Contessa Leigh turned her first start of the 2013 season into an exhibition mile as she won the opening division of the Ohio Sires Stakes for sophomore trotting fillies by 19-3/4 lengths at Lebanon Raceway on Friday night.
The outcome of the race was never in doubt as driver Chip Noble sent the willing filly away from the gate at the start and led by five lengths after the first quarter. With Noble sitting motionless in the sulky, Contessa Leigh maintained that lead after the first lap of the half-mile oval.
By the three-quarter pole, the 2012 Ohio frosh champ had widened her margin to 15 lengths and continued to draw away. She tripped the timer in 1:59.4 and Noble had remained motionless the entire mile.
“You don’t need a whip to drive her,” he said afterwards.
Noble was filling in for trainer Marty Wollam, who owns the black beauty in partnership with G&B Racing of Pennsylvania. It was her first start of the season.
Highspeed D was second and Pinehall Lady finished third.
In other Ohio Sires Stakes trotting action on Friday night at Lebanon, MJs Victory Wish made owner Mary Jo Rini-Bross one happy lady when she tipped three-wide down the backstretch the second time and went on to victory. She paid $34 to win.
The race was thrown wide open at the start when 4-5 favourite Royal Fricasee broke stride. Kurt Sugg sent Sheza Lavec to the front and seemed to be cruising to victory. Driver Chris Page and MJs Victory Wish followed cover from Green Acrelollypop and overtook the pacesetter to win in 2:03.1 over TTs Megapixel and Miss Lulu Belle. Eric Nesselroad trains the winner, who was making her first start of the season.
The third Ohio Sires Stakes split for sophomore trotting fillies went to Alyssas Fortune, who overcame a first-over final half-mile to prevail for trainer-driver Kayne Kauffman in 2:04.1. She’s owned by Siebert Steele and she boldly challenged even-money Diplomats Mistress, who led from the start. Diplomats Mistress held for second with STs Esteem grabbing the show dough.
Alyssas Fortune was one of five winning drives for popular Lebanon horseman Kayne Kauffman.
Driver Tony Hall swept both divisions of the Ohio Sires Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies using similar pacesetting strategy.
He sent Pink Camo away flying from post five in a five-filly division to grab the lead with heavy favourite Cating Around sitting third. Hall then backed down the tempo of the race and Pink Camo had plenty left when Cating Around and driver Chris Page came calling in the final quarter mile.
“She’s very good when I can give her a breather at some point in the mile,” Hall said afterwards. “I was really confident in her when the other filly came at her."
The win was the first in three starts this season for Pink Camo, who’s trained by Ron Burke.
Cating Around was one and a quarter lengths back in the 1:57 mile while C G Satin finished third.
Hall used the same strategy a few races later in upsetting favoured Igottafeelinfran with soph pacing lass Forever La Nigh. She started alertly from post six, then paced a second quarter snoozer in :30.2. When Dan Noble moved Igottafeelinfran on the outside to challenge, Forever La Nigh fought back gamely.
They battled through the stretch with Forever La Nigh winning by a neck in 1:57.4 over Igottafeelinfran while Crosswind Colleen was third.
“She really dug in when I needed her in the stretch,” said Hall.
Ron Steck trains the winning filly for Bruce and Patricia Soulsby of Powell, Ohio.
Ohio Sires Stakes action continues on Saturday night at Lebanon with sophomore colts and geldings in action.
(Ohio State Racing Commission)