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Darling On His Gold Elim Starters

Published: July 27, 2011 9:17 am ET

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Trainer Jack Darling will start a pair of three-year-old pacing geldings in Ontario Sires Stakes Gold elimination action at Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday, July 30, and the resident of Cambridge, Ont. is hoping both Twin B Legend and Thats The Life advance on to the Gold final.

Both pacers will start from Post 2 in their respective $40,000 Gold elims, with Twin B Legend leading things off in Race 1. The Mach Three gelding heads into his sophomore Gold Series debut off a pair of sharp performances in the Canadian Breeders Championship, where he captured his July 16 elimination in a personal best 1:50.3 and was a fast-closing second in the July 23 final.

“He was really good last week; he was really flying at the end,” said Darling, who added that all five of the gelding’s sophomore starts have been solid.

“He had bad luck in his first start; he just ran into a wall of horses, but he’s actually raced [well] every start.”

Darling, who also owns Twin B Legend, made a decision earlier this year to skip the Upper Canada Cup in May and prepare the gelding for a late June debut. Twin B Legend made his first start in a June 21 overnight at Mohawk, where he finishing tenth from Post 10. His second start was in the July 1 Grassroots skirmish at the Campbellville oval, and Twin B Legend sprinted home to a fourth-place finish.

In a second overnight event, on July 8, the winner of $194,013 scored his first sophomore victory with a 1:51.1 mile, then came back the following week to capture his Canadian Breeders Championship elim. Through his first five starts this season, the trainer said Twin B Legend has demonstrated considerably more mental fortitude than he did as a two-year-old, and, as a result, Darling has given the gelding’s drivers the go ahead to expand his repertoire of racing tactics.

“Last year we were very careful with him. He was very immature mentally and I was worried if we started leaving with him, he’d go a little crazy,” the horseman explained. “This year he’s much more mature, and a couple starts back I told Mike (Saftic) we could start leaving with him.”

Paul MacDonell will steer Twin B Legend in Saturday’s Gold elim, and with just six colts in the field, the resident of Guelph, Ont. may not need to use any of the gelding’s early speed. Among the colts also lining up behind the starting gate in Race 1 will be Upper Canada Cup winner Mystician (Post 1) and reigning Gold final champ Watermelonwine (Post 5).

Unlike his stablemate, who made six appearances in Gold Series action last season and captured an early October Gold final, Thats The Life will be making his Gold Series debut on Saturday. Like Twin B Legend, Thats The Life started his sophomore campaign in the Grassroots program, where he scored a 1:52 victory and earned a shot at the province’s top tier.

“He’s just a really nice horse,” Darling said about the Life Sign gelding. “I think he’ll be very competitive in there if he gets a decent trip.”

Although Darling rarely trains horses he does not own himself, when longtime friend Terry Tomlin of Fowlerville, Michigan called to ask if he would make room for Thats The Life, Darling agreed. The homebred gelding, owned by Mitchell Walker of Davison, Michigan, moved into his barn in early June and has since scored two wins and two thirds in five outings.

“He’s a very athletic horse on the track,” noted the trainer. “He’s the kind you like to have around.”

Thats The Life also competed in the Canadian Breeders Championship, where he finished third behind Mach Of Ballykeel in his elimination and ninth in the final. The gelding faces a field of Gold Series regulars in Race 3, including last year’s Super Final champion Prodigal Seelster, who will start from Post 6.

With only 12 colts competing, the top five finishers from each Gold elim will return to Mohawk Racetrack on August 6 for the second $130,000 Gold final on their schedule. Saturday’s Gold elims are slated as Races 1 and 3 on Mohawk Racetrack’s 7:10 p.m. program.

To view entries for Saturday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Saturday Entries – Mohawk Racetrack.


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