Mister Herbie pushed his win streak to eight for the O'Brien Award winning driver-trainer duo of Jody Jamieson and Jeff Gillis in the co-featured $50,000 Open Trot while B Lo Zero and Open pacer Brave Alex Semalu were the first to go below the 1:50 barrier this year in Canada during Saturday's foggy harness racing card at Woodbine Racetrack
Mister Herbie didn't disappoint as the 2-5 favourite in the Open Trot as he advanced first up down the backstretch and wore down pacesetter Windsong Geant to win in 1:53 flat by half a length.
Windsong Geant (Scott Zeron) fired to command ahead of another popular Gillis trainee, the O'Brien Award winning Frenchfrysnvinegar (Randy Waples), and carved out fractions of :27, :56.3, and 1:25.1 while Mister Herbie began to roll from fifth. The streaking trotter made it up alongside the leader as they entered the stretch and pushed ahead during the final eighth of a mile. Order By Roosevelt (Paul MacDonell) finished over three lengths back in third with Mr Web Page (Sylvain Filion) and Frenchfrysnvinegar rounding out the top five finishers.
Last year's divisional Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final champion paid $2.30 to win for the second time this year and eighth time in a row for the ownership group of J Gillis G Stay of Hillsburgh, Ont. and Mac Nichol of Burlington, Ont. The Here Comes Herbie-Independent Lassie gelding is now 12-for-26 in his career with $379,403 banked in purses.
Between the featured Open events, five-year-old pacer B Lo Zero lowered the Canadian season's record as he put forth the first sub-1:50 mile of 2012 in his conditioning-claiming assignment.
Also driven by Jamieson, B Lo Zero overcame an outside Post 10 start and sat fourth through fractions of :25.3, :53.4, and 1:21.3, which were put up by favourite Kindly Poet (Rick Zeron). B Low Zero later unleashed a :27.1 final frame to come on for the one and a quarter length victory in a career-best 1:49.4. Panmunjom (Chris Christoforou) and Jackets Required (Randy Waples) finished second and third after following the pacesetter, who faded to fourth. World Away (Mike Saftic) was fifth.
B Lo Zero paid $11.70 to win as the 4-1 third choice. Corey Johnson trains the Ice Chaser Won-Incredible Dodger gelding, who was claimed for $30,000 on Mar. 3 at Woodbine by Frank, Saverino, and Graziano Spagnolo, and Frank Schimizzi of Ottawa, Ont. B Lo Zero is now four-for-10 this year with 17 wins lifetime and $229,161 in career earnings.
Five-year-old Brave Alex Semalu later matched the 1:49.4 mark while pulling off a 38-1 upset in the $50,000 Open Pace for driver Randy Waples and trainer Ryan Maxwell.
Mystician fired to command from the outside Post 9 for the Jamieson-Gillis team and put up a flashy :25.4 opening quarter before being confronted by longshot Brave Alex Semalu. The Yankee Cam-Signature Semalu gelding swept to command from fifth and hit the half in :54 while Machal Jackson (J.R. Plante) began to advance from mid-pack.
Machal Jackson applied pressure to the leader past three-quarters in 1:21.4 and into the stretch, but Brave Alex Semalu persevered to score the upset victory by three-quarters of a length and establish a new lifetime mark. Machal Jackson prevailed in a photo for second over Classic Rock Nroll (Doug McNair). Sparky Mark (Sylvain Filion) and Piece Of The Rock (Scott Young) were fourth and fifth.
Brave Alex Semalu returned a whopping $78.80 to his backers for a $2 win ticket. The win was his third in nine starts this year and 15th lifetime, pushing his career earnings to $275,178. He is owned by J And T Silva Stables LLC, Martin Scharf, Bramdeo Singh, and John Polvinale.
To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Woodbine Racetrack.