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One Streak Ends Saturday


Published: March 21, 2012 5:18 pm ET

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San Pail, the reigning Horse of the Year in both Canada and the U.S., will look to carry his win streak into the new season as he faces off against formidable rivals, the two fastest trotters in Canada this year.

San Pail will make his season's debut in the $50,000 opening leg of the Glorys Comet Series Saturday at Woodbine Racetrack.

The trotting titan, who swept the 2011 edition of the Glorys Comet, has an enviable resume, chock full of accolades and awards, all of which has garnered him celebrity status. The 49-time winner, co-owned by breeder Glenn Van Camp and trainer Rod Hughes, has banked $2,977,885 in a career that has also yielded three Maple Leaf Trot triumphs. San Pail hasn’t lost a race since prior to capturing the 2011 edition of the Maple Leaf Trot on July 23.

Van Camp is elated to see the San Pellegrino-Village Beauty gelding make his return at the Toronto oval for the first time since his sparkling score in the Breeders Crown last October.

“I am very excited because we’ve just been thrilled by the way he has been racing the last few years,” said the 77-year-old Port Perry, Ont. resident. “We are looking forward to it. I couldn’t help but be a little more excited when you end up winning Horse of the Year. That’s quite an honour in itself.”

Even though the eight-year-old was only able to get one qualifier under him, instead of the planned two, Van Camp isn’t worried.

“I was quite pleased with it,” said Van Camp of the gelding’s March 15 qualifier, which he won in 1:55.3 at Mohawk Racetrack. “All you have to do is get a good tightener in and that’s basically what he did. He used a little bit of his old methods, he wasn’t going to let anyone go by him in the stretch. There is nothing wrong with that.

“He may not be quite as tight as he would be if he got another qualifier, but that’s the way things go,” he continued. “The weather was bad that one [qualifying] day and there was no advantage in doing that. When you make those decisions, you have to stick with them.”

In the lone $50,000 division of the Glorys Comet, for aged trotters, San Pail will leave Post 5 with regular driver Randy Waples in the sulky and will have to keep an eye on last year's Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final winner Mister Herbie, owned by the partnership J Gillis G Stay of Hillsburgh, Ont. and Mac Nichol of Burlington, Ont.

“I know Mister Herbie has been an excellent horse,” said Van Camp of the Jeff Gillis trainee that is riding an eight-race win streak and will start from Post 3. “As they say, it’s a horse race and anything can happen. I know that San Pail will do his best.”

Gillis will also send out Canada's Older Trotting Mare of the Year Frenchfrysnvinegar to tackle to boys. The seven-year-old $669,075 career earner, owned by David Smith of Rockwood, Ont., has drawn the inside post position. Jody Jamieson is listed to drive both Gillis trainees.

Between 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., the I Love Canadian Harness Racing Fan Club will be hosting San Pail’s 'Season Kick-Off' reception in the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame at Woodbine, where fans will get the chance to meet and greet the trotter’s connections.

Also on Saturday’s program, aged pacers will duke it out in two $50,000 first leg divisions of the Spring Pacing Championship Series.

Mystician will headline the second division from Post 4 for the O’Brien Award winning trainer-driver duo of Gillis and Jamieson. The son of Camluck-Mystic Mistress sports a record of 11-14-4 in 39 lifetime starts with $1,607,792 in career earnings and will look to notch his fourth victory of his aged campaign this weekend. The 2010 Metro Pace winner is owned by Gillis, Ken Henwood of Mississauga, Ont., Mac Nichol and New York's Gerald Stay.

The second legs of the Glorys Comet and Spring Pacing Championship are slated for Saturday, March 31, with the $125,000 finals scheduled for Saturday, April 7.

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

(With files from WEG)

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