Day At The Track

Freshman fillies underway at Mohawk

09:26 PM 07 Jul 2015 NZST
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Mohawk Racetrack hosted the first harness racing two-year-old Ontario Sires Stakes event of the season on Monday and the pacing fillies set the bar extremely high for the other three freshman divisions.

In the very first $70,000 Gold split, Thatsoveryverynice emerged not just as the fastest filly in the Ontario Sires Stakes program, but the fastest two-year-old filly in North America with a record setting 1:51.2 performance.

Starting from Post 5 Thatsoveryverynice and driver Jody Jamieson landed in fourth on the rail and watched as fan favourite Thisorthat Hanover rocketed to a :26.1 opening quarter and :55.4 half.

Stepping into the outer lane going by the 1:23.4 three-quarters Thatsoveryverynice showed off her own turn of speed, sprinting home in :26.2 to score a three length victory in the Ontario Sires Stakes record clocking.

The mile eclipsed the previous two-year-old pacing filly all-time record of 1:51.3 set by Voelz Hanover at Hiawatha Horse Park in 2007. Pocket sitter Golden Idol finished second and pacesetter Thisorthat Hanover settled for third.

Moffat, ON resident Jamieson crafted the record setting win for trainer Tony Alagna and owner Alagna Racing LLC of Manalapan, NJ.

Alagna prepped Thatsoveryverynice with a pair of qualifiers at The Meadowlands in New Jersey, where the Vintage Master daughter recorded one win and one third.

In the third division Twin B Thong delivered another impressive performance, taking control of the race before the half and sailing home unchallenged in 1:52.1. Free Show and Betty Hill finished one and one-half lengths back in second and third.

Campbellville, ON resident Chris Christoforou piloted Twin B Thong to the win for trainer Casie Coleman, and while Coleman had confidence in the Sportswriter filly's ability to win her Gold Series debut, she did have a few anxious moments in the winner's circle.

"I actually was kind of scared tonight in the winner's circle," said Coleman. "I thought she might do a flipper when she had to stand still for a picture, but she was actually really good."

"I warned everybody to be careful because I think she's going to do a flipper, but she behaved herself."

Behaving herself was something that did not come naturally to Twin B Thong, who Coleman says was one of the toughest young horses she ever had to work with.

After the trainer and her partners West Wins Stable of Cambridge, Mac Nichol of Burlington, ON and Steve Calhoun of Chatham, ON acquired the $65,000 yearling from last fall's Harrisburg Yearling sale, Coleman spent several months wishing she could send her back.

"Probably for about the first month to two months I was wishing I didn't buy her."

"I've got to thank Anthony Deacon and Jay Harris, that work for me; the job that they did on her getting her broke is absolutely unbelievable, because I'm telling you this filly wouldn't even go," recalled the trainer.

"She'd just plant her feet and didn't want to do anything."

"We couldn't get her to go, could not get her to go."

Fortunately, after several months of patience and a few hair-raising experiences - including a sprint through the woods at Coleman's winter training base in Florida that only came to an end when the jog cart Twin B Thong was trailing behind her got wedged between two trees - the filly decided to channel her energy into moving forward.

"Once she got training and got going and realised that she wasn't going to get hurt or anything like that she trained very, very good," said Coleman.

"She trained down good after we got by that first two month period of breaking her."

The only quirk still remaining in Twin B Thong's repertoire is a reluctance to hang around with a race bike or jog cart attached to her harness, which is why Coleman was a bit worried about the filly's winner's circle behaviour.

"Once she's on the track her manners are perfect, but going out of the barn and coming in there's got to be a person there ready to clip each side of the bike and get it off her, and you've got to keep her moving," said the trainer.

"And she won't stand there with a bike hooked on her, once you're going to hook the bike you've got to kind of hook it on the fly."

To Coleman's relief, Twin B Thong kept her composure during the blanket and trophy presentation in the Mohawk winner's circle and her owners are hoping the filly has a few more opportunities to practice her post-race manners through the Ontario and open stakes season.

The other Gold Series trophy went home with the connections of Keystone Paula, who powered up the inside to a two length victory over favourite Kays Shadow and Stonebridge Pearl.

Milton, ON resident Sylvain Filion drove the Bettors Delight daughter to the 1:54.1 win for trainer Ervin Miller and owners Greg Gillis of Alliston, Paymaq Racing of Long Grove, IL, Louis Willinger of Louisville, KY and George Golemes of Oak Brook, IL.

All three winners will be hoping to maintain their position at the top of the division standings when the two-year-old pacing fillies make their second Gold Series start at Mohawk Racetrack on July 20.

Mohawk Racetrack has a full weekend of freshman Ontario Sires Stakes action coming up, starting with the two-year-old pacing filly Grassroots season opener on Thursday, followed by the first two-year-old pacing colt Grassroots on Friday and the two-year-old pacing colt Gold Leg on Saturday.

Ontario Horse Racing

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