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A New Spark In His Step

Published: November 26, 2011 8:18 pm ET

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Sparky Mark survived a first-over journey and dug in down the stretch to win his fourth consecutive Preferred event in an impressive 1:49 career-best clocking on Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack.

Driver Sylvain Filion settled Sparky Mark into fourth place at the rail after a Post 3 start in the featured $38,000 Preferred Pace while Major Hottie (Keith Oliver) worked his way to the lead from Post 4 and fired off a sizzling :25.4 opening quarter.

As the field, which was scratched down six, moved into the backstretch, Filion sent the 1-2 favourite first over and reached the leader's wheel by the :54.4 half-mile mark.

Major Hottie pressed on to three-quarters in 1:21.1 with Sparky Mark looming to his outside and Fitzs Z Tam (Luc Ouellette) and early trailer Upfront Hoosierboy (Mario Baillargeon) moving into the second and third over spots.

Sparky Mark struck the front as the field moved in front of the grandstand and put away the pacesetter before holding off the fast-closing Upfront Hoosierboy by three-quarters of a length to continue his impressive comeback win streak. Fitzs Z Tam finished third while Major Hottie settled for fourth. Pocket-sitter Thepaninsulahotel (Doug McNair) earned the final paycheque and Fire On The Water (Mike Saftic) rounded out the field.

Sparky Mark paid $3 to win for the sixth time in seven starts since returning to the track in October from an extended layoff. The four-year-old son of Astreos and Luckbealadytonite, now 10-for-14 on the year with $159,250 earned in 2011, is trained by Mark Austin for owner-breeder Leo Thibodeau of Windsor, Ont. The two-time Autumn Stakes winner now boasts a career bankroll totalling $274,590.

Later on the card in the $30,000 Preferred 2 Pace sub-feature, OK Boromir notched his second win in a row and carried Filion back to victory lane when he rallied up the rail after a second over trip to score in 1:51.4.

Fresh off a 1:51 career-best victory in a conditioning assignment last Saturday, OK Boromir got away fourth from Post 8 in the Preferred 2 while outsider Lennon Blue Chip (Jack Moiseyev) set his sights on the early lead and cleared ahead of Twin B Legend (Paul MacDonell) at the :26.3 first quarter mark.

However, the lead changed shortly after as Mr Saratoga (Keith Oliver) brushed to command from third down the backstretch and hit the half in :55.1. As he led the way to the next marker in 1:23.4, Broadies Song (Rick Zeron) moved underway from sixth with OK Boromir following suit in the second over spot.

Broadies Song blew by Mr Saratoga at the head of the lane with OK Boromir on his back before ducking down to the pylons for a clear path. OK Boromir then zipped up the inside to prevail by one length while 59-1 longshot Hyperion Hanover (Phil Hudon) sprinted home from the back of the pack to grab second. Twin B Legend finished third over Broadies Song and Lennon Blue Chip.

OK Boromir paid $13.80 for the mild 5-1 upset. The five-year-old son of No Pan Intended-Double Creme, a career winner of more than half a million dollars, is owned by trainer Frank Baker Jr. and Wray and Janet Wilson of Thorndale, Ont. The win was his fifth in 22 seasonal starts and pushed his 2011 earnings over the $100,000 mark.

Filion also won with the Rob Fellows-trained Campasser ($3) in the fifth race for a Saturday night hat trick while Luc Ouellette won five of the 11 races on the card. Ouellette kicked off the night with a victory aboard the Shawn Robinson-trained U Bettor Watch Out ($3.70) before winning the fourth race with Good Bad Lucky ($5.60) for David Menary and the sixth race with his own pupil Celebrity Playboy ($25.50). Ouellette also earned back-to-back wins in the eighth and ninth races with Famous Mark ($6.80) for Ben Baillargeon and Reibercrombie ($3.70) for Casie Coleman.

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

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