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Sintra Upsets In Canadian Pacing Derby

Published: September 2, 2017 8:48 pm ET

Last Comment: September 4, 2017 1:55 am ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Sintra rallied up the inside, surpassing Rockin Ron as he drifted on the lead through the stretch to take the $615,000 Canadian Pacing Derby, which headlined the Grand Circuit stakes action at Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday, September 2, in 1:48.1.

Nirvana Seelster, Rockin Ron, and All Bets Off launched for the lead in tandem, while Sintra floated away into a gap at the rail in fourth. Nirvana Seelster took the lead and passed the quarter in :26 before Rockin Ron circled to the lead into the backstretch. Even-money favourite Keystone Velocity was stalled first over, trying to flush out cover through a :54 half.

Rockin Ron edged away from Nirvana Seelster around the far turn. Keystone Velocity was not advancing wide of All Bets Off and in front of Sintra, who was boxed in as Rockin Ron hit three-quarters in 1:21. Through the stretch, Rockin Ron flattened out, and room at the rail opened as Nirvana Seelster and All Bets Off were both taken off the cones. Sintra lunged after the fading leader late, sliding a neck in front to win in 1:48.1. Rockin Ron finished second, Mcwicked closed for third, and All Bets Off held on for fourth.

A four-year-old gelding by Mach Three out of the Rocknroll Hanover mare Dancin Barefoot, Sintra, owned by Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero, and Menary Racing Inc., won his eighth race in 13 starts this year and his 16th in 32nd overall, earning $882,385. Trained by Gaetan Hebert and driven by Jody Jamieson, he paid $27.40 to win.

"He's a special horse - I thought he was a half-mile track horse at the beginning of the year, but that hasn't worked out well," co-owner Dave Menary said. "He doesn't like the crashing and banging on a half anymore - he likes the big track; he likes to flaunt his speed. He's a very lightly raced horse and hopefully he's got a couple more years ahead of him."

"I got to tell you, the last couple of years, and the positions I've put myself in to not be overly successful, this win feels really good," Jody Jamieson said. "It feels as good as any of the big wins I've had; never won a [Canadian Pacing] Derby before. It's amazing to be able to do it for the people in this stable; for Dave [Menary] and his partners Mike Guerriero, Brad Gray. For them to have the seemingly unwavering confidence in me, it's very much appreciated, and these are the nights we do all of this for.

"I wasn't sure what I was going to do off the gate - Dave didn't want me getting away tenth and I didn't want to be blasting out to the lead. Simon [Allard on Keystone Velocity] moved out quickly to get his position, and I wasn't sure it was going to work out even at the head of the stretch. Sintra, with any kind of [good] trip at all, he just explodes through.

"He's an amazing horse - he's been amazing all year long. I'm just so blessed to have a chance to drive him. Dave's had this horse his whole career and had him amazing. Gaetan's filled in for us the last couple starts, but Dave Menary is to thank for this horse. He developed the horse and turned him into what he is today."

Sintra is pointed to start in the Jim Ewart Memorial Saturday, September 9 at Scioto Downs.

Sitting the pocket, Kendall Seelster pounced on odds-on favourite Percy Bluechip and handed her the first defeat of her career, upsetting in the $169,381 Champlain Two-Year-Old Filly Pace in 1:51.1.

A daughter of Shadow Play from the Bettors Delight mare Kiddie Cocktail, Kendall Seelster stalked Percy Bluechip as she set splits of :26.2 and :55.3 on the lead. Soon to be braced by an uncovered challenge from Big Thong around the turn, driver Randy Waples tipped Kendall Seelster out of the pocket midway around the final turn to match strides with the leader through three-quarters in 1:24.3 and soon edge to the lead. Percy Bluechip chased the Paul Reid trainee to settle for second, while Pueblo Blue Chip rallied off a rail trip to be third.

Owned by 1187422 Ontario Inc., Kendall Seelster won her second race in seven starts, earning $199,186. She returned $21.80 to win.

"I seem to draw [against] Percy Bluechip every week, and I always usually get away close to her; on her back," Randy Waples said. "I could never beat her, and sometimes I can never get out to get the chance. I think the first couple of times I raced against her, even if I got out, there was no beating her. But I thought last week or the week before she maybe was a little more tired than she'd been showing, and my filly was really, really fresh right now. Tonight she got out and things worked out well.

"I put nothing against [Percy Bluechip] either - she's just about as good of a two-year-old filly as I've seen in a long time. My filly's really handy, too - they're both handy fillies. They can get out of there and sit up close, and then still have a lot left coming for home. This is the first time Percy's been beat, so I got to give her the edge. But it will be interesting to see how much better [Kendall Seelster] can get."

Stay Hungry gradually advanced toward stable-mate and pacesetter Odds On Lauderdale before overtaking him in the stretch and progressing to a lifetime-best 1:52.1 win in the $97,880 first division of the Champlain Two-Year-Old Pace.

Positioned fourth through a :27.3 opening quarter, Stay Hungry moved first over entering the backstretch as Odds On Lauderdale took the lead from Evening Play. Following a :56.3 half, Odds On Lauderdale gained separation from Evening Play as he dropped back in the pocket, leaving room for Stay Hungry to tuck approaching three-quarters. Timed in 1:24.2, Stay Hungry quickly edged back outside and gained control into the stretch. Trump That split horses late to take second, while Torrin Hanover, off a rail trip, maneuvered into third.

Winning in the second start of his career, Stay Hungry, the undefeated colt by Somebeachsomewhere out of the Dragon Again mare My Little Dragon, competes for owners Brad Grant and Irwin Samelman. Trained by Tony Alagna and driven by Doug McNair, he paid $3.80 to win.

Dragon Time fanned wide off a pocket trip and swooped to the front late, taking the $96,880 second division of the Champlain Two-Year-Old Pace in 1:52.

Hudson Phil took control, setting a slow pace of :28.2 and :57.2 while unpressed on the lead. Simple Kinda Man tipped first over from fifth, moving uncovered as 9-5 favourite Nutcracker Sweet stayed at the inside moving to three-quarters. Timed in 1:25, Hudson Phil remained in front as Simple Kinda Man challenged and Dragon Time was positioned behind them third. Driver Yannick Gingras angled Dragon Time wide of the battling leaders, taking the lead in the final sixteenth to pace clear of Hudson Phil, who held second, and Babes Dig Me, who closed for third.

Owned by Menary Racing Inc., Michael Guerriero, Larry Menary, and Alan Alber, Dragon Time, a two-year-old gelding by Bettors Delight out of the Dragon Again mare Little Miss Dragon, won his third race in eight starts this season, earning $78,502. Trained by Gaetan Hebert, he returned $9.40 to win.

"I knew right from the get-go that he was really going to improve," co-owner Dave Menary said. "He's got a lot in his pedigree, but sometimes that breeding takes a little bit to come [to form]. He was fat all the way along - his feet were bothering him, but Gaetan did a great job with his feet.

"Last week, first up is just not his ideal trip, and he raced really tough. This week he had some cover and he dug all the way to the wire; Yannick gave him a great trip. I'm really happy with the way he's heading into the Metro.

"I'm happy to be here - Gaetan did a great job and, coming back tonight, is a great way to come back."

"They've been high on this horse all winter long," Doug McNair said. "They were right - I trained him a few times before they qualified him and I really liked him. He showed tonight that he's a pretty serious colt."

International Moni advanced first over and fended off a final bid from race-leader R First Class to take the $165,838 Simcoe Three-Year-Old Trot in 1:53.3.

Magic Night rushed to take the front moving to the first turn, while R First Class got away second and shortly after moved wide to circle to control through a :27.3 opening quarter. International Moni, sitting fifth, fished for cover before committing first over midway down the backstretch, pursuing the leader after a :57.1 half.

Sweeping up to match strides with R First Class around the final turn, International Moni held a slight advantage at three-quarters in 1:26. He remained a neck in front of R First Class through the stretch as he attempted to usurp command from the uncovered leader, but settling for second. The two were clear of Magic Night, who finished third, and Dunbar Hall, who rallied for fourth.

By Love You out of the Speedy Crown mare Moni Maker, International Moni, returning $3.20 to win, won his sixth race in 19 starts, earning $508,282 for owner Moni Maker Stable. He is trained by Frank Antonacci and was driven by Scott Zeron.

"Heading into the first turn I didn't know what was going to happen," Scott Zeron said. "We had a lot of us heading out there, so I just protected my position; was able to control when I came first up. He had to work today; he came home in :27.3 - it was big."

"I love it - we are very happy our horse is back," assistant trainer Domenico Cecere said. "He still raced well at Vernon, but he scoped sick. So we had some time to take him back and he seems to be back on track.

"He came in here five days ago and will stay here for the [Canadian Trotting Classic] eliminations and we'll go from there. Probably two [from our stable] will go into [the Canadian Trotting Classic]. We'll see how they're coming out tomorrow morning and go from there."

Second Gold win for Sports Column, first for Bills Fella

On a program full of Grand Circuit Stakes, Ontario’s top three-year-old pacing colts put on an impressive show in two $98,000 Gold Series divisions Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack.

After spending five weeks battling some of the top pacers on the Mohawk circuit, Sports Column celebrated his return to Ontario Sires Stakes action with an impressive 1:50.1 victory over Nascar Seelster and Mach Deja Vu.

Lining up behind Post 4 with Brett Miller in the race bike, Sports Column landed in third as Manceiver took the field of 10 to a :27 quarter, but the fan favourite was soon rolling up the outside and had taken command by the :54.4 half. Under pressure from Mach Deja Vu at the 1:22.3 three-quarters, Sports Column found another gear in the stretch and pulled away to a two length victory, his second straight in Gold Series competition.

“He was impressive tonight,” said trainer Blake MacIntosh. “He’s come back to form since we put him on Lasix (July 22) and hopefully everything keeps going right and we can finish off the year the way I was hoping we’d start it.”

Cambridge, ON resident MacIntosh shares ownership of Sports Column with Hutt Racing Stable of Paoli, PA and Daniel Plouffe of Bromont, QC. In 11 sophomore starts the Sportswriter colt has posted two wins, both in Gold Series action, two seconds and four thirds for earnings of $130,000. Monday’s victory propelled him to the top of the three-year-old pacing colt point standings with a total of 110.

The sophomore pacing colts make their last regular season Gold start at Mohawk on Oct. 2 and the top 10 points earners will return to the Campbellville oval for the $225,000 Super Final on Oct 14. Before he wraps up his Ontario Sires Stakes career, however, Sports Column has a pair of open stake engagements south of the border.

“He’s eligible to the race at Scioto (Downs) next week (Sept. 9), the Jug Preview, and then he’s got the Jennas Beach Boy in Indiana (Hoosier Park, Sept. 22),” said MacIntosh. “And then he’s got the next Gold on Oct. 2, then Super Finals on Oct 14 and then the Matron (Dover Downs, Nov. 9).”

The second Gold division saw heavy favourite Classic Pro suffer his first defeat of the season against Ontario Sires Stakes company. Rather than the two-time Gold Series winner it was first-time Ontario Sires Stakes winner Bills Fella who hit the wire first, stopping the clock in a personal best 1:51.1.

“Something was bothering Classic Pro there tonight, and it ended up things worked out great for us,” said trainer Gregg McNair. “I inherited the win I think somehow, that horse wasn’t himself tonight, Classic Pro, but our horse raced real good, he paced strong to the wire.”

Bills Fella and driver Mike Saftic of Campbellville, ON lined up behind Post 5 in the nine-horse second division and were sitting fifth when Arsenal Seelster reached the quarter in :26.4. Saftic was looking to follow Classic Pro into the outer lane, but was forced to go around the favourite when driver Trevor Henry dropped back down onto the rail before the :55.4 half. Instead of Classic Pro, Bills Fella ended up following Dreamfair BJ up the outside to the 1:23.2 three-quarters, and when Saftic tipped the gelding out in the stretch Bills Fells sprinted under the wire a one and one-half length winner over pocket-sitter Red John and pacesetter Arsenal Seelster.

The win was the third of the season for Bills Fella and his first in Ontario Sires Stakes action. The son of Artistic Fella and Lucky Louisa started the season with a third-place finish at the Grassroots level and then finished third to Sports Column in the July 22 Gold event.

“I think this is his second Gold. We raced him in one before and he was third, but he was all out,” recalled McNair, who bred and owns Bills Fella with Ian Fleming of Londesborough. “I mean much further to go and I think he was going to be fourth that night, but tonight he was good and strong. Mike said he paced strong, right to the wire, so we were happy with that.”

Bills Fella is the grandson of McNair and Fleming’s former Gold Series star Claires Apache and the trainer says her sophomore season in 2005 may be the last time the pair hoisted a Gold trophy.

“I don’t think we’ve had a Gold win for, well Claires Apache would be our last Gold win, I believe. We’ve been putting lots back in, so it’s nice to get a little out once in a while,” added the Guelph, ON resident, ruefully.

Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Mohawk Racetrack on Monday, Sept. 4 with Grassroots action for the two-year-old pacing colts and two-year-old trotting fillies. The pacing colts will kick things off in the first race at 7:30 pm.

To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Mohawk Racetrack.

(Ontario Sires Stakes recap courtesy of the OSS)

September 4, 2017 - 1:55 amSintra and Dragon Time .....

Sean DeMarco SAID...

Sintra and Dragon Time ..... both bets I would have made but I was concentrating on having a good time with my son at the live racing at Hiawatha Horse Park as all he wants to watch is the live racing. Stupid me as I should have gotten my bet in early knowing how we usually do things but I thought hey when live racing is over I will get upstairs like I always do and make my bet but nope. Also when finally going upstairs I went right to a regular, Joe, and right away he says "Your horse won. Did you bet it?" : ( He said something like that and it was a dagger right through my heart and he knew I would have bet it if I'd seen the race on time as I bet Sintra last week in an exactor and have always bet the horse. : S Oh and about Dragon Time ...

It is all about Dragon Again and hell Bettors Delight ... LOL! I remember watching Dragon Again long ago and will always bet a horse with the breeding and the similar name. Unfortunately I missed out on this too as I had backed him in the previous race and he led down the stretch only to lose by 1 length.

You win some and you lose some but when you don't get a bet in you can't win at all. Also what ticks me off is I only bet big races now so damn.

I got to make sure I bet early from now on as soon as I get to the track.

Congrats Sintra as I knew you were awesome and Dragon Time thanks for reminding me of a horse I really liked long ago ... Dragon Again!

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