Ontario's talented three-year-old trotters warmed up Flamboro Downs' Confederation Cup crowd with two impressive Gold Final harness racing efforts on Sunday afternoon (August 12).
Kicking off the stakes action, three-year-old trotting filly Miss Paris scored her second straight Gold Final victory with a track record equaling effort. Starting from the trailing Post 9, driver Rick Zeron settled Miss Paris in fifth as Circles stepped out to a :27.4 quarter. Circles continued to lead the field through the :57 half, but Sugar Wheeler and Miss Paris had moved to the outer lane and were preparing to challenge.
At the 1:26 three-quarters Sugar Wheeler had established a narrow lead, but Miss Paris swept by her rivals in the stretch and reached the finish one and one-quarter lengths on top in 1:57, matching the sophomore trotting filly track record set by Condi Lane in 2008.
Sugar Wheeler stayed game for second, while pocket sitter Daylon Miracle picked up the third-place share of the $130,000 Gold Final purse.
Oakville resident Zeron engineered the win for trainer Richard “Nifty” Norman and owners Melvin Hartman of Ottawa, Herb Liverman of Miami Beach, FL and David McDuffee of Delray Beach, FL. Through eight sophomore starts Miss Paris has tallied three wins, two seconds and one third for earnings of $192,900. The daughter ofand Pizza Dolce was also victorious in the final of the Gold Series season opener at Georgian Downs on July 7.
Two races later the three-year-old trotting colts paraded on to the Flamboro Downs half-mile and fan favourite Cold Certified fired away from Post 2 and out to a :28 opening quarter. Cold Certified and Puslinch resident Jason Brewer continued to lead the field through a :57 half and a 1:27 three-quarters, but around the final turn Keystone Orion came knocking.
The lightly rated Keystone Orion cruised by Cold Certified in the stretch to claim a two and one-half length victory in a personal best 1:56.4. The favourite had to settle for second, with Mikey Hanover rounding out the top three.
Carlisle resident David Boughton piloted Keystone Orion to the win for owner-trainer Donald Lindsey of Fergus. Sunday’s triumph was thegelding’s first win of the season and boosted his sophomore earnings to $102,550.
Prior to Sunday Keystone Orion’s fourth-place effort in last week’s Gold Elimination was his best result in three Gold Series starts, but the gelding is no stranger to the Ontario Sires Stakes winner’s circle. As a two-year-old Keystone Orion captured two Grassroots events and then moved up to the Gold Series, earning a Gold Final trophy at Flamboro Downs in late September.
Keystone Orion will have an opportunity to replicate Sunday’s result when the three-year-old trotting colts gather at Mohawk Racetrack on August 18 and 25. Miss Paris will be looking for her third straight Gold Final title August 23 and 30 at the Mohawk oval.
Once the Gold Finals were complete 11 of North America’s top three-year-old pacing colts began competition for the 36th Confederation Cup title. State Treasurer and Pet Rock won their eliminations, both hitting the wire in 1:51.2, but it was Gold Series star Michaels Power who came up trumps in the $581,500 final, claiming a quarter length win in 1:52.4.
Oakville resident Scott Zeron piloted thecolt to the win for trainer Casie Coleman of Cambridge and owner Jeffrey Snyder of New York, NY.
by Sandra SNYDER