A pair of gifted two-year-old colts purchased last fall for the relatively modest sum of $20,000 will kick off the Ontario Sires Stakes $2.4 million Super Finals at Woodbine Racetrack this Saturday, November 12.
Both pacing colt Warrawee Needy and trotting gelding The Game Plan were purchased out of the 2010 Canadian Yearling Sale for $20,000. Both impressed their trainers early and have given their owners more than one memorable visit to the winner’s circle. Warrawee Needy will start from Post 2 in the first $300,000 Super Final, and heads into the contest off an OSS record performance at Woodbine in an Oct. 10 OSS Gold final.
“He won in 1:49.4, which is an Ontario Sires Stakes record for two-year-olds,” said Toronto resident Tom Kyron, who shares ownership of Warrawee Needy with trainer Carl Jamieson of Princeton, Ont., breeder Dr. Michael Wilson of Rockwood, Ont. and Floyd Marshall of Jarvis, Ont. “He’s a great horse. He doesn’t need an inside post, he can win from anywhere.”
Through 11 starts this season, Warrawee Needy has delivered Kyron and his partners to the winner’s circle on eight occasions, and finished second, third and fifth in the other three outings. The son of E Dees Cam and Great Memories recorded three Gold elimination and three Gold final wins, along with a win in his Battle of Waterloo elimination and a victory in an overnight event in his first lifetime start. In the process of reaching the top of the Gold Series divisional standings, Warrawee Needy also matched or bettered the Ontario Sires Stakes records for two-year-old pacing colts on half-mile, five-eighths and seven-eighths mile tracks.
“When Carl got Up The Credit going he said, ‘This is the best horse I’ve ever had,’” Kyron recalled. “Then when he got Warrawee Needy going, he said, ‘This is the best horse I’ve ever had.’ He’s one up on Up The Credit, and Up The Credit is no slouch.”
American-bred colt Up The Credit captured the 2011 edition of the North America Cup and has earned $1.1 million in his career to date, but Kyron has said that the three-year-old pacer has been relegated to a supporting role in most of the training miles over Jamieson’s farm track this summer.
“Carl trained them together and Warrawee Needy consistently beat Up The Credit at the half-mile farm track,” said Kyron, who also owns a share of Up The Credit. “Not by much, but by half a length or so.”
Unfortunately, Jamieson did not keep Warrawee Needy eligible to any of the major stakes races this fall, so the colt has not had a test against North America’s best, but Kyron is hoping the winner of $385,000 returns to action next spring as strong as he seems to be heading into Saturday’s Super Final.
“We are looking forward to next year,” he said. “We’re hoping we don’t have to pay a whole lot of supplements to get into some of the major [stakes] events.”
Warrawee Needy’s dominance in the Gold Series program served to reduce the ranks of his competitors, and the colt and regular reinsman Jody Jamieson will only face five challengers in Saturday’s second race.
Freshman trotting colt division leader The Game Plan faces a full field of contenders, but the gelding’s owners are hoping he can stretch his OSS win streak to five from Post 2 in the third race.
The second win in the gelding’s OSS streak, and his first Gold final victory, came at Mohawk Racetrack on August 26 and came off a performance owner Linden Wells says he will never forget.
“He made a break in the backstretch in the OSS Gold at Mohawk, caught the field, and then passed the field,” the Mississauga resident recalled. “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was nice to be part of that.”
Wells and his son, Lance, make up LLK Stables. They share ownership of The Game Plan with trainer John Kopas of Milton, Ont., Anthony Wagner of Mississauga and Gary Grieve of Union, Ont. The other highlight for the gelding’s owners came on September 17 when The Game Plan captured the $469,000 final of the William Wellwood Memorial at Mohawk, where he finishing a head in front of some of North America’s top freshman trotters.
Jack Moiseyev piloted the son of Kadabra–Image Control to the thrilling victory and will be back in the race bike on Saturday, aiming the half-brother to $1.4 million winner Pure Ivory toward his ninth win.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” said Wells, who spent his childhood at fair racetracks in eastern Ontario and northern New York. It was at those fairs where Wells watched horses owned by his father, Karl G. Wells, including Hall of Fame inductee Symbol Allen, who scored a World Record 241 wins in 15 seasons between 1944 and 1958.
Wells owned horses himself in the Ottawa area in the 1970s, but had been absent from the harness racing industry for almost three decades when son Lance introduced him to Kopas. The men hit it off and LLK Stables purchased shares of several yearlings in partnership with the trainer in 2008. Although none of those purchases delivered any memorable moments on the racetrack, The Game Plan has more than made up for that early lack of success and has his owners excited about the prospects for the future.
“We are pleased to have one that makes you forget about the others,” said Wells, ruefully.
“If he’s healthy, and if things go well, if he gets a nice trip, he should make a good showing for himself Saturday.”
First-race post time for Saturday’s Super Final program is 7:30 p.m., with the cream of the Ontario Sires Stakes program ready to battle over the Woodbine Racetrack oval in Races 2 through 5 and 7 through 10.