Adare Castle Reigns In Ontario Graduate Series

Adare Castle winning at Woodbine Mohawk Park
Published: April 14, 2023 11:22 pm EDT

The star-studded Ontario Sired Graduate Series for four-year-olds kicked off on Friday night (April 14) at Woodbine Mohawk Park featuring the successful return of O'Brien Award winner Adare Castle.

The Mark Etsell-trained mare Adare Castle topped the $25,000 open trotting division in her first start of the season, winning in 1:53.2 in rein to James MacDonald.

Adare Castle looped the quick-leaving Duly Resolved after a :27.4 first quarter and trotted clear on top through a :56.4 half and 1:26 three-quarters before opening up more than two lengths turning for home as slight 8-5 favourite Esplosione launched his attack from third. Adare Castle held off the late-gaining Eslposione (Sylvain Filion) with a :27.2 final frame to win by three-quarters of a length. Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Championship winner Resolute Bay (Anthony MacDonald) edged out Super Final champion mare Mischevious Rose (Louis-Philippe Roy) 2-1/2 lengths behind in a show photo. Duly Resolved (Paul MacDonnell) rounded out the top five.

Launching her four-year-old campaign off a pair of April qualifiers, Adare Castle paid $5.60 to win as the 9-5 second choice. The millionaire Muscle Mass-Pacific Edge mare improved her career record to 15-6-0 from 23 starts for Etsell, who shares ownership with Robert Newton of Walkerton, Ont., Graham Hopkins of Chesley, Ont., and Peter Porter of Port Dover, Ont.

Speaker Nancy and driver Trevor Henry pulled off an 11-1 upset in a thrilling finish to the $25,000 pacing mares division that had half of the oversized field in contention at the wire.

Dewitt For Josie blasted across the track from the outside post to establish the early lead before the turn, but she was looped after the :26.3 quarter by stablemate I Love Ongait, who then set middle splits of :55.2 and 1:23. Meanwhile, Speaker Nancy got away fifth and followed Goudawon's cover at the midway mark. 

I Love Ongait continued to lead down the stretch, but Dewitt For Josie and Goudawon were closing in on both sides while Speaker Nancy rallied outside of those foes with the popular O'Brien Award winner Silver Label closing five-wide off her cover. In the end, Speaker Nancy came through for a career-best 1:50.3 victory, besting I Love Ongait (Louis-Philippe Roy) by a head. Goudawon (Bob McClure) edged out Silver Label (James MacDonald) and Dewitt For Josie (Doug McNair) for the show money.

Speaker Nancy, who won her season's debut a week ago at Mohawk, returned $25.80 for the upset victory. Shayne Barrington trains the Artspeak-Lets Imagine mare, who is closing in on the $200,000 earnings mark and now has seven career wins to go along with nine other top three finishes from 28 starts for owners Jamie Copley of Kenmore, Ont., and Ottawabob Racing Stable of Ottawa, Ont.

The Ontario Sired Spring Series continued on Friday for three-year-old colts and geldings. The second leg was comprised of four $18,000 divisions -- a pair of the pacers and two for the trotters. The series is for non-winners of $30,000 in 2022.

The trotting tilts were won by favourites Airborne ($5.40) and Devils Arch ($3.80). Frederick Clarke's homebred Wheeling N Dealin gelding Airborne led from start to finish in a 1:58.3 maiden-breaking victory for driver Bob McClure and trainer Blake MacIntosh. He finished second in the opening leg to the Courtney Bishop-trained Devils Arch, who was a repeat winner in the series. The gelded son of Archangel prevailed off a perfect pocket trip and took a new mark of 1:55 flat for driver Jody Jamieson, co-owner with Wendy Gualtieri and Mary Moody.

Favourites also swept the pacing divisions with top honours going to Gandolf The Black ($3.40) and No Control ($2.50). Gandolf The Black, a round one runner-up to No Control, took a new mark of 1:54.4 after James MacDonald put the Shadow Play gelding on the point early and then later re-emerged with the lead after a pocket-popping move on the final turn for trainer Dominic Gladu and Thestable Gandolftheblack. North America Cup eligible No Control took control in his division after being parked past the quarter and sprinted away from his competition by nearly three lengths at the end for a 1:51.4 victory -- his fastest yet from a four-for-five career record -- for driver Tyler Jones and trainer Tan Micallef, who co-owns the Control The Moment gelding with Keira Liberte and Ian Clarke.

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

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