A pair of gifted two-year-old harness racing colts purchased last fall for the relatively modest sum of $20,000 will kick off the $2.4 million Super Final Championships at Woodbine Racetrack this Saturday (November 12).
Both pacing colt Warrawee Needy and trotting gelding The Game Plan were purchased out of the 2010 Canadian Yearling Sale for $20,000. Both impressed their trainers early and have given their owners more than one memorable visit to the winner’s circle. Warrawee Needy will start from Post 2 in the first $300,000 Super Final and heads into the contest off an Ontario Sires Stakes record performance at Woodbine in an Oct. 10 Gold Final.
“He won in 1:49.4, which is an Ontario Sires Stakes record for two-year-olds,” says Toronto resident Tom Kyron, who shares ownership of Warrawee Needy with trainer Carl Jamieson of Princeton, breeder Dr. Michael Wilson of Rockwood and Floyd Marshall of Jarvis. “He’s a great horse. He doesn’t need an inside post, he can win from anywhere.”
Through 11 starts this season Warrawee Needy has delivered Kyron and his partners to the winner’s circle on eight occasions, finishing second, third and fifth in the other three outings. The son ofand Great Memories recorded three Gold Elimination and three Gold Final wins, along with a win in his Battle of Waterloo Elimination and a victory in an overnight event in his first lifetime start. In the process of reaching the top of the Gold Series division standings Warrawee Needy also matched or bettered the Ontario Sires Stakes records for two-year-old pacing colts on half-mile, five-eighths and seven-eighths mile tracks.
“When Carl gotgoing he said, ‘This is the best horse I’ve ever had,’” recalls Kyron. “Then when he got Warrawee Needy going, he said, ‘This is the best horse I’ve ever had. He’s one up on , and is no slouch.”
American-bred coltcaptured the 2011 edition of the North America Cup and has earned $1.1 million in his career to date, but Kyron says the three-year-old pacer has been relegated to a supporting role in most of the training miles over Jamieson’s farm track this summer.
“Carl trained them together and Warrawee Needy consistently beatat the half-mile farm track,” says Kyron, who also owns a share of . “Not by much; but by half a length or so.”
Unfortunately Jamieson did not keep Warrawee Needy eligible to any of the major stake races this fall, so the colt has not had a test against North America’s best, but Kyron is hoping the winner of $385,000 returns to action next spring as strong as he seems to be heading into Saturday’s Super Final test.
“We are looking forward to next year. We’re hoping we don’t have to pay a whole lot of supplements to get into some of the major stake events,” notes the owner.
Warrawee Needy’s dominance in the Gold Series program served to reduce the ranks of his competitors and the colt and regular reinsman Jody Jamieson will only face five challengers in Saturday’s second race.
Freshman trotting colt division leader The Game Plan faces a full field of contenders, but the gelding’s owners are hoping he can stretch his Ontario Sires Stakes win streak to five from Post 2 in the third race.
The second win in the gelding’s OSS streak, and his first Gold Final victory, came at Mohawk Racetrack on Aug. 26 and came off a performance owner Linden Wells says he will never forget.
“He made a break in the backstretch in the OSS Gold at Mohawk, caught the field, and then passed the field,” recalls the Mississauga resident. “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was nice to be part of that.”
Wells and his son Lance make up LLK Stables, sharing ownership of The Game Plan with trainer John Kopas of Milton, Anthony Wagner of Mississauga and Gary Grieve of Union. The other highlight for the gelding’s owners came on Sept. 17 when The Game Plan captured the $469,000 William Wellwood Memorial Final at Mohawk, finishing a head in front of some of North America’s top freshman trotters.
Jack Moiseyev piloted the son ofand Image Control to the thrilling victory and will be back in the race bike on Saturday, aiming the half-brother to $1.4 million winner Pure Ivory toward his ninth win.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” says Wells, who spent his childhood at fair racetracks in eastern Ontario and northern New York watching horses owned by his father Karl G. Wells, including Hall of Fame inductee Symbol Allen, who scored a world record 241 wins in 15 seasons between 1944 and 1958.
Wells owned horses himself in the Ottawa area in the 1970’s, but had been absent from the harness racing industry for almost three decades when son Lance introduced him to Kopas. The men hit it off and LLK Stables purchased shares of several yearlings in partnership with the trainer in 2008. Although none of those purchases delivered any memorable moments on the racetrack, The Game Plan has more than made up for that early lack of success and has his owners excited about the prospects for the future.
“We are pleased to have one that makes you forget about the others,” says Wells ruefully.
“If he’s healthy, and if things go well, if he gets a nice trip, he should make a good showing for himself Saturday.”
Post time for Saturday’s Super Final program is 7:30 pm, with the cream of the Ontario Sires Stakes program ready to battle over the Woodbine Racetrack oval in Races 2 through 5 and 7 through 10.
Warrawee Needy winning his 2011 Battle Of Waterloo Elim at Grand River Raceway: