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Super Final Trainers Weigh In

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Published: November 11, 2009 10:02 am ET

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The size of the crowd standing by the rail at Woodbine Racetrack on Saturday evening will swell by more than 200 people when the two-year-old pacing colts make their way onto the racing surface for their $300,000 Super Final.

"Denis Breton has 50 people coming from Welland; Phil Silvestri, it’s his daughter’s birthday, and he has 60-plus people coming; and my mom and dad will have a big crew," explained trainer David Menary, who will harness Haul Away in the freshman pacing colt final. "We’re excited about it."

Larry Menary of Cheltenham, Ont., Denis Breton of Welland, Ont., Phil Silvestri of Hamilton and Joseph Settimi of Hamilton, Ont. share ownership on two-time Gold final winner Haul Away, who will make his bid for the division crown from Post 8 in the sixth race. The Modern Art gelding heads into the Super Final off a five-week break caused by sickness, but Menary says the youngster schooled well on Monday and seems to have bounced back to full health.

"We schooled him Monday (November 9) morning at Mohawk and he went the fastest mile of the day, of the qualifiers and schoolers," noted the horseman. "I didn’t want to go too fast with him, just tighten him up and have him ready for Saturday."

Haul Away fell ill following his October 10 Gold final win at Woodbine Racetrack, and Menary was hoping he would be healthy enough to compete in the regular season finale at Western Fair Raceway, but when the gelding did not bounce back as quickly as expected Menary opted to scratch him from the October 30 elimination.

"He was almost okay to go to London, but he’s too nice a horse to risk it," said the resident of Cheltenham, Ont. "I didn’t want to race him at ninety per cent."

Regular reinsman Jody Jamieson will pilot Haul Away in his fifth Gold Series start. The pair face a talent-laden field that includes the London Gold final winner Keystone Raptor from Post 6 and division point leader Grin For Money from Post 10.

Both Keystone Raptor and Grin For Money hail from the John Kopas stable, and their presence in the race will also help to fill the tarmac near the finish line. Grin For Money is owned by the 10 member Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association New Owner Group, the Grin For Money Stable of London, Ont. and there is at least one bus load of the colt’s fans heading to Woodbine Saturday.

In spite of his outside post position, the group members will be hoping to see an improved performance from the son of Grinfromeartoear, and driver Sylvain Filion, who finished seventh at Western Fair on November 7.

"I look for him to be better this week," Kopas explained. "We scoped him afterwards, and allergy season isn’t over yet.

"If he had been himself last week, even with the outside post, he’d have been right there," the Milton, Ont. resident added. "He is such a tremendous talent when he’s healthy, and unfortunately for everyone, he wasn’t the other night."

While Grin For Money did not deliver to his potential in the November 7 Gold final, stablemate Keystone Raptor did. The son of Astreos got a flawless steer from driver Jack Moiseyev and delivered a half-length victory in 1:55.4.

"He’s a great big, growthy colt, who has just really come into his own the last three or four weeks. I wasn’t surprised at all the other night, with the trip he got, that he won," said the horseman, who shares ownership of Keystone Raptor with John Fielding of Toronto, Ont., Clay Horner of Toronto and High Stakes Inc. of Moffat, Ont. "He is peaking at just about the right time."

Both Menary and Kopas also have heavyweight contenders in the sophomore pacing colt division. Menary will send division point leader and three-time Gold final winner Fast Pay into the $300,000 fray from Post 8, while Kopas will harness Shipps Xpectancy from Post 4.

Shipps Xpectancy heads into the Super Final battle off an impressive 1:51.1 victory at Woodbine on November 7 that saw him sprint home in :26.1 to best a number of his Ontario-sired sophomore pacing colt peers. In seven starts since mid-September, the Mach Three gelding has three wins, two seconds and one third to his credit.

"He’s been racing really well — his last three starts especially," said Kopas, who trains the winner of $316,793 for Harold G. Shipp Stable of Mississauga, Ont. "Keith Oliver said last night [that] he can’t believe the kick that horse has got at the end of a mile."

Among the colts Shipps Xpectancy bested on November 7 was Fast Pay, who finished sixth, his third straight out-of-the-money result. However, Menary was satisfied with the Western Terror son’s effort and thinks he is ready to rumble on Saturday.

"He raced a lot better his last start," Menary said. "There are not very many times that I’m happy to be sixth, but the two starts before that he didn’t finish up as well as he should."

Menary’s father, Breton, Silvestri and Settimi also own Fast Pay, who has been outstanding this season. In 21 starts, the 2008 freshman pacing colt Grassroots champion has posted seven wins, three seconds and one third for $365,600 in earnings, and set an all-time Ontario Sires Stakes record with his 1:49 victory in Gold final action at Mohawk Racetrack on August 10.

"Fast Pay was right there at the beginning of the year, and he’s still there," says Menary. "Win, lose or draw — if they get a little money, or no money — they’ve both had a really good year."

First-race post time for Saturday’s 12-race program is 7:30 p.m., and if you can’t make it to Woodbine Racetrack for the championship card, be sure to tune in for a special three-hour edition of Race Night on the Score. Coast-to-coast coverage airs from 8:00 - 11:00 p.m.

Stay tuned to the SC website for more information on the OSS Super Final Trivia contest

To view Saturday’s harness racing entries, click here.

Click here for TrackIT’s preliminary program pages for Saturday evening’s card of racing.

(OSS)


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