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Il Mago Breaks Maiden With Gold Win

Published: August 12, 2011 7:58 pm ET

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Il Mago pulled off a mild 7-1 upset while breaking his maiden in the $130,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Final for two-year-old trotting colts contested on Friday night at Rideau Carleton Raceway.

With Trevor Ritchie in the bike, the Kadabra-Northern Style colt got away fourth from post position one while Dalglish (James MacDonald) and Good Sound Advice (Reg Gassien) blasted off the wings in a battle for the early lead. With the inside advantage, Dalglish took control of the field while Good Sound Advice settled into the pocket spot ahead of 1-2 favourite The Game Plan (Jack Moiseyev) and Il Mago.

Following a :28.3 opening quarter, The Game Plan swept to command as the field raced down the stretch in front of the grandstand for the first time. The elimination winner continued to control the tempo through middle splits of :59.2 and 1:29.2 while Ritchie sent Il Mago first over with Heres The Magic (Scott Zeron) following his cover.

Il Mago went head-to-head with The Game Plan around the final turn and battled down the stretch with Dalglish shooting up the rail for a three-horse photo finish. Edging out his foes by a neck, Il Mago prevailed to earn his first career win in four starts. Il Mago stopped the clock in 1:59.1 with The Game Plan hanging on for second over Dalglish. Heres The Magic finished over two lengths behind with Good Sound Advice earning the final paycheque.

Il Mago paid $17.40 to win as the 7-1 third choice in the field. The Rod Boyd trainee, who finished fifth and last in his elimination as the favourite after making a costly break, is owned by Chris Alexander Stable Inc. of Aurora, Ont. and Mark Harder of Freehold, New Jersey.

Il Mago will have an opportunity to defend his Gold Final title on August 19 at Mohawk Racetrack when the freshman trotting colts face off in their third Gold Series event of the season.

Older trotters faced off in the $13,000 Preferred event later on the card in which Watkins and driver Gord Brown advanced first over from the backfield and wore down pacesetter Mystical Ryan (John MacDonald) for the 1:56 career-best triumph. Star Ruffnready (Rheo Filion) finished third.

The four-year-old gelded son of Striking Sahbra-Sarong Hall, who paid $8.50 to win, is trained by Dr. Peter Johnston for owners Idylwood Stables Inc. of Peterborough and Watkins Equine Inc. of Newcastle, Ont. Watkins, now four-for-14 this year, earned career win No. 13 and lifted his lifetime earnings over the $200,000 plateau.

Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Rideau Carleton Raceway this Sunday as the Ottawa oval plays host to a $130,000 Gold Final for the two-year-old pacing fillies, Grassroots action for the two-year-old trotting colts and the Frank Ryan Memorial for aged trotters. The outstanding program gets under way at 6:30 p.m.

For results from Friday's harness racing card, click on the following link: Friday Results - Rideau Carleton Raceway.

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