Mario Baillargeon hoping fillies carry him

02:42 AM 11 Nov 2011 NZDT
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Classy Lane Rose
Classy Lane Rose - A winner in 1:57.3 for driver Paul MacDonell
PHOTOS: Iron Horse Photo Inc.

Milton residents Ben Wallace and Mario Baillargeon will team up in Saturday's (November 12) two-year-old pacing filly Super Final, hoping to land Classy Lane Rose in the Woodbine Racetrack winner's circle for the second straight week.

“She raced great her last start, out of the nine-hole,” says trainer Wallace. “She struggled mid-summer, but she seems to have come back into some form for us, so we’re hoping it shows up again Saturday.”

On Nov. 3 Classy Lane Rose bested a field of fillies in an overnight event at Woodbine, making her first appearance in the winner’s circle since Aug. 7 and lowering her personal best to 1:53.3. Wallace and partner Jamie Millier of Puslinch bred and own the daughter of Jeremes Jet and Titanic Rose and would love to see the filly play spoiler in the talent laden freshman pacing filly division, which attracted just eight entries.

“There’s eight fillies in there and they probably can all win with the right trip,” says driver Baillargeon, who will steer Classy Lane Rose from Post 1 in the fourth race.

“There’s always upsets in the Super Finals, but it wouldn’t be an upset to me if she won because she did in Rideau,” adds the reinsman, referring to the filly’s Aug. 7 Gold Elimination win. “She’s very versatile and she can leave the gate good, so I’ll probably be able to position myself where I want.”

Reigning Gold Final champion Apogee Hanover will start to Classy Lane Rose’s right at Post 2, with the other Gold Final winners Legal Entity and Class Of O Nine getting Posts 4 and 8, respectively. Baillargeon says the field of Super Final contenders is tougher than the group Classy Lane Rose faced last week, but hopes he can carve out a trip that gives his filly an opportunity to take home a sizeable share of the $300,000 purse.

“I don’t think she can do all the work, but with a nice trip and a little help she could be right there,” says Baillargeon. “Ben told me she came out of the race real good, and he can get one ready for a big race.”

Baillargeon will also steer a pair of fillies for his brother Benoit Baillargeon — two-year-old trotting filly Cool Creek Breeze and three-year-old trotting filly Oh Sweet Baby.

Like Classy Lane Rose, Cool Creek Breeze heads into her Super Final test off a win in an overnight event at Woodbine on Nov. 3. The Angus Hall half-sister to former Ontario Sires Stakes superstar Casual Breeze ($1,347,330) lowered her personal best by almost two full seconds, hitting the wire a half-length ahead of Gold Series rival Counter Pointe in 1:57.3.

“I was very, very pleased with her last week,” says Baillargeon. “Of course there is Miss Paris and Circles and I didn’t beat them all year, but she drew good, and with a full field like that anything can happen, especially with two-year-old trotting fillies.”

Trainer Benoit Baillargeon of Rockwood and breeder Diane Ingham of Mount Pleasant share ownership of Cool Creek Breeze, who has only missed the top three twice in 10 starts this season, banking $117,116. The filly will make her bid for Super Final glory from Post 3 in the seventh race, while the regular season Gold Final winners Witch Way, Circles, Counter Pointe and Miss Paris are also stacked up on the inside at Posts 1, 2, 4 and 5.

“I need a little battle between Circles and Miss Paris, and hopefully I’ll be there to pick up the pieces,” says the driver with a wry chuckle. “I’ve never beat those two fillies, but it would be the right time to do it.

“It’ll be a good race for sure,” he adds.

Of all Baillargeon’s mounts in Saturday’s Super Final showdown, Oh Sweet Baby holds a special spot in the driver’s heart. The pair captured last year’s Super Final and Baillargeon would love to see the Angus Hall daughter deliver a repeat performance from Post 7 in the ninth race.

“She’s my sweetheart,” says Baillargeon. “I think that she’s getting stronger. She raced against the best fillies in the world the last two weeks and she only got beat three or four lengths in the final last week.”

One of two Ontario-sired fillies to qualify for last weekend’s sophomore trotting filly Breeders Crown Final at Woodbine, Oh Sweet Baby delivered an impressive effort to finish third in the $501,950 contest, trotting a 1:54.3 mile in both her elimination and the final.

“She’s very honest,” emphasizes Baillargeon. “She’s very versatile too, and she’s coming into the race real good.”

In 18 sophomore starts Oh Sweet Baby has only missed one cheque, finishing seventh in the Elegantimage Final at Mohawk Racetrack on June 18. Richard Berthiaume of Pointe-Aux-Trembles, QC owns the winner of $536,742, and Baillargeon is hoping Berthiaume opts to race the filly next season.

“I would love to race her next year,” he says.

Among the fillies hoping to prevent Oh Sweet Baby from repeating as Super Final champion are Gold Final winners China Pearls, Magic Wheel and Peach Martini, who will start from Posts 2, 5 and 6.

The eight $300,000 Super Finals are showcased in Races 2 through 5 and 7 through 10 on Woodbine Racetrack’s Saturday evening program, which gets under way at 7:30 pm.

Sandra SNYDER

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