Fourteen aged pacing mares shipped to Flamboro Downs on Saturday afternoon to compete in the elimination round of the Ellamony Classic, which saw millionaire pacing mare Voelz Hanover and Warrawee Koine turn in a pair of world record performances.
In the first of two $20,000 eliminations, Voelz Hanover zipped up the passing lane off a perfect pocket trip to nip pacesetter Rocklamation at the wire in a world record equalling time of 1:51.3.
Driver Doug McNair fired 3-5 favourite Rocklamation off the gate from post four and took the lead over insider Voelz Hanover and Mario Baillargeon with reigning Ellamony Classic champion Dreamfair Eternal and Jody Jamieson getting away third. Meanwhile, the parked out Laneside Lexus, driven by Billy Davis Jr., made a break early on taking herself out of contention.
Rocklamation reeled off a speedy :26.2 opening quarter before taking a second quarter breather. At the :55 half, Dreamfair Eternal, fresh off a her second Artiscape Pace track record victory at Tioga Downs, advanced first over, but was still a length off the leader by the 1:23.1 three-quarters mark.
Rocklamation maintained her lead into the stretch, but Voelz Hanover used the passing lane to get up in the nick of time. The 1:51.3 winning time shaved one-fifth of a second off Dreamfair Eternal’s track and Canadian record for aged pacing mares, which was set in her 2010 Ellamony elimination, and matched Western Graduate’s world record on a half-mile track, established at Yonkers Raceway in 2010. Dreamfair Eternal finished a length and three-quarters behind in third. Strike An Attitude and Randy Waples finished two lengths behind in fourth while Waasmula and Keith Oliver grabbed the final paycheque in fifth.
Voelz Hanover paid $14.40 to win for the mild 6-1 upset. The seven-year-old Astreos-Vassar Hanover mare is trained by Mario’s brother Ben and is owned by Richard Berthiaume of Pointe-Aux-Trembles, Que. Voelz Hanover, who competed in the 2010 and 2011 editions of the Ellamony without much luck, earned her 26th career win with her track record-setting performance. So far this year, she has hit the board in 13 of her 15 starts while banking $123,610.
Warrawee Koine later lowered the world record with a wire-to-wire 1:51.1 winning effort in the second elimination.
Waples fired Warrawee Koine to command from post three with the Jamieson-driven Ginger And Fred tucking into the two-hole ahead of inside starter Western Silk and Scott Zeron, the 1-2 favourite on the board.
Warrawee Koine sprinted the first quarter in :26.4 before being confronted by Western Silk at the half-mile mark, which was timed in :55.1. However, the leading half-million dollar earner turned back that challenger en route to three-quarters in 1:22.4. She then spun into the stretch with a two length lead and cruised home into the history books. Ginger And Fred stayed for second, finishing one and a half lengths behind, while fellow Ron Burke stablemate Camille and Brett Miller finished nearly seven lengths back in third. Swinging Beauty and McNair were fourth and Western Silk faded to fifth.
Overlooked by the betting public, Warrawee Koine was sent off at odds of 19-1 and returned a healthy $40.80 to her backers for the win. Owned and bred by Warrawee Farm’s Dr. Michael R. Wilson of Rockwood, Ont., Warrawee Koine also notched her 26th career triumph. The the six-year-old Astreos-My Gal Hall miss, who finished fifth in last year’s edition of the Ellamony, now boasts three wins in five starts on her 2012 record.
The top four finishers in each elimination, plus one fifth place finisher drawn by lot will advance to next Saturday’s $200,000 (added) final.
(courtesy Standardbred Canada)