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Field Set For Valedictory


Published: December 17, 2011 10:36 pm ET

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Twenty-one sophomore pacing colts and gelding invaded Woodbine Racetrack on Saturday evening to contest in a pair of $25,000 Valedictory Stakes eliminations.

Sent off as the 2-5 favourite, Audreys Dream and driver Jody Jamieson prevailed in the first elimination, stopping the timer in 1:51.

Achilles Blue Chip (Chris Christoforou) muscled his way to command at the opening station in a quick :26.1. Weigh The Odds (Paul MacDonell) was also forwardly placed in the pocket with Thebestofjoel (Sylvain Filion) on the outside third.

Thebestofjoel cleared the lead heading towards the half, but Lonesome Attack (Brett Miller) moved out from fourth and took over command before the half in :55.

Jamieson elected to move Audreys Dream first over and the son of Rocknroll Hanover was just one length off the tempo-setter past three-quarters in 1:23.3.

Turning for home, Lonesome Attack was still in command, but Audreys Dream made a late rally in deep stretch to score the victory by three-quarters of a length. Drive Em Cowboy (Rick Zeron) came from well off-the-pace to finish a distant third. Thebestofjoel and Weigh The Odds finished fourth and fifth, also making it into the final.

Audreys Dream celebrated his seventh career victory as his lifetime earnings increased to $85,994 for trainer Ben Wallace and owner Brad Grant of Milton, Ont. The Bet Canadian campaign pick paid $2.90 to win.

In the second elimination, Itrustyou scored his sixth straight victory in a matching time of 1:51 with driver Brett Miller aboard.

Sent off as the odds-on favourite, Curator (Billy Davis. Jr) led his nine rivals past the first quarter in a speedy :26.2. Pansai Yamamoto (Randy Waples) was in the pocket with Itrustyou positioned third.

With seven victories in eight lifetime appearances coming into Saturday night, Curator received front-end respect from his foes as he continued to lead past the half in :55 and three-quarters in 1:23.1.

Itrustyou angled to the outside around the final turn was within three and a half lengths of Curator at the top of the stretch.

Curator began to tire down the lane as both Itrustyou and Pansai Yamamoto were stalking on the outside. In deep stretch, Itrustyou took over command and fought off a late challenge from Pansai Yamamoto with Curator finishing third. Dont Say Goodby (Rick Zeron) and Lyons Johnny (Scott Zeron) finished fourth and fifth.

Ron Burke trains the son of Third Straight for Pennsylvania's Burke Racing Stable. The bay gelding lifted his career earnings to $111,875. He paid $6.50 for the win.

The $60,000 final will line up as follows:

1. Weigh The Odds
2. Itrustyou
3. Audreys Dream
4. Lyons Johnny
5. Thebestofjoel
6. Curator
7. Lonesome Attack
8. Drive Em Cowboy
9. Pansai Yamamoto
10. Dont Say Goodby

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

(With files from WEG)

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