Circles Looks For Golden Repeat

Published: September 26, 2011 08:41 pm EDT

Two-year-old trotting filly Circles will be looking to retain her Gold Final title at Rideau Carleton Raceway on Thursday evening, but Woodlawn resident John Smith is pretty sure scoring a second win over his local oval

will be tougher than earning the first.

“She’ll have her work cut out for her. It won’t be a cake walk,” says Smith, who bred, owns and trains Circles. “There are a lot of good horses inside me; that will make it a little tougher.”

Circles will make her bid for a second Gold Final title, and a fourth straight victory, from Post 6 in Thursday’s $130,000 contest. Starting to her inside are all three fillies that finished second in last week’s Gold Eliminations, along with elimination winner Miss Paris, who gets Post 5. The other elimination winner, Miss Majestic, will start from the outside Post 8.

Regular reinsman Jacques Hebert piloted Circles to a seemingly effortless 1:57.3 victory from Post 2 in last week’s elimination round, an effort that impressed Smith given the fact that the filly had not raced since her Aug. 15 Gold Final victory at Mohawk Racetrack.

“I just took her for a light jog for a couple of weeks and then I started gradually building her back up again,” says Smith of the filly’s training routine during her month away from the races. “And she seemed to be fine; I was impressed with her last week.”

Two weeks before the Gold Elimination, Smith shipped Circles into Rideau Carleton for a training mile to asses her fitness. The daughter of Majestic Son-Merles Image cruised through the first half of her mile, but when Smith asked for a show of speed the filly laid down a 58 second last half, so he was confident that she would be ready to rumble.

“She hadn’t lost much condition, I was pretty happy with her,” says the horseman. “She was in pretty good shape, and I knew I didn’t have to worry about the race.”

While Smith would like to see the half-sister to $1.1 million winner Mccooeye capture a few more Gold Series starts before she wraps up her freshman campaign, he takes a pragmatic approach to her care, looking no further ahead than the next start.

“I tell (my wife) Helen, just let me know a week ahead where I’m going for the next race. There’s no point in worrying a long time ahead,” he explains. “You wouldn’t want to spend your money before you earned it in this business.”

So long as Circles remains happy and healthy, she will wrap up her freshman campaign at Woodbine Racetrack, competing in the last Gold Series event on Oct. 6 and 13 and the $300,000 Super Final on Nov. 12. With 300 points earned through her first seven starts in the program, Circles leads the two-year-old trotting filly division by 130 points and has already assured herself of a berth in the lucrative season finale.

Racing exclusively in the Gold Series, Circles and Hebert are undefeated in four Gold Elimination appearances, and have one Gold Final trophy and two runner-up finishes to their credit for earnings of $210,100.

The reigning Gold Final champions and the eight fillies hoping to knock them from that perch will compete in the eighth race on Rideau Carleton Raceway’s Thursday evening program, which gets under way at 6:30 p.m.


To view entries for Thursday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Thursday Entries – Rideau Carleton Raceway.

Have something to say about this? Log in or create an account to post a comment.