Voelz Delight gets ticket to Ontario Super Final
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Trainer Ben Baillargeon needed Voelz Delight to come up with a big effort in her last regular season Gold Series event at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Monday, Oct. 5, and the two-year-old pacing filly responded with a sharp victory to extend her season.
“She had to be first, second or third to be in the Super Final, because she only raced once, she only had 25 points,” said Baillargeon of the task facing the filly when she stepped onto the track for the first $104,800 Gold Series division.
Stepping up to the challenge, driver Sylvain Filion fired Voelz Delight away from Post 3 and the filly led the field of six to a :27.3 opening quarter. Fan favourite Scarlett Hanover swept to the front just before the :56.1 half and controlled the tempo through the 1:25 three-quarters, but Filion tipped Voelz Delight out in the stretch and the filly laid down a :26.4 final quarter to secure a one-half length victory in a personal best 1:52. Scarlett Hanover settled for second and Twin B Sunkissed was three lengths back in third.
“The second time she qualified I was very impressed with her and then we’ve had a couple issues with tie-up with her during the summer here and there, but she’s overcome them,” said Baillargeon. “She’s very gritty and she has lots of speed, just like her mother, and her mother used to tie-up bad. I think she’s got the genes of her mother for that part anyway, but she has the speed of her mother too.”
Baillargeon trained the filly’s mother, $1.7 million winner Voelz Hanover, for all but three years of her nine-year racing career and the Guelph resident is hoping Voelz Delight can use her genetic gifts to achieve some of the success her mother did in the Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) program. At two Voelz Hanover paced to an OSS record that stood for 10 years and at three she was the Super Final champion.
“She’s a very nice filly. I can’t wait to race her next year,” said Baillargeon, who trains Voelz Delight for owner/breeder Richard Berthiaume of Pointe-Aux-Trembles, QC. “The Super Final will be her last start and we’re going to put her away and I’m going to keep her around with me this winter, just to make sure she’s on top of her game when we start next year.”
Monday’s win assured Voelz Delight of a berth in the Oct. 17 Super Final, giving her a total of 75 points and boosting her from twelfth to seventh in the division standings. In her only other Gold Series appearance, on Sept. 4 at Grand River Raceway, the Bettors Delight daughter finished second to Twin B Sunkissed.
The second $104,800 division saw Alumni Seelster finish up the regular season the same way she started, draped in an Ontario Sires Stakes blanket in the Woodbine Mohawk Park winner’s circle. Driver James MacDonald sent the filly straight to the front from Post 2 and she rolled unchallenged through a :27.1 quarter, :56.1 half and 1:24.4 three-quarters. Fan favourite Best Head West came calling in the stretch, but could not get closer than one-half length to Alumni Seelster, who paced under the wire in 1:53.2. City By The Bay completed the top three.
“We were surprised, but not surprised, because she started her year fantastic with that win in 1:52.2 and has sort of maybe struggled since then. She had a lot of things that perhaps didn’t go her way,” said trainer Dr. Ian Moore. “But that puts her over $100,000 for the year too, so that’s good.”
After her winning her division in the July 7 season opener Alumni Seelster finished fifth, fourth and seventh in the next three Gold Series legs. Monday’s win bumped the State Treasurer daughter from seventh to third in the two-year-old pacing filly standings with 115 points.
“She’s a lovely big filly and has always had the talent, but like I said she just had things didn’t quite go her way,” said Cambridge resident Moore, who trains the filly for Sally MacDonald of Souris, PEI and Paul MacDonald of Regina, SK. “They wanted to shut her down but I said I think she’s still pretty fresh, let’s try her one more start and see what happens. So now we’re probably going to want to try that last one, the Super Final, for sure.”
The top 10 point earners will compete in the $250,000 Super Final at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Saturday, Oct. 17.