Gold Elims To Mel Mara, Michaels Power

Published: July 28, 2012 08:23 pm EDT

Favourites Mel Mara and Michaels Power turned in a pair of winning performances in their $40,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold eliminations for three-year-old pacing colts early Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack.

Making his first start in the OSS program after racing in Meadowlands Pace company, Mel Mara delivered on his pari-mutuel promise in the first elimination with driver Luc Ouellette opting to race him from off the pace for trainer Tony Alagna.

Goban (Anthony MacDonald) fired to the lead forcing Life Signature (Randy Waples) into the pocket spot and carved out fractions of :26.1 and :55.4. At the half-mile marker, Thunder Steeler (Chris Christoforou) advanced first over from fourth with Mel Mara following his cover. Meanwhile, Goban opened up four lengths on top as he raced to three-quarters in 1:22.3. However, Mel Mara was full of late pace and came flying home down the stretch to prevail in 1:49.4. Goban was the runner-up with Hard To Mach (Doug McNair) finishing third. Piston Broke (Rick Zeron) and Life Signature were fourth and fifth.

"Tonight was a big class relief," noted Ouellette after the victory. "Not to take anything away from this group, but it was a big relief."

Mel Mara paid $3.90 to win. The Lis Mara-M L Revrac colt, a third place finisher in the Upper Canada Cup earlier this year, earned his third win in eight seasonal starts and pushed his sophomore earnings to $128,896 for owners Brittany Farms of Versailles, Kentucky, John Carver of Bettendorf, Iowa, and Riverview Farms of North Bergen, New Jersey.

Upper Canada Cup and reigning Gold champion Michaels Power made a quarter pole move and never looked back as he paced home to win his elimination in a career-best equalling 1:50 flat for driver Scott Zeron and trainer Casie Coleman.

Warrawee Needy (Carl Jamieson) established the early lead off the gate and posted a :27.1 opening quarter before being confronted by 1-5 favourite Michaels Power, who swept to command from third down the backstretch. Michaels Power carved out middle splits of :55.1 and 1:23.1 before Warrawee Needy was flushed out of the pocket by the backfield. However, Zeron pulled the earplugs and Michaels Power left his rivals chasing him to the wire. Warrawee Needy settled for second while I Found My Beach (Randy Waples) finished third off a pocket trip. Lucky Jet (Paul MacDonell) and Secretsoftheknight (Doug McNair) finished fourth and fifth.

Following the victory, Coleman noted that there is still room for improvement with her colt.

"He's a fast, fast horse and I'm very happy with the win, but he didn't race as good as I had hoped," she said. "His feet were stinging him a bit, but we'll have that fixed up for the final next week."

Michaels Power, fresh off a victory in the Canadian Breeders Championship, paid $2.50 to win. The Camluck-Michelles Jackpot gelding is now eight-for-nine on the year with $587,250 banked for owner-breeder Jeffrey Snyder of New York.

In regular racing action, four-year-old millioniare The Panderosa gelding Alsace Hanover collared pacesetter Bigtime Ball (Paul MacDonell) to win his third straight $38,000 Preferred Pace in 1:50 flat for driver Randy Waples, trainer Tony O'Sullivan and owner John Fielding of Toronto. He paid $2.90 to win as the favourite.

Here is a look at the field for next weekend's $130,000 final in post position order:

1. Michaels Power
2. Warrawee Needy
3. Goban
4. Secretsoftheknight
5. Hard To Mach
6. I Found My Beach
7. Life Signature
8. Piston Broke
9. Mel Mara
10. Lucky Jet
AE1. Thunder Steeler

To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Mohawk Racetrack.

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