Mystician edged out Prodigal Seelster in a photo finish Saturday night in the $130,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Final for three-year-old male pacers at Mohawk Racetrack
The Jeff Gillis pupil captured his third victory in 10 starts this year while lowering his lifetime mark to 1:49.2.
Mystician and driver Jody Jamieson took the sophomores to the opening quarter in :27. Sent off at odds of 3-5, elimination winner Twin B Legend (Paul MacDonell) came first-up from third, cleared before the half in :54.2, and held the front past the three-quarter marker in 1:22.
The other elimination winner, Prodigal Seelster (Scott Zeron), was next to make a move in the final turn. He launched a first over attack from fourth and took command in deep stretch while Jamieson angled Mystician out of the pocket.
Prodigal Seelster and Mystician hit the wire together, but it was last year’s $1 million Metro Pace and this year's Upper Canada Cup champion Mystician who scored the victory by a nose. Twin B Legend finished third.
“I thought I got up last stride,” said Jamieson following the win. “The last couple of starts he’s been disappointing. Jeff [Gillis] said he had a great week. He put the aluminum shoes on him and he has the Confederation Cup next week. He is coming into the race really good.”
Jamieson, fresh off his victory in the 2011 World Driving Championship on Friday night at Yonkers Raceway, was confident he was going to get to the wire first.
“Twin B Legend is a nice horse, he just didn’t have the right night,” he noted. “Mystician was on his game and running over everybody at the head of the stretch. Scott [Zeron with Prodigal Seelster] did a great job keeping me in until the last second until I could get over off his back and Mystician did the rest from there. He just showed his true heart, a heart of a champion.”
The son of Camluck-Mystic Mistress has a lifetime record of 8-8-1 in 22 starts and boasts career earnings of $1,229,668 for owners Gillis, Ken Henwood of Mississauga, Ont., Mac Nichol of Burlington, Ont. and New York's Gerald Stay.
The bay colt paid $6.30 to win as the second choice.
Mystician's victory kicked off a natural hat trick for Gillis. The Hillsburgh, Ont. conditioner won the next two races with Kashas Kid (Jamieson) and Ideal Race (Rick Zeron).
Ideal Race held off the hard-closing North America Cup champion, Up The Credit (Jamieson), to win the $35,000 Preferred Pace by half a length in 1:50.3. Grin For Money (Keith Oliver) was third. Gillis co-owns the five-year-old Western Terror-Eidette Hanover gelding with Nichol. Ideal Race returned $8.80 to win.
Jamieson found himself back in the winner's circle after capturing the $45,000 Open Pace with heavy 1-5 favourite Art Professor. The four-year-old son of Art Major-Allamerican Toffee pulled the pocket in the stretch and drew clear to score for the second straight week in 1:48.3 over pacesetter Major Hottie. Dalhousie Dave was third. The Ben Wallace trainee is owned by Bradley Grant of Milton, Ont. and Holland Racing Stable Inc. of Aurora, Ont. Art Professor paid $2.70 to win.
The Tony O'Sullivan-trained Rave On and driver Scott Zeron advanced to the lead at the half and held off favourite Broadies Song (Rick Zeron) to win the $28,000 Preferred 2 Pace by half a length in a new lifetime best of 1:50.2. Outrageous Art (Phil Hudon) rounded out the top three. The five-year-old gelded son of Art Major-Gone Dancing is owned by Aotearoa Racing of Cambridge, Ont. He paid $19.40 for the upset.
For results from Saturday's harness racing card, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Mohawk Racetrack.
(With files from WEG)