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Gold Wins For 'Sunny' & 'Paradise'

Published: July 2, 2017 9:00 pm ET

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Three-year-old trotting fillies On A Sunny Day and Paradise Image were victorious in a pair of Ontario Sires Stakes Gold events featured on a cloudy Sunday evening (July 2) at Georgian Downs.

In the evening's first $96,400 Gold event, On A Sunny Day halted 1-9 favourite Magic Presto's stakes win streak with the slight edge in a photo finish.

After opening panels of :27.4 and :57.3, driver Sylvain Filion sent 9-2 second choice On A Sunny Day to command from third with Magic Presto (Trevor Henry) hot on her heels in pursuit to three-quarters in 1:26.2. Those fillies took off down the stretch in a head-to-head battle ending in a photo finish as they crossed the wire together in an impressive 1:54.4 clocking over the sloppy track that was just two-fifths of a second off the divisional track record. On A Sunny Day defeated the SBOA Stakes and first leg Gold champion by a nose and paid $11.60 to win. Majestic Kat (James MacDonald) rounded out the top three finish order seventh and a half lengths in arrears.

Luc Blais trains and bred On A Sunny Day, a daughter of Muscle Mass and Dicent No owned by Determination of Montreal, Que. The filly was a four-time Gold winner at age two and now boasts six career wins from 10 starts and more than $250,000 in purse earnings.

Paradise Image earned her first Ontario Sires Stakes victory in the $97,200 second contest with James MacDonald steering the Kadabra-Featured Image filly wire-to-wire for trainer Mike Keeling.

Paradise Image faced her only major threat leaving the gate when 8-5 favourite Royal Witch (Sylvain Filion) tried to take over command, but broke stride. From there, she trotted fractions of :28.1, :58 and 1:27.3 en route to the three and a half length triumph in 1:57.1. Sent postward at odds of 6-1, Paradise Image paid $15.60 to win. Mrstery Bear (Billy Davis Jr.) finished second ahead of Tymal Reign (Randy Waples).

“She’s a big, good gaited thing and she’s so handy, she gets off the gate like a rocket,” said MacDonald. “Today she got there easy, and I wouldn’t have minded following Sylvain, but his made a break so once his filly ran I just kind of took the front and the rest is history.”

Winless in eight starts as a freshman, Paradise Image is now three-for-six this season with earnings climbing over $93,000 for P C Wellwood Enterprises Inc. of Cambridge, Ont., Paradise Stable of Hamilton, Ont., Dale McNeill of Campbellville, Ont., and Ronald O'Neill of Puslinch, Ont.

“I started driving her a couple weeks ago. She can act up a little bit in the post parade -- she can be pretty bad -- so they asked me if I minded driving her, and I said ‘No,’ and she’s been good, she’s raced good all three times I drove her,” explained MacDonald. “She was first-up her first start in the Gold (June 8) and was third, and then she win out of the two-hole last time (June 19), and today she win on the front.

“She doesn’t turn. Turning is a problem. Sometimes she’ll run out the gates, and sometimes she’ll kick. She’s not a real treat in the post parade to drive sometimes,” said MacDonald about the filly’s behavioural quirks. “Today she was an absolute kitten, she didn’t do anything wrong, but she can perform from time to time.”

“She doesn’t turn. Turning is a problem. Sometimes she’ll run out the gates, and sometimes she’ll kick, she’s not a real treat in the post parade to drive sometimes,” said MacDonald about the filly’s behavioural quirks. “Today she was an absolute kitten, she didn’t do anything wrong, but she can perform from time to time.”

MacDonald relied on the assistance of the Georgian Downs outrider to make the turn into the starting gate and to escort the filly back to the winner’s circle. They will have another opportunity to be guided to the Gold Series winner’s circle on July 22 when the fillies compete in Leg 3 at Mohawk Racetrack.

To view Sunday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Sunday Results - Georgian Downs.

(With quotes from OSS)


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