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Trotting Talent On Display At Mohawk

Published: September 27, 2019 12:13 am ET

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Ontario’s top three-year-old trotters wrapped up their Gold Series regular season at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Thursday evening and division stars Bright Eyes M and Forbidden Trade padded their division leading point totals.

The trotting fillies kicked off the Ontario Sires Stakes action in the fifth race with 10 hopefuls lining up behind the starting gate in the $158,800 division. Blue Magic, Angies Luckeylady and Bright Eyes M left smartly from Posts 1, 6 and 8 and wound up first, second and third on the rail going by the :27.1 opening quarter.

Blue Magic’s tenure on the lead was brief however, as driver Stephen Byron soon had Bright Eyes M aiming at the lead. Ahead by just over a length at the :55.4 half, Byron and Bright Eyes M had extended that to two lengths by the 1:24.2 three-quarters and three lengths at the top of the stretch. The field rallied late, but Bright Eyes M stayed game to the wire, securing a three-quarter length victory in 1:53.4. Teddys Littleangel finished second and Angies Luckeylady was another length back in third.

“She seems to get off the gate a little better out there,” said trainer John Bax of the filly’s effort from Post 8. “She seems to be more comfortable, and then Steve can kind of make his decision, like tonight he kind of dropped into the three-hole and then as soon as everybody got settled away he was able to move her again, so it worked out good.”

Campbellville, ON resident Bax has conditioned the daughter of Kadabra to a record of six wins, two seconds and one third in 13 starts this season with five of those starts and four of the wins coming in Gold Series action. Thursday’s victory pushed the filly’s sophomore earnings to $312,925 for owner Menhammar Stuteri AB of Paris, KY.

The win was Bright Eyes M’s first since July 19. Her last three starts had been against some of the best sophomore trotting fillies in North America, where her best finish was a third in the Sept. 6 Simcoe Stakes, and Bax was happy to see the trotter back in the winner’s circle.

“She had lost her, maybe lost a little confidence. She had been sick and was on one line a little bit and so she wasn’t at her best,” said the trainer. “She’s been good the last couple weeks training and jogging and the last race I thought she raced a lot better, I thought she was coming around again. And of course now she’s racing with her own, so it sets up good for the Super Final.”

Bright Eyes M leads the three-year-old trotting fillies into the Oct. 12 Super Final with 208 points, 25 points ahead of Teddys Littleangel. The top 10 point earners will advance to the $225,000 Super Final.

Two races later the sophomore trotting colts and geldings paraded onto the racetrack for their $158,000 test and fans sent Hambletonian champion Forbidden Trade off as their top choice for the sixth time in his Ontario Sires Stakes career.

Starting from Post 7 Forbidden Trade and driver Bob McClure powered away from the gate and took command just past the :27.1 quarter. Through a :56.2 and 1:25 three-quarters the duo were unchallenged and a sharp :27.2 final quarter sealed the deal. Forbidden Trade hit the wire one and three-quarter lengths ahead of early leader Manatlas in 1:52.2. Only For Justice was five and one-half lengths back in third.

“He pretty well speaks for himself, he was bionic tonight,” said McClure. “I never asked him, he did it all on his own. He made us proud, like he always does.

“I’m glad he’s over whatever was bugging him last week,” the Rockwood, ON resident added, referring to the colt’s atypical outing in the Sept. 14 Canadian Trotting Classic where he was placed from third back to fifth for interfering with Only For Justice in the stretch.

McClure steers Forbidden Trade for trainer Luc Blais of Campbellville, ON and owner Determination of Montreal, QC. Prior to his Canadian Trotting Classic result Forbidden Trade had finished no worse than third and he now boasts a sophomore record of seven wins, three seconds and one third in 12 starts for earnings of $958,691. He leads the trotting colts into the Super Final with 175 points, 17 points ahead of Southwind Avenger.

Before the top Gold Series horses take centre stage in the Super Finals, the Grassroots stars will face off in Semi-Final action at Woodbine Mohawk Park this Friday, Sept. 27 and Saturday, Sept. 28. The two-year-olds will compete in Races 2, 3, and 5 through 10 on Friday’s 7:50 pm card, while the three-year-olds battle in Races 1, 3, 5 through 9, and 11 on the Saturday evening program, which gets under way at 7:10 p.m.


To view results for Thursday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Thursday Results – Woodbine Mohawk Park.

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