Day At The Track

Western Fair and Rideau return to racing

03:04 AM 18 Feb 2021 NZDT
Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print
Guy Gagnon, harness racing
Guy Gagnon drove six winners at Rideau Carleton Raceway

Harness racing returned to Ontario on Feb. 16 as horses and horsepeople braved snowstorms and freezing temperatures to contest the province's first races of 2021 at The Raceway at Western Fair District and Rideau Carleton Raceway.

While racing itself was the unquestionable winner of the night, driver Guy Gagnon was a very close second as Rideau Carleton's leading driver of 2020 won six of the track's 13 races on the evening.

Heza Handy Man became the first winning Standardbred of the 2021 Ontario season, taking The Raceway's opener with a brush-and-crush 2:00.4 effort. Driver Mike Horner popped the pocket just past the quarter in 28.2 and took a breather with a half in 1:00. He repelled pressure from Yannick Seelster as they hit three-quarters in 1:00.3 and pulled away to a length-and-a-half victory with a 30.1 final panel.

The four-year-old horse by Big Jim notched his 10th lifetime win for owner and trainer Mark Horner. Yannick Seelster finished a game second and Atthebeach Hanover circled up late for third. Heza Handy Man paid $7.00 to win.

Minutes later, Sos Justified became the second victor of the year as Pascal Berube and he swept by late to score in the first race at Rideau Carleton in 1:58.3. The nine-year-old, Anne Marie Turenne-trained gelding secured his 28th win lifetime, paying $13.60.

Senior K posted a 28.4 first quarter, but Badstormanyport brushed by at 3/8s, hitting the half in :58.1 and third quarter in 1:28. Sos Justified went to the outside and grinded down Badstormanyport, who finished second, for a half-length win. Matts Tuition found late pace and finished third. Matthew Mcdonald and Makayla Romano own the son of Art Colony who has now earned more than $225,000.

The N/W $50000 Lifetime feature race at Western fair saw a heated battle in the stretch between leader Spectrum Seelster and pocket-sitter Curious Cortez; the latter proved to be a head better, winning in 2:01. Spectrum Seelster took the early lead under orders from driver and co-owner Travis Cullen setting the first three panels in 29.0, 1:01.2, and 1:31.2 with little opposition.

Curious Cortez sat second from the start, drifted off the rail at the head of the lane and emerged victorious with heavy urging by Colin Kelley. The five-year-old gelding by Big Jim and conditioned by Jared Bako makes it 10 wins and more than $50,000 in earnings for owners Christopher Jewitt and John Gray. Spectrum Seelster held on bravely to finish second and Harry G capitalized on a rail trip to finish third.

Guy Gagnon won his second - and possibly easiest - of the night in Rideau Carleton's first of two Preferred races. He sent Seeyou Men to the engine from post six in a 28.1 first quarter, and then set well-rationed 1:00, 1:30, and 1:59.3 splits in a dominant performance.

Trainer Catheline Pelletier trains and co-owns the nine-year-old Muscle Mass gelding with Chantal Gravel, who also bred him. He has now earned more than $325,000 and won 30 races lifetime for Pelletier and Gravel. He paid $14.80 in a two-and-a-quarter length win over Crossfit, who finished second, and Vero Amore Bi, who finished third.

Gagnon completed a sweep of the Preferred events in race 10, setting Luke and Duke up nicely with a pocket trip and rallied in the final quarter to win comfortably by three lengths in 1:56.1. Racemup led for the first three panels, setting quarter times of 28.1, 57.3, and 1:27, but he was unable to stop Luke And Duke, who came off cover and soared by in mid-stretch. Racemup settled for place, and Avatar J faded to third after a first-up challenge. Gagnon also co-owns with Jean Laroche and trains the nine-year-old son of Mach Three, whose earnings now top $175,000 lifetime and whose wins total 28. He paid $6 to win.

The night's combined 24 races were the first since Ontario entered a state of emergency on December 23. Western Fair handled $539,668 and Rideau Carleton saw $376,083 come through their virtual windows. Ontario's next track to reopen will be Woodbine Mohawk Park on Feb. 18. Regulars Louis-Philippe Roy and Doug McNair each scored twice at The Raceway.

For full race results, click here

by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink

Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print

Read More News About...

Stallion Name

Next article: