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Stag Party Powers To Metro Win

Published: September 22, 2018 7:51 pm ET

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Casie Coleman trainee Stag Party surged first over rounding the final turn and, with 4-5 favourite Captain Ahab appearing empty in the stretch, blew clear to an open length victory in the $890,000 Metro Pace final on Saturday, Sept. 22 at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

Driver David Miller positioned Stag Party fourth to the quarter as De Los Cielos Deo dashed from post nine for the lead ahead of Semi Tough through a :27.1 opening quarter. Past the half in :55.4, Stag Party flushed first over and supplied cover to Captain Ahab moving into the final turn.

Captain Ahab began his retreat as De Los Cielos Deo passed three-quarters in 1:23.3. Stag Party surged into the stretch as room opened for Semi Tough to angle off the rail and Shake That House circumvented Captain Ahab. Stag Party opened a wide margin by the eighth pole and crossed the wire in a lifetime-best 1:50.4 ahead of Semi Tough and Shake That House.

“I’ve been wanting to win this race for a long time,” Miller said after the race. “My plan all along was to try and get Andy [McCarthy on Captain Ahab] in front of me but he wouldn’t take the bait. He ended up following me second over, which I wasn’t happy about. But I’ll tell you what—my horse was full of pace the whole way and around the last turn I had a pretty good feeling he would go all the way.”

Owned by John Fielding, Mac Nichol, Mckinlay & Fielding and West Wins Stable, Stag Party, a colt by Bettors Delight, won his sixth race in eight starts, earning $642,489. He paid $5.30 to win.

Coleman, winning her second Metro Pace, said that she considered scratching Stag Party following the elimination due to soundness concerns.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had a race where I honestly text the owners and say ‘We might be scratching tonight’ and then we go on to win the final the next week," Coleman said. "His issues is all just colt soreness. I literally just x-rayed this horse top to bottom two or three weeks in a row. [The owners] won’t see the vet bills yet because I kept taking him in and x-raying him—I scoped him—I was just scared [and didn’t want] to hurt him because I know how talented he is. The horse is just incredible.”

Stag Party’s next steps are inconclusive but the Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final and Breeders Crown are possibilities.

“We literally went a week ago from me telling [the owners] I’m going to shut him down to Dave [Miller] telling me he’s as sound tonight as he’s ever been. I’m definitely going to miss next week’s Gold—I don’t know if I’ll even go the next Gold after that, I’m not sure. He’s also got the Governor’s Cup, which I’m not sure I’ll keep him going that long but we’ll play it by ear.”

Even-money favourite Tall Drink Hanover vaulted from second over and kicked to a 1:51.1 victory in the $590,000 Shes A Great Lady.

Art Lecture launched to the front from post nine with Queen Of The Pride showing speed to the center. Queen Of The Pride soon circled to the top by the :27 opening quarter and continued on the lead to the half in :55.4.

Sylph Hanover edged first over from fourth heading to the half and led Tall Drink Hanover around the final turn. Queen Of The Pride maintained control through a 1:23.3 third-quarter before driver Andrew McCarthy gave Tall Drink Hanover open road in the stretch. The Tony Alagna-trained daughter of Captaintreacherous strode clear of Treacherous Reign and Prescient Beauty storming through the center of the course to dead-heat for second while Queen Of The Pride held fourth.

“I figured Dave [Miller on Queen Of The Pride] would go with his filly and that I would want to leave a little bit,” McCarthy said after the race. “I wasn’t even too concerned if I had to come third over—[her] kick in the stretch would probably be good enough but it worked out great where I got a second-over trip [and] I couldn’t ask for any better.”

Winning her fifth race in eight starts and collecting $406,392 in earnings, Tall Drink Hanover, owned by Alagna Racing LLC, Marvin Katz and Riverview Racing LLC, returned $4.20 to win.

Katz, whose operation has bred numerous champion standardbreds in the past, purchased Tall Drink Hanover for $35,000 as a yearling.

