Veteran pacer Secret Weapon and driver Scott Young got up in the nick of time to collar the hot horse Sparky Mark for a 15-1 upset and his 50th career win in this week's $50,000 Open Pace at Woodbine Racetrack
Despite seeing his seven-race win streak come to an end with a fourth place finish behind Peenie in last Saturday's Open, Sparky Mark was deemed the betting public's popular choice. Leaving from Post 4, the favoured pacer and driver Sylvain Filion fired to command and led the single-file field of six past opening panels of :27.3 and :56.
At the half-mile juncture, Peenie and catch-driver Billy Davis Jr. began to roll from their trailing position and picked up cover from Secret Weapon and Young, who got away fourth in the early going.
Sparky Mark continued to lead the way past the three-quarters mark in 1:24.2 with Secret Weapon advancing into second-place. Sparky Mark entered the stretch with the 10-year-old gelding looming to his outside and eventually surging ahead in deep stretch to score the 1:51.3 triumph. Sparky Mark had to settle for second while Brave Alex Semalu and Randy Waples edged out Peenie for third.
Secret Weapon paid $33 for the upset. The Western Hanover-Falcons Secret gelding, who finished third in a dead-heat in his 2012 debut last week, notched his 50th career win and pushed his lifetime earnings to $610,550 for trainer Wayne Preszcator and the Secret Weapon Stables of Waterloo, Ont.
One race later, another Filion-driven hot horse went down to defeat in another thrilling stretch duel. Looking to push his trotting win streak into the double digits, four-year-old Charlie Is A Joker rallied home off cover, but missed the mark by just half a length. Last year's General Brock Stakes champion E W Fisher and trainer-driver Rick Zeron had the jump start on the streaker and made his second start off the bench a winning one. The lightly raced five-year-old prevailed in 1:54.3 by a neck with the leading Bullet and Keith Oliver edging out Charlie Is A Joker for second.
The winner paid $13.90 for the mild upset. Lise Lang of Port Perry, Ont. and Saul Mendelson of Montreal, Que. co-own the five-year-old Fool Me Not-La Delicatesse gelding, who earned his first victory in two starts this year and eighth in 16 career outings.
The win for Zeron came before he avoided serious injury in a two-horse collision after the wire in the next race. The Jason Brewer-driven Rocinante appeared to hit Zeron's wheel and fell. Zeron's mount, third place finisher Wild Dragon, remained on his feet although the wheel was crushed. Both drivers and horses walked off the track under their own power following the incident.
To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Woodbine Racetrack.