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Dion On Shower Play, Aged Campaign

Published: December 31, 2018 11:25 am ET

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Trainer Rene Dion didn’t have to wait long for a successor to stable star Flanagan Memory, who was retired a year ago.

Pacing filly Shower Play, promising but lightly raced at two, blossomed in 2018 as a three-year-old, amassing more than $478,000 for Dion and partners Suzie Kerwood of Ontario and Martin Leveille of Quebec.

The Ontario-sired filly with the lethal stretch kick was first or second in nine of 11 starts, and her six wins included a stunning victory over U.S. fillies in the $415,000 Fan Hanover final in June at Woodbine Mohawk Park in 1:50.2 in what was just her third start of the campaign. She also captured three Ontario Sires Stakes events and the $150,996 Simcoe Stakes. In her only off-the-board finish of the season, she was fourth, beaten just a length, in an OSS Gold at Georgian Downs.

No surprise that she’s a finalist for the 2018 O’Brien Award in her division.

“It was an amazing year,” said Dion, who trains a 12-horse stable. “The way she raced, the way she did it... It was everything we hoped when we took our time with her at two. She was a little green last year and Percy Blue Chip was hard to beat in the (OSS) Golds, so we decided to stay in the Grassroots. She came back stronger and better-gaited at three. I only wish we could have finished out the year with her, but we hit a bump in the road (after an OSS Gold win at Mohawk on September 24). She didn’t come out of the race the way I was hoping, and we didn’t want to take a chance, so we stopped her.”

Shower Play missed her lucrative OSS Super Final as a result, but Dion said there will be other opportunities for the Shadow Play filly, a $15,000 yearling purchase. The plan is to race her in 2019.

“We’ll start her back after the holidays. She’ll be even stronger next year. She’s like Flanagan; they’re both tough and have a big heart. They give you all they’ve got and then some.”

Standardbred Canada will present the 30th edition of the O’Brien Awards on Saturday, February 2, 2019 at the Hilton Mississauga/Meadowvale Hotel. Tickets and program ads are now on sale and can be purchased by contacting the Member & Stakeholder Relations Department at 905-858-3060. Tickets are $200 each (includes HST) and include a cocktail reception, gourmet dinner, wine, and complimentary portrait.

Program ads for the souvenir program are $600 (plus HST). The deadline to reserve space in the program is Wednesday, January 9.

(A Trot Insider Exclusive by Paul Delean)


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