Ontario's talented three-year-old trotting colts and geldings raised the curtain on the 2012 Ontario Sires Stakes program with three sparkling Gold Eliminations over the half-mile harness racing oval at The Raceway at Western Fair District on Friday evening.
Posting the quickest clocking of the three $40,000 eliminations was Cold Certified, who carved out fractions of :28.3, :58.2 and 1:27.4 on his way to a two and one-quarter length victory in 1:57.4. Keystone Orion picked up second-place honours, with local colt Cimeronken hot on his heels in third.
Denise Anderson of Dorchester bred and owns Cimeronken, who will start from Post 8 in next weekend’s $130,000 Gold Final.
Regular reinsman Jason Brewer piloted Cold Certified to his second straight win for owner and trainer Gary Lance of Port Perry, ON. The son ofboasts a record of three wins and two seconds through five starts this season.
Before Friday, the gelding’s highest profile victory was in an April 5 leg of the Tie Silk Series at Woodbine Racetrack, where he posted his record of 1:57.2.
Brewer will steer Cold Certified from Post 5 in next week’s Gold Final, while Keystone Orion gets Post 7.
Local colt Ballykeel Ulysses came within half a length of taking home a provincial trophy in the first Gold Elimination, finishing just behind Northern Escort in the 1:58.3 mile. Ballykeel Racing of Tillsonburg, ON owns Ballykeel Ulysses, who was well ahead of third-place finisher Warrawee Nimby.
It was Northern Escort’s third straight trip to the winner’s circle and his first in the Gold Series program; thecolt was a winner at the Grassroots level at two. Yves Filion engineered the victory for trainer Justin Filion and owners Les Ecuries JYJ Inc. of St-Andre-D’Argenteuil, QC.
Northern Escort recorded his first two wins of the season in the Ontario Prep Series at Flamboro Downs on May 6 and 13. The colt will make his bid for a fourth straight win from Post 6 in the May 25 final, with Ballykeel Ulysses getting Post 4 and Warrawee Nimby occupying Post 3.
The last Gold Elimination trophy went home with a colt familiar to Ontario Sires Stakes watchers. A Gold Elimination and Gold Final winner as a two-year-old, Il Mago picked up where he left off with an impressive effort up the outside that saw him reach the finish two lengths ahead of his peers in 1:59.
Midfield Magic and Heres The Magic were tightly grouped in second and third. All three colts are by sire, who will be inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame this summer.
Trevor Ritchie returned to the race bike for Friday’s victory, piloting Il Mago to the win for trainer Rod Boyd and owners Chris Alexander Stbls Inc. of Aurora, ON and Mark Harder of Freehold, NJ. Friday’s start was Il Mago’s first of the season on Ontario soil; the youngster prepped for his sophomore campaign in Harder’s New Jersey-based stable.
Il Mago and Ritchie will benefit from Post 1 in next week’s $130,000 Gold Final, while Midfield Magic gets Post 2. Heres The Magic was not among the third-place finisher’s selected by random draw for the final.
Also featured at The Raceway on Friday evening was a pair of Molson Pace eliminations, which saw Clear Vision and John Campbell sprint home in 1:52.2 and Aracache Hanover and Doug McNair blaze to a 1:51 triumph. The $300,000 Molson Pace final will highlight next Friday’s outstanding night of racing in the Western Fair District.
The complete line up for the first $130,000 Gold Final of the 2012 Ontario Sires Stakes season is as follows:
$130,000 GOLD FINAL — FRIDAY, MAY 25 AT THE RACEWAY AT WESTERN FAIR DISTRICT
Post 1 Il Mago
Post 2 Midfield Magic
Post 3 Warrawee Nimby
Post 4 Ballykeel Ulysses
Post 5 Cold Certified
Post 6 Northern Escort
Post 7 Keystone Orion
Post 8 Cimeronken
Also Eligible 1 Heres The Magic
Also Eligible 2 Grandin Road
Also Eligible 3 Tymal Oh So Nice
by Sandra SNYDER