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Favourites Deliver In SPC Opener

Published: March 24, 2012 11:01 pm ET

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Consistent pacers Sparky Mark and Golden Receiver prevailed as the favourites in the opening leg of the Spring Pacing Championship Series at Woodbine Racetrack on Saturday night.

Sparky Mark, in rein to Sylvain Filion, equalled the Canadian season's mark of 1:49.4 in the fastest $50,000 division of the two.

The Astreos-Luckbealadytonite five-year-old followed Mach Dreamer (Rick Zeron) and cleared to the front past a speedy opening panel of :26.1, which was put up by Mystician (Jody Jamieson). Sparky Mark then laid down middle splits of :54 and 1:22.2 before brushing home to win by a head. Early trailer Melvyn (Luc Ouellette) found racing room late in the mile to finish second with Mach Dreamer completing the triactor.

“It was a tough trip for him tonight, but he raced terrific,” Filion said following the win. “At this level there are no easy races for anyone, but he really dug in tonight. He’s not a very big horse, but he’s all heart and leaves it all on the track. This was just his second start back [off a layoff] so I think he’ll be that much better next week.”

Sparky Mark, who dominated the Preferred ranks at Woodbine late last year, enjoyed his first victory of 2012 from four starts for trainer Mark Austin and owner-breeder Leo Thibodeau of Windsor, Ont. His career bankroll increased to $377,090.

Sparky Mark paid $4.30 to win.

Presidential Series champion Golden Receiver prevailed in the other $50,000 division, stopping the timer in 1:50.

Driven by Randy Waples and conditioned by Mark Harder, Golden Receiver went gate-to-wire, carving out fractions of :26, :55.3 and 1:23.4, before scoring a one length victory. St Elmo Hero (Jody Jamieson) enjoyed a pocket trip to finish second with Classic Rock Nroll (Doug McNair) coming on for third.

“He was good tonight,” Harder said following the win. “They went a slow middle half so I kind of thought Randy put him to sleep. That was a big final quarter [:26.1] and he responded well. He’s really on his game right now.”

Golden Receiver is owned by breeder Nina Simmonds, along with Stephen Springer, Richard Taylor and Stable 45. The seven-year-old Village Jove-Royal Gold gelding, who has won eight of his last nine starts, increased his lifetime earnings to $807,925.

He paid $2.90 to win.

The Spring Pacing Championship continues on Saturday, March 31.

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

(With files from WEG)

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