Driver Mark MacDonald worked out a perfect second over trip aboard Modern Connection to give the two-year-old pacing filly her second Ontario Sires Stakes Gold title Friday night at Woodbine Racetrack
Stonebridge Damsel (Jack Moiseyev) hustled off the gate from Post 9 in the $130,000 event with the parked out Imagine Semalu (Mario Baillargeon), an elimination winner last week, clearing after the :27.2 first quarter.
As Imagine Semalu showed the way to the half in :56.2, the co-favoured fillies, Lauren (Steve Condren) and elimination winner Modern Connection, moved underway from fifth and sixth.
Lauren went head-to-head with the pacesetter at three-quarters in 1:25.3 and the top pair continued their duel down the stretch, but it was Modern Connection who got up in the final sixteenth of the mile to score in 1:54 flat. Lauren finished one and three-quarter lengths behind in second with Lady Jill (Chris Christoforou) coming on for third over Imagine Semalu.
“I wanted to follow Lauren, I thought she was the filly to beat so I was just going to do what she did,” said MacDonald after the win. “Steve [Condren] was just kind of floating out for position so I was happy to oblige and give it to him.
“You never know sometimes when you get away too far back you can get too much cover and that can hurt on this track, but I was really lucky and just had to follow the one. It worked out perfectly.
“Lauren is a good filly and she fought brave all the way down the stretch so she’s a force to be reckoned with in this division,” noted MacDonald. “You never know if you’re going to get by her but luckily my filly dug in and she did.”
Modern Connection paid $4.40 to win as the slight favourite. Joe Seekman trains the daughter of Modern Art-Cambest Connection for co-owners Yousif Yousif of Chesterfield and Ameer Najor of Detroit, Michigan. Modern Connection now sports a record of 5-2-1 in 11 outings with close to $300,000 banked. Earlier this year, she swept her Gold elimination and final at Grand River Raceway and more recently won a division of the Champlain Stakes at Mohawk Racetrack.
Modern Connection and her top rivals will head to the Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final next on Nov. 13 at Woodbine.
“[The connections] have done a great job managing her, she hasn’t raced tough all summer,” said MacDonald. “You can’t be around all year so I think she’s going to be tough. She’s very fresh and she’s going to be right there in the Super Final.”
In regular racing action, Kentucky Sires Stakes champion Bestofbothworlds notched her fifth straight win in the ninth race for driver Rick Zeron and trainer Ronnie MacLean. The three-year-old Cambest-Summers Soul filly held off veteran pacer Four Starzz Meliss (Jason Brewer) by a head to score in 1:52.2. Canadian Breeders winner Bay Girl (Mark MacDonald) finished one length back in third.
Lightly raced at two, Bestofbothworlds has put together a record of 9-3-3 in 22 starts for owners Frederick Woolford of Mount Brydges and the Park Lane Stable of North York, Ont. The lion's share of the $16,000 purse pushed her earnings to $255,690.
To view Friday's results, click here.