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Ontario Boys Opener To Cajon Lightning

Published: February 6, 2016 9:43 pm ET

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Cajon Lightning opened the Ontario Boys Series with a late-closing victory over his popular stablemate in the $18,000 first leg on Saturday night (Feb. 6) at Woodbine Racetrack.

The series is for Ontario-sired four-year-old male pacers that are non-winners of $60,000 lifetime as of Oct. 31, 2015.

Teaming up with Trevor Henry for the first time, the Richard Moreau-trained Cajon Lightning followed along in third-place at the pylons before springing into action at the top of the stretch and getting by 1-2 favourite Rafa (Sylvain Filion) for the victory in 1:52.2.

When the starting gate released the field, post four starter Mach Code (Mike Saftic) worked past insider Rafa heading to the first turn and reached the quarter pole in :27.1. However, Rafa retook the lead down the backstretch in a two-horse breakaway to the :56.1 half-mile mark. While Cajon Lightning began to close the gap in third, Half A Billion (Jody Jamieson) started first over from fifth on the way to three-quarters in 1:24.3. However, Half A Billion only managed to reach the leader's wheel, but Cajon Lightning was full of late pace and blew by in deep stretch to produce an $11 win payout. He won by a length and a half over Rafa, with Half A Billion finishing third.

While the win was Cajon Lightning's first of the year (in three starts), he has enjoyed some success in the recent fall/winter series at Woodbine, sweeping the Ontario Autumn Series and winning the opening leg of the Valedictory followed by runner-up finishes in the second round and final. The Mach Three gelding's U.S. ownership group consists of Wm K. Wood, William Dittmar Jr., Stephen Iaquinta, and Minisink Farms LLC.

Cajon Lightning was one of four winners on the 10-race card for Moreau, who is one of Canada's Trainer of the Year finalists at next weekend's O'Brien Awards. Moreau is the two-time defending champion and is up against Jimmy Takter for the 2015 title.

Also driven by Henry, Nickle Bag won this week's $34,000 Preferred Pace one race earlier, earning his third straight victory.

After The Rev (Doug McNair) fired across the track to establish the early lead then the parked out Nirvana Seelster (Rick Zeron) cleared past the 27-second quarter mark, Henry made his move with Nickle Bag. The 6-5 favourite rushed from third to first and led the field through middle splits of :55 and 1:22.4. Meanwhile, Prescotts Hope (Phil Hudon) began to advance first over with Erle Dale N (Jody Jamieson) tipping second over. However, Nickle Bag remained strong on the front end under Henry's urging as Prescotts Hope chased him home, ultimately winning in 1:51 flat with a two-length advantage. Prescotts Hope settled for second while Nirvana Seelster finished third.

Nickle Bag paid $4.60 to win. The six-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding is now four-for-six on the year with $64,500 already banked in purse earnings. Bill Robinson trains Nickle Bag for owners Linda Loyens of Denfield, Ont. and Harry Loyens of Ilderton, Ont.

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

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