from the Ontario Sire Stakes
Toronto, ON — Louis-Philippe Roy won his first Super Final at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Saturday (Oct. 13) and then won two more to lay emphatic claim to the Lampman Cup title as the leading driver in the Ontario Sires Stakes program.
A joyful group met the 28-year-old in the winner’s circle after his first victory, as he guided 2-year-old trotting filly HP Titania Runner to a narrow 1:57.4 score over Champagne Jane and favorite Presto Change O.
“Those owners are maybe not the first ones, but among the first people that got me stake drives in Quebec,” said Roy of owner-breeders Claude Hamel of Ayer’s Cliff and Michel Damphousse. “So the fact that they put confidence in me and now they are kind of rewarded with that win, I am happy for them.”
Woodbine Mohawk Park fans sent the division point leader off as the second choice from post five and HP Titania Runner charged from seventh to first in the last quarter to secure the championship. The E L Titan daughter wrapped up her freshman season with a record of four wins in eight starts and earnings of C$248,650.
While his first victory paid tribute to the past, Roy’s second Super Final win had him looking toward the future. The reinsman teamed up with Keystone Concrete to deliver a giant-slaying upset in the 2-year-old pacing colt and gelding division, laying down a :26.3 final quarter to collar Bettor’s Wish and Metro Pace winner Stag Party in 1:52. All three colts are by sire Bettor’s Delight.
“For a while I was saying to myself, ‘I will be third’ and I would have been happy with a third, but then I seen Stag Party get a little tired so I said, ‘I will probably get there for second’, but that horse —sometimes horses they’ll fight until the last one to pass, they’ll just get to their head and kind of hang on a little bit, but this one he just kept going and he even went by the last horse,” said Roy. “He’s a really nice horse. I can’t wait, if I have the opportunity, to drive him again at three.”
Roy drove Keystone Concrete to his fifth win in seven starts for trainer Rob Fellows of Rockwood, his wife Yolanda Fellows, and her co-owners Arpad Szabo and Blair Corbeil. The win boosted the colt’s earnings to C$214,850 and Szabo was already looking forward to spending his share.
“Maybe I can buy some more yearlings now because I am going to the sale tomorrow to spend the money I made. It’s not going to stay in my pocket very long,” said Szabo with a laugh, adding that Keystone Concrete had been something of a Cinderella story for his owners. “I never thought he was going to make it this far. He started in the Grassroots and he wound up in the Gold, and won the Gold, and beat a horse like Stag Party.”
Roy’s third Super Final victory was the perfect end to his 2018 Ontario Sires Stakes season, coming with 3-year-old pacing colt Jimmy Freight, who took him to Open stake races across North America this summer. On Saturday night the pair battled harder than they had all season in the provincial program, using a late kick to nab stablemate and pacesetter Backstreet Shadow in the stretch for a half-length victory in 1:50.2. St Lads Neptune was awarded third-place when The Downtown Bus was placed back to fifth for causing interference.
“I knew I was going to float, I didn’t want to rush him to go in the lead,” said Roy of his strategy from post nine. “Last start he raced really good, and the start before he got, I think, a little bit tired of racing on the front, and I really wanted not to end the season that way, like end it on a good note. He’s been so much dominant in the Ontario Sires Stakes this year that I think he deserved that win.”
The soon-to-be Guelph resident drives Jimmy Freight for trainer Richard Moreau and owner Adriano Sorella. The Sportswriter son went undefeated through the Gold Series this season, winning four legs and the Super Final. His sophomore record stands at nine wins, four seconds and three thirds in 17 starts for earnings of C$691,239.
The 3-year-old trotting colt point leader Run Director also wrapped up his season with a Super Final victory and owners Tom and Elizabeth Rankin of St. Catharines, Ontario were delighted to be joined in the winner’s circle by the colt’s namesake, Rankin Cancer Run director Mary Ann Edwards.
“He emailed me one day and said, ‘Would you mind if I named a male horse after you?’” recalled Edwards. “So it was an honor to be here tonight for this and this man is unbelievable, it’s unbelievable what he does in our community.”
“She keeps saying karma, you know you’ll get repaid back, so I named the horse after her and he’s done nothing but win,” said Tom Rankin, who was certain the colt was going to finish second at the head of the stretch.
After a breather behind pacesetter Stormont Ventnor around the final turn, Run Director and driver Sylvain Filion powered down the stretch to a 1-1/2 length victory in 1:54.2 Stormont Ventnor settled for second and Jula Downton was well back in third. Ben Baillargeon conditions the Kadabra colt for the Rankins.
Three-year-old pacing filly Percy Bluechip repeated as Super Final champion, going gate-to-wire in 1:52 for driver Yannick Gingras. Kendall Seelster and Quints Dream finished one length back in second and third.
“I wanted to race her on the front, I really did,” said Gingras of the Shadow Play daughter. “That was the game plan.”
The New Jersey-based reinsman drove Percy Bluechip to the win for trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Purnel And Libby LLC and Donald Emond.
Gingras picked up a second Super Final victory with 2-year-old pacing filly Summer Charm, who scored a 1:52.3 upset over division point leader Better Single and Quebec Blue Chip. Dave Menary trains the Bettor’s Delight daughter for Thomas Dillon.
Kadabra daughter Smoke And Mirrors kicked off the $1.8 million night with 1:55.3 victory in the 3-year-old trotting filly division, hitting the wire 2-3/4 lengths ahead of Superlative and Illusioneesta. Trevor Henry crafted the win for trainer Richard “Nifty” Norman and owners Melvin Hartman, David McDuffee and Little E LLC.
Forbidden Trade claimed the 2-year-old trotting colt and gelding crown with a 1:56.2 triumph over Southwind Avenger and Only For Justice. Bob McClure drove the Kadabra colt to the win for trainer Luc Blais and owner Determination.
“When you got a season like that you want to win the final,” said Blais, who trained the colt to a division leading four regular season victories. “That’s a lot of pressure believe me, but it is an amazing feeling.”