Ontario's talented harness racing three-year-old pacing colts turned up the heat at Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday evening as both Gold Elimination winners were clocked in 1:50 or better.
Mel Mara set the tone for the evening in the first $40,000 Gold Elimination, using a spectacular :25.2 final quarter to secure the 1:49.4 victory.
Sent off as the favourite, Campbellville resident Luc Ouellette let Mel Mara loaf off the starting gate from Post 3 and the pair were sitting well back in fifth when Goban hit the opening eighth in :12.3 and the quarter in :26.1. Heading for the :55.4 half Ouellette tipped Mel Mara to the outside, and the son ofhad to move out three-wide at the 1:22.3 three-quarters to get a clear look at pacesetter Goban.
As the colts squared up in the stretch, Ouellette shifted Mel Mara into overdrive and the colt rocketed by the leaders to a half length victory. Pacesetter Goban held on for second, just ahead of Hard To Mach, with Piston Broke andature completing the top five.
Tony Alagna conditions Mel Mara, who spent the first half of his sophomore season butting heads with the division’s heavy weights; Saturday’s appearance was his first in the Ontario Sires Stakes program. Breeder John Carver of Bettendorf, IA shares ownership of Mel Mara with Brittany Farms of Versailles, KY and Riverview Farms of North Bergen, NJ. Through eight starts the colt now boasts a record of three wins, one second, one third and earnings of $128,896.
One race later Mohawk fans sent reigning Gold Final champion Michaels Power off as their top choice and thegelding had taken command of the race before the field reached the halfway marker. Coasting through a 1:23.1 three-quarters, Michaels Power and driver Scott Zeron picked up the tempo in the stretch, hitting the wire in 1:50, one and one-quarter lengths ahead of early leader Warrawee Needy and I Found My Beach. Gregg McNair trainees Lucky Jet and Secretsoftheknight paced into fourth and fifth.
Oakville resident Zeron piloted Michaels Power to his fourth straight victory for trainer Casie Coleman of Cambridge and owner-breeder Jeffrey Snyder of New York, NY. In nine sophomore starts, Michaels Power has only been bested on one occasion, in his June 9 Pepsi North America Cup Elimination. The gelding swept his elimination and the final of the Upper Canada Cup and the season opening Gold Series at Georgian Downs, and posted victories in hisdivision and the Canadian Breeders Championship at Mohawk for total earnings of $587,250.
The top five finishers from each Gold Elimination will return to Mohawk Racetrack next Saturday, Aug. 4 for the second $130,000 Gold Final on the sophomore pacing colt schedule.
The complete line upfor next weekend’s Gold Final is as follows:
$130,000 Gold Final —Saturday, Aug. 4 at Mohawk Racetrack
Post 1 Michaels Power
Post 2 Warrawee Needy
Post 3 Goban
Post 4 Secretsoftheknight
Post 5 Hard To Mach
Post 6 I Found My Beach
Post 8 Piston Broke
Post 9 Mel Mara
Post 10 Lucky Jet
Also Eligible 1 Thunder Steeler
Also Eligible 2 Winbak Warrior
Also Eligible 3 Machapelo