The four finals of the Middlesex County Series were the highlight of the harness racing card at The Raceway at Western Fair District tonight where all but one of the events saw a horse who had won their two preliminary legs also capture the final for a series sweep.
BIG WIN FOR BIG FILLY
In the first final, the $52,200 test for mare trotters, it was Amoreena all the way as that filly swept to her fourth consecutive victory and a clean sweep of the series.
Leaving from post seven with Robert Shepherd in the sulky, Amoreena settled away in fourth in the early going while Dutches Of Liberty hit the quarter in :28.3. She was soon passed by Stirling Abacus who hit the half in :59.3.
As the field trotted down the backside the second time, Shepherd decided to move his mare who quickly obtained control before the 1:29.4 three-quarters and opened up to win easily in 2:00.1. Stirling Abacus was second followed by Abs Speedy Girl.
Tonight’s effort was just the fifth lifetime start for the three-year-old daughter of. Roy Jeffries, who trains the filly for his wife Debra, explained that the big filly just took a little longer than some to get started.
“We had a lot of problems with her. I always knew there was talent there but she just had to overcome some things this summer and didn’t make it to the sires stakes. She just grew too much as a two-year-old; she is a big filly now. She always had the talent, you could see that,” he explained.
“This is a great little series for green horses and I wasn’t too concerned about coming here as she trains on a half-mile track. They’re green horses and anything can happen but she was pretty handy for her size.”
“She’s a nice filly, very smart about everything, she trots flawless and it showed tonight,” praised Shepherd who guided the filly to each of her victories in the series. Tonight’s effort puts Amoreena’s earnings at $47,600.
INDIAN LAKE WINS BATTLE
Indian Lake and Zip The Lip both came into the $57,400 final for male trotters riding a four race winning streak and the two sophomore geldings both fought hard to make it five with Indian Lake prevailing.
Trevor Henry had Indian Lake on top well before the :29.3 first quarter and carved out remaining fractions of 1:00.2 and 1:29.2 to win in 2:00.2. Paul MacKenzie had Zip The Lip up to challenge his rival down the backside and the pair raced head to head before Indian Lake pulled away in the lane. Schrader Hanover was third.
It was the ninth win in a dozen starts for the three-year-old gelding by the obscure stallion Hes In The Shower. Graham Burgess trains and co-owns with Rick Gourlie of Orangeville.
Henry was asked by Greg Blanchard after the victory if he was a bit anxious at the start given that the previous time the horse had post six (in the opening leg) he had broken stride.
“The first time he ran here he got watching the starting gate and just got a little crooked and ran for a few strides and came back, he’s generally pretty good. He proved tonight that he’s a racehorse. That’s a nice horse (Zip The Lip), he just raced tough,” noted Henry who scored career win 4,000 last night at The District.
“I definitely think he’ll be better on the big track. They’re paying him into a series at Woodbine and I think he’ll do.”
DJS SISTER EARNS A HOLIDAY
The $61,000 mare pace final saw Mach Raiser, a winner of both her preliminary legs, leave hard from post seven for Shepherd to grab early control and head the field through splits of :28.3, :58.4 and 1:28.2. Down the lane though DJs Sister, who had enjoyed a perfect two hole trip, slipped up the inside and hauled down the leader to win in 1:59. In the very close finish Eternal Lady edged out Mach Raiser for place.
DJs Sister continued the trend of series sweeps as she had captured both of her legs for Henry, trainer Paul Taylor and owner Larry Jeffrey. This was win number six in 12 starts for the three-year-old daughter ofwho’ll now enjoy some time off.
“I wanted to follow one of them, either four (Tips Girl) or seven (Mach Raiser), she’s better from behind or on a helmet, she’s not very good on the front,” explained Henry. “It worked out, Shepherd made it there first and I was happy to follow somebody.
“She had a good shot tonight. Last week she was trapped in right to the last turn and I just got out and she won, but she could have won that race by a lot more. She won it really handy.”
When asked if he was concerned about getting out again tonight given he was locked in behind the leader and the track does not have a passing lane, Henry said: “At the end of the stretch I wasn’t too happy. I didn’t think we were getting out. Like Robert said, he had to work on his horse and as he did she drifted out and we just got lucky.”
LYONS JOHNNY HANGS TOUGH
The fourth and final Middlesex feature, the $57,400 test for male pacers, was the only one that didn’t have a sweep however, it did feature a great battle between two tough pacers.
Lyons Johnny and Anthony Haughan had taken the lead at the :57.2 half and Trevor Henry sent Modern Legend up almost immediately to try and take over. Lyons Johnny wouldn’t hear of it and the pair raced together to the three-quarters in 1:24.4. Down the stretch Lyons Johnny managed to put away his rival to win in 1:54.3. Modern Legend held strong for second with Kesons Reign third.
A three-year-old son ofowned by Geoffrey Mound of Burford, Ontario and trained by Bruce Goit, Lyons Johnny was recording his fourth win this year and upped his earnings to $62,000 this year.
WFD Media Relations