Woodbine Racetrack treated fans to an impressive-looking Boxing Day matinee, which featured a trio of marquee events – the finals of the Niagara Series and the Valedictory Series plus the weekly edition of the Fillies & Mares Preferred Pace.
Witch Dali completed the sweep of this year’s Niagara Series, and she established a new series record in the process. After a pair of dominating performances in the preliminary legs, the Tony Alagna trainee knocked a full second off the series record thanks to her 1:51.2 tally in Friday’s final.
Jody Jamieson wasted no time hustling the three-year-old daughter of Dali-Whitesand Gem to the lead from Post 4, and after carving out panels of :26.4, :55.4 and 1:23.2 she used a :28-second closing quarter to seal the deal in 1:51.2. Runner-up Artistic Fusion was 2-1/2 lengths in arrears, with third prize going to Double Joy.
Sent off as the 1-9 favourite, Witch Dali improved this year’s record to four wins in as many tries for Alagna Racing LLC of Steger, Illinois and Brad Grant of Milton, Ontario. It was the filly’s seventh lifetime win and the lion’s share of the $34,800 purse boosted her bankroll to $74,220
Company Man stopped the teletimer in 1:51.3 to win the $35,000 final of the Valedictory Series for driver James MacDonald and trainer Allen Tomlinson.
The three-year-old son of American Ideal-Rita Hall got away fourth and watched So Bad Im Good and race favourite Kindofabigdeal takes turns on the lead to the quarter pole in :26.1. Company Man cleared shortly past the half in :55 after making his first-over bid. He proceeded to lead the field past the three-quarter pole in 1:22.3 before using a :29-second kicker to win over So Bad Im Good. Third prize was earned by Kindofabigdeal.
Daniel Mitchell of Novi, Michigan owns the gelding who improved this year’s record to 4-7-3 from 18 trips to the track. His share of the purse lifted his lifetime earnings to $64,592. Mitchell stated on his Twitter account the pacer will now head to The Meadowlands for a number of their winter series events.
Marquise De Sarah won a nail biter in the $30,000 Fillies & Mares Preferred Pace for the team of driver Jody Jamieson and trainer Dave Menary. The four-year-old daughter of Mach Three-Putnam Flyingbye sat behind Bullet Point for most of the mile before nabbing that foe in the final strides. She stopped the clock in 1:52.3 en route to defeating Bullet Point and D Gs Pesquero.
It was the seventh win of the year – and the 14th to date – for the career winner of $243,151. The homebred is owned by Robert Bridges of Burlington, Ontario.
Another noteworthy performance from the Boxing Day program was that of ABC Muscles Boy who trotted to a seventh consecutive victory for trainer Joe Cirasuola.
The three-year-old son of ABC Garland-Muscles Pride hammered out fractions of :27.1, :57.2 and 1:26.3 for driver Phil Hudon before kicking home in :28.3 to win in 1:55.1 over Dreamfair Bogart and Exemplar.
Cirasuola of Durand, Michigan owns the gelding who now boasts a 9-3-4 record from 23 starts this season. He’s stashed away more than $67,000 to date.
To view results for Friday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Friday Results – Woodbine Racetrack.