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Prodigal Seelster Wins The Battle Of Waterloo In Record Time

Published: August 2, 2010 5:08 pm ET

Last Comment: August 2, 2010 6:55 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Prodigal Seelster captured the $300,000 Battle of Waterloo for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings on Industry Day at Grand River Raceway in a 1:53.2 stakes, track and Canadian record time, providing driver Randy Waples with his fourth victory in the track’s signature race.

The 3-2 favourite, Mystician (Jody Jamieson), fired off the gate from Post 2 in the afternoon's feature event with Mach It Big (Paul MacKenzie) squeezing into the pocket ahead of Grand Master (Doug McNair) and Prodigal Seelster. Mystician carved out early fractions of :26.4 and :55.4 before Waples sent Prodigal Seelster first up.

Prodigal Seelster went head-to-head with Mystician down the backstretch, wrestling away the lead by three-quarters in 1:24.1. The son of Camluck-Platinum Seelster then opened up four and a half lengths on the field down the stretch to score in 1:53.2. Mystician finished second and Kyron (Rick Zeron) was third.

Prodigal Seelster’s 1:53.2 winning time erased the former 1:55 stakes record held by Dreamfair Vogel, Somebeachsomewhere and Wellthereyougo. It also lowered Sombeachsomewhere’s track record by one full second and Sir Luck's Canadian record by two-fifths of a second.

“It’s always nice to have the rail but I’d never really left hard with him and it's hard sometimes on a half-mile track to leave from the rail unless you got one that will eat the gate and go out of there full tilt," said Waples after the win. "I wasn’t sure if that’s what he really wanted to do and I didn’t want to blow the first turn just by trying to chase the front end so it worked out pretty good. I was kind of hoping at one point that I would maybe be able to keep Doug on the outside because I wanted him to chase the pace and make it better for me but he got in there and gave his horse a really good trip.

"When Jody started to back it down a little bit I was able to get Prodigal Seelster out to the front. Jody said to me before the race that he raced Prodigal Seelster first over last week [in the elimination] and the horse was really good, didn’t mind the trip at all, so it just really worked out. I’d like to take credit for it, but the only credit I can take is that I showed up here I had the top horse.”

“When things go good, they go good,” said trainer Dave Menary. “Randy gave him a good steer and it brought tears to my eyes. Maybe not in purse, but this is my biggest win. I’m very proud of the colt.

“They were going lots and Randy knew what they were doing and just watched everything. I told him how confident I was in the colt and when I’m confident I know he’s confident,” continued Menary, who was convinced his colt had the win at the half.

“To be honest I thought he was the best colt in London['s Forest City Sale] last year. I didn’t think we would be able to buy him. We paid good money for him -- we paid $60,000 -- but I didn’t think we were going to be able to buy him. We were happy when we brought him home and we are even happier today.

“I think I’ve been saying from about March that this is the best horse I’ve ever had. I’ve had some nice ones and all the nice ones have had one or two good qualities about them but this guy’s got about four or five.”

Prodigal Seelster paid $6.20 to win as the 2-1 second choice. His second win in four starts boosted his bankroll to $169,300 for owners Larry Menary of Cheltenham, Denis Breton of Welland, Kenneth Ewen of Georgetown and the Double Or Nothing Stables of Hamilton, ON.

“He was special right from the get-go. He shows one bad line, but it really wasn’t his fault,” said Waples in reference to Prodigal Seelster’s only off the board finish in an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Final on July 15 at Mohawk. “He had a tire go flat just when he rolled in behind the gate and the trip just ended up being really horrendous and it just didn’t work out. That’s the beauty of Dave, he just takes those trips and shugs them off and said ‘okay, we’ll get them next week’ and here he is two weeks later exactly where he wanted him to be. For a guy that’s as young as him to sit there and pick this horse out of the catalogue, train him down, do such a great job, point him to his race and do it, it kind of gives you a lot of hope for this sport when somebody that young is so talented.”

Waples fourth win in the 13th edition of the Battle of Waterloo makes him the winningest driver in the history of the event. The former resident of Fergus-Elora, ON also won with Wellthereyougo (2009), Dreamfair Vogel (2001) and Your Nemesis (1999).

“The crowd here is always great. They’re always so enthusiastic," he said. "There’s a whole atmosphere and that’s really what I think is so special about the Battle of Waterloo. The atmosphere is first rate and the racetrack does everything it can to promote it and they do such a great job. I’ve just been lucky and I was very lucky this year to hook up with Dave.”

Leaving from Post 3, Mach Wheel and trainer-driver Joe Hudon Jr. won an early battle for the lead, clearing in front of inside starter Tara Micket (Trevor Henry) past the :27.3 opening quarter in the $30,000 Battle of Waterloo Consolation. The gelded son of Mach Three-Armbro Reno proceeded to the half in :58.2 and three-quarters in 1:27.3 before opening up four lengths on the field to win in 1:56.2, equaling Haul Away and Mister Russ's track record for freshmen geldings.

“I would like the $300,000 one instead,” laughed Hudon Jr., who also bred and co-owns the first time winner with Karen Hudon of Acton, ON.

Mach Wheel was scratched sick in a conditioned event at Mohawk prior to his fifth-place finish in his Battle Of Waterloo elimination last week.

“I had to race him careful [in the Battle of Waterloo elimination] or else I would have ruined the horse for a year,” he explained. “I put him in there and hoped for some breaks and the breaks didn’t come my way so we hoped to get this.

“He’s going to be a real good Grassroots horse and he might be in the bottom end of Golds. It depends, if he keeps coming around the way he is he might just do with the big boys. It's hard to know, they’re so good.”

Mach Wheel paid $7.30 to win as the 5-2 second choice.

Village Janus Is The 'Belle' Of The Ball

Village Janus went wire-to-wire to win the $150,000 Battle of the Belles for two-year-old pacing fillies setting a new track record of 1:55.1 for driver Mark MacDonald and trainer Rod Therres.

Village Janus sprinted off the gate from Post 3 and hit the opening quarter in :27.3 with a three and a half length lead. The Modern Art-Village Jest filly raced past the half in :57.4 and three-quarters in 1:26.3 before holding off Bunkhouse Babe (Steve Condren) by a neck to win in 1:55.1. The time of the mile eclisped Luck Of Michelle and Random Dreamer’s track record for two-year-old pacing fillies by one-fifth of a second. Lyons Carrie (Jody Jamieson) finished a length behind in third off a two-hole trip.

“I’m very excited. My family and friends came from BC and they’re here. My dad and my mom and my partner flew out with his wife and it's pretty cool. I never expected this,” said an elated Rod Therres, who purchased Village Janus with Larry Schmidt of Abbotsford, BC for $21,000 at the Canadian Open Yearling Sale in 2009.

“I went to the Canadian Open and it was my first big sale. I was looking at horses and didn’t know what barn they were in. You’ve got to be lucky. I picked her and took her home and trained her at Fraser Downs all winter and flew her out here. I thought she was good but I didn’t know that she was going to be this good,” said Therres, who was drawn to the filly by her pedigree and looks. “She looks like a tank.”

Although Therres said Village Janus was kind of lazy training down, he noted that she showed glimpses of speed. “She would wake up once in a while. Like when one of the Canadian geese would spook her or something you knew you had something so I just never woke her up until just awhile ago.”

“It was a big effort,” added MacDonald. “She’s not very good on the front end, she waits a little bit. She was pulling up in the paddock turn. Last week it was a new track and everything was new so she kind of kept going. Today, she was waiting on them a little bit. Roddy had mentioned to me that when she warmed up she had jumped over something too so I was even a little more worried about that but she's a great filly and she’s just going to get better. She’s a better stalker than she is on the front. If we get a chance to put her on a live helmet you’ll see a big mile out of her."

Village Janus paid $4.30 to win as the popular choice in the field. She remains undefeated in four starts with earnings totaling $105,500.

Therres indicated that Village Janus would be heading to Rideau Carleton Raceway for next Sunday’s Ontario Sires Stakes Gold assignment.

Lyons Susan and Robert Shepherd went three-wide around the final turn as she rallied from last to first to take the $20,000 Battle of Belles Consolation in 1:56.4 for trainer Darren McCall and Geoffrey Lyons Mound of Burford, ON. Lucky Taryn (Trevor Henry) finished a length and a half behind off a pocket trip while Pocket Of Gold (Dave Wall) rounded out the top three.

“I tried to get her second over and she just tried to go too fast coming out of the turn. She was running in a little and she just wants to go so much she just put herself on the run trying to keep up,” said Shepherd of Lyons Susan’s sixth-place finish in her Battle of Belles elimination last week.

“[Darren McCall] said he opened her up and put a mini bit on her because she wasn’t too aggressive but it just seemed whenever you would start her up she didn’t want to settle. She was a lot better today.

“She’s very quick. She’s only small but she never seems to get tired. She raced really good in Dresden,” said Shepherd of Lyons Susan’s first start in an Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots division on July 17. “She came from last [in that start] and I thought she would be really good last week and she just made a break. I figured today if she stayed at it she would be really good today.

“Accelerating she just wants to do it right now, which isn’t a bad thing but on a half-mile track it can be a little bit of a flaw.”

Lyons Susan returned $22.20 to her backers for the 10-1 upset. The two-year-old daughter of Camluck-Noble Sami is now two-for-three in her career with $24,000 in the bank.

More Track Records Fall On Industry Day

Fresh off a 1:56.3 trotting track record performance last week in the Preferred at Grand River, Mystical Starlight returned to best that time in the $15,000 Industry Day Fillies & Mares Invitational Trot and equal a Canadian record in the process.

The five-year-old daughter of Credit Winner-Miss Lovely left from Post 8 with Jody Jamieson in the bike and carved out early fractions of :27.4 and :56.3 with Gostreet (Lyle MacArthur) parked and pressing. Mystical Starlight shook off that rival as she raced to three-quarters in 1:25.3 and then unleashed a :28.4 final kicker to win by nearly five lengths in a sizzling 1:54.2. The time of the mile bested Indys Kylee's 1:56.1 Canadian trotting record for aged mares on a half-mile track and equaled Define The World's all-age mark. Countess Stormont (Jonathan Drury) and Flora Dream (Mario Baillargeon) finished second and third.

“I just like to win and the other day she raced huge, sat a two-hole and I got by Jonathan [Drury] and Normy’s [Norm Jones] filly [Countess Stormont] real late,” said Jamieson of Mystical Starlight’s former track record performance. “Today I just looked across and the inside horses fell off the gate and I changed my mind off the gate. I thought there would be a little more speed on the inside but just the way we went in the stretch there I changed my mind and let her trot out. Johnny was going hard and I wanted him in the two-hole. Just from there on I let her roll. I didn’t want to take a hold of her and let anybody go and re-take or anything like that, I just wanted to keep her trotting. I didn’t think she was capable of [1]:54.3 out here but I thought she could win.”

Pressed through a :56.3 opening half, Jamieson says he had no concerns about his mare.

“She felt great. She loves the competition on the outside of her. When I pulled the hood off her up around the five-eights she kicked into gear again and trotted that third panel in :29 seconds and I think that just solidified the deal. She could have come home in :30 seconds and still won but I kept at her and just wanted to make sure she was going to win and not make any mistakes and fall asleep. She came home in :28.4, that’s just amazing.”

Mystical Starlight paid $4.20 to win as the bettor’s choice. Darren McCall trains the winner of five races in 24 starts this season and $72,230 for owners Glen Hobin and Ross Bradley of Stittsville, ON.

Jamieson was also in the bike for Lady Latte’s victory in the $15,000 Industry Day Fillies & Mares Invitational Pace, which produced a new track record for aged mares.

Favourite Sammy Syd (Bruce Richardson) re-took the lead from Keepers Destiny (Paul MacKenzie) before the :27.3 first quarter and reached the half in :57.1. Lady Latte, who got away fifth from a Post 6 start, launched her first over attack as the field raced to the midway point and pushed ahead down the backstretch. She cleared the lead as they moved past three-quarters in 1:25.1 and then opened up four lengths on the field before stopping the timer in 1:53.2, lowering Up Front Lady’s record by two-fifths of a second. Longshot Stonebridge Celest (Scott Zeron) came on for second over Keepers Destiny.

“She’s been a good mare all along. Everybody knows what a classy mare Lady Latte is and it worked out good,” said Jamieson. “Sammy Syd didn’t have her best day today. She’s just a [great] mare on the front end. I was worried about coming at her first up down the backstretch but she dug in and hit another gear. It was a huge back half at Grand River but they’ve got this track awesome today.”

Lady Latte paid $7.40 to win as the 5-2 second choice. William Hamm trains the four-year-old daughter of No Pan Intended-Miss Jeki, a winner of 10 races in 18 starts this year and $53,750, for owners Craig Turner and Mhairi Kersel of Ingersoll, ON. Her 19th career win pushed her overall earnings past the $100,000 mark.

Chinnys Wings, Button Up Take Male Invites

In the $15,000 Industry Day Invitational Trot, odds-on Chinnys Wings ($4.90) rallied off cover to get up just in time to score by a head in 1:56.2, equaling his lifetime mark. Bank President (Randy Waples) finished second with Home Stretch (Tim Driver) three-quarters of lengths behind in third.

Doug Bowns co-owns, trains and drives the five-year-old gelded son of Armbro Ricochet-I Quiver Not, who has won half of his 10 starts this year earning $34,685. Donald Brinkman of East Coulee, AB also shares ownership.

Sent postward as the longest shot on the board in the $15,000 Industry Day Invitational Pace, 2005 Battle of Waterloo winner Button Up pulled off a 22-1 upset for driver Mike Horner and trainer Mark Horner. The seven-year-old son of Northern Luck-Better Butter survived a first over trip to win in a season’s-best 1:53 by three-quarters of a length over pacesetter Primary Purpose (Mark MacDonald). Part Shark (Scott Zeron) finished third off a pocket trip.

Sure Gain Stable of Mitchell, ON owns the winner of four races in 23 starts this season and $60,865.

To view Monday’s results, click here.

August 2, 2010 - 6:55 pmNow that was an exciting

Lynne Magee SAID...

Now that was an exciting race! Congratulations to Prodigal Seelster, Randy Waples and the connections. It appeared that there was a good crowd from what I could see watching from home where I am on grandparenting duty. If you want to find out how what we need to do to rev up racing in Ontario, check out Elora Raceway. They seem to have found some answers. Maybe the smaller track, clean, well-maintanined facilities, up-close fan participation, funfest between races and pleasing personalities should be the example for other tracks that are an embarrassment to the industry!
Way to go Grand River for putting on yet another fine day and showing us that racing is still a fun-filled event for the entire family!
Way to go all participants (human and equine)and thanks, fans, for taking part!


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