Winter series heat up at Mohawk Park
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The preliminary rounds of the Valedictory and Niagara Series for three-year-old pacers concluded on a very cold Thursday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
The Valedictory for colts and geldings and Niagara for fillies each required a pair of $17,000 second leg divisions ahead of next week’s finals.
Lyons Pegasus took advantage of hot early fractions to shoot up the rail by tiring foes for a 1:52.2 victory in the first Valedictory division. Jody Jamieson steered the Mark Goddard trainee to his sixth win in 14 starts this season.
The opening half of the race saw Silver Beast and Mc Pat duel to the midway point in :54.4. Race-favourite Windsun Ricky was left first-up for the final turn grind, pacing alongside Mc Pat to three-quarters in 1:23.1.
Lyons Pegasus stayed along the rail in sixth at the head of the lane, but with just under four-lengths to make up, the gelded son of Well Said had a clear lane at the inside to shoot through for a length and a half score.
Jknr Liketell came from third over to finish second, while Legion Seelster and Mc Pat rounded out the Superfecta.
Owned by Threelyonsracing, Lyons Pegasus heads towards next week’s final with a win and runner-up finish in the preliminary legs. His sixth career score brings his earnings up to $65,200.
Lyons Pegasus paid $7.40 to win.
Jamieson used the rail again in the second split to win with Captain Cash at 8-1 in 1:52.4.
A son of Captaintreacherous, Captain Cash left well and enjoyed a two-hole ride after Virgin Storm cleared following a :26.4 opening-quarter. Virgin Storm got an easy second-quarter before being confronted by What Up Mo, as the first-up challenger held a short lead at three-quarters in 1:25.
In the stretch, What Up Mo was swarmed in the final-eighth by several rivals, including Captain Cash up the rail. Cheddar Bay finished second by a length, while Conboyville and Grand Poobah completed the top-four. What Up Mo finished fifth.
Captain Cash, who was seventh in last week’s first leg, is now one for four since being acquired by Mardon Stables and debuting for trainer Bruce MacDonald. The sophomore pacer is four for 15 this season and five for 22 overall. He now has $46,510 banked this season and $52,270 overall.
A $2 win ticket on Captain Cash returned $19.50.
Trip Aces Hanover wore down Cranberry Brie to win the first division of the Niagara in 1:54.4. Doug McNair guided the Herb Holland trainee to her third win in 22 starts this season.
Race-favorite Cranberry Brie circled to the lead in the second-quarter and would hold the lead until deep stretch. Trip Aces Hanover got underway from fifth at the half, following cover for most of the final turn before being left uncovered nearing three-quarters.
In the stretch, Trip Aces Hanover proved to be too much for Cranberry Brie to fight off, as the outside challenger muscled by for the score. Giggle Hanover came through late for second, beat a length. Cranberry Brie was third, while Fresh Eyes was fourth.
A daughter of Bettor's Delight, Trip Aces Hanover has now earned $59,740 this season for owner James Avritt Jr. She heads towards next week’s final with a win in round two following a third-place finish in last week’s series opener.
Trip Aces Hanover paid $5.90 to win.
Arya Stark won the showdown of first leg winners in Thursday’s second division, converting off a two-hole ride to defeat 6/5 favourite Dreamfair Zenfire.
Driven by Chris Christoforou, Arya Stark left well and settled for second, allowing Dreamfair Zenfire to show the way. The week one winners sat one-two through fractions of :27.3, :57 and 1:26.2.
In the stretch, Arya Stark angled to the outside and powered by for a 3 ¾ length victory over Dreamfair Zenfire in 1:54. Passport Hanover was third, while Erikas Shadow was fourth.
Trained by Melissa Lamoureux, Arya Stark is now six for 35 on the campaign and seven for 37 overall. The daughter of Royal Mattjesty has now earned $72,162 this season for owners Lamoureux, Jeffrey Boyd and Jefferson Davis.
Arya Stark, who returned $6.90 to win, will now have an opportunity to sweep the Niagara Series in next week’s final.
The Valedictory and Niagara Series were open to three-year-olds, who were non-winners of $60,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2019. Both series will conclude Thursday, Dec. 26, with $35,000 finals on Woodbine Mohawk Park’s annual Boxing Day matinee program. (WEG)