“[It’s] one of the rare occasions when normally [we pay] $350,000 [and] not $35,000,” Katz said. “She was at the backend of the sale and there she was just in the ring. Nothing was going on for whatever reason—she was four or five from the end of the first day at Harrisburg. We liked her, Perry Soderberg had pointed her out to us, Tony had liked her and we were able to able to buy her for $35,000. It was a surprise to us.”

Caviart Ally ranged to the lead in the backstretch and cruised to a 1:51.2 score in the $255,000 Milton Pace, becoming harness racing’s newest millionaire in the process.

Twinkle took control early from the rail with Frost Damage Blues securing the pocket and Caviart Ally sliding into third. By the quarter in :26, driver Andrew McCarthy made his move with the 2-5 favourite heading to the half and placed Caviart Ally on the lead following a :54.3 half.

Tequila Monday moved first over heading into the final turn but stalled to three-quarters. Caviart Ally led by the third-quarter in 1:22.4 and opened her lead into the stretch as Twinkle chased from the pocket. Bettors Up found room to angle off the rail and charged home with Pure Country closing alongside to take second and third respectively from Twinkle holding fourth.

“[She] maybe wasn’t quite as impressive—she was so sharp last week—but she still won by four or five lengths so she was definitely good enough tonight,” McCarthy said. “I left hard early—I really had to leave hard to get away third. I worked pretty hard in the backside to get to the front and I chased her in the last turn to get the engines revving. She did respond, perked right up and went on with it.”

Amassing $1,083,764, Caviart Ally, a four-year-old mare by Bettors Delight, won her sixth race in 14 starts this season and her 15th in 48 overall. The Noel Daley trainee, returning $2.90 to win, competes for owner Caviart Farms.

“We are so super proud,” co-owner Clarence Chaffee said. “She’s just a great mare and she tries so hard every time. She’s just really come into her own this fall. She was really good last fall, winning the Jugette, but then in the spring she got sick and it took awhile to get her going but boy she’s really come on now so we’re really, really happy.

Chaffee also alluded to the possibility of bringing back Caviart Ally to race as a five-year-old next year.

“She’s racing super good and against the older horses as a four-year-old so we think she can do it at five. We’re really aiming for the Breeders Crown—she got second last year and we’d really like to see her do well this year.”

Stalking a modest tempo, Sports Teen fanned wide into the stretch and blindsided pacesetter and 4-5 favourite Cruise Captain to pull an 11-1 upset in the $75,000 Metro Pace consolation.

Driver Louis Philippe-Roy placed the Paul Reid trainee third as Cruise Captain floated to the lead and Heisman Player into the pocket. With no motion through a :28.1 opening quarter and :56.4 half, Fabrice Hanover angled off the rail from fifth and forced Sports Teen as well as pocket-sitter Heisman Player to vacate the pylons rounding the final turn.

Past three-quarters in 1:25.3, the backfield barreled towards Cruise Captain coming to the eighth pole. Heisman Player hanged to his outside while Fabrice Hanover weaved into competition and Sports Teen, widest of all, lunged to the lead in the final strides to stop the clock in 1:53.3. Cruise Captain finished second and Heisman Player third.

Owned by Robert Key, Sports Teen, a colt by Sportswriter out of the Island Fantasy mare Tattootina, broke his maiden in his 10th start career and has now earned $85,282. He paid $24.80 to win.

Following the stakes action were two Preferred events, a $30,000 dash for fillies and mares and a $34,000 open split.

Kissin In The Sand won going wire to wire in 1:51.1 as the favourite over rail rider Action Majesty and pocket-sitter Exhilarated in the Fillies and Mares Preferred. The three-year-old filly by Sombeachsomewhere was driven by Scott Zeron for owners Marvin Katz and Hatfield Stables and trainer Nancy Johansson. She paid $4.70 to win.

Easy Lover Hanover challenged pacesetter Nirvana Seelster first over around the final turn and advanced to a length victory in the Preferred Pace. The five-year-old gelding by Somebeachsomewhere, owned by Brad Grant, sat third before driver Doug McNair tipped the second choice off the rail at three-quarters and closed home to win in 1:50. The Ben Wallace trainee returned $5.80 to win.

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

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