from Ontario Sires Stakes
London, ON — Ten sophomore trotting fillies made the trip to The Raceway at Western Fair District on Tuesday evening (Oct. 2) to compete in a pair of C$94,000 Gold Series divisions, and both races featured upsets as the favorites failed to live up to fan expectations.
Apprentice M scored her first win of the season in the first division, inheriting the lead around the final turn when pacesetter Zorgwijk Sophia and favorite Illusioneesta made breaks as they battled for control. Unfazed by the chaos, the steady Apprentice M and driver Paul MacDonell simply carried on down the stretch to a 2:01 victory. Miller Time also delivered a flawless effort to finish three-quarters of a length back in second, and Illusioneesta recovered quickly enough to claim third.
“That’s why they race horses,” said the philosophical MacDonell. “She’s pretty solid gaited, which helps on the half-mile track, and then as you saw, things worked out.”
MacDonell steers Apprentice M for trainer John Bax of Campbellville, Ont., and owner Menhammar Stuteri AB of Paris, Ky. In her four previous Gold Series starts, the Kadabra daughter had recorded one second, one third and two fifths. Tuesday’s victory pushed her point total to 97 and puts her in fourth in the standings heading into the Oct. 13 Super Final.
“She just hasn’t really kicked in like she probably should have, but again I think she’s got C$100,000 made, so it’s hard to knock her,” said Guelph, Ont. resident MacDonell. “It’s late in the season and a few of the fillies are getting tired and stuff, so you can take advantage of that sometimes.”
Tuesday’s victory pushed Apprentice M’s 2018 earnings to C$109,253.
MacDonell finished second with Bax trainee Magical Lady in the other division, following Collateral Beauty and driver Louis-Philippe Roy as they went gate-to-wire in 1:59.2. Pocket sitter Town Hall Justice settled for third, well ahead of favourite Smoke And Mirrors, who took herself out of contention with an early break.
The win was Collateral Beauty’s second in the Gold program. The Kadabra daughter was also victorious at Georgian Downs on July 21 for trainer Herb Holland and owner Carolyn MacIsaac of Milton, Ont.
“She’s a little bit of a lazy filly, but looking at her lines, it seems like she takes her job a little more seriously when there’s big money on the line,” said Roy, who was making his first appearance in the filly’s race bike. “Herb told me she’s better when you put her into play right off the gate, so that was the plan today and it worked good.”
With two wins, one second and one seventh in four Gold Series starts, Collateral Beauty heads into the C$225,000 Super Final tied for second with 127 points. Tuesday’s win bumped the filly’s sophomore earnings to C$123,800.
The top 10 point earners from the five regular-season events will now head to Woodbine Mohawk Park for the Oct. 13 Super Final.