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Evenin Of Pleasure Stuns In London

Published: May 27, 2016 10:57 pm ET

Last Comment: May 31, 2016 9:54 pm ET | 4 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Evenin Of Pleasure and driver Sylvain Filion pulled off a 36-1 stunner in the $150,000 Molson Invitational Pace with a 1:50.3 track record performance at The Raceway at the Western Fair District on Friday night (May 27).

Evenin Of Pleasure converted off a pocket trip and defeated pacesetter Sunfire Blue Chip (Mark MacDonald) in the final strides for trainer Richard Moreau and owner Gestion J Y Blais Inc. of Montreal, Que.

Filion fired Evenin Of Pleasure off the gate from post four and settled into the pocket spot as Sunfire Blue Chip, leaving just to his inside, drove on to claim the leading role through a :26.3 opening quarter.

Machtu N (Trevor Henry) tipped out from third in front of the grandstand as Sunfire Blue Chip led the way past the half in :55.2, but he could not sustain his first over bid and began to back through the field into the backstretch affecting the outer flow that had developed behind him, including the favourites State Treasurer (Chris Christoforou) and All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley).

Meanwhile, Sunfire Blue Chip raced on to three-quarters in 1:23 and turned for home with Evenin Of Pleasure launching from the pocket and McWicked (Randy Waples) rallying inside off a ground-saving trip. Evenin Of Pleasure managed to collar Sunfire Blue Chip at the wire for the upset victory by a neck in 1:50.3 while McWicked finished three-quarters of a length behind in third.

"When I was able to get in the two-hole, I was kind of hoping Mark would keep on going, which he did, and my horse felt super good," said Filion after the race. "Around the last turn, I knew I had a good shot. He gave all he could and he raced really well."

The six-year-old son of Dragon Again-Armbo Amour, who finished a close third in last year's edition and was a winner of Western Fair's Oktoberfest Classic Invitational in the fall, was overlooked by bettors. Entering the race off a sixth-place finish in the Preferred ranks at Mohawk Racetrack, Evenin Of Pleasure was sent off as the second-longest shot on the board and returned $74.30 for a $2 win ticket. The win was the first this year in 10 races for the $600,000 career earner.

"Last time he raced, he came up real flat," noted Filion. "They scoped him after the race, he wasn't a hundred percent. You've got to give credit to Richard, he did some work on him, and my god, he was good tonight."

Evenin Of Pleasure lowered the all-age track record that was set by Tigerama in his 2008 Molson Pace elimination by one-fifth of a second. He also equalled the Canadian record for aged pacing stallions on a half-mile track, co-held by Sunfire Blue Chip, All Bets Off and Crombie A.

Evenin Of Pleasure put an end to the reign on three-time defending Molson Pace champion State Treasurer, who finished sixth. Last year's runner-up and this year's 7-5 favourite All Bets Off came on for fourth-place. P H Supercam (James MacDonald) earned the final paycheque in fifth. Bettor Rock On N (Jody Jamieson) and a distanced Machtu N completed the line-up.

Western Fair's signature race provided an exciting conclusion to its meet.

"It's nice to see the crowd like this," said Filion. "Even the infield, I find it pretty cool. It's a great ambiance and I'm looking forward to coming back."

Live harness racing will return to the London, Ont. oval next October.

Record Performance On Molson Pace Undercard

The 2016 Ontario Sires Stakes season kicked off on the Molson Pace undercard with the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings in the spotlight competing in three $70,000 Gold divisions.

North America Cup eligible Magnum J ($8) was the first winner of the OSS season for the father-son team of trainer Gregg McNair and driver Doug McNair.

The 2015 Battle of Waterloo champion retook the lead from Brookdale Sonny (Sylvain Filion) during the :27.2 first quarter and carved out middle splits of :57.1 and 1:25.4 with even-money favourite Bettor Memories (Chris Christoforou) grinding away first over. Turning for home, Magnum J drew away by more than two lengths to score the 1:53.2 victory. Brookdale Sonny finished second while Bettor Memories held for third over Carolina Hurricane (James MacDonald).

The Big Jim-Jamirotoy gelding, who went two-for-four in his freshman campaign last year while banking $126,798, was victorious in his second start of his sophomore season.

