The second Ontario Sires Stakes Gold elimination of the night at Mohawk Racetrack saw Metro Pace champion Mystician return to the winner’s circle.
Driver Jody Jamieson had the colt moving quickly at Post 7 and the pair rang up fractions of :27.4, :57 and 1:25.4 on their way to a 1:53.1 victory over a “good” track rated one second slower than normal. Twin B Legend (Randy Waples) delivered a gritty effort up the outside to claim the runner-up spot, with pocket-sitter Mach It Big (Rick Zeron) rounding out the top three. Bullet Speed (Scott Zeron) and Mach Of Ballykeel (Sylvain Filion) also earned a return ticket for next weekend’s Gold Final.
Jeff Gillis trains Mystician for his partners Ken Henwood of Mississauga, ON, Mac Nichol of Burlington, ON and Gerald Stay of Buffalo, New York. Through nine starts this season the son of Camluck and prolific producer Mystic Mistress has tallied four wins and four seconds for earnings of $706,070. In addition to the Metro Pace, Mystician was also the winner of the season opening Gold Final at Mohawk on July 15.
A full brother to $779,728 winner Camystic and $616,605 winner Lucks Mistress, Mystician’s $45,000 purchase price from last fall’s Canadian Open Yearling Sale now looks like a steal.
Watermelonwine found his way to the Ontario Sires Stakes winner’s circle in the first elimination, battling down the stretch to a three-quarter length victory in a personal best 1:52.4.
Starting from Post 5, Rick Zeron eased Watermelonwine away from the starting gate and was sitting fifth when Kyron (Josy Jamieson) reached the opening quarter in :28.1. Lyons Elite (Paul MacDonell) stepped up to control the pace heading for the :56.4 half with Zeron bidding his time on the rail in fifth until Royal Will (Mario Baillargeon) and Some Mach Some Win (Brian Sears) started to roll up the outside.
Kyron reached the 1:24.4 three-quarters with a one length lead, but the colts to his right were revving their engines, including Watermelonwine. When Zeron tipped his mount to the outside coming off the final turn, Watermelonwine found a whole new gear. Some Mach Some Win and Royal Will mounted a concerted effort through the stretch, but Watermelonwine fought to the wire to earn his first Gold elimination victory and the lion’s share of the $40,000 purse. Some Mach Some Win finished second, Royal Will was third, and early leaders Kyron and Lyons Elite were fourth and fifth.
Zeron engineered Watermelonwine’s second straight victory for trainer David Menary and owner Brad Gray of Dundas, ON. The son of Life Sign and $505,305 winner Arukiddinme was a $12,000 purchase at last fall’s Canadian Open Yearling Sale and has amassed a freshman record of two wins, one second and earnings of $49,840 in eight starts.
Watermelonwine finished fourth in the July 8 Gold Series season opener at Mohawk, then drew in off the also eligible list for the July 15 final and took home the fifth-place finisher’s cheque. Menary opted to skip the Gold Series event at Flamboro Downs in August, so Saturday’s victory provides a substantial boost to the youngster’s post season hopes. Only the top 10 point earners from the five regular season events earn a spot on the gate for the $300,000 Super Final at Woodbine Racetrack on November 13.
The top five finishers from each elimination will return to Mohawk Racetrack next Saturday for their third $130,000 Gold Final, and will be joined by 10 of the province’s top two-year-old pacing fillies battling in their own Gold Final.
Here is a look at the field for next weekend’s final:
2. Twin B Legend
3. Mach It Big
4. Some Mach Some Win
5. Bullet Speed
6. Lyons Elite
7. Mach Of Ballykeel
9. Royal Will
AE1. Machal Jackson
AE2. Seven Grins
AE3. Royal Outlook
(courtesy Standardbred Canada, WEG and OSS)