Favorites deliver in OSS freshman finale

from the Ontario Sires Stakes

Milton, ON — There was very little movement in the point standings as the 2-year-old trotting colts and fillies gathered at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Thursday evening (Oct. 4) for their last regular season Ontario Sires Stakes Gold event. Three of the four Gold Series divisions were captured by the favorites and the fourth went to the fans’ second choice, Presto Change O.

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Sylvain Filion guided 2-year-old trotting filly Presto Change O to her second Gold Series win.

Starting from post three driver Sylvain Filion eased the often fractious Presto Change O away from the starting gate and settled in third behind Cambridge Kate, who led the field of trotting fillies to a :28.4 opening quarter. Filion continued to sit third with Presto Change O as Cambridge Kate carried on to a :58.3 half, but heading toward the 1:28.1 three-quarters the veteran reinsman tipped his charge into the outer lane. Presto Change O stayed focused on the wire and sailed home to a 3-1/4 length victory in 1:57.1. Pocket-sitter Mercedes Talma was second and Tommi Canu Hearme completed the top three.

“Sometimes she loses her focus and she just jumps it off. She’s learning, but she’s a slow learner,” said Filion. “She’s full of potential though. If she stays at it and she keeps her focus she’s probably the best in there, but it’s always a question if she behaves you know. She keeps me on my toes.”

Filion drives Presto Change O for trainer Paul Reid and owner-breeder Robert Key. The pair was also victorious in the July 27 Gold event at Woodbine Mohawk Park and picked up a third in the Aug. 10 event there. As a result the Kadabra-Pretty As My Mom daughter heads into the Oct. 13 Super Final ranked third in the division with 115 points.

“Paul Reid did a heck of a job to have her still going,” said Filion. “I wouldn’t think at the beginning of the year she’d be still going at this time, she was so big and immature, but he worked hard with her and it paid off.”

Driver Louis Philippe Roy captured the other C$96,400 trotting filly division with fan favorite HP Titania Runner. Like Filion, Roy eased his filly away from post two and settled in the middle of the pack as Petro Hall recorded a :28.1 quarter and :58.3 half. Roy send HP Titania Runner up the outside behind Teddys Littleangel and the challengers had overtaken the pacesetter by the 1:27.1 three-quarters. A strong finishing kick propelled HP Titania Runner to a narrow 1:56.4 victory over Teddys Littleangel, with Petro Hall five lengths back in third.

“She’s got as much talent as Dream Nation, for example, but she’s always had something that happened to her that meant she couldn’t show that talent,” said Roy of the E L Titan-Canaco Runner daughter. “She won her first two Golds and then she got some breaking issues so Rene (Bourassa) finally decided to go with the trotting hobbles, so I think that’s what makes her a little bit safer.”

After the filly made breaks in three of her last four starts trainer Rene Bourassa added hobbles to HP Titania Runner’s equipment bag and qualified her on Sept. 27. The filly was flawless in the qualifier and Thursday’s effort lowered her personal best by almost one second. Bourassa conditions HP Titania Runner for owner-breeders Claude Hamel and Michel Damphousse. The filly will lead her peers into the C$225,000 Super Final with 151 points.

Roy also piloted 2-year-old trotting gelding Dream Nation to a 1:55.3 personal best in the first C$98,800 Gold division for the gents. As he did with HP Titania Runner, Roy settled the gelding in mid-pack from post five and then made his way up the outer lane as Southwind Avenger and Only For Justice traded blows through the :27.2 quarter and :56.2 half. By the 1:26 three-quarters Dream Nation had drawn level with Only For Justice and he trotted down the stretch to a three-quarter length win in 1:55.3. Southwind Avenger finished second and Okeanos closed hard to be third.

“From Day 1, from the first time I was at Jacques Dupont’s farm training him, he never did anything wrong,” said Roy. “He’s actually I think as good, or probably the best he’s been so far over the year, so he’s not tired yet.”

Thursday’s victory was Dream Nation’s third in Gold Series action and puts him in second in the standings with 187 points. In nine starts the son of Archangel-Mississippi Dream has finished no worse than third, scoring six wins and banking C$187,290 for trainer Jacques Dupont and owners Les Ecuries Dorleans Inc., Ecurie CSL, Gestion C. Levesque 2005Inc. and Marc Camirand.

The last trotting colt Gold division went to Forbidden Trade, who also travelled up the outer lane and reeled in the pacesetters to record his fourth Gold Series win in 1:58.2. Fingals Wave and CT Conabra were 2-1/4 lengths behind the fan favorite in second and third.

Bob McClure piloted Forbidden Trade to his sixth win in eight starts for trainer Luc Blais and owner Determination. The Kadabra-Pure Ivory son sits atop the division standings with 208 points and McClure is looking forward to taking on the best-of-the-best in the Oct. 13 Super Final.

“I couldn’t feel better,” said the driver. “He’s in tip-top form and is a real professional.”

The top 10 point earners from both the trotting colt and trotting filly divisions will return to Woodbine Mohawk Park for their lucrative Super Finals on Oct. 13.

Joining the trotters in the season finale will be the 2-year-old pacing colts and fillies, who wrap up their regular season at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Saturday (Oct. 6). The colts will compete in races two and eight, while the fillies battle in races three and six. Post time is 7:10 p.m.

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