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Warp Speed Needed For Valedictory Win; Blizzard Series Kick-Off


Published: December 31, 2008 12:25 pm ET

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The first stakes final of WEG’s 2009 season will the $47,800 Valedictory Pacing Series finale on New Years’ Day and trainer Ben Wallace is hoping his pupil will live up to his name and leave his competition in a heap of interstellar dust.

Warp Speed, a gelded son of Mach Three, certainly managed to find another gear in winning the second leg of the Valedictory on Boxing Day (the event having been rescheduled thanks to a snowstorm the previous Thursday), when he trounced Camythical and I Scoot For Cash by more than three lengths in a new lifetime mark of 1:51.4 - more than a full second better than his previous best effort.

In 10 lifetime starts, Warp Speed has been no worse than second, and he’ll be looking for a sweep of the Valedictory in the special January 1 matinee card, with Mario Baillargeon in the bike to navigate.

At present, however, Warp Speed’s impressive record only makes him the 5-2 second favourite in the field of 10. That’s because he will be up against the Alberta-owned Dinner Guest, who has also captured both of his divisions of the initial Valedictory legs for new conditioner, Chad Schmiedge. In his December 26 triumph over Mcapulco and Marquis Player, this gelded son of No Pan Intended also claimed a new speed badge of 1:52.2.

Dinner Guest sports a record of 8-4-0 in 21 starts, and is listed as the 2-1 morning line first choice but only one three-year-old can pull off the series sweep. It’s silverware vs. phasers in the Valedictory Series final, carded as Race 7 on the program (post time 3:20 p.m.).

New Year's Day Kick-Off For Blizzard Series

She charmed her way from the remote racetrack at Indiana Downs all the way to Woodbine. Now Swartz Creek, Michigan trainer, Darren Taneyhill, hopes Golden Charm will sparkle in her first stakes effort, on New Year’s Day, as the $20,000 first leg of the Blizzard Pacing Series, for three and four-year-old fillies and mares who are non-winners of two races, lifetime (as of October 31, 2008) launches in a special afternoon program.

The daughter of Allamericaningot-Breathless Charm is lightly raced, having sat out her two-year-old season. With just eight starts under her belt as a three-year-old, however, she has a record of two wins, three seconds, and a third, more than paying back her modest $6,000 purchase price at the Lexington Select yearling sale.

Since making the move to Woodbine, she has picked up a win, place, and show cheque in three starts and she’ll have the take-no-prisoners approach of Rick Zeron to urge her on when she leaves from Post 4 in the first of three divisions of the Blizzard on Thursday afternoon (Race 4, post time 2:20 p.m.).

Also worth watching in the Blizzard first leg is a No Pan Intended filly named Designated Leader, the 5-2 morning line favourite in the third of the three divisions (Race 10, post time 4:20 p.m.). She has also recently made a move, from the shedrow of Pat Hudon to Murray Brethour’s barn in Sunderland, Ontario, and her new trainer immediately scored a win with her on December 26, in a $23,000 conditioned event at Woodbine.

Unlike Golden Charm, Designated Leader has considerable mileage on the racetrack, having made 26 starts, with three wins, four seconds, and two thirds to her credit. A win on Thursday afternoon will push her earnings nicely over the $100,000 mark for breeder/co-owner Bill Manes of Rockwood, Ontario, who owns her in partnership with Robert Little, William Cripps, and Paul Sabourin.

Catch all three splits of the Blizzard Series first leg in Woodbine’s special New Year’s Day matinee card, beginning at 1:20 p.m., along with the final of the Valedictory Series for three-year-old pacing colts.

To view the entries for New Year's Day, click here.


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