LMC Mass Gem, Magic Night win Ontario Gold
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Driver Louis-Philippe Roy piloted two Ontario Sires Stakes winners at Mohawk Racetrack on Tuesday evening during a sophomore trotting colt contest that saw all three winners collect their first-ever Gold Series trophy.
Roy's first victory came in the second $67,200 Gold division with LMC Mass Gem, who survived a tough trip to secure his second lifetime and first Ontario Sires Stakes victory. Starting from post 9, LMC Mass Gem never saw the rail, touring the Mohawk oval alongside pacesetter and fan favorite R First Class through fractions of :27.1, :55.2 and 1:24.3. In the stretch LMC Mass Gem managed to trot away from a tired R First Class to a two and one-half length victory in a personal best 1:55.1. Dream Massive finished third.
"I probably gave him the worst trip you can have and he kept going on," said Roy, with a rueful chuckle, from the winner's circle. "He (does) not have a real lot of speed, but he can carry on that speed for a while.
"In the stretch I thought in my mind I was probably going to beat Sylvain (Filion with R First Class), because I seen his horse was a little bit more tired than mine, and I knew mine can carry his speed, like I said, for long," added the Mont-Joli, QC native. "But I thought that some were going to come too, but I didn't hear them until late stretch, so I was happy with the win."
Roy crafted the victory for trainer Nick Gallucci and owner Loredana Cirillo. A Grassroots competitor during his two-year-old season, LMC Mass Gem finished third in the sophomore Gold Series season opener at Flamboro Downs on May 21, which puts the son of Muscle Mass in a three-way tie atop the leaderboard with 62 points.
Roy, who currently leads all drivers in both the Ontario Sires Stakes and Mohawk Racetrack standings, scored his second win in the last Gold Series division, guiding Magic Night to an identical 1:55.1 clocking from post 9. The Kadabra colt led from start to finish, posting fractions of :27.2, :57.2 and 1:26.3 on his way to a three and one-half length triumph over Scene A Magician and Northern Major.
"He's got so much talent, I think if he change his manners he might be probably the best one, going a little bit faster than what he showed tonight," said Roy of Magic Night, adding that the gelding can be a handful on the racetrack.
While Mohawk fans may have been surprised with Magic Night's victory — he went off as their fourth choice — trainer Susanne Kerwood had been expecting a strong outing from the young trotter.
"He didn't surprise me. I told a few people that I think he can win tonight, actually," said Kerwood. "When he had the ten-hole a couple weeks ago (June 5) here at Mohawk he went right to the top. He just got beat at the wire in 1:55, which I thought was pretty impressive. That's when he really started to impress me."
Kerwood conditions Magic Night for fellow Rockwood, ON resident Tommy Andersson, who prepped the gelding for his sophomore season in Florida. Winless in seven starts, at both the Grassroots and Gold Series levels, and plagued by miscues as a two-year-old, Magic Night seems to have found his groove this season. He finished fourth in the Gold Series opener and currently has sole ownership of fourth spot in the standings with 58 points.
Although he was a modest $17,000 yearling purchase for Andersson at the 2015 Harrisburg Yearling Sale, Magic Night has success in his DNA. His mother Bedtime Songs is a half-sister to $1.7 million winner Pampered Princess and $824,457 Ontario Sired star Was It A Dream.
"He's a nice big horse, big strong horse, and he's a beautiful animal, just a beautiful animal," added Kerwood, noting that her entire team has contributed to the gelding's current success. "I'm just fortunate to have him in training."
The other Gold Series trophy went home with Try Try Again, who extended his win streak to five for driver Chris Christoforou Jr. of Campbellville, ON, trainer Dustin Jones of Waterdown, ON and his partners Ecuries Daniel Plouffe Inc. of Bromont, QC, Noblock Racing Stable of Collingwood, ON and Andrea Lea Racing Stables Inc. of Lakefield Gore, QC. The colt was also a Grassroots winner at Mohawk on June 6.
Starting from Post 4 Christoforou and Try Try Again were sitting fourth at the :27.2 quarter rung up by On First and heading for the :56.4 half they looked to be in perfect position, following favorite Mass Production up the outside. Unfortunately, for both fans and Try Try Again, the colt was left without a windbreak when Mass Production went off stride. In spite of that set back, Try Try Again was alongside On First by the 1:25.4 three-quarters and the Kadabra son held off Parkhill Nonstop by a length to record the 1:55.3 victory. On First settled for third.
"He got a little sleepy there," said Jones from the winner's circle. "Chris thought he was going to draw away and he got a little sleepy at the wire, but he won by a length so that was good.
"We've got him covered pretty good, his ears are blocked and that, so I think it's time to put a set of pull-out ear plugs on him," added the trainer.
Try Try Again will be looking to make it six straight when the three-year-old trotting colts and geldings return to Mohawk Racetrack for their third Gold Series event on Saturday, July 22. Next up on the Campbellville oval's Ontario Sires Stakes schedule are the three-year-old pacing colts, who will compete in their second Gold event on Mohawk's Canada Day program this Saturday, July 1 at 7:30 pm. The colts are slated to battle in Races 2, 6 and 8. (Ontario Sires Stakes)