Day At The Track

Mike Saftic records 5,000th career victory

04:00 PM 21 Oct 2014 NZDT
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Harness Racing
Mike Saftic is presented a sign in recognition of his 5,000th career victory by Bill McLinchey, Senior Manager of Racing Operations.
New Image Media photo

TORONTO, October 20 - On Monday evening at Woodbine Racetrack, harness racing driver Mike Saftic recorded his 5,000 career driving victory behind trotter Magic Shelley.

Saftic, 52, entered the evening only one win shy of the career milestone.

In the evening's third race, Saftic worked out the perfect trip with Magic Shelley to not only record his 5,000 victory, but also captured a division of the first leg of the Autumn Series.

Saftic began his driving career in 1981 at his hometown track, Sudbury Downs, before moving to the Woodbine Entertainment circuit a few years later.

Since joining the circuit, Saftic has consistently put up solid numbers each season and has driven top horses such as, Hall of Fame pacing mare Ellamony, Armbro Cruiser, Luck Of Michelle and 2002 Metro Pace champion Sir Luck.

A resident of Milton, Saftic has earned more than $1 million in each season since 1989 and has career earnings of more than $93 million.

This season, the veteran reinsman has recorded 96 victories and earnings of just under $2 million.

The Woodbine Entertainment Group would like to congratulate Mike on his accomplishment and wish him continued success throughout his career.

The Autumn Series for Ontario sired two-year-old fillies of both gaits got underway Monday night at Woodbine Racetrack.

Two $14,000 divisions of the opening leg were contested for both pacers and trotters.

In order to be eligible to the Autumn Series, two-year-olds must be Ontario sired and be non-winners of $30,000 lifetime as of September 30, 2014.

In the opening division for the filly trotters, Mischief Smile moved from second to first in the second quarter and never looked back en route to a 3 ¼ length victory in 1:58.4.

Trained by Paul Reid and driven by Trevor Henry, the daughter of Majestic Son broke her maiden with the victory and has now earned over $46,000 in nine career starts.

Battle Mage finished second, while Mets Life and Cum Laude Hall finished third and fourth respectively.

Mischief Smile returned $6.20 to win.

In the second division, another Reid trainee was first to the wire to give the conditioner a sweep of round one action.

Magic Shelley grinded her way first up and trotted away from her rivals in the stretch for a 3 ¼ length victory in 1:57.4.

The victory was extra special for driver Mike Saftic, as it was his 5,000th career driving victory.

The leg one triumph was a maiden breaking score for the daughter of Majestic Son. Magic Shelley has now earned over $13,000 in eight career starts.

Meadow Seelster took the place spot, while Tymal Fireitup and Mass Rail rounded out the Superfecta. Magic Shelley paid $11.50 to win.

The first division for the two-year-old pacing fillies saw another filly break her maiden.

Little Miss Sporty, who was last at the three-quarter pole, was shown racetrack in the stretch by driver Steve Condren and blew by her rivals with ease for a 1 ¼ length victory in 1:55.1.

Trained and co-owned by Stacey Reinsma, Little Miss Sporty had a pair of second place efforts in four starts heading into Monday evening, including a second place finish in an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold leg.

A daughter of Sportswriter, Little Miss Sporty now has career earnings of $36,250 for owners Reinsma and John Patterson.

Caviart Cari Ann finished second, while Dublin Rose took the show spot. Amazing Control rounded out the Superfecta. Little Miss Sporty paid $35.90 to win.

In the final division, Tessa Seelster went gate to wire for a 1 ¾ length victory in 1:55.4.

A daughter of Shadow Play, Tessa Seelster was blasted to the lead by driver Mario Baillargeon and never looked back to pick her up second victory in five career starts.

Trained by Ben Baillargeon, Tessa Seelster has now earned $15,760 in her young career for owner Richard Berthiaume. Southwind Luna finished second over Maralika, while Lady Jen finished fourth. Tessa Seelster returned $7.00 to win.

The second round of the Autumn Series for two-year-old fillies will take place next Monday night (October 27). Autumn Series action continues Thursday evening with the opening round for two-year-old colts and geldings of both gaits. 

Post time is 7:25 p.m.

by Mark McKelvie, for WEG

 
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