On a special afternoon Boxing Day card at Woodbine, a pair of $60,000 series finals headlined the programme. After a pair of preliminary legs, both JJ Shark and Oceanview Bindi completed the Series sweep for their connections.
JJ Shark and Randy Waples went from eighth-to first to score the Valedictory final in 1:52. Doowrah Omelet (Keith Oliver) blasted to the front in the early going to lead his nine rivals past the opening station in a sizzling :25.1. Gareth Nourrir (Sylvain Filion) was in the pocket with Boxcar (Jody Jamieson) was sitting third. Post time favorite JJ Shark was sitting eighth, parked on the outside.
Heading towards the half, Waples was sitting on cover set by Donau (Luc Ouellette), but Waples decided to move his charge three-wide and JJ Shark exploded to the front well before the third panel in 1:23.1.As JJ Shark marched down the stretch, he was seven and a half lengths ahead of his closest rival as he romped to a comfortable victory for trainer Peter Hamilton. Boxcar came on to finish second, ahead of longshot Tyber Tyke (Jack Moiseyev).
"We got into some traffic trouble early, but he was able to overcome it,” Waples said following the win. "We went three-wide very early because I felt we needed to. We didn't have the best cover so I had to use him fairly hard early. Asy the top of the stretch I kept driving him, but I also didn't hear anyone behind me so I was fairly confident. He's a really nice horse.”
Owned by Joseph Hemmingway, Valorie Sutton and Sandbur Farms, JJ Shark celebrated his biggest payday of his career for his connections. The son of Cams Card Shark increased his bankroll to $98,406 along with a 9-0-3 record from 20 starts this season.
The Valedictory is for sophomore pacing colts and geldings, who are non-winners of $50,000 lifetime as of October 31.
Oceanview Bindi, driven by Keith Oliver, also came from off-the-pace to capture the Niagara Series final in 1:52.2.
Trama Unit (Jonathan Drury) left aggressively from post seven to strike the front well before the opening station in :26. As Trama Unit headed towards the half, he had company as Natural Instinct (Doug McNair) was still on the outside along with Greystone Ladylike (Sylvain Filion).
Natural Instinct was on the lead as the fillies passed the half in :55.2, but she yielded to Greystone Ladylike on the way to the three-quarter pole. That left Apach Of Luck (Scott Zeron) first-over on the outside and she was strides apart of the tempo-setter past three-quarters in 1:25. Oliver and Oceanview Bindi were perfectly-placed second over behind Apach Of Luck at the top of the stretch.
Down the stretch, Apach Of Luck and Greystone Ladylike were stride-for-stride, but Oliver fed his charge open road and Oceanview Bindi responded, using a :27 final quarter to score a three and a quarter length victory. Greystone Ladylike finished second over Apach Of Luck.
"The race set up as good as you could expect,” Oliver said after the win. "I was following the right horses and I got towed into it very well. I just had to feed her racetrack and she did the rest. She's a very nice filly. That's a good mile out there today and she had lots left.”
Trained and co-owned by George Plyley along with William Roloson, Oceanview Bindi now has a record of 11-4-3 from 20 starts this year. Her 1:52.2 score was a lifetime best and stakes record. The daughter of Hunterstown now has $99,565 earned lifetime.
The Niagara is for three-year-old pacing fillies, who are also non-winners of $50,000 lifetime as of October 31. (WEG)