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Sparky Mark rallies to win Autumn final

December 08, 2009

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Sparky Mark used last-second stretch heroics to pull down the $39,800(C) Autumn Stake final for 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers Monday night at Woodbine Racetrack.
Paul MacDonell picked up the catch-drive behind the son of Astreos-Luckbealadytonite and had him sitting seventh from post one as the field reached the first quarter in :27.1. That pair watched Stonebridge Memoir and Stompin Tom Creek exchange leads through a first half of :56. The first activity came as the field entered the far turn when Lil Bit Lil Bit tipped out from fourth with MacDonell attempting to catch that cover with Sparky Mark.
Stompin Tom Creek continued with the lead at the third marker in 1:24.4 and Stonebridge Memoir stalking closely in second. In the meantime, Sparky Mark, who had shown breaks in his recent lines, was being nursed around the final turn and still had eight lengths to try and make up.
The small but speedy pacer hit his best stride in the stretch and was able to reach up in the final strides over Stompin Tom Creek with Stonebridge Memoir holding on for the show spot. The winner kicked back $4.20 as the even-money top choice.
"This horse had some nice pace on the end of the mile, but he’s been a bit unsurefooted and I had to be careful with him tonight," said MacDonell. "It was my first time behind the horse, so it was nice to get some info from the connections. He was a bit steppy out of the gate, but he overcame it. He wasn’t tired at the end of the mile, so he could have a good future ahead of him if he gets his feet under him."
The victory was the second in six tries this season for Sparky Mark who is trained by Mark Austin for owner Leo Thibodeau of Windsor, Ont.

The winner’s share of the purse boosted him past $35,000 lifetime. (WEG)

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