Updates On Ontario Super Final Champions

2022 Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final winners
Published: March 23, 2023 02:37 pm EDT

It might not feel like it, but according to the calendar, spring started this week, which means stakes season is right around the corner. And last year’s Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) Super Final champions are preparing for their return to the racetrack.

2022 Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt Champion: Stockade Seelster (State Treasurer-Soiree Seelster)

Stockade Seelster had a freshman season to remember. The dual O’Brien and Dan Patch divisional winner earned more than $900,000, paced the fastest two-year-old mile in OSS history and won the $900,000 Metro Pace.

“He had a nice long rest. He was off from his last race until January 23,” said trainer Dr. Ian Moore. “He did grow tall late in the fall and now he’s filled out. He has a nice chest on him. He was slim before and he’s come right around that way.”

Stockade Seelster will qualify a few times in the U.S. and at Woodbine Mohawk Park before targeting the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association (SBOA) Stakes elimination as his pari-mutuel return.

“Hopefully, he will come back better than he was as a two-year-old because no doubt he will have to,” said Moore. “There will be a lot of top three-year-olds showing up that we may not even have heard of as two-year-olds but will be great as three-year-olds, so hopefully he shows up and competes.”

After the SBOA, if all goes to plan, Stockade Seelster will target the marquee race of the early summer calendar, the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

2022 Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly Champion: Cheesy Smile (Betterthancheddar-Frame Worthy)

Cheesy Smile picked up four wins in six OSS starts during a rookie season in which she earned more than $300,000.

Trainer John Pentland sent Cheesy Smile to Cimeron Farms in Mossley, Ont., after her season ended on Super Final night and she returned to his farm in early December.

“She is training back really good so far, she’s around in [2:20] right now and there is no issue at all,” said Pentland. “I like to hang them around [2]:25 and [2]:30 for five or six weeks. Then I feel like I have enough foundation in them that I can’t really screw them up from there.”

Cheesy Smile will look to build on her OSS success this season as a three-year-old.

“We will take our crack at the Grand Circuit ones that are up here,” said Pentland. “We might be a bit of a fringe player, but she was as good as anyone in Ontario anyways, and if she comes back a little bit better and some of the other ones aren’t quite as good, she should be able to play with most of them anyways.”

2022 Two-Year-Old Trotting Colt Champion: DWs Point Man (My MVP-Yankeedoodlecandy)

DWs Point Man won a thrilling Super Final, where the lead changed three times between three horses in the last quarter mile, to cap off a season in which he made the most of his four OSS starts, winning two other times and banking $221,598 in the provincial program.

A month after the Super Final, he was at Jacques Dupont's farm in Quebec, where he has been turned out since January.

“He has been training in [2:]15 lately and he has been training really good, and he has grown a lot,” said Jacques' daughter, Marie-Helene. “He was a skinny horse, but he has gained weight and looks better, so hopefully he is stronger.”

DWs Point Man will plan to qualify in late April or early May and prepare for the anticipation that comes with a horse trying replicate their freshman success as a sophomore.

“You see him getting better every day and changing every day,” said Marie-Helene. “It’s not like training a claimer who is already racing and you know what they are. As a three-year-old, you have lots of expectation and hope for them -- it’s the excitement to see how fast they can go.”

2022 Two-Year-Old Trotting Filly Champion: Righteous Resolve (Resolve-Motown Muscle)

The O’Brien Award winner for two-year-old trotting fillies, Righteous Resolve was nearly flawless during her outstanding rookie campaign. She won eight of 10 starts and had a second and a third for a perfect 10-for-10 on-the-board finishes. 

The Matt Bax trainee is wintering in Florida and will ship back to Ontario on April 1 to continue preparing for her three-year-old season.

“You hope they get a little bigger, stronger and tougher each year. But it’s nice if you made the money as a two-year-old and you know she is a nice horse -- there is less pressure as a three-year-old,” said Bax. “Now you’re just having fun every time she races. We look forward to racing her and I know the owners look forward to going to her races.”

2022 Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt Champion: Cold Creek Queso (Betterthancheddar-Machbethslady)

Cold Creek Queso came on strong at the end of his three-year-old campaign, emerging from a crowded division to win the final Gold Series leg and earn the bettors’ trust as the odds-on favourite in his Super Final victory.

He made one more start after the Super Final, before shutting down after a season in which he banked more than $180,000 in the OSS program alone. 

“He was out in the field and he’s been back training for a while now -- trained him in [1]:57 recently,” said trainer Murray Brethour. “I plan to qualify him on [March 24] and he’s paid into the Graduate Series at Mohawk.”

Brethour is appreciative of Mohawk’s new Ontario Sired Graduate Series, which begins on April 14, giving horses like Cold Creek Queso the chance to get their feet wet in a new season against other horses their own age.

“The four-year-old year is the toughest year in racing, so it’s a good way to start,” said Brethour. “The older horses are a lot tougher. If you think horses age is times four, they’re only 16, going against horses that are five, six and seven with the same math.”

2022 Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly Champion: Silver Label (Bettors Delight-Hidden Gem)

Part of the three-headed monster from Millar Farms' 2019 crop of fillies, Silver Label won six times in 2022 and just missed the board in a Breeders Crown final where less than a length separated the top four finishers.

She stayed in Kentucky after a Nov. 10 start in the Matron Stakes at Dover Downs and returned north of the border to trainer Nick Gallucci in January.

“She came back looking really good,” said Gallucci. “She progressed really well from two to three, so I am hoping she progresses the same from three to four. At the end of the day, there isn’t too much I can do to help her, just hope she has everything moving forward and is stronger overall, and more seasoned.”

Silver Label is also targeting the Graduate Series for her return to the racetrack.

“It’s really nice that we have a transition race for these three, coming four-year-olds,” said Gallucci. “Especially ones like her that have made a lot of money, there is nowhere you can race them other than in the Preferred or the Open. So, it’s nice they can transition back into races against horses their own age and caliber.”

2022 Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt Champion: Safe Conduct (Archangel-Safekeeping)

Safe Conduct trotted home in :27.3 to win a thrilling Super Final after going off at odds of 10-1. The win pushed him over $300,000 in earnings and was his fifth on-the-board finish in five OSS starts as a three-year-old.

Trained by Camilla Christoforou, the gelding made his last start in the Super Final and is preparing for the Ontario Sired Graduate Series, which starts the weekend of April 14, to kick off a carefully managed first season in the aged ranks.

“It’s his four-year-old season and, other than the series, he will have to race against seasoned higher-class veterans," said Christoforou. "We are not looking to over-race him this year. Therefore, we will take it from week to week when managing his racing schedule.”

2022 Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly Champion: Mischievous Rose (Muscle Mass-Vegas Virgin)

Mischievous Rose earned close to $300,000 in her sophomore campaign, proving tough at the OSS and open stakes level. Her Super Final win featured a blazing fast final quarter, trotting home in :26.4 to win by a half-length, and she was third in a pair of Grand Circuit stakes, the Simcoe and the Casual Breeze.

“She had a good break and I think she came back stronger,” said trainer Luc Blais. “She looks stronger and is feeling good. I’m very excited to bring her back this year.”

Like her fellow Super Final winners, Mischievous Rose is targeting the Graduate Series at Mohawk as her season debut.

“It will be a good beginning,” said Blais. “She won’t have to start in the aged mare [classes]. It’s a good race. I am very pleased they are doing a race like that in Ontario.”

(With files from Ontario Racing)

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