For the second straight week, Il Mago made winning look easy over The Raceway at Western Fair District, sailing around the London harness racing oval to claim the first Gold Final trophy of the 2012 Ontario Sires Stakes season.
With regular reinsman Trevor Ritchie in the race bike, the sophomore trotting colt took full advantage of Post 1, powering out to a one and three-quarter length lead by the:28.1 quarter. Cold Certified dropped into the pocket behind Il Mago, content to watch the pacesetter roll through a :58.2 half, and then launched a challenge heading by the 1:27.2 three-quarters, but Il Mago refused to yield, keeping Cold Certified at his heels.
Il Mago arrived at the top of the stretch with a one and one-half length lead, but when Ritchie opened the throttle the colt accelerated away to a four length triumph in 1:56.3, a new personal best. Cold Certified had to settle for second, while Keystone Orion was three more lengths back in third.
Warrawee Nimby picked up the fourth-place share of the $130,000 purse, while local colt Cimeronken,owned and bred by Denise Anderson of Dorchester, ON, earned the final share of the Gold Final pie in fifth.
Trotting specialist Ritchie engineered Il Mago's victory for trainer Rod Boyd and owners Chris Alexander Stbls Inc. of Aurora, ON and Mark Harder of Freehold, NJ. Il Mago also coasted to a win in last week's Gold Elimination, making him a perfect two-for-two in the early going of the three-year-old trotting colt season.
A Gold Elimination and Final winner at two, Il Mago boosted his lifetime earnings to $250,710 for Alexander, who also bred the son ofand Northern Style, and Harder. IlMago will defend his title in the second Gold Series event of the sophomore trotting colt season June 30 and July 7 at Georgian Downs.
In addition to the Gold Final, London harness racing fans were also treated to a spectacular edition of the annual Molson Pace. Reigning champions Foiled Again and Yannick Gingras came from off the pace to snag ahead victory in a sparkling 1:51.3. Ron Burke of Fredericktown, PA conditions the eight-year-old Foiled Again for his partners Weaver Bruscemi LLC of Canonsburg,PA and JJK Stables LLC of Fort Lauderdale, FL.