Ghostly Casper Wins Season's Debut In Mohawk Series Action

Ghostly Casper winning at Woodbine Mohawk Park
Published: April 13, 2024 12:17 am EDT

O'Brien Award winner Ghostly Casper made his four-year-old debut a winning one on a rainy and windy Friday evening, April 12 amid a slew of spring series events at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

The Canadian Sired Graduate Series for four-year-olds kicked off on Friday with one $25,000 division for trotters and one for pacing mares.

Ghostly Casper was a sneaky winner in his season's debut for trainer Ben Baillargeon, hauling down 1-2 favourite Like Chaos late to win the trot division in 1:55.3 over a 'good' track. Tyler Borth engineered the winning trip for Ghostly Casper, following loosely in fifth before making up ground on cover through the final turn and sprinting home in :28.1 for the mild 6-1 upset.

Like Chaos blasted off the gate from post six and cleared insider Passarino heading to the first turn with Baroness Hill leaving from the outside and tucking into third. Like Chaos reached the quarter in :28.1 and led a gapped-out field down the backstretch to the half in :57. He rounded the final turn to three-quarters in 1:26.2 with Tuscan Prince launching first-up from fourth and Passarino chasing in the pocket. Like Chaos was up by three lengths as he spun for home, but Ghostly Casper came charging off Tuscan Prince's cover at the end to steal the spotlight. Like Chaos settled for second, beaten three-quarters of a length, with Tuscan Prince edging out Passarino for third money.

Ghostly Casper, who was named last year's Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the Year after a $400,000 campaign that included a victory in the Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final, is owned by Baillargeon and partners Teresa Davidson, Santo Vena and Nunzio Venia. The son of Resolve out of Cool Creek Breeze now sports a career record reading 5-9-5 with $633,679 earned from 30 starts.

Sent off as the fourth choice on the toteboard, Ghostly Casper returned $14.50 for a $2 win ticket.

Talk Curdy To Me delivered on her 1-5 pari-mutuel promise in the first leg of the Canadian Sired Graduate Series for pacing mares as the David Menary trainee stalked mid-pack early on then rallied off cover to prevail in a four-across finish in 1:55 flat for driver James MacDonald.

Lady Get Lucky fired to the front from the outside post seven and put up a :28.4 first quarter followed by a :57.4 half before Powder Play came to play with favourite Talk Curdy To Me hot on her heels. Lady Get Lucky held a short lead through three-quarters in 1:26.3, but was swarmed in the stretch with pocket-pursuer Mist Amber closing at the pylons while Powder Play and Talk Curdy To Me continued to rally outside. In the end, the favourite prevailed farthest out by three-quarters of a length, with Powder Play taking second over Lady Get Lucky and Mist Amber.

Recently joining the Menary stable for Pollack Racing, Talk Curdy To Me won her second start of the season and returned $2.70 to her backers at the betting windows. The Betterthancheddar-Keepers Destiny mare has hit the board in 22 of her 29 starts, with nine of those winning efforts. The lion's share of the purse brings her career bankroll to $213,487. 

The Canadian Graduate Series consists of three preliminary legs and $75,000 added money finals. The finals will take place on Saturday, May 4.

The Ontario Sired Spring Series for three-year-old colts and geldings also kicked off on Friday with one $18,000 division for trotters and three for pacers. The conditioned series is for non-winners of $30,000 in 2023.

Driver Sylvain Filion swept the opening trot and pace divisions with a pair of undefeated sophomores, Convoy Hall and Four By Four.

The perfect Bob McIntosh trainee Convoy Hall won the trotting division as he looped around early leader Captain Wania after a :28.1 quarter and trotted on top through middle splits of :57.4 and 1:27.1 en route to a three-length victory in 1:57.4. The Muscle Mass-Constance Hall gelding is now five-for-five in his debut season for owners Robert McIntosh Stables Inc., Douglas John McIntosh, Randy Liepa and Beverley Snobelen. He was the overwhelming 1-9 favourite, returning just $2.10 to win. Captain Wania chased for place and The Canam Banker edged out Steamer to show.

Trained by Carmen Auciello, Four By Four improved his record to three-for-three after a 1:54.1 victory for owners Daniel Sarafian, Kevin McKinlay and Jim Fielding. The Shadow Play-Windsun Jagra colt went from third to first after a contested :27.2 opening quarter and rolled on top through a half in :56.2 and three-quarters in 1:25.1 before drawing off for the 4-1/4-length triumph, with co-favourite Tricky McWicky coming on for second and Tamworth Boy finishing third. He paid $4.70 to win.

Borth had more success in Friday's series action, as he drove the other two Ontario Sired Spring Series pacing winners, Gigitygigitygigity and Warraweeforlaura.

Borth split rivals leaving into the first turn to put the Rene Dion-trained Gigitygigitygigity on the point and never looked back. Following up an impressive maiden victory a week ago, the Sportswriter-Ive Got Stamina gelding was on top at markers of :28.1, :57.2 and 1:26 on his way to a 1:56.2 victory by 2-3/4 lengths for breeder R A W Equine Inc. and co-owner S&R Racing Stable Inc. JMR Speak Away rallied late to finish second despite being interfered with by a final turn breaker and Brookdale J Mac rounded out the top three. Sent postward as 9-2 odds, the second favourite paid $11.60 to win.

Warraweeforlaura extended his win streak to three with a 1:56.4 score in the final division for Borth, who shares ownership of the All Bets Off-Allegory gelding with trainer Frank Baker Jr. and William Stevenson. After getting away seventh in the field of eight through opening fractions of :28.2 and :57.3, Warraweeforlaura sprang into action and the 1-9 favourite was upto second chasing after a first-up Moonwalker as that rival cleared by the 1:27.2 three-quarters mark and pacesetter Sailors Shadow broke stride. Warraweeforlaura went by easily in the stretch, widening his margin to 4-3/4 lengths and paying $2.30 to win. Your Party and Price Control finished second and third, respectively.

The Ontario Sired Spring Series has two legs and $40,000 added finals, which will be contested on Saturday, April 27.

To view Friday's harness racing results, click the following link: Friday Results - Woodbine Mohawk Park.

(Standardbred Canada)

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