Day At The Track

Gold Series veteran and a Grassroots novice

01:38 AM 22 Aug 2012 NZST
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The cream of the two-year-old trotting filly division returns to Rideau Carleton Raceway on Friday evening to compete in their fourth $130,000 Gold Final, and the fillies will be joined by 56 freshman trotting colts heading to the Ottawa oval for seven $24,000 Grassroots divisions.

Charmed Life logged the quickest of the three Gold Elimination performances last weekend, halting the Rideau Carleton teletimer at 1:57.4, and makes her bid for a second Gold Final title from Post 9 in the eighth race. The Majestic Son lass earned her first Gold crown at Flamboro Downs on July 22, the highlight of a freshman campaign that has seen her finish no worse than fourth in six Gold Series appearances to date.

“She certainly has exceeded our expectations,” says trainer John Bax. “You never know how the horse is going to take racing. You never know how strong their constitution is, if they can stand a tough trip and the constant trucking. There are so many variables and you never know how the horse is going to react to them.

“She’s a strong mare, she has a strong constitution, and you like to think that makes her a little better than good,” he continues.

Bax shares ownership of Charmed Life with Goin To The Show Stable of Peterborough, Dale Debnam of Lindsay and John Houston of Cobourg. The partners offered up $15,000 for the filly at last fall’s Canadian Yearling Sale, and had modest hopes for the then portly youngster. Charmed Life started to exceed expectations as soon as she reached the racetrack, and last week’s sharp elimination win demonstrated that she has some speed to go along with her strength.

With six starts under her belt, Charmed Life has mastered the ins and outs of racing and Bax says her daily training regimen reflects that competence.

“We’ve been giving her two or three days out in the field and just jogging her,” says the Peterborough resident. “Trying to keep sickness at bay, allergies and whatever else there is in this environment.”

Stephen Byron will be back in the race bike behind Charmed Life on Friday and the Thornton resident will have a bird’s eye view of the early race tactics of elimination winners Angies Lucky Star at Post 3 and Legzy at Post 4. Charmed Life has demonstrated the ability to both sprint away from the gate and sit patiently in the pack, and Bax is confident Byron can use that versatility to carve out a trip for the young trotter.

“We’ll hope to get away mid-pack or near the front of the bus and do some stick handling,” says the horseman. “I imagine they’ll be moving right along.”

The fillies will compete in the eighth race, in the midst of the trotting colts’ Grassroots battles, slated for races 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 9, and 11.

While Charmed Life has settled into the rhythms of Ontario Sires Stakes racing, trotting colt Kazurra will make his debut in the sixth Grassroots division. The Kadabra colt qualified at Rideau Carleton on Aug. 16, touring the Ottawa oval in a steady 2:05.

“I hope he does a little good,” says owner Keith Cassell of Smiths Falls. “I had five and he’s the only one that’s made the races.”

Kazurra will start from Post 6 in the ninth race, under the guidance of trainer Robert Robinson. The pair will face six veterans of the Grassroots circuit and one other colt making his career debut.

“He qualified good for Robbie,” says Cassell of the colt, a $5,500 purchase out of the 2011 Canadian Yearling Sale. “Robbie likes him, but it’s hard to tell. You can’t get too high on them when they’re young.

“If he gets around good and doesn’t get in trouble, I’d be happy,” adds the longtime owner.

Post time for Rideau Carleton Raceway’s Friday evening program is 6:30 pm, with the two-year-old trotting colts taking centre stage in Races 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 9, and 11, and the two-year-old trotting fillies battling in their $130,000 Gold Final in Race 8.

by Sandra SNYDER

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