Harness racing driver Doug McNair made the most of his trip to Woodbine Racetrack on Friday evening as the young reinsman captured two of four divisions of the opening leg of the $20,000 HorsePlayer Interactive Series (HPI).
McNair wasted little time on the programme as he took the opening division in race two with Do Me Honor.
Sent off at odds of 10-1, the four-year-old miss was in no hurry as the gates folded with Icey Breeze (Garrett Whelan) striking command past the opening panel in :28.
Heading towards the mid-way station, Whelan was able to tap the breaks with Icey Breeze as she reached that point in a moderate :58. D Gs Tinkerbell (Sylvain Filion) was enjoying a pocket trip with Whos Up Whos Down (Scott Zeron) third.
Shine N Shimmer (Jody Jamieson) began the first-over attack around the final turn with Do Me Honor tracking her as Icey Breeze reached three-quarters in 1:27.
Turning for home, Icey Breeze began to tire as Shine N Shimmer took over the lead, but McNair showed Do Me Honor clear racetrack and the daughter ofexploded in deep stretch to win in 1:55. Shine N Shimmer stayed for second over D Gs Tinkerbell.
Owned and trained by Russell Sutherland, Do Me Honor notched her seventh career victory as her earnings climbed to $76,734. She paid a handsome $22.90 for the win.
Do Me Honor
Sent off as the 4/5 favourite in the second division, You Thrill Me settled away in seventh in the early stages as Betterluvnexttime (Billy Davis, Jr.) front-stepped her way past the opening station in a quick :26.4.
Davis was able to slow the pace in the second quarter as he reached that station in :55.3 as Bunny Mach began the first-over rally from fourth. Catching her cover was Western (Chris Christoforou) and You Thrill Me tracking her from third over.
As Betterluvnexttime passed three-quarters in 1:24.1 she began to tire as the backfield was closing in. Bunny Mach reached the front, but could not fend off a late challenge from You Thrill Me who scored a two and a quarter-length victory for trainer David Menary. Bunny Mach finished second with Western third.
You Thrill Me captured her 15th career victory for owners Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi. The seven-year-old daughter ofincreased her lifetime earnings to $215,133. She paid $3.60 to win.
You Thrill Me
In the third division, Day Toscored for the popular combination of trainer Robert McIntosh and driver Randy Waples. The bay settled into the three-hole before the opening quarter set by Autumn Seelster (Doug McNair) in a quick :26.4.
The field would remain untouched past the mid-way point in :55.
Heading around the final turn, Waples guided Day Toto the outside and was within two lengths of the tempo-setter past three-quarters in 1:23.1.
Down the stretch, Autumn Seelster was still in command, but Day Towas still stalking on the outside. In the final strides, Day To got the best of Autumn Seelster as she notched her tenth career victory by a half a length. Autumn Seelster finished second, with Cheap Motel (Mario Baillargeon) finishing third.
The four-year-old daughter byincreased her bankroll to $213,594 for McIntosh who co-owns with CSX Stable and John Fielding.
McNair capped off the final division of the first leg as he guided Synergy Seelster to a 1:52.1 lifetime best victory.
The 2-1 favourite was in no rush in the beginning as Bay Girl (Paul MacDonell) cleared to the front past a :26.4 opening quarter.
As the mares headed towards the half, Windsong Grand Ave (Billy Davis, Jr.) angled out from third and made the lead past a blistering half of :54.4.
Around the final turn, Epoxy Queen (Rick Zeron) moved from third to begin the first-over attack with Jamaica Hanover (Jody Jamieson) tracking her. Synergy Seelster was positioned third over, three and a quarter-lengths off the lead past three-quarters in 1:23.3.
Turning for home, Jamaica Hanover took over the lead, but McNair showed his charge open road and the four-year-old daughter ofexploded in deep stretch to score the win. Jamaica Hanover finished second with Land Ds Taylor (Randy Waples) completing the triactor.
Trained by Gregg McNair, Synergy Seelster notched her seventh career victory as her earnings climbed to $123,420 for owner Lindsey and Connie Rankin. She paid $6.10 for the win.
The series is for four-year-old and older mares non-winners of $50,000 (three-year-olds $75,000) in 2011.
The second leg will go to post on February 10.