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Keystone Horatio fastest in OSS Gold elims

May 18, 2008

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Keystone Horatio, making his 2008 season\'s debut, turned in the fastest of two Ontario Sire Stakes Gold elimination victories on Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack,
stopping the clock in 1:51.4.

Regular pilot Randy Waples was on board as the son of Rustler Hanover-Keystone Havoc blasted to early command from post five and put up a quick first fraction of :27 with Believeinbruiser tucked into second and heavy favorite Deuce Seelster getting away third.

As the field raced toward the half, Deuce Seelster, also making his first start of the year, tipped out from third and took over the lead at the half in :55.2.

As the field entered the final turn, Believeinbruiser came out on the attack and pressed the leader through three panels in 1:23.4. Deuce Seelster was able to turn back the first-over challenger but then had to try and fend off Keystone Horatio who found racing room.

The final outcome was in doubt right up until the final strides when Keystone Horatio poked his nose in front for the win. Lucky Man turned in a strong late rally to pick up the show spot.

\"I was surprised how good he got off the gate, that was his biggest flaw last year,\" said driver Randy Waples. \"This year, right from the first time that he came back, he\'s just like a complete gentleman. He\'s added something else to his arsenal because he can just go right up to the gate now, plunk his nose down on it and follow it out of there.

\"He was scary good in his first qualifier of the season, but in his last one he wasn\'t quite as good,\" he added. \"John (trainer Kopas) decided to scope him and he found out that he had some mucous and some problems. John caught it and got him good for this race and it worked out well. He was running in a bit at the end of tonight\'s mile, but he was getting

The lion\'s share of the $40,000(C) purse boosted the Pepsi NA Cup eligible\'s career bankroll to more than $490,000 for trainer John Kopas and owner George Hempt of Camp Hill, Pa.

Lennon Blue Chip, who was making his first appearance back in Ontari after starting his season off with two starts at The Meadowlands, took the other split for driver Mark MacDonald in 1:52.1 .

The strapping son of No Pan Intended seized control of the race just after the quarter and then cruised to a 3-1/4 length victory over Cuzzin Sid and Lyons Geoff.

\"They told me he\'s a nice big horse, he\'s been racing really good at the Meadowlands,\" said MacDonald. \"They told me that taps one knee a little bit, but actually he was really good and I didn\'t have to worry about that. I got cheap fractions, and I tried to keep his attention so nobody was able to sprint by me. I was trying to pull him up a bit at the wire, there\'s no need to win by five or six if you don\'t have to.\"

The winner of just over $200,000 last season was notching his first win of the campaign in three starts for owner Rodney Mitchell Inc. of Dover, Del. The Pepsi NA Cup eligible was making his first start for new conditioner Casie Coleman.

The $120,000(C) Gold final will go next Saturday night at Mohawk. Here is a look at the field in post position order:

1. Believeinbruiser
2. Lucky Man
3. Lennon Blue Chip
4. Deuce Seelster
5. Dougs Fame
6. Cuzzin Sid
7. Carter In Motion
8. Keystone Horatio
9. Lyons Geoff
10. Shady Idea

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