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Another Autumn Upset Winner For Saftic


Published: December 3, 2011 11:15 pm ET

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Thirteen three-year-old pacing colts and geldings contested a pair of $25,000 Autumn Stakes eliminations Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack with Road Untraveled and Modern Legend finding the winner’s circle.

After scoring a pair of longshot victories in last night’s Autumn Stakes eliminations for sophomore pacing fillies, Mr. Movember Mike Saftic once again lived up to the task as he guided Road Untraveled to a 28-1 upset win, paying $58.80 in the first elimination.

Saftic’s decision to use off-the-pace tactics proved to be the winning move as Mach My Word (Jody Jamieson) blasted past the opening panel in a hot :25.2. Adventure Bound (Sylvain Filion) protected rail position and was in the pocket with Full Cirlce King (Phil Hudon) taken back to third.

Jamieson and Mach My Word didn’t tap the breaks heading towards the half and they brushed past that station in a quick :53.4.

Saftic, sitting fifth with Road Untraveled, angled his charge to the outside before three-quarters, but was still nine lengths off Mach My Word, who led the way past three-quarters in 1:22.4.

Down the stretch, Mach My Word began to tire as Road Untraveled and Del Rio Seelster (Scott Zeron) were exploding from the backfield. Saftic angled Road Untraveled towards the inside and the son of Grinfromeartoear-Ivory Tower scored a narrow victory in the final strides in a new lifetime best clocking of 1:52.4, over Del Rio Seelster. A tiring Mach My Word stayed for third with Adventure Bound finishing fourth. The top four were separated by just half a length while fifth place finisher Emerging Grin (Doug McNair) trailed nearly 11 lengths behind.

“I was pretty content where I was sitting,” Saftic said. “They were going really fast fractions and at the top of the stretch. I thought I would hit the board because the front end was getting tired. My horse really dug in and raced terrific.”

Road Untraveled, trained by Mark Cecile, lifted his career earnings $35,190 for owner 1187422 Ontario Inc. of Gloucester, Ont. The bay has won three of his 10 career starts.

In the second and final elimination, it was the David Drew-trained, bred and owned Modern Legend scoring the victory as the favourite in 1:52.1.

Pisti (Phil Hudon) acted quickly from the start and struck command before the opening panel in :27.

Heading towards the half, Jack Moiseyev angled Modern Legend out from the pocket and reached the front. Driver Keith Oliver was also on the move from third with Lyons Johnny, but Moiseyev wouldn’t let Oliver clear to the front, so he elected to drop back into the three-hole.

Modern Connection led the field past the half in :55.3 and three-quarters in 1:24.1.

Down the stretch, Modern Legend was under a comfortable hand-drive as Moiseyev guided the son of Modern Art-Ruby Cam to a three-length victory in a new lifetime best clocking of 1:52.1. Lyons Johnny stayed for second over a hard-closing Lil Roy (Scott Zeron). Pisti finished fourth and Justlikejessejames (Sylvain Filion) was fifth.

“He had a good week leading up to this race,” Drew said. “He was strong down the stretch. We will see how he comes out of this race over the next few days in preparation for the final.”

With the victory, Modern Legend lifted his career earnings to $46,085 and now boasts a record of 4-2-0 from eight lifetime starts.

He paid $5.20 to win.

Next Saturday’s $60,000 final will begin with the following post positions assigned:

1. Road Untraveled
2. Del Rio Seelster
3. Modern Legend
4. Mach My Word
5. Adventure Bound
6. Lyons Johnny
7. Emerging Grin
8. Pisti
9. Justlikejessejames
10. Lil Roy

A former two-time Autumn Stakes winner, Sparky Mark continued his late season win streak and recorded his fourth sub-1:50 mile in the evening's $38,000 Preferred Pace. For a recap of the race, click here.

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

(With files from WEG)

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