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Keep It Real, Ideal Race Strike In Willowdale Opener


Published: January 9, 2010 11:13 pm ET

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Keep It Real and Ideal Race, a pair of top-rated three-year-olds from last season, drew first blood in this year’s Willowdale Pacing Series for four-year-olds on Saturday night during another frigid evening at Woodbine Racetrack.

Keep It Real took no prisoners in the opening $35,000 division, jetting straight to the front from Post 9 for Paul MacDonell and wiring the field in 1:52. The four-year-old son of Real Artist-Magical Leah repelled the pocket-sitting Panmunjom (Randy Waples), who narrowly edged out favourite Mysticism (Rick Zeron) for the show spot.

Keep It Real, who finished third in last season’s $1.5 million Pepsi North America Cup, now has eight career wins and just over $339,000 in earnings to his credit for trainer Joey Shea and owner Wayne Whebby of Dartmouth, N.S. He returned $7.40 for the win.

In the second split, Ideal Race rallied impressively from well off the pace to haul down heavy favourite Handsome Harry (Rick Zeron) right at the wire in 1:52.4. Fire On The Water (Sylvain Filion) came through late to land the show spot.

Ideal Race, trained by Tracy Brainard (three winners on the 12-race program), was making his first start of the season after winning six times and banking $251,042 last season for Bulletproof Enterprises of Boca Raton, Florida. The son of Western Terror-Eidette Hanover returned $10.30 in the mild upset victory.

The Willowdale Pacing Series will continue with third-round action next Saturday night at Woodbine.

In Open action, Kindly Poet worked his way from last to first to win in 1:51.3 for trainer Murray Brethour, who shares ownership with Stephen Scarff of Halifax, N.S., Donald Varcoe of Stayner and Daniel Sarafian of Stouffville, Ont.

Looking for his third straight Open Pace victory, Keystone Horatio (Randy Waples) fired to the front and put up fractions of :27, :56 and 1:24.1.

Kindly Poet, the 7-2 third choice, sat sixth and last in the field until driver Sylvain Filion guided him to the outside and picked up cover from Hyperion Hanover (Rick Zeron) en route to three-quarters. Hyperion Hanover struck the front in the stretch, but Kindly Poet had unleashed a :26.3 final quarter and swept past for the half-length victory. Dali (Luc Ouellette) finished third off a pocket trip.

Kindly Poet, a seven-year-old son of Western Ideal-Stonebridge Elite, has won four of his last five starts. His first win of the 2010 season and 24th of his career leaves him with $551,825 in the bank.

Marietta Hall converted from the pocket to steal the lion’s share of the $44,000 purse from favourite Southwind Madonna in the Fillies & Mares Open Pace.

Southwind Madonna (Lyle MacArthur) cleared ahead of Marietta Hall and Mark MacDonald after being parked to the opening quarter in :26.3. The 8-5 favourite then took a :55.4 breather before rolling to three-quarters in 1:24.

Making her move in mid-stretch, Marietta Hall pulled the pocket and reached up in the final strides to nip Southwind Madonna by a neck in 1:52.4 for the 9-1 upset. A hard-closing Michelles Power (Sylvain Filion) was right there for third.

Marietta Hall’s first win of the season was also her 23rd lifetime and lifted her bankroll to $443,324 for Brainard and Bulletproof Enterprises. In 2009, the six-year-old daughter of Cambest-Mib Hanover won 10 of her 37 starts and banked over half of her lifetime earnings.

Fans are reminded that matinee racing returns Sunday afternoon with a 1:20 p.m. start time. The co-features will be the second leg of both the Glorys Comet and Lifetime Dream Trotting Series.

To view Saturday's results, click here.

(With files from WEG)

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