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Waples & Johnson Sweep Boxing Day Stakes

Published: December 26, 2013 6:59 pm ET

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She was only sixth in the first leg of the Niagara Pacing Series two weeks ago and second last time out, but it all came together perfectly in the $33,200 final for Lyonssweetie on Boxing Day at Woodbine Racetrack.

Randy Waples drove the three-year-old daughter of No Pan Intended to the one length score for trainer Corey Johnson and Geoffrey Lyons Mound of Buford, Ont. in 1:55.3 over the 'good' track.

Waples sent Lyonssweetie to the front in the Niagara, cutting out an early quarter-mile split of :28.4. The race was likely won though after the duo got a half-mile in a soft :58.4. Despite looming odds-on public choice Solid Queen, Lyonssweetie looked strong and sprinted away on the turn with plenty in reserve in the stretch to hold off late comers D Gs Pesquero and Envious Hanover.

The win was the Ontario-bred’s fifth this year and fifth overall. The bay filly now has purse earnings of $81,650 in 2013 to add to her $1,920 from two starts last season.

Lyonssweetie was well-regarded going into the Niagara series having finished second in the Autumn final last month. She was a disappointing sixth, beaten seven and a half lengths in the first division of the first leg at 9-5, but a big effort in the final was tipped after a spirited inside rally last week in the second division of the second leg.

She paid $21 to win and combined with the longshots, D Gs Pesquero (12-1) and Envious Hanover (43-1) to fill out the top three spots and trigger $3,343 triactor.

Solid Queen finished sixth.

A couple of hours after winning the Niagara final with Lyonssweetie, driver Randy Waples and trainer Corey Johnson completed the Boxing Day sweep of stakes events at Woodbine, taking the $33,900 Valedictory with Yucatan.

Yucatan was excellent in collecting his sixth win of the year for Debbie Element of Waterdown, Ont. in 1:55.1.

Waples sat second with the Somebeachsomewhere colt behind expected speedster Avatartist through an early clip of :28 in the Valedictory. No movement in the second quarter in the top five spots through a half-mile split in :57.2. On the turn, it was go time for Waples and Yucatan as the pair established command into a strong wind before having to hold Alexas Jackpot off late to emerge a one and a quarter-length winner.

The Kentucky bred now has lifetime purse earnings of $77,100.

Yucatan didn’t show much early speed in his previous races having closed ground from far back to finish third and fifth in the first and second legs of the Valedictory, respectively.

Woodbine’s Thursday card did reward horses who showed some early speed.

Yucatan paid $11.20 to win and combined with Alexas Jackpot for $42 exactor. Avatartist rounded out the $257.30 triactor.

J C Onthebeach, the near 2-1 favourite, was fifth, beaten 10 lengths.

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

(With files from WEG)

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