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Waples Surpasses $100 Million Mark

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Published: September 22, 2011 10:52 pm ET

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Driver Randy Waples surpassed the coveted career earnings milestone of $100 million with a victory aboard China Pearls in the $170,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold final for three-year-old trotting fillies on Thursday night at Mohawk Racetrack.

China Pearls returned to the track off a one month hiatus from racing with fresh legs and equalled her career mark of 1:54.3 in the Thursday night feature.

As the field of seven fillies lined up behind the gate for their fourth Gold Series event of the season (no eliminations necessary), B Cor Janett (Dan Clements) made a costly break in stride. Outside starter Oh Sweet Baby (Mario Baillargeon) was on her best behaviour though and fired across the track to take the early lead.

Following a :28.2 opening quarter, Waples sent China Pearls first over from third and cleared the lead before the half-mile mark flashed up in :57.3. Her lead was short-lived though as Magic Wheel (Joe Hudon Jr.) was full of trot and surged to the top, opening up multiple lengths on the field by three-quarters in 1:25.1.

It appeared as though Magic Wheel had the race under wraps heading for home, but she began to tire in the stretch as Waples pulled China Pearls from the pocket. The Carmen Hie trainee caught the leader in deep stretch and scored her first OSS victory by two lengths. Oh Sweet Baby finished second while Magic Wheel settled for third.

“She was really relaxed and calm and cool,” said Waples of the winning filly. “I asked Carmen how she was and he said she’s really quiet tonight and I hope that’s a good thing, and it was. She raced really well. The last couple of weeks there she’s been kind of plucky going to the gate, but tonight she was perfect. She was all business."

With Magic Wheel making a big move down the backstretch, Waples admitted he thought for a moment that tonight wasn’t going to be his filly's night.

“Joe was going a thousand. His filly looked great when she went by me so I guess the first thing that popped into my mind was tonight is Joe’s night. She’s a great filly and he obviously had her tuned up for this race and ready to go, and he made a great move. It caught me by surprise. At first I thought maybe tonight was his night and maybe we can hold on for second, but coming to the head of the lane my filly started to swell up. I could see Joe’s filly was kind of starting to shorten her stride a little bit and my filly was really wanting to go at that point so I had a pretty good feeling then. That last quarter I felt good.”

China Pearls paid $3 to win as the 2-5 favourite.

Unraced as a two-year-old, China Pearls has won six of her 14 races this year, including the Canadian Breeders Championship and SBOA Stake, while banking $311,105. The Kadabra-Pure Sable filly is owned by the Carman Hie Stable Inc. of Rockwood, Blake Anthony of Millgrove, J. Peter Kloepfer of Harley and Ted Murrell of Sharon, Ont.

The victory was Waples' third on the card and pushed his career earnings over the $100 million milestone mark, a special feat for Canada’s reigning Driver of the Year as it’s proven just how far he’s come over the years.

“It’s just something that I never dreamed of,” he said. “It’s as simple as that. When I got into this business I wanted to win 1,000 races and hopefully make $10 million. What’s happened since then, it’s unbelievable the opportunities that I get given to me. I’ve got to thank all the owners and trainers and grooms because they put good horses on the track and they let me drive them and make me look good.

“I just hope it keeps going,” added the resident of Milton, Ont., who currently sits second in the Canadian standings for earnings this year. “I know that sooner or later it won’t, but I just hope for right now it does. I feel good and I’m healthy and I feel like it’s been a very outstanding year and hopefully it continues.”

Waples has won 5,529 races in his career while taking home three O'Brien Award trophies along the way in 1998, 2001 and 2010. One of his biggest wins this year was the Maple Leaf Trot with three-time defending champion San Pail.

For results from Thursday's harness racing card, click on the following link: Thursday Results - Mohawk Racetrack.


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