Ontario’s sophomore superstars invaded Georgian Downs on Saturday night in pursuit of an invitation to next weekend’s exciting Gold Rush event.
Cooking The Books opened the festivities with an upset performance in the first $40,000 Gold elimination. Driven by Jack Moiseyev the three-year-old pacing filly circled the field in the stretch to get up for the three-quarter length score over Legal Entity. Jeremes Sweetheart was two more lengths back in third with favourite Class Of O Nine settling for fourth.
The 1:53.2 clocking was a new personal best for Cooking The Books, who is trained by John Kopas for Glengate Farms of Campbellville, Helen Biback of Thornhill and Old Aultsville Stable of Mississauga. The Mach Three daughter won her first race of the season at Mohawk Racetrack on June 21 and now boasts a record of two wins, one second and two thirds in seven sophomore starts.
Sylvain Filion used front-end tactics to capture the other pacing filly elimination with fan favourite Jet Wash. The pair fought off a gritty challenge from Katys Jet to secure the one length victory in 1:53.1. Katys Jet settled for second, with Twin B Elite and Hope For Paddy completing the top four.
Hillsburgh resident Jeff Gillis conditions Jet Wash for his partners Jonathan Binks of St. Thomas, Mac Nichol of Burlington and Ellen Ott of Buffalo, NY. The Jeremes Jet daughter captured the final of the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association Stake at Mohawk Racetrack on May 25 and has accumulated $133,709 through four wins, one second and one third in 10 starts since her debut earlier this year.
Cold Certified scored a mild upset in the first trotting colt elimination, reeling in favourite Il Mago through the stretch to post a one and one-half length victory in a personal best 1:55.3. Reigning Gold Final champ Il Mago, who is owned by breeder Chris Alexander of Aurora and Mark Harder of Freehold, NJ, settled for second, well ahead of Heres The Magic and Midfield Magic.
Jason Brewer crafted the Kadabra gelding’s fifth lifetime victory for trainer Gary Lance and owners Trevor Lance, Sandy Moulton and GL Racing Inc. of Port Perry and Brian Samis of Uxbridge. Also Gold elimination winners in the season opener at The Raceway at Western Fair District in May, Brewer and Cold Certified will be looking to add a Gold Final title to their resume next weekend.
Last year’s freshman trotting colt Super Final champion Prestidigitator returned to stakes action on Saturday and strolled right back into the winner’s circle. The Kadabra son and driver Sylvain Filion tussled with pacesetter Mikey Hanover for half a mile before pulling away to a one length victory in a personal best 1:55.2. Reckon Im Ready got up for second, edging Mikey Hanover into third. Victim Of Changes completed the top four.
Dustin Jones trains Prestidigitator for Ecurie Synergie of Montreal, QC. Saturday’s outing was just the colt’s second start of the season and boosted his career totals to five wins, two seconds and two thirds in 13 starts for earnings of $343,672.
Upper Canada Cup champion Michaels Power returned to the Georgian Downs winner’s circle with an effortless 1:51.3 romp in the first pacing colt split. The Camluck gelding and driver Scott Zeron bested Piston Broke, who is owned by Arpad Szabo of Bradford, trainer Rob Fellows of Rockwood and Willard Sabrosky of Madison Heights, MI, Secretsoftheknight and Huxley.
Casie Coleman conditions Michaels Power for Jeffrey Snyder of New York, NY and has sent the gelding out six times this season for a record of five wins and $387,250.
The other pacing colt trophy went home with Thunder Steeler and Jean Rene Plante, who rocketed around the Georgian Downs oval to a 1:50.3 score. Hard To Mach, Best Ears, and Winbak Warrior also secured a berth in next week’s $130,000 Gold Final.
Owned by Uncirculated Stable of Burlington and Frank Smyth of Dundas and trained by Isaac Waxman, Thunder Steeler was the winner of the Upper Canada Cup Consolation at Georgian Downs on May 26.
Thornton resident Stephen Byron crafted a picture perfect pocket trip for Twin B Sensation to capture the first trotting filly Gold elimination. The Ken Warkentin daughter tagged along behind favourite Daylon Miracle through fractions :28.2, :57.3 and 1:26.2 before stepping out late to score her first Ontario Sires Stakes victory in a personal best 1:55.4. Lovely Vacation trotted into second, leaving third for Daylon Miracle. Windsong Idol completed the top four.
Peterborough resident John Bax conditions Twin B Sensation for his partners Glengate Farms of Campbellville and Gaelic Stable of Sharon. Through six starts this season the filly has amassed a record of four wins and $43,600.
The other trotting filly elimination was captured by Circles and Jack Moiseyev, who held on for a neck victory over Miss Paris in 1:56.1. The leaders were well ahead of Sugar Wheeler and Lexus Helios.
Owned by Tom Lund of Killestrom, Norway and trained by Tommy Andersson, Saturday’s win was the first of the season for Circles, who posted six of them as a two-year-old. The Majestic Son daughter boosted her lifetime earnings to $365,799 with the win.
The top four finishers from each elimination, plus one fifth-place finisher from each division, will return to Georgian Downs next Saturday to compete in their respective $130,000 Gold Finals, part of the Innisfil oval’s Gold Rush event.