The glamour boys' Ontario Sires Stakes Gold season gets underway on Saturday, July 2 at Woodbine Mohawk Park and Ron, the top Ontario Sired finisher in the Pepsi North America Cup, will be looking for his first taste of OSS success.
Ron will leave from the inside post in the second of two $102,000 divisions (Race 8), where the James Dean trainee will look to build on his fourth-place finish in Canada’s richest harness race for three-year-old pacing colts.
“He came out of the [Pepsi North America Cup] great, which is really important,” said Dean. “Sometimes you don’t even know if he’s ever raced. You put him out in the paddock and the next day he just takes off running and playing. That horse never has a bad day. He’s always happy and enjoys his work.”
The son of Sportswriter out of Doubelieveinmagic was Dean’s third Pepsi North America Cup starter, but the first for Ron’s owners James and Wilma Mackenzie of Ennismore, Ont.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Dean. “Usually when you’re going for $1 million, there is a bit of stress, but these owners, they take all the stress off you. Their expectations were realistic and they were happy with the result.”
His $72,000 Pepsi North America Cup cheque was the most Ron has earned in a race to date. He made six OSS starts in 2021 and his best result was a second at the Grassroots level.
Ron’s two-year-old campaign was highlighted by four consecutive wins in the fall, including a sweep of the Ontario Sired Harvest Series at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
Jody Jamieson will drive him on Saturday for the fifth straight start.
“Jody did a great job in the Cup. He got us the maximum amount of money,” said Dean. “So, I’ll let Jody do whatever he wants. I don’t tell drivers how to drive. I tried to drive before and I’d be a lot thinner than I am now if I kept with it because I’d be starving.”
Joining Ron in the second Gold division is 5-2 morning line favourite Sport Secret, a fellow son of Sportswriter who is making his OSS debut. The colt is out of the Mach Three mare My Secret Belle, a winner of three of her four OSS Gold starts as a sophomore. Doug McNair will drive from post six for his father, trainer Gregg McNair, who co-owns with Frank Brundle, Jeffrey Skinner and Ross Holmes.
The other Gold division (Race 3) is headlined by 2021 OSS star and O'Brien Award finalist Stonebridge Helios, who is the 5-2 morning line favourite and will be making his debut from the McNair stable after his original ownership group was dissolved. Stonebridge Helios started his three-year-old campaign with a win in the SBOA Stakes and a third-place finish in a division of the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes before going off-stride in his North America Cup elimination. McNair's son Doug will pick up the drive aboard the Sunshine Beach-Ken Doll J colt.
Stonebridge Helios will be joined in his division by the other Ontario Sired colt to reach the final of the North America Cup, Kolby Two Step. James MacDonald will drive the Betterthancheddar-Dancing Heart gelding from post four for trainer Tim Gillespie and co-owner Jason Churchill.
Post time for the first race on Saturday is 7 p.m.
To view Saturday's harness racing entries, click on the following link: Saturday Entries - Woodbine Mohawk Park.
(With files from Ontario Racing)