O'Reailly doubles up in Lifetime Dream
January 06, 2012
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Trainer Frank O’Reilly sent a pair of 4-year-old mares postward in the first round of the Lifetime Dream Trotting Series Thursday night at Woodbine and both captured the lion’s share of the $25,000 purse. Maplegrove Shaelyn and Sashay found the winner’s circle in their respective divisions.
Maplegrove Shaelyn, who made her second start over the Toronto oval, captured the second division in a mild 7-2 upset.
Terrific Dream (Paul MacDonell) showed early speed off the gate, but a parked out Maplegrove Shaelyn (Mike Saftic) was taken to the front before the :28.1 first quarter where she remained the leader past the half in :58.1. The odds on favorite, Unefoisdansmavie (Luc Ouellette), had launched a first-over attack from third, clearing after the midway point to hit the three-quarters in 1:27.1.
Maplegrove Shaelyn was angled out of the two hole in the stretch and was able to track down the leader just strides before the wire. The mare stopped the teletimer in 1:55.4, defeating Unefoisdansmavie by three-quarters of a length. Terrific Dream finished third.
"I was thrilled by the way she raced," said O’Reilly following the victory. "That was a big mile. Looking at her form when she came here, I didn’t know if she was good enough for these horses, but she has jumped up and trotted tremendously since she got here."
The conditioner feels her performance in the first leg will make a big difference when she goes to post for the second leg.
"She is confident now," he said. "That will help her and she will command some respect."
Owned and bred by Joseph Mullins of Pleasant Plains, Ill., the daughter of American Native-Maple Grove Glide notched her eighth victory in 24 lifetime starts. She lifts her career earnings to $106,573. Maplegrove Shaelyn paid $9.60 to win.
Sashay, who debuted for O’Reilly, scored as the 9-5 second choice with Sylvain Filion in the bike in the third and final division.
The mare sat behind fractions of :26.4, :56.3 and 1:26.1, which were cut by the favourite, Cleopatre Duharas (Keith Oliver). When Firstclassprincess (Jody Jamieson) was pulled from the pocket the final turn, Sashay caught her cover. Into the stretch, the O’Reilly trainee was then angled to the outside to find clear racetrack where she trotted on by her rivals, scoring the victory in a new lifetime mark of 1:54.3. A hard closing Lively (Rick Zeron) finished second by three lengths and Firstclassprincess was third.
"She surprised me," said O’Reilly. "She had a couple weeks that really weren’t good when I first got her. That’s why she didn’t race in between. I don’t think we were sending her out at her best and I still don’t think she was at her best, but I would really like to have her come Breeders Crown time. She is a terrific mare."
With two impressive miles on the night, O’Reilly says he’d "rather be lucky than good," and feels fortunate to have the two mares enter his barn.
"They were good horses when they arrived," he said. "We didn’t have to do much with them. It was being at the right place at the right time."
Owned by breeder Steve Stewart of Paris, Ky. and Randall Day of Waterloo, Ind., the daughter of Yankee Glide-Invincible Dream scored her 10th victory in 24 lifetime starts. The bay lifts her career earnings to $115,120. Sashay paid $5.70 to win.
The first division of the first leg went to the Stephen Charlton-trained Maple Leaf Spirit who pulled off a 7-1 upset.
The 4-year-old mare scored in gate-to-wire fashion with Chris Christoforou in the sulky. She held command through fractions of :27.2, :58.1 and 1:27.2, before getting under the wire in a new lifetime mark of 1:56.2. Maple Leaf Spirit was able to fend off the 2-5 favourite, Miss Dangles (Rick Zeron), to win by a head. Amoreena (Roy Jeffries) finished third.
Christoforou was nervous that he was going to get beat at the wire by the hard closing favorite.
"Zeron’s mare (Miss Dangles) looks better on paper," he said. "She was getting to me pretty good in the stretch. I was lucky, my mare gave me a little more than what I thought she had.
"I think if she races like she did, she should be fine in the second leg," he added.
Owned by Larocque Racing Stb Inc. of Thornhill and Tatum MacNeil of Orangeville, the daughter of Meadowagogo-Maple Leaf Legacy is now a 20-time career winner in 33 starts and has banked $98,576 in lifetime earnings. Maple Leaf Spirit returned $17.40 to win.
The $35,000 second leg, for 4 and 5-year-old trotting mares in 2012, who are non-winners of $200,000 lifetime as of midnight, Oct. 31, 2011, is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 14 with the $75,000 Lifetime Dream Series final slated for Monday, Jan. 23. (WEG)