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Can San Pail Be Beat?

Published: April 4, 2012 4:29 pm ET

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“I wouldn’t trade my horse for San Pail. I think we have a huge future.”

Woodbine Racetrack is offering a stakes-filled card this Saturday and on one of the biggest standardbred programs so far this year, racing fans will be treated to a trio of top-notch stakes finals.

Trotting titan San Pail will take on six others in the $125,000 Glorys Comet Series final, while Golden Receiver will compete against nine aged pacers in the $125,000 Spring Pacing Championship. Ten three-year-old pacers will also contest the $50,000 Youthful Series final where the Rob Fellows-trained Piston Broke hopes to find the winner’s circle. All three are looking to pull off a series sweep.

The stakes action starts early with the Glorys Comet in the second race. After capturing both preliminary legs of the series, San Pail, reigning Horse of the Year in Canada and the U.S., will look to win his second consecutive Glorys Comet title and extend his current win streak to 10.

In the opening round, the Rod Hughes trainee ended Mister Herbie’s eight-race win streak. The talented Jeff Gillis pupil will look return the favour this weekend. But it won’t be an easy task.

“I think his [Mister Herbie] chances might be a little bit better this week,” said Jody Jamieson, the gelding’s regular reinsman. “I think it helps sometimes to know the competition and Mister Herbie got a chance to acquaint himself with the great San Pail. I think he will be that much more suited to have a shot at keeping up to him. Obviously, we are going to try to beat him, but we are going to try and keep up to him first.”

Owned by the partnership of J Gillis G Stay of Hillsburgh and Mac Nichol of Burlington, Mister Herbie, the 2011 Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final winner, has crafted a lifetime record of 12-4-3 in 27 outings with $391,903 in career earnings.

“I think he must have a huge set of lungs and a big heart,” said Jamieson, Canada’s 2011 Driver of the Year. “He just tries hard all the time and puts his head down and digs. Every time he goes behind the gate, he gives a top effort and two weeks ago was no different when San Pail trotted by him.”

The four-year-old gelding, however, missed the second leg of the Glorys Comet due to a quarter crack on his back right hoof.

“We are heading in the right direction,” Gillis said. “We are pretty proud of our horse, too, and we think that he is a legitimate contender.”

The reigning O’Brien Award-winning trainer believes the son of Here Comes Herbie-Independent Lassie will become a force to be reckoned with as the year goes on.

“I wouldn’t trade my horse for San Pail,” the conditioner said. “I think we have a huge future.”

Gillis will also send out Canada's Older Trotting Mare of the Year, Frenchfrysnvinegar, to take on the boys in the rich Glorys Comet final and Aahm A Gesture in the Youthful final.

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

(With files from WEG)

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