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'Hoping For Better Things To Come'

Published: October 3, 2012 11:37 pm ET

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Georgian Downs will showcase Ontario’s finest freshman pacers on Saturday night and the connections of two local entries are hoping their horses can finally show off their full skill set over the Innisfil oval.

The two-year-old pacing colts will lead things off in Races 2 and 5, and owner Marv Chantler is looking for an improved effort from OK Fantastic in the second $40,000 Gold elimination.

In the September Gold Series at Mohawk Racetrack, OK Fantastic finished fifth in his elimination and sixth in the final. The September outing was only the gelding’s second at the provincial stakes level. After a third in the elimination and second in the final of the season opener at Mohawk Racetrack, the Mach Three son was felled by a virus that knocked him out of action for a month and is still having an impact on his training and racing routine.

“I’ve been racing horses for 45 years and he was the fastest two-year-old I’ve ever owned,” says Chantler. “We just have not been able to get him back to where he was in July. He’s a very fast colt, but the sickness totally derailed him.”

In his first three lifetime starts, OK Fantastic delivered one second and two thirds, but in the four starts since he fell ill, the youngster’s best effort was a second in a Sept. 14 overnight event at Mohawk Racetrack.

Regular reinsman Paul MacDonell will steer the winner of $47,400 from Post 5 in Saturday’s fifth race, and Chantler is hoping the pair can earn a spot in next weekend’s $130,000 Gold Final.

“We’re hoping for better things to come, either Saturday at Georgian, or the next Saturday, or in the Super Final,” says the Loretto, Ont. resident, whose Mardon Stables shares ownership of OK Fantastic with Carlo Rovella of Toronto. “He has a lot of ability. He has that speed built in; we’ve just got to get it out of him again.”

Alliston, Ont. resident Bruce MacDonald trains OK Fantastic, who was an $85,000 purchase out of the 2011 Forest City Yearling Sale. Among the five colts that OK Fantastic faces in Saturday’s elimination are former Gold Final champions Tarpon Hanover and Mach Pride, who will start from Posts 2 and 3, respectively.

The two-year-old pacing fillies will be featured in Races 4 and 7 and trainer Tony Monica is hoping Saturday is the night Raise Your Glass finally shows that she is one of the division heavyweights.

In three Gold eliminations, the Santanna Blue Chip daughter has posted two second-place results and Monica is confident in her ability to claim the top prize.

“She’s a better filly than she’s shown,” asserts Monica. “I want to make money, but even more I want to show how good a filly she is.”

Monica shares ownership of the filly with Michael Timpano of Phelpston, Ont. and says she has enjoyed an easy week at Timpano’s farm after finishing fourth in the Sept. 28 Gold Final at Flamboro Downs off a parked out trip. Raise Your Glass will make her bid for a second provincial trophy — she won a Grassroots division at Woodstock Raceway on July 20 — from Post 3 in the seventh race and Monica is hoping the post position and the company will translate into a victory.

“I think we drew in the easier division,” says the Howell, New Jersey resident. “Macharoundtheclock’s in the other division, Its No Secret is in the other division and so is the Blake MacIntosh horse [Kims Royal Day].”

Monica acknowledges that former Gold Final champion Right On Molly will pose a threat from Post 1 in the seventh race, but hopes she will still be one week short of top form after being scratched out of the Sept. 21 Gold elimination at Flamboro Downs due to sickness.

Bred and raised at Timpano’s Phelpston farm, Raise Your Glass impressed her owners from her earliest days and Monica says the youngster has been a pleasure to train.

“Right from Day 1 she was very athletic, very smart,” says the trainer. “All I had to do was make sure she didn’t get hurt training down.

“This filly, she’ll make you look good. I kid my partner Mike, I tell him even you could train this filly,” Monica adds with a chuckle.

Both Raise Your Glass and OK Fantastic will need a top four finish to ensure a return trip to Georgian Downs next Saturday, Oct. 13. The top four finishers from each Gold elimination, plus one fifth-place finisher from each division selected by random draw, will return to the Innisfil oval for their respective $130,000 Gold Final.

Post time for this Saturday’s talent laden program is 7:25 p.m., with the freshman pacing colts battling in Races 2 and 5 and the pacing fillies competing in Races 4 and 7.

To view Saturday's harness racing entries, click on the following link: Saturday Entries - Georgian Downs.


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