"He qualified real good," said Doug McNair of Magnum J's return to the races this year. "He was a pretty decent two-year-old. They shut him down right after the Battle of Waterloo. He always had high, high speed and so last week [in his season's debut at Mohawk], he was grabbing on pretty good in the last turn and I think I just shut him off, that's all, and he couldn't get his air. The vet had a look at him and they had him good for tonight.

"I think they took some chips out of him or something behind and they just wanted to make sure he was fresh for this year. He's comes back real good. He's a handy horse. I figured he'd like the track. The track's in great shape tonight."

Magnum J is owned by his trainer Gregg McNair, Tony Lawrence and William Brown.

The 2015 Lampman Cup-winning driver Sylvain Filion earned his first OSS victory of the new season in the next division steering Print Media ($32.40) to a 15-1 upset in a four-across finish.

"I decided to leave with him," said Filion in a post-race interview from the winner's circle. "He leaves real good, but afterwards he gets real lazy so he got me working. But it worked out good and here we are."

Richard Moreau trains the Vintage Master-Matilda Hall gelding, who fired off the gate from post four and led the field in single-file alignment through opening panels of :27.3 and :56.4. At the half, Semi Automatic (Trevor Henry) tipped out from fourth and confronted the leader as they raced into the backstretch and battled head-to-head past three-quarters in 1:24.2. Semi Automatic retreated to the two-hole for the final turn, but was back out down the stretch with 1-5 favourite War N Munn (James MacDonald) and Worthy Art (Chris Christoforou) closing outside. However, Print Media held on by one length to earn his first win of the year in 1:54.1 following a pair of runner-up finishes at Mohawk. War N Munn finished second with Semi Automatic edging out Worthy Art for third.

A Grassroots contender last year, Print Media had put together a freshman record reading 2-5-2 from 14 starts while earning $46,618 for owner Saverino Spagnolo.

The final division was the fastest as Sintra ($8.60), driven by Jody Jamieson for trainer David Menary, equalled the 1:52.4 track record for three-year-old male pacers.

Gerries Sport (Sylvain Filion), the 1-5 favourite, was the quickest off the gate from post two between the early leavers while insider Cruise Patrol (Mark MacDonald) broke stride and outsider Flaherty (Trevor Henry) settled into the two-hole. Gerries Sport proceeded to carve out opening fractions of :27.3 and :56.2 before being headed down the backstretch by the second wagering choice, Sintra, who charged first over from fourth. Sintra pressed on outside of Gerries Sport and eventually defeated him by over two lengths in the record time of 1:52.4. Flaherty followed back in third.

"Obviously, there's some nice colts here tonight," noted Jamieson after the race. "I saw Sylvain's horse get a little rough around the third turn so I popped the plugs and went at him. He got him to pace perfect around the last turn though, I was surprised about that, but Sylvain can do that sometimes. Anyways, my horse was just better tonight. Obviously, he had to be to set the track record."

Sintra shaved one-fifth of a second off the gelding record that was set by Sportskeeper last May and he equalled the overall male record held by colt Stonebridge Tonic.

The Mach Three-Dancin Barefoot gelding, who suffered a broken bone last year limiting his debut season to just three starts, is now three-for-three to start his sophomore campaign and boasts a mark of 1:51.4 taken last week at Mohawk. He is owned by Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero, and Menary Racing Inc.

The City Of London Series wrapped up on Friday, with purses ranging from $36,200 to $40,600 up for grabs in the four divisional finals. The series was for Ontario-sired four-year-olds and younger that are non-winners of $10,000 lifetime as of midnight February 29, 2016.

Trained, co-owned and driven by Garrett Rooney, 3-2 favourite On The Ridge ($4.20) went first up from fourth after the opening quarter and eventually wore down Muscles Bound (Paul MacKenzie) to win 'Take 2' of the final for male trotters in 2:01. The popular inside starter had prompted a recall prior to the initial start of the race for interfering with the trailing starter, but left smoothly in the second attempt and completed a sweep of the elimination and final. Angela Carroll also shares ownership of the three-year-old Kadabra-Miss Ridge colt, who is now a six-time winner from 13 starts in his debut season. The Big Muscle (Alfie Carroll) finished third.

William Kirkpatrick's homebred four-year-old pacer Irvine James ($3.20), the 3-5 favourite in his final despite an outside post seven, delivered on his pari-mutuel promise as he quickly crossed to command in the opening turn and lasted on the lead for the 1:58.1 victory. Mark Williams drove Irvine Hames for back-to-back victories in the series to double the Mach Three-Dexter Shmoopy gelding's career win count. Mid Town Mickey (Robert Shepherd) finished second off a pocket trip over the wide-closing Sly Baran (Nick Steward).

Western Fair's leading driver Alfie Carroll steered Shes All Muscle ($16.80) wire-to-wire to a 2:02 career-best win in the filly and mare trotting final, pulling off a mild 7-1 upset as the favourite Miami Magic (Steve Byron) broke stride early in the race. The three-year-old daughter of Muscle Mass out of All Time Favorite, who was also an elimination winner last week, now has four career victories for trainer Jamie Wilson and owner Chris Wilson. Longshots Angel Assault (Mike Whelan) and Burning Memories (Andy Moore) finished second and third, respectively.

In the final for pacing fillies and mares, the Trevor Henry-driven You Mach Me Crazy ($10.70) held off the persistent first over pursuer Machioda (Bob McClure) and late-rallying Stonebridge Medusa (Doug McNair). The three-year-old Mach Three-Lady Terror filly prevailed by less than a length over the favourites in a lifetime-best clocking of 1:56.3 for trainer Andrew McCabe and owner/breeder Glenview Livestock Ltd. The lightly raced filly is now two-for-six in her career.

A pair of Preferred 2 pacing events were won by the season-debuting four-year-old mare Stonebridge Quest ($2.90, Trevor Henry) in 1:54.2 and the locally-debuting six-year-old pacer The Rev ($3.50, Doug McNair) in 1:53.1.

Also on the card, Red Leaf Morgan ($9.10, Jody Jamieson) and Passion Quizrace ($10.60, James MacDonald) won their respective male and female finals of the Alliance Spring Series for $6,000 claiming pacers.

To view Friday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Friday Results - Western Fair Raceway.

May 31, 2016 - 9:54 pmWould liked to have seen

Jim Brown SAID...

Would liked to have seen State Treasurer four peat, I had a win ticket on him to keep for a memorabilia piece, disappointing loss this was for me. However, I didn't see State Treasurer making the front, which also would be a disadvantage for the trailer, All Bets Off. So for me, in my handicapping, I could see the number three horse with Mark McDonald cutting out the mile with the four horse driven by Sylvain Filion following. I liked both of these horses for all the above reasons. My final decision was 10 dollars to win and place on the four. What bothers me the most about clicking on the "Evenin of Pleasure winning the Molson Pace" was a reminder to me of missing the high five. Evenin of Pleasure got the absolute perfect trip and I'm glad I went with the four instead of the three. After all we are talking about last year's trainer of the year, Richard Moreau, and driver of the year, Sylvain Filion. This was a display of high level racing at its finest on a half mile track. I enjoyed watching the race, and for me as a fan, I handicapped this race to a T and others may have not seen it this way.

I'll HaveAnother Ontario Needs Racing

May 30, 2016 - 2:58 pmFirstly, congrats to the

Will Yamakva SAID...

Firstly, congrats to the winner, and WFR for another great event.

Secondly, Mr Robinski, I have been saying this for years, and I had a ton of horseman here say that it is too much work for them to tweet these things, or post this information daily about their horses. Meadowlands was going to do this, but something happened. How unfair is it that? Horseman want people to keep coming back, but it is things like this, that puts off us bettors. I recall one time standing behind an owner, and he had a horse from the seven hole that had the worst looking lines ever. I overheard him talking to a buddy of his and said they just had massive work done on his feet and he trained great. I wheeled him and scooped the tri-pool as this horse won at 40-1. When I was telling my racetrack buddies about this afterwards, as there was no reason to even look at this horse on paper, and they were sour about that, I realized this info has to come out for everyone.

May 28, 2016 - 12:36 pmCongratulations to everyone

Congratulations to everyone

May 28, 2016 - 12:08 amIt's very frustrating when

It's very frustrating when horses are racing much better than their last few races after being 'vetted". Of course the public has no knowledge of that (until sometimes after the race) and they continue to lose both their money and their interest in the harness racing product.

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