her way to an O'Brien Award and finished her career with $1.29 million in purses.
Idyllic Beach has won four of five races, all with Gingras in the sulky, and finished second once.
"She's gotten better and better," Gingras said. "She qualified really good, did nothing wrong, but I didn't maybe have the idea she was going to be this type of filly. It's hard to tell with pacers, that's the bottom line. She was doing everything she had to do and she was winning. She's gotten stronger and more mature every start.
"When I qualified her, she was a little bit grabby. Usually with these Somebeachs they get grabbier, they don't start to relax. But Jimmy's done a great job getting her to settle down and now I can race her any way I want. She always had the speed. Most of the Somebeachs can go so fast, and she's definitely one of them. But her versatility and mannerisms are what I like best at this point. Now she can do it all and she's very willing."
Idyllic Beach was purchased for $100,000 under the name Lima Incredible at the Lexington Selected Sale. She is owned by Christina Takter, John Fielding, Brixton Medical Inc., and Marvin Katz.
Ocean Colony was winless in his first three races, but has posted back-to-back triumphs heading into the Metro final. He won a division of the Tompkins-Geers Stakes at Tioga Downs, with Brett Miller in the bike, before capturing his Metro elimination last weekend with Gingras.
"Jimmy told me he thought he was the best colt he had," Gingras said. "Brett told me that he's a horse he babied when he first started racing, but the last couple starts he raced him he was really good. He said the horse is coming around at the right time. I was really impressed with him. He was good to drive.
"I think he can race any way I ask him to race. We'll go behind the gate (in the Metro final) with an open mind and play it as it goes."
Ocean Colony's dam is Amora Hanover and his second dam is Armbro Romance, who won Nova and O'Brien awards in 1998 as best 3-year-old female pacer. Ocean Colony was purchased for $115,000 under the name OMG Blue Chip. He is owned by Christina Takter, Fielding, Hatfield Stables, and the partnership of Katz, Al Libfeld and Sam Goldband.--By Ken Weingartner/Harness Racing Communications