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Hopefuls Squeak Into OSS Super Finals

Published: October 7, 2018 12:58 am ET

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Eleventh hour victories secured a post-season berth for both Sweet Young Thing and Keystone Concrete as the two-year-old pacing colts and fillies wrapped up their Gold Series regular season at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Saturday evening.

With 38 points, Sweet Young Thing was sitting just below the cut off for next weekend’s $225,000 Super Final when she lined up behind the starting gate for the second $97,200 pacing filly division.

Driven by Trevor Henry, Sweet Young Thing got away second from post five and then tucked in behind Grassroots champion Sports Flix, who led the field of nine to a :26.4 opening quarter and a :56.1 half.

Heading for the 1:26 three-quarters Henry sent Sweet Young Thing up the outside and the Sportswriter daughter powered by the pacesetter on to a 1:54 victory over a track rated "good". Sports Flix found another burst to finish just three-quarters of a length behind the winner with Cinderella Delight hard on her heels in third.

“She trained okay through the winter. She wasn’t a very big filly, well she still isn’t, and she trained well, she got progressively better, but she wasn’t what I thought was one of my better ones,” said trainer Tony O’Sullivan. “The first time we put the race bike on her she just was just different and as the year’s gone on, even though I’ve raced her lightly, she’s a happy filly, she’s eating well, she just seems really happy to do her job.

“After last week [Sept. 28] I had my doubts [about the Super Final], because we were at the mercy of an 11-horse field and Trevor couldn’t find a spot,” he also said. “She ended up on the outside the whole mile, but he didn’t beat her up and she came out of that race great, so it probably worked in our favour.”

With Saturday’s victory Sweet Young Thing boosted her point tally to 88 and moved into fifth spot in the standings. In her three previous Gold Series starts the Sportswriter daughter had finished second, fourth and fifth.

O’Sullivan conditions Sweet Young Thing for owner-breeders Lorne and Jean Keller of Exeter, Ontario and the Cambridge resident was delighted to score the win for the couple.

The other pacing filly division went to point-leader Better Single, who rocketed from last to first with a :27.1 final quarter, hitting the wire in a personal-best 1:53.1. Fan-favourite Powerful Chris bobbed and weaved her way down the stretch into second, two-and-one-quarter lengths behind the winner. Ideation Hanover was another length back in third.

Louis Philippe-Roy piloted Better Single to the win for trainer Anthony Beaton of Waterdown and his partner David Mercer of Sydney, Nova Scotia. In five regular season appearances the Betterthancheddar daughter recorded three wins, one third and one fifth for a total of 167 points.

Pacing colt Keystone Concrete also leaped into the post season with a victory in the second $96,400 division for the pacing colts and geldings. Starting from post two driver Louis Philippe-Roy settled the Bettors Delight colt in third as heavy-favourite Bronx Seelster took the field to a :27.3 quarter and :57.3 half.

Stuck on the rail as a herd of horses powered up the outside at the 1:27.2 three-quarter mark, Roy found a lane up the inside in the stretch and Keystone Concrete roared by Bronx Seelster, settling for second, to a 1:54.1 victory. Pocket-sitter Fast N First was third.

“We were very lucky, and I know that as a horse trainer. We were very lucky,” said Rob Fellows.

Saturday marked Keystone Concrete’s first start since Aug. 28. The colt was not eligible to the open stakes at Woodbine Mohawk Park in September and after a month-long break Fellows did not feel the youngster was fit enough for the Sept. 28 Gold event, so he had his fingers crossed that Keystone Concrete could score enough points to extend his season another week. In five previous starts the pacer had posted three wins, two of them in Grassroots action, and two seconds.

“I didn’t stake this guy because, he did nothing wrong, but he wasn’t flashy,” said Fellows. “He did everything right training down, his first qualifier was disappointing, and after that he was very, very good.”

The Rockwood resident trains Keystone Concrete for his wife Yolanda Fellows, Arpad Szabo of Bradford, Ontario and Blair Corbeil of Beaumont, Alberta and figures the colt will need another dose of luck to tackle the division’s best in the Oct. 13 Super Final.

“Stag Party is a dominant horse in this division, and Bronx Seelster, a dominant horse, and then you look at Bettors Wish,” said the trainer. “So hopefully with some post position luck and some racing luck, I think with a trip we could be fourth. I think to be better than that we’re going to have to overcome someone else’s bad luck, because I have so much respect for those three horses.”

Bettors Wish captured the other pacing colt division with an impressive 1:51.1 mile as the rain started to fall at the Campbellville oval. With regular reinsman Paul MacDonell in the race bike the favourite took command going by the half and never looked back, cruising to a two-and-one-half length win over Better Up. Twin B Watching was well back in third.

Chantal Mitchell trains the Bettors Delight son for Chris Ryder of Allentown, NJ, Bella Racing Ltd. of Delaware, OH, Fair Island Farm Inc. of Versailles, KY and Kenneth Solomon of Coral Springs, FL. In five regular season appearances Bettors Wish netted three wins, one second and one third for 187 points and second place in the standings behind Bronx Seelster.

The top 10 point earners from both divisions will return to Woodbine Mohawk Park on Saturday, Oct. 13 for the season ending Super Final. Post time for the $1.8 million Super Final card is 7:10 p.m.

Sitting a pocket trip, Nocturnal Blue Chip took the $34,000 Preferred Pace in 1:51.1. The five-year-old Bettors Delight gelding drafted behind pacesetter Easy Lover Hanover through a :26.3 opening quarter in :56.1 half. Nirvana Seelster ranged to the lead first over around the final turn and past three-quarters in 1:24 before giving way in the stretch.

Driver Sylvain Filion piloted the Jeff Gillis-trainee from the rail to the winner's circle ahead of Jimmy Freight rallying for second and Continual Hanover third. Racing for the NLG Racing Stable, Nocturnal Blue Chip paid $7.60 to win.

(With files from the Ontario Sires Stakes)

To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Woodbine Mohawk Park.

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