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Kopas On Saturday OSS Starters

Published: September 30, 2009 10:37 am ET

Last Comment: September 30, 2009 12:16 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Mohawk Racetrack fans will be treated to an Ontario Sires Stakes double feature on Saturday evening, as the province’s top two and three-year-old pacing colts square off in Gold elimination action.

John Kopas, a resident of Milton, Ont., will harness three colts in the freshman battle and one colt in the sophomore showdown, and the veteran conditioner is expecting solid results from all four starters. Leading the parade of pacers from the Kopas barn is Keystone Raptor, who goes after a top-five finish from Post 4 in the first elim for the two-year-old pacing colts and geldings.

"We had a little problem with some sickness, that’s why he had the time off," noted Kopas, who will send Keystone Raptor out for his first start since the September 12 Champlain Stakes. "We wanted to make sure he was healthy."

Through eight starts, Keystone Raptor has been steady, delivering one win, one second and three thirds for earnings of $43,855, but Kopas says the leggy son of Astreos and Miss Rose could be a force to be reckoned with through the latter half of the season.

"The night of the Champlain, if he hadn’t been sick, he probably would have won his division. He ended up third, only beat a length," noted the trainer, who shares ownership on Keystone Raptor with High Stakes Inc. of Moffat, Ont. and John Fielding and Clay Horner of Toronto, Ont. "We look for big things from him on Saturday."

Regular reinsman Jack Moiseyev of Moffat will steer Keystone Raptor in his second Gold elim appearance.

The second $40,000 elim will mark Grin For Money's return to action. The colts swept his elimination and the final of the Gold Series season opener at Mohawk before being struck hard by illness.

"He had the start of pneumonia in one lung, that was back in late July," Kopas recalled. "Fortunately Dr. Powell and his staff caught it. He was up in the University of Guelph for five days and they treated him with antibiotics.

"He doesn’t show any ill effects from his ordeal," added the horseman. "We dodged a bullet, that’s for sure."

Grin For Money leaps back into the fray from Post 7, coming off a solid 1:55.4 qualifier at Mohawk on September 25.

"He qualified very, very well on Friday. We’re quite pleased," noted Kopas, who conditions the son of Grinfromeartoear for the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association’s eighth New Owner Group, the Grin For Money Stable of London, Ont.

Kopas will also harness Sonic Seelster in the second elimination, and he said that the son of Camluck--Stylish Smile has recovered some of the step he demonstrated through the winter since undergoing a difficult castration.

"He was a ridgling, one testicle had not descended, and we discovered it was up in his abdomen," Kopas explained. "We sent him up to Dr. Desjardins, who castrated him and got that testicle out of there, and since we did that he’s been much better. I was very pleased with his last start at Mohawk."

The gelding heads into Saturday’s test off a fourth-place effort in a September 27 overnight at Mohawk — his first start since July 27 — and will line up behind the gate at Post 9. Kopas trains Sonic Seelster for Old Aultsville Stable of Mississauga, Ont. and the Estate of George F. Hempt Trust of Camp Hill, Pennsylvania.

Shipps Xpectancy carries the stable colours in the three-year-old pacing colt division and should be among the favourites after scoring a pair of impressive victories in three-year-old open action at Mohawk in recent weeks. The son of Mach Three posted a 1:51.4 score on September 19, then came back last Saturday, September 26 with a 1:52 effort over a track rated two seconds slower than normal.

A winner of $221,674 as a two-year-old, Shipps Xpectancy has banked less than a third that amount through 11 sophomore starts, and his trainer shoulders the blame for the gelding’s lacklustre start to the season.

"We had to do surgery on that colt back in December, early January. He had a fracture in his left hind ankle and had to have a screw inserted," explained the horseman. "Being foolish, I tried to hurry him along to have him ready for the North America Cup. I kind of knew at the time I was making a mistake, and as it turned out I was.

"I think I put a kink in him, and we just nicely got it ironed out about three weeks ago," Kopas added.

Moiseyev will steer Shipps Xpectancy from Post 6 in the second sophomore pacing colt elimination for owner Harold G. Shipp Stable of Mississauga.

The top five finishers from each two-year-old elimination, and from each three-year-old elimination, will earn a berth in their respective Gold final at Woodbine Racetