Woodbine Racetrack's current leading driver Jody Jamieson was in the hot seat on Saturday night as a guest host of the Woodbine Racing Live broadcast to offer up some insight on his drives for handicappers and discuss his 2013 racing season.
During the pre-game show, Jamieson declared his 11th race mount, Carmen Auciello trainee Champagne Phil, as his "most probable winner" on the card and proved to be correct.
"I really drove him bad [last week]," explained Jamieson. "He's been at Yonkers and they didn't like the trips he's been getting there. They weren't trying him as much as they wanted him to be tried so I gave him a shot and I actually over-drove him and I'm not planning on doing the same thing tonight. I believe there is some competition in there...but I really like Champagne Phil in there tonight. I think it's his race to win."
In the evening's finale, Jamieson sent Champagne Phil first over from fourth down the backstretch and wore down early leader Roethblissberger to win by a head in 1:51.3. Icr Racing's four-year-old Shanghai Phil gelding was backed by the bettors and paid $5.40 to win as the 8-5 favourite. The victory was his first in five starts this year.
During the interview, the three-time O'Brien Award winning driver also reflected on his 2013 campaign in which he ranked second nation-wide for earnings ($5,338,101) behind 2013 Driver of the Year Sylvain Filion and third for wins (337).
"I had a great year," said Jamieson. "This biggest disappointment for me was I had a lot of seconds in major races and classic races. It took me until the middle of December to win the Cleveland Classic with a great horse, Apprentice Hanover, who you folks are well adhered to right here at Woodbine. He's got seven [wins] in a row now dating back to the Cleveland Classic or the week before. He's just a hell of a horse and he seems to be getting better as we go forward."
While the Preferred class in which Apprentice Hanover has been dominating of late was not carded on Saturday, Jamieson catch-drove another "ultra consistent horse" to victory lane in a top conditioned event.
"I think he was in over his head last week," Jamieson said of Lucky Terror, who finished sixth in the Preferred on Feb. 15. "He's not an Open horse, but he is, however, a very decent, middle of the road, conditioned horse and this is his class."
The $22,000 ninth race was indeed Lucky Terror's class as he closed from second over and edged out a from-last Grin For Money to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:52.2. The win was his second in six starts this year and gives him a seasonal bankroll of $27,560.
Trained by Shaun McDonald and owned by Glenview Livestock Ltd. and Leonard Christopher, the seven-year-old gelded son of Western Terror paid $9.10 to win.
In Commando's 1:51.1 score in the 10th race co-feature was the fastest of the night and one of the biggest upsets as he rallied home from third over at odds of 10-1 for driver Chris Christoforou. The class-climbing Camluck gelding paid $22.80 for his second straight win. He prevailed by three-quarters of a length over Joshua My Boy, who closed from the back of the pack to place.
Don Lindsey trains and co-owns the winning five-year-old pacer with Paul Kleinpaste, William Alempijevic and Dennis Mavrin. In Commando now has three wins and one second in five seasonal starts to add $31,000 to his career bankroll.
To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Woodbine Racetrack.
Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca