Day At The Track

Solar Sister still flawless in Gold Series

10:48 PM 28 Aug 2015 NZST
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Solar Sister

AUGUST 27, 2015 - A few strides from the wire in Thursday's ninth race it looked as though Solar Sister's perfect Gold Series season would come to an end at Mohawk Racetrack, but the gritty harness racing three-year-old pacing filly fought to the end and extended her Ontario Sires Stakes win streak to four.

"I think he backed her off a little around the last turn, hoping to get some room there, and then next thing he knew Mario (Baillargeon) was gone on him, so he had to gain a fair bit of ground to catch her," said trainer Gregg McNair of the race crafted by son Doug McNair. "She raced good, she's a good mare."

Starting from Post 1, Doug McNair and Solar Sister had early command of the race, reaching the opening quarter in :26.3. However, a parked out Mario Baillargeon and Tessa Seelster decided the front end was more appealing than a spot among the followers and McNair chose not to disagree, allowing the challengers to take the lead before the :54.4 half.

Fan favourites McNair and Solar Sister watched from the pocket as Baillargeon and Tessa Seelster reached the three-quarters in 1:23 and turning for home they were hemmed in by Maplelea mounting a charge in the outer lane. Once the fillies straightened out in the stretch, McNair was able to maneuver Solar Sister into an open lane, but it took every ounce of stubborn determination the filly possessed to reel in Tessa Seelster. The fillies hit the wire almost as one, with Solar Sister a narrow winner in 1:50.4. Capela was three lengths back in third.

The victory was Solar Sister's fourth straight in Gold Series action, giving her a perfect score of 200 points in the sophomore pacing filly standings, a division Gregg McNair predicts will only get more interesting through the final Gold Leg and Super Final.

"There's some good mares in there. I'd say there's a couple new ones there that nobody was looking for that much earlier in the year. They're just starting to pop out here now," said the Guelph, ON resident, adding that he was impressed with Tessa Seelster's effort.

"The nice thing about her, she was parked around the first turn, so she raced a heck of a trip, then the ones that were one-two in the first division raced big," continued the horseman, whose Glamour Seelster was the runner-up in the first division, in her first Gold Series start. "It's shaping up to be a different looking division than it was two weeks ago."

With the next Gold Leg not taking place until Oct. 1 at Flamboro Downs, many of the three-year-old pacing fillies will be battling in open stake events in the coming weeks. Among the races McNair is considering for Solar Sister are the Simcoe Stakes at Mohawk on Sept. 5 and the Jugette at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in Ohio on Sept. 23.

"She's going to the Simcoe, then she'll go to, possibly, the Jugette," said McNair, who conditions the daughter of Mach Three and $1.4 million winner Cabrini Hanover for owner-breeders David Willmot of King City, ON and Clay Harland Horner of Toronto, ON. "We'll see how she comes out of tonight and see how she races in the Simcoe.

"We'd like to have her good for the Breeders Crown (Oct. 17 and 24) is what we'd like to have her good for, but it's a hard race to have them good for, because it's later on," added the trainer. "It's hard to keep them good all year, and she's been consistent here all year."

Through 11 sophomore starts Solar Sister has accumulated seven wins, one second, one third and $384,112, giving her a two-season total just shy of $600,000. In addition to her flawless Gold Series record the filly swept her elimination and the final of the WEG-SBOA Stake in May and finished third in the Fan Hanover Final in June.

Solar Sister

The first $105,000 Gold division also featured a fierce stretch duel between fan favourite Wrangler Magic, pocket-sitter Cast No Shadow and McNair trainee Glamour Seelster.

Wrangler Magic and driver Sylvain Filion took early command of the race, reeling off fractions of :27.1, :56 and 1:24.1 with Cast No Shadow and Randy Waples tucked in behind them. Rolling off the final turn Waples tipped Cast No Shadow out and the filly accelerated past Wrangler Magic and held off a late charging Glamour Seelster to secure a one-quarter length victory in 1:51. Glamour Seelster earned the runner-up cheque, with Wrangler Seelster settling for third.

The win was the first in Ontario Sires Stakes action for Cast No Shadow, but not her first in stakes competition. The daughter of Shadow Play and $374,152 winner Hypnotize captured two legs of the Blossom Series and the final of the Princess Series in the spring. Through 15 starts she boasts a record of eight wins, three seconds and one third for earnings of $185,544.

Nick Gallucci of Brantford, ON conditions Cast No Shadow for owner Millard Adams of Carlisle, OH.

Cast No Shadow

Ontario Sires Stakes excitement returns to Mohawk Racetrack on Monday, Aug. 31 with five Grassroots divisions for the two-year-old pacing colts. The freshman pacers will be featured in Races 3, 4, 6, 9, and 10 on the 7:25 pm program.

Ontario Horse Racing

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