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Ontario Gold Twinbill At Mohawk

Published: July 20, 2017 8:44 pm ET

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Two-year-old pacing colts and geldings took centre stage at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday evening (July 20), with a pair of Ontario Sires Stakes Gold events sharing top billing on the 11-race card.

Shadow Moon ($5.10) graduated from the Grassroots ranks with aplomb, matching his 1:53.4 effort on July 10 with a hard-fought score under a barrage of pressure in the night’s first Gold division, the $96,400 third race.

Trevor Henry put the Shadow Play-Lofty Yankee colt in play immediately when the gates folded, battling between Backstreet Shadow (Doug McNair) and Sporting Chance (Louis-Philippe Roy) to control a :27.2 first quarter before bracing for a stout challenge from Simple Kinda Man (James MacDonald) up the far side. After a :29.3 backstretch breather, Shadow Moon rose to the challenge of Simple Kinda Man, throwing down a :26.4 third quarter to parry his outside foe nearing head-stretch.

Upon cornering for home, Shadow Moon was showing signs of tiring, yet he dug deep to turn aside two others and prevail by a neck in 1:53.4. Western Passage (Travis Cullen), who lost cover at head-stretch after stalking the battle on the far turn, chased strongly for the runner-up spot, while Sports Legend (Sylvain Filion) circled three-wide midway on the far turn and sustained his rally into third, another three quarters of a length back.

Trainer Dr. Ian Moore, who shares ownership of Shadow Moon with R G McGroup, Ltd., Serge Savard, and Gordon McComb, likened his pupil’s determination to that of his sire.

“He’s got an attitude like his father Shadow Play,” Moore commented in the winner’s enclosure. “He’s just gritty and tough, and he doesn’t want anybody to get by him.”

While Shadow Moon repelled five different challengers throughout the mile, he was just a bit slow to round into shape for top-calibre competition. “This colt’s been a nice colt from day one, but he ran into some problems in March,” Moore continued. “That’s why I opted to start him in the Grassroots, in fact, this was probably only his fourth time behind a starting gate. I hemmed and hawed about where we should start him tonight, but he got it done. I think he’s only going to get better over time.”

The second Gold division, the $97,200 ninth race, saw Adriano Sorella’s new acquisition Jimmy Freight ($23.20) engineer a 10-1 upset, clearing, yielding, grinding down Goth Hanover and outsprinting a resurgent Lucky Sport to capture his Canadian debut in 1:52.3.

Jonathan Drury had the Sportswriter-Allamerican Summer colt in high gear from the outset, working to clear Atomic Seelster (Henry) and Lucky Sport (Jody Jamieson) through a :27.1 quarter before yielding to Lucky Sport upon nearing the far side. Jimmy Freight was relegated to third spot as Goth Hanover (Cullen) mounted a middle move from fourth to clear at the completion of a :55.4 half mile, but would commence a second bid midway on the far turn. Jimmy Freight gained under urging to reclaim command in the final yards, reeling in Goth Hanover and evading Lucky Sport—who emerged up the pegs from the pocket—for a narrow score under the lights after reeling off five consecutive tallies on the Iowa fair circuit for his former connections.

“I was hoping I would be able to sit close with him,” remarked Drury after the race. “I really didn’t want to be first-over, but I was able to move him fairly late. He felt good.”

Tony Alagna now trains the undefeated Jimmy Freight, who now has won all six of his career appearances.

“He’s been racing on the small tracks, so 1:58 (at What Cheer, Iowa) is kind of deceiving, but that was a pretty good mile for him.”

A quintet of Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots divisions for two-year-old male pacers – each for just over $19,000 in purse money – supported the co-featured Gold events. Phantom Seelster ($2.20, Rick Zeron, 1:52.3), Chocolate Swirl ($9.70, Cullen, 1:54.2), Family Sports ($50.20, Jamieson, 1:53.3), Burning Midnight ($3.30, Roy, 1:53.2), and Hudson Phil ($6.10, MacDonald, 1:54.2) proved victorious in their respective splits.

To view Thursday’s harness racing results, click on the following link: Thursday Results – Mohawk Racetrack.

For the official judges' report from Thursday's card, click the following link: Judges' Report - Mohawk - July 20.


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