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Lemon On Canadian Record Holder

Published: October 12, 2010 11:13 am ET

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Three years ago Dave and Mary Lemon sold most of their Daylon Farms breeding stock and kept just three mares, planning to train and race the offspring themselves.

The couple’s plan is paying early dividends, as one of the first foals from their scaled-down program recorded a Canadian record in a September 25 Gold elimination. Daylon Magician will return to provincial stakes action at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday, October 14, and will make a bid for another OSS pay cheque from Post 4 in the first $40,000 Gold elim.

“The plan is working so far,” Dave said with a chuckle. “We kept three broodmares — one trotter and two pacers — and just bred two this year. They are all ones I raced myself. We raced his mother and had good luck with her, so we kept her and she seems like a good producer.”

Broodmare Daylon Marvel earned $129,139 in her own racing career and her progeny include last year’s three-year-old trotting filly Grassroots Champion Daylon Mystique ($329,941). Daylon Magician is the first Kadabra offspring from the mare, and Lemon said the colt was an eye catcher right from the start.

“He was kind of a standout from when he was born. He was always kind of a leader out there,” said the Komoka, Ont. resident. “He’s pretty smart. He’s about one of the smartest ones that we ever had. Right now he acts like a four-year-old.”

Unlike the Pegasus Spur half-sister Lemon is currently working with, Daylon Magician learned his early lessons without any fuss or bother and was ready to qualify by mid-June. Lemon took the colt to Mohawk for a June 19 baby race without a driver lined up. When Jack Moiseyev turned out to be free for that race, Lemon asked the veteran reinsman if he would do the honours. Moiseyev agreed, and the Moffat, Ont. resident was soon sworn in as a charter member of the fledgling Daylon Magician fan club.

“He schooled him and come back and said, ‘I’ll drive this horse for you,’” Lemon recalled. “That was when I first knew he was a pretty good horse.”

Although Lemon and Moiseyev did not know each other well before that qualifier, they have forged a solid partnership when it comes to Daylon Magician. Lemon said the veteran driver, and a number of other seasoned horsemen, have been invaluable sources of advice through the colt’s early career.

“He’s been really helpful in that way,” Lemon explained. “I tell him what he’s (Daylon Magician) doing and he says, well try this or try that.”

After capturing a pair of qualifiers at Mohawk in June, Daylon Magician made his debut in the Grassroots season opener at Hiawatha Horse Park on July 15 and scored a 2:01.1 victory in spite of an off track and a miscue at the three-quarter pole. Off that effort, Lemon opted for the July 18 Gold elims at Grand River Raceway, where Daylon Magician was a solid third in spite of starting from the outside Post 8.

In the August 4 Gold Final at Grand River, Daylon Magician made an early break and then skipped off again at the three-quarter marker. Back in the Grassroots program on August 17 at Kawartha Downs, the colt made another late break, but still managed to finish second. Off those two starts, Lemon took the colt home and tinkered with his shoeing and equipment and Daylon Magician reappeared in a September 10 qualifier at Mohawk, where he rolled to a flawless victory in a personal best 1:59.3.

Back in the Gold Series fray at Flamboro Downs on September 25, Daylon Magician went gate-to-wire during a Gold elim in a Canadian record clocking of 1:57.4. He then came back and finished a barely-beaten second to Buckhams Bay in the Gold final.

“He started making breaks and we had to get that straightened out,” Lemon explained. “We changed a few things — his shoeing and the weight — and it seemed to help.”

Daylon Magician will face Buckhams Bay again this week. The three-time Gold final winner will line up from Post 8 in the first $40,000 Gold elim, but that fact is not causing Lemon to lose any sleep.

“He’s not a bad horse to get beat by. If we could get three more seconds I’d be happy,” he said pragmatically. “I think they’ll likely go pretty good this week.

“It’s like Jack says, he can do in there as long as he behaves himself."

Daylon Magician and Buckhams Bay will stage their rematch in Race 2 on Mohawk Racetrack’s Thursday evening program. The other Gold elim will head postward for Race 4. Post time for the first race at the Campbellville, Ont. oval will be 7:30 p.m.

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