With no eliminations required for the Breeders Crown aged pacing events, many of the mare entries prepped for next week's big test in regular Friday night racing action at Woodbine Racetrack.
Supplemental Breeders Crown entry Rebeka Bayama topped a field of 10 in the $42,000 Fillies & Mares Open Pace with a dazzling 1:48.4 track record equalling effort for driver Sylvain Filion and her new trainer Stephane Laroque.
Rebeka Bayama settled into the pocket as 2011 Breeders Crown champion Monkey On My Wheel (Brian Sears) fired across the track and cleared to command off the gate. However, a parked out Camille (Yannick Gingras) worked her way to the top past the :26.1 opening quarter mark.
Camille's lead was short-lived though as Filion had Rebeka Bayama rolling up to take over as they raced past the half in :54.2. She was quickly confronted by defending Breeders Crown Mares champion Anndrovette (Tim Tetrick), who edged out in front down the backstretch, but fought back en route to three-quarters in 1:21.1 and opened up on her foes down the lane.
Rebeka Bayama paid $8.30 to win as the 3-1 second choice. Camille followed in second with 65-1 longshot Voelz Hanover (Mario Baillargeon) coming on for third over the late-rallying favourite Put On A Show (Jody Jamieson), who will tackle her male counterparts in next week's Breeders Crown championships.
Rebeka Bayama, who came within one-fifth of a second of her lifetime mark, matched Carolina Sunshine's track record for older pacing mares, which was set in 2003.
“She was at her best tonight,” Filion told WEG's Media Department after the race. “There isn’t much more you could ask of her. She’s sound, healthy and put in a terrific effort tonight. We are in great shape heading into the Breeders Crown next week.”
The five-year-old daughter of Leader Bayama is owned by Bayama Farms Inc. of Saint-Andre-D'Argenteuil, Que. The victory was her 23rd lifetime and pushed her bankroll to $651,198.
Breeders Crown contender Tea Party Princess also won her Friday night assignment one race prior. She prevailed by a neck in 1:51.2 over Maureen Rocks (Chris Christoforou) and Radar Contact (Jack Moiseyev) in a $30,000 conditioned event. The four-year-old Art Major mare was driven by Scott Zeron for trainer David Menary, a three-time winner on the card, and owner Brad Gray of Dundas, Ont. The favourite paid $4.60 to win.
The field for next weekend's $326,660 Breeders Crown Mares Pace is listed below in post position order (drivers not yet finalized). Put On A Show drew post one in the Open division.
1. Dreamfair Eternal - Patrick Fletcher - Brian Sears
2. Rocklamation - Ron Burke - Jim Morrill Jr.
3. Camille - Ron Burke - Brett Miller
4. Anndrovette - Paul Fraley - Tim Tetrick
5. Tea Party Princess - David Menary - Scott Zeron
6. Swinging Beauty - Gregg McNair - Doug McNair
7. Krispy Apple - Paul Fraley - Tim Tetrick
8. Ginger And Fred - Ron Burke - Scott Zeron
9. Rebeka Bayama - Stephane Laroque - Sylvain Filion (supplement)
10. Monkey On My Wheel - Travis Umphrey - Jody Jamieson
11. Drop The Ball - Tony O’Sullivan - Yannick Gingras
To view Friday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Friday Results - Woodbine Racetrack.