Day At The Track

William Wellwood, Elegantimage & Peaceful Way

04:44 PM 20 Sep 2015 NZST
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Southwind Frank Mission Brief Caprice Hill
Southwind Frank streaked to a seventh straight victory
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The Elegantimage victory increased Mission Brief's career earnings to over $1.3 million
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Rookie trotting filly Caprice Hill gave her owner Tom Hill an extra special 65th birthday present
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Southwind Frank
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CAMPBELLVILLE, September 19 - As Southwind Frank streaked to a seventh straight victory, harness racing driver Yannick Gingras picked up his third consecutive William Wellwood Memorial Trot trophy on Saturday evening at Mohawk Raceway, part of the Maple Leaf Trot undercard.

With the win in the $373,000 race for two-year-old trotters, trainer Ron Burke also captured back-to-back Wellwood finals. Both Burke and Gingras won the 2014 edition with Habitat and Gingras scored in 2013 with the Jimmy Takter-trained Father Patrick.

In the 2015 dash, Brooklyn Hill was the fastest off the gate, taking the early command. Southwind Frank, the 1-9 favourite, following behind in second but never found a spot on the rail as the rookie colts and geldings went past the first quarter in :28-flat. Into the backstretch, Gingras sent Southwind Frank to the front and that is where he stayed, posting the half in :57.1 and the three-quarters in 1:25.4.

In the final turn, Marion Marauder and driver Scott Zeron made a bid for the lead, but they couldn't catch Southwind Frank, who ultimately stopped the clock in 1:55.4 to win by one and one-quarter lengths. Marion Marauder finished second and Deep Impact got up for third.

"He's raced good that way (on the front)," said Gingras. "There wasn't that much speed out of the gate so I figured to take control of the race and let him do his thing...I knew I had the best horse in the race. My job is to just keep him out of trouble and get him to the wire."

Owner Jerry Silva is now looking to next year's stakes schedule due to the triumph.

"It makes me think next year. Hambo. We're going to be in it," he said. "We tried this year with Mission Brief against the boys. We didn't have a boy, but now we got a real boy, Southwind Frank."

The son of Muscle Hill and Flawless Lindy is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Our Horse Cents Stables and J And T Silva Stables LLC and boasts earning of $513,505. Southwind Frank now has eight wins from nine outing, which includes victories in a Champlain and Reynolds Stakes division, the Peter Haughton Memorial Final and a New Jersey Sires Stakes Championship.

Southwind Frank paid $2.20 to win.

Southwind Frank

Mission Brief cruise to Elegantimage victory

Mission Brief continued her dominance of the three-year-old trotting filly division with a crushing five and a half length victory in the $404,000 Elegantimage Stakes Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack.

The Ron Burke trained filly came into the Elegantimage final off a 15-length victory in her elimination last week.

Sent off as the 1/5 favourite, Mission Brief and driver Yannick Gingras were able to drop in fifth, while several fillies slugged it out in the early stages. Muscle Baby Doll and driver Doug McNair wanted the front and parked out Wild Honey by the opening-quarter in :26.4.

Down the backstretch, Gingras made his move with Mission Brief, but was forced to go three-wide around Wild Honey before overtaking Muscle Baby Doll at the half in :55.2.

It was game over once Mission Brief found the front, as the superstar filly trotted a third-quarter in :28.1 and a final-quarter under wraps in :28.3 to win in 1:52.1.

"She was amazing tonight, I didn't even start her up," said Gingras following the race. "The plugs are still in and she's just toying with them. She's in another class."

Wild Honey finished second, while Elegant Serenity, the daughter of race namesake Elegantimage, finished third.

Trained by Ron Burke, Mission Brief has now won seven of nine starts this season and 16 overall. Gingras had high praise for how the filly gets the job done.

"She makes the game plan, when she steps on the racetrack sometimes like last week she decided she was going to go all the way," he said. "Today she was a little bit more (easier) to handle so we just let the dust settle. I can't make plans with her, she makes them."

A daughter of Muscle Hill, Mission Brief is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC., Our Horse Cents Stables, J And T Silva Stables LLC. and Weaver Bruscemi. The Elegantimage victory increased her career earnings to over $1.3 million.

Mission Brief paid $2.40 to win.

Mission Brief

Hill celebrates birthday with Peaceful Way win

Rookie trotting filly Caprice Hill gave her owner Tom Hill an extra special 65th birthday present this year - a $410,000 Peaceful Way Stakes win on Saturday evening at Mohawk, which is part of the Maple Leaf Trot undercard.

With Tim Tetrick in the sulky, the Tony Alagna-trained Caprice Hill also made her fourth consecutive trip to the winner's circle.

The 4-5 favourite got away fourth and followed behind fractions of :27.1 posted by Celebrity Eventsy, and :56.3 then 1:27 put up by Emoticon Hanover. Into final turn, Could It Be Magic advanced first up from third and Caprice Hill tracked her cover.

At the head of the lane, Caprice Hill kicked off cover and was fed open racetrack. The bay miss responded and trotted on by her rivals to score by one and one-quarter length and stop the teletimer in 1:56.1. Celebrity Eventsy finished second and Dewdle All Day rallied for third.

"It's great to win a big race especially when it is your birthday," said Hill. "Yannick [Gingras] drove the filly along and he said when he drover she was Mission Brief with brains and she's proved it tonight. She is a gift from God.

"Kadabra has proven to be as good a sire as any trotting sire in the world," added the longtime owner. "I don't know a lot about trotters. We asked Tony to get us a nice filly and he went and picked her out and he deserves all the credit and all the praise. He's picked her. He's trained her."

Hill was then quick to correct himself.

"He doesn't deserve all of it," the resident of Hamilton said, as Alagna chuckled. "His mother deserves a lot as well."

Alagna's mother, Donna Lee Ozment, trains Hill's yearlings in Illinois.

The daughter of Kadabra and Bramasole now boasts earnings of $377,730 and has six wins and one second-place finish from seven starts, which includes a victory in a Champlain Stakes division.

Caprice Hill paid $3.90 to win.

Caprice Hill

Mark McKelvie

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