Ontario Sires Stakes gets underway at Mohawk
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Ontario’s talented 3-year-old pacing fillies kicked off the 2020 Ontario Sires Stakes season at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday with two veterans of the provincial program and two newcomers gracing the Grassroots winner’s circle.
Mach My Kiss opened the campaign with a victory in the first $22,800 division, cruising along on the front end to a 1:53 personal-best with driver Doug McNair. Bettorthanbobbi finished two lengths behind the fan favourite in second, with Trafalgar three more lengths back in third.
“She raced great, we got a cheap half,” noted Guelph, Ont. resident McNair, who engineered fractions of :28.1, :58 and 1:26.1. “She is a real handy filly and she had lots of pace.”
Rob Fellows trains the Mach Three daughter for his wife Yolanda Fellows of Rockwood, Ont., and Erna Corbeil of Beaumont, Alta. Mach My Kiss was a three-time winner in the Grassroots last season, including a victory in the Semi-finals.
“She had the outside in her first start back this year and drew better tonight,” said driver Chris Christoforou of Campbellville, Ont. “The plan was to be second-over but one of the inside horses made a break leaving so it turned into first-over, but she overcame it and raced great. She was a nice filly last year; she finished third in a Gold at Grand River.”
Tony O’Sullivan of Cambridge, Ont. shares ownership of Got Power with Gary Volpe of St. Thomas, Ont., and William Hill of Dundas, Ont. The trainer was pleased with the filly’s sophomore Grassroots debut, coming on the heels of a ninth-place effort from post nine in a June 12 overnight event.
“I’m happy with the result,” said O’Sullivan. “It was her first real race of the year, so a good step in the right direction and hopefully she can improve off that.”
Mia Culpa and driver Rick Zeron sprinted from sixth to first in the final quarter to halt the teletimer at 1:53, a personal-best for the Shadow Play filly. Pacesetter Lyons Tilt Hanover finished second, leaving fan favourite Landry Seelster to settle for third.
The win was the second in three sophomore starts for Mia Culpa, who made just one appearance in the Grassroots at two. Jean Tourigny trains the filly for Quebec connections Roland Trudel of Becancour, Michel Damphousse of Louiseville and Guy Lavoie of Terrebonne.
The win was the fifth of the season for Greystone Natali O, who did not make her two-year-old debut until after the provincial program had wrapped up last fall. Since then, the Shadow Play daughter has been a model of consistency for trainer Brent Belore and owner/breeders Jean Caddey, Alana Belore and Dylan Belore, all of Embro, Ont., missing just one check in 14 starts. (with files from OSS)