The top two and three-year-olds in the Ontario Sires Stakes program wrapped up their season on Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack while competing in the $2.4 million Super Finals and two Warrawee Farm colts took home top honours.
Divisional leader Warrawee Needy continued his dominance over the two-year-old pacing colts and geldings in the Ontario Sires Stakes program with a wire-to-wire open length romp in the first $300,000 Super Final of the evening.
Leaving from Post 2, Warrawee Needy and driver Jody Jamieson took control of the field, which was scratched down to five, and carved out fractions of :27.2, :56.2 and 1:23.2. Macapelo (Scott Zeron) followed along in second while the rest of the field trailed double-digit lengths behind. Once Warrawee Needy turned for home, he opened up nearly 10 lengths on his nearest foe before crossing the wire in 1:50.3. Macapelo finished second while Hard To Mach (Doug McNair) was the best of the rest.
Warrawee Needy paid $2.10 to win as the overwhelming 1-9 favourite.
“I’d say he’s probably the best horse I’ve ever driven,” said Jamieson following the victory. “He’s just been a thrill to drive. It’s been great to be involved. You know, we watch San Pail go every night here and just the crowd he brings out and what he means to the industry, and I hope and pray that this horse [Warrawee Needy] can come back good next year and mean somewhat to that level what San Pail means to the industry because we are all part of it and we all love it.
“We had a lot of doubters in this colt,” continued the resident of Moffat, Ont. “We got talking about him a little too much — me included — comparing him to great horses. He’s a great horse in his own right and we’ll just let him speak for himself from now on. And he’s done that loud and clear. He’s had a couple of mishaps on the smaller tracks, but on the big tracks he has been unbelievable.”
Bred by Warrawee Farm of Rockwood, Ont., the son of E Dees Cam and Great Memories is owned by trainer Carl Jamieson of Princeton, Thomas Kyron of Toronto, Dr. Michael R. Wilson of Rockwood, and Floyd Marshall of Jarvis. The bay colt was a $20,000 yearling purchase at the Canadian Yearling Sale for the Ontario ownership group and has won nine races in 12 career starts this year while banking $535,000 — most of which in the OSS program. While dominating the two-year-old colt pace division this year, Warrawee Needy earned three Gold trophies and set OSS records on half-mile, five-eighths and seven-eighths racetracks.
Mister Herbie put forth a dazzling 1:52 stakes, track and Canadian record performance in the $300,000 Super Final for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings. The victory also provided Jamieson and trainer Jeff Gillis with their second stakes trophy on the card.
Imperial Count (Scott Zeron) fired to the opening quarter in :26.4 while Mister Herbie settled back into fourth ahead of divisional leader and 3-5 favourite Daylon Magician (Jack Moiseyev).
As the field entered the backstretch, Sim Brown (Randy Waples) launched his attack from third, but just as he was in the process of clearing the lead at the :56 half-mile mark he broke stride. Meanwhile, Jamieson had moved Mister Herbie underway and the 3-1 second choice blasted to the top past the midway point.
Mister Herbie built up a three length lead by the three-quarters mark in 1:24 with Daylon Magician moving first up but unable to get anywhere near the front-runner, who opened up eight and a half lengths on his foes in the stretch. Mister Herbie hit the wire in a career-best, record-setting 1:52 flat. Imperial Count finished second over Daylon Magician.
The time of the mile lowered the track and Canadian record by one-fifth of a second, which was set in 2005 by Great George Two. It also eclipsed Arch Madness’ 1:53.2 stakes record.
Mister Herbie paid $8.90 to win.
The son of Here Comes Herbie and Independent Lassie, bred by Warrawee Farm, was purchased at the beginning of October by Gillis, Mac Nichol of Burlington, Ont., and Gerland Stay of Buffalo, New York. The new ownership group lucked out with the gelding making it into the Super Final despite going winless in six OSS starts.
“He’s always showed that he was a fast trotter, even before we ever got him. He was just a little late getting it together,” said Nichol. “Carl Jamieson was running him through the sale and Jeff called him before the sale and we bought him before he went through the sale. It worked out good. At the time, he didn’t qualify for the Super Final — he was in 11th place. Then there was a horse that didn’t make it or something so we got lucky and got in there. He’s a super horse, he looks like the real deal.”
The win was Mister Herbie’s sixth of the season in 17 starts and pushed his 2011 bankroll to $256,983.
(courtesy Standardbred Canada)