Champagne Phil was a fitting winner on Harness The Hope Day in rein to Natasha Day, who wore pink silks for the featured race on Sunday afternoon (August 22) at Clinton Raceway.
Adore Him and Travis Henry established the lead in the $5,500 Harness The Hope Pace with Champagne Phil and Day third through a :28.2 first quarter. As the field rounded the turn and raced in front of the grandstand for the first time, the favoured Life Is Better moved first-up from fourth for J Harris with Streakazana and Tyler Moore following the cover.
Adore Him rolled past the half-mile mark in :58 and continued to lead to three-quarters in 1:27 while Streakazana backed away and Champagne Phil was able to pick up the cover on the backstretch.
Day then sent Champagne Phil three-wide into the stretch and the 11-year-old gelding flew by with the pink silks flashing across the wire as he stopped the clock in 1:56.4. The late-closing Heza Handy Man, driven by Mike Horner, finished 1-1/4 lengths behind in second while Life Is Better edged out Adore Him for third.
Champagne Phil, the 3-1 second choice, returned $7.90 to win. Trained by Ken Oliver for ICR Racing, the son of Shanghai Phil has won back-to-back races and four of his 12 starts this year. Lifetime, he boasts 47 victories and $616,926 in purse earnings.
Founded by the Dustin Family 16 years ago, Harness the Hope is an event hosted by Ontario racetracks that aims to raise funds, awareness and support for programs that help those affected by cancer. Proceeds benefit the Breast Cancer Society of Canada and the Pink Pearl Foundation.
Each Harness the Hope Day features a “Best Dressed in the Backstretch Contest” for racing participants to take part in. Prizes are awarded to each winning “Best Dressed Horse” and “Best Dressed Groom” who display as much pink attire as possible. Patrons attending each event will also be entered to win prizes if they wear pink as a show of support.
Harness The Hope will head to Hanover Raceway on Saturday, Aug. 28 and Leamington Raceway on Sunday, Oct. 17.
To view Sunday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Sunday Results - Clinton Raceway.