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Woodbine hosts pair of $40,000 Gold Eliminations

October 21, 2008

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Neither of the sophomore pacing fillies favored in Monday evening’s Gold Eliminations managed to deliver the anticipated result in their first appearance of the season over the Woodbine Racetrack oval.

In the first $40,000 elimination, Voelz Hanover grabbed the early lead and took the field of eight fillies to a :27 opening quarter, but was quickly overtaken by fan favorite Chancey Lady. The reigning Gold Final champion sailed through a :55.3 half and a 1:23.3 three-quarters, but when Voelz Hanover stepped out of the pocket to challenge for the lead in the stretch, Chancey Lady did not have her customary finishing kick.

Voelz Hanover was able to pull away to a two and one-quarter length lead in a personal best 1:51.2, while Chancey Lady had to settle for second, holding off third-place finisher I’m Just Special by a length. Two more lengths to the rear, Call Me Yours and A Fiesty Affair also advanced out of the elimination round into next Monday’s Gold Final.

Benoit Baillargeon trains Voelz Hanover for Richard Berthiaume of Pointe-Aux-Trembles, QC and Mario Baillargeon piloted the filly to the win, her third Gold Elimination victory this season. In 13 starts the Astreos daughter has accumulated four wins, three seconds and two thirds for earnings of $190,541. At two, Voelz Hanover set a world record for two-year-old pacing fillies on a five-eighths mile track with her 1:51.3 Gold Final victory at Hiawatha Horse Park.

In the second elimination, the fans’ second choice, Ms Goliath, also fired straight to the front from Post 4 and reached the opening quarter in :27. However, unlike Voelz Hanover, the filly saw no challengers and sailed unfettered through a :56.1 half and 1:25 three-quarters before accelerating away from the field to a four and a half length win in 1:52.4.

Favorite Style Semalu closed well to finish second, as did third-place finisher Shipps Bikini. Changing Gears sat in the pocket throughout the mile, but could not keep up to the late stretch sprinters and had to settle for fourth, with Belka Hanover rounding out the field for the Oct. 27 Gold Final.

Ecurie Synergie of Montreal, QC owns the Goliath Bayama daughter, who started her season at the Grassroots level before making the leap into Gold Series company. Through 16 starts the Jason Libby trainee has recorded six wins, six seconds and one third for earnings of $118,650. Monday’s triumph was the youngster’s first appearance in an Ontario Sires Stakes winner’s circle.

The top five finishers from each Elimination will return to Woodbine Racetrack next Monday to battle for the last Gold Final title of their careers. Only two fillies have earned Gold Final crowns this season, with Chancey Lady scoring three and I’m Just Special earning one.

Normally done following the eliminations, the post position draw for next week’s Gold Final will be delayed as a result of an appeal launched  regarding the stretch drive of the second elimination. The Gold Final post position draw will take place on Thursday — Woodbine Racetrack’s customary draw day for Monday evening — provided the outcome of the appeal is known at that time. (OSS)

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