Soiree Seelster, Blameitonthenight score in OSS
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"It's a good group, Domenic and Lorne are easy to train for, and we all think the same," said O'Sullivan. "It's a good partnership."
Last season the partners agreed to stop with Soiree Seelster after just four starts, in spite of a record of three wins, including two Gold Series victories, and one third. The daughter of Big Jim and Smilesplace was suffering a few growing pains and O'Sullivan, Chiaravalle and Keller felt her talent warranted caution and a focus on the big picture.
"We just decided that it would be better to put her away and let her regroup for this year," recalled O'Sullivan. "I would have been able to get her to the Super Final, but because I thought she was a good filly I didn't want to do anything that might hurt her for this year."
Soiree Seelster made her sophomore debut in the SBOA Stake eliminations at Mohawk on May 13, finishing fifth. In the May 20 final she made a bobble behind the starting gate and was a dozen lengths behind the leaders at the quarter pole, but stormed home to earn second place. Off that effort O'Sullivan was confident the filly was poised for success in Thursday's Gold Series opener.
"I was hoping she would race as well as she did last week, with no bad luck," said the trainer. "Sylvain said he just tried to get her into gear and get her attention a little bit and she just kind of goosed herself, got a little bit sideways behind the gate, and just made a little break."
If all goes according to plan, Soiree Seelster will make her next start in eliminations for the Fan Hanover stake at Mohawk on June 10, hoping to advance to the June 17 final on Pepsi North America Cup Night.
The 3-year-old pacing fillies return to Gold Series action on June 26 at Grand River Raceway and while O'Sullivan is not sure he can maintain his .500 average in the sophomore pacing division, he is optimistic about Soiree Seelster's ability to contend with Ontario's best this summer.
"We'll try," said the trainer with a laugh. "It's going to get hard, but we'll try. The colts it's going to get hard, but if Soiree stays good I think she'll be in good shape."
The second Gold Series trophy awarded on Thursday evening went home with Blameitonthenight, who powered up the outside to hit the finish in a personal best 1:52.3. Last year's Super Final winner Yaris Bayama was second and Dudesalady finished third.
Jonathan Drury engineered the win from post two for trainer Tony Alagna and his partners Crawford Farms Racing and Donna Lee.
"I was really hoping not to be first over, but they were rolling along pretty good and mine felt great, and I figured they might come back to me a little bit," said Drury from the winner's circle. "She's a real tough little filly and I've seen her grind it out first over before, and I was hoping she could do it again."
A daughter of Mach Three and What Could Be, Blameitonthenight was also a Gold Series winner at two and made her sophomore debut in the SBOA Stake, finishing fifth in her elimination and ninth in the final.
Next up on Mohawk Racetrack's action-packed Ontario Sires Stakes schedule are the 3-year-old trotting colts, making their Grassroots debut on Tuesday, June 6. (OSS)