As harness racing’s two-year-olds gear up for their first Ontario Sires Stakes events, owners across the province are hoping that their colt or filly will be this year’s superstar.
“This is the month of the year where there are more champions out there than at any other time, but in the next couple months we’ll find out,” said Dr. Michael Wilson, whose hopes rest on two impressive starters in Monday’s pacing colt Gold eliminations at Mohawk Racetrack. “It’s an exciting time, and that’s what makes horse racing exciting — anticipation.”
The anticipation surrounding one of Wilson’s homebreds recently heightened to a fever pitch. Making his debut in a two-year-old event at Mohawk Racetrack on June 17, Warrawee Needy laid down an astonishing :25.2 final quarter, sprinting from fifth to first and halting the teletimer at 1:53.1.
“Somebody told me, I don’t know if it’s correct, that the :25.2 last quarter he did is the fastest ever for a two-year-old. It is pretty impressive,” admitted Wilson, who shares ownership on the precocious youngster with trainer Carl Jamieson of Princeton, Ont. Thomas Kyron of Toronto, Ont. and Floyd Marshall of Jarvis, Ont. “And what everybody says — and I thought so too — I would never have dreamt that he was going that fast just looking at him. He didn’t look as if he was going that fast.”
A son of E Dees Cam out of Wilson’s broodmare Great Memories, Warrawee Needy sold for a modest $20,000 at last year’s Canadian Open Yearling Sale. The Rockwood, Ont. resident says most buyers were put off by the colt’s size, and that Jamieson was one of only two trainers to take a serious look at the half-brother to $265,704 winner Big Bay Point.
“He was a good looking horse, and well gaited and light on his feet, but everybody was put off by the size of him. He was big,” Wilson recalled.
The breeder added that Warrawee Needy was not among Jamieson’s top ranked colts through his early lessons, with the result that his stakes engagements will be limited to the Ontario Sires Stakes program and Grand River Raceway’s Battle of Waterloo. Warrawee Needy will attempt to make the most of his opportunities from Post 3 in the second of two $40,000 Gold eliminations at Mohawk on Monday, aiming for a top five finish and a berth in the $130,000 Gold final on July 4.
While the long-legged Warrawee Needy was a late bloomer for Jamieson, his nursery-mate Warrawee Nonsuch was among trainer Colin Johnson’s favourites from the start. The trainer anted up a sale topping $140,000 for the son of Jeremes Jet and Armbro Wisdom last fall and his enthusiasm for the handsome youngster has not waned.
“He was a great looking, a really nice looking colt. He was expensive; he sold for the highest price at the Canadian Open and all year long, all training down he’s looked terrific,” said Wilson, who co-owns the colt with Le Gardeur, QC resident Johnson, Arthur Slack of Rockwood, Mac Nichol of Burlington, Ont. and Fred Brayford of Alliston, Ont. “Colin Johnson’s been pretty high on him, his wife (Debbie) especially is high on him, and everybody’s thought that he looks terrific, but we’ll wait and see. They’ve both only had one race, call me again when they’ve had ten.”
Like Warrawee Needy, Warrawee Nonsuch qualified at Mohawk on June 11, and finished second with a 1:57.4 effort. He made his pari-mutuel debut at the Campbellville oval on June 20 and paced home fourth in 1:55.2, a result Wilson expects the colt will improve on in Monday’s outing.
“He was on one line in his first start,” explained the owner-breeder. “He looked good in his qualifier, but he was on one line a bit in the first race that he was in, but we believe we’ve dealt with that.”
Warrawee Nonsuch will start from Post 9 in the fourth race on Monday, also looking for a top five finish and an opportunity to match wits against the province’s best on July 4.
Jody Jamieson will steer both colts in their Ontario Sires Stakes debut, and Wilson is looking forward to seeing how they stack up against the cream of the provincial crop.
“It will be interesting,” he noted. “I hope at least one or both of them keep going well in the year.”
First-race post time for Mohawk Racetrack’s Monday evening program is 7:10 p.m., with the two-year-old pacing colts making their Gold Series debuts in Races 4 and 6. The top five finishers from each elimination will return to Campbellville for the $130,000 Gold final on July 4.
(courtesy Standardbred Canada)