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MacDonnell Earns First Gold Win

Published: July 28, 2018 12:44 am ET

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After capturing a division of the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots season opener, two-year-old trotting filly Teddys Littleangel made a successful transition to the Gold Series with a victory at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday evening (July 27).

Starting from post four in the first of three $67,200 splits, Teddys Littleangel landed in fourth as Giving It All took the field of eight to a :28.1 opening quarter. Teddys Littleangel was still sitting in the middle of the pack at the :58.1 half, but driver Paul MacDonell soon had the filly rolling along up the outside behind the fans’ second choice Kenogami Darling and she reached the 1:28.1 three-quarters less than four lengths behind Giving It All. Rolling off the final turn, MacDonell pointed Teddys Littleangel at the wire and the Archangel daughter powered home to a 1:57.4 victory, holding off a late charge from Silver, who finished one-half length back in second. Royal Rhythm was a length behind the duelling leaders in third.

“Well, with a two-year-old you never know what to expect really, but it didn’t shock me, she’d been training well heading into it and hopefully we have her over a few of her little quirks,” said trainer Ted MacDonnell of the filly’s 1:57.4 effort.

The mile took almost three full seconds off the 2:00.3 mark Teddys Littleangel recorded in her Grassroots victory at Georgian Downs on July 14 and was the quickest of Friday’s Gold divisions. With victories in both of her starts, the daughter of Archangel and Pine Knolls has earned $42,825 for owner.breeder Leonard Gamble of Etobicoke, Ont.

Friday’s victory was not only the first Gold win for Teddys Littleangel, it was the first for veteran horseman MacDonnell.

“I’ve knocked on the door a lot of times, but that’s the first Gold win I’ve had so it was pretty exciting,” said the Allenford, Ont. resident, who admitted even driver MacDonell was surprised to hear that a Gold win was missing from his resume. “Even Paul Mac said that, he said, ‘No, you’re kidding.’ I said, ‘No, it’s true.’ I’ve won big races before, just not a Gold. So that was nice.”

Teddys Littleangel and MacDonnell will aim to add to their Gold Series win total when the freshman trotting fillies return to Woodbine Mohawk Park on August 10 for their third Gold leg.

A five-time winner of the Lampman Cup as the leading driver in the Ontario Sires Stakes program, Sylvain Filion is no stranger to the Gold Series winner’s circle and he made two more visits on Friday evening.

In the second division, the Milton, Ont. resident sent Petro Hall straight to the front from post five and never looked back. The fan favourites rolled through fractions of :29.3, 1:00.1 and 1:30.1 on their way to a one and one-half length victory in 1:59.2. HP Bruxelles finished second and Angel For Life was well back in third.

“I had seen her race and I baby raced her early on (June 14) and I always liked her. And I felt that, in the field that she was in tonight, if I could get her to the front and control the pace that she would be tough to beat,” said Filion of the gate-to-wire effort. “She can leave fast and she can settle in good, so that’s a big plus for a two-year-old trotting filly.”

Filion engineered the victory for Ontario-based trainer Victor Puddy of Mountain, and owners Lloyd Stone of Portland, James Ruhl of Tara, Dr. Charles Hall of Erin and Michael Kwietniowski of Guelph, who acquired the daughter of Angus Hall from the 2017 London Selected Yearling Sale for $15,000. Sixth in a conditioned event at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 6 and a narrowly beaten second in the Gold Series season opener at Georgian Downs on July 15, Petro Hall has already accumulated $50,200 in her brief career.

After donning his mud gear, Filion eased Presto Change O away from post six in the last division and sat briefly in third as favourite Strip It Down AS trotted to a :30.1 opening quarter. Heading for the 1:00.3 half, the reinsman sent Presto Change O after the lead and the filly had put more than two lengths between herself and the field by the 1:30 three-quarters, a margin she carried through to a 2:00.3 victory. Angies Luckeylady closed well to be second and Strip It Down AS was a distant third over a rain-soaked oval which had been downgraded from fast to sloppy between races six and seven.

“She’s not as handy as the other one and she can be a little grabby,” said Filion of the Paul Reid trainee. “Last time in Georgian (on July 15), we got interfered with leaving the gate, but I felt she didn’t trot as good, she didn’t get a hold of the track too good, so I think Paul made a few adjustments and tonight she was pretty good.

“We got in the three-hole and then the horse in front was trying to pull up a bit and mine was getting a little aggressive so I moved her to the front and once I cleared it was home free,” he continued. “She’s a big strong filly, she’s still learning. She’s not as handy as the other one, but I think she’ll learn and she’ll be a very good filly later on.”

Reid trains the Kadabra daughter for owner/breeder Robert Key of Leechburg, Pennsylvania, and through three starts, Presto Change O has earned $37,100.

In this week's $30,000 Fillies & Mares Preferred Pace, even-money favourite Firebby A set fractions of :29, :57.4 and 1:26 before widening her lead in the stretch to keep a late-closing Bettors Up at bay in 1:53.4. Louis-Philippe Roy drove the six-year-old Courage Under Fire mare for trainer Ron Adams and co-owner David Kryway. Sandbetweenurtoes finished third.

Next up on Woodbine Mohawk Park’s Ontario Sires Stakes calendar are the two-year-old trotting colts, who will compete in their second Grassroots event on Tuesday, July 31. The colts will compete in Races 2, 6 and 9 on the program, which gets under way at 7:30 p.m.

To view Friday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Friday Results - Woodbine Mohawk Park.

(With files from OSS)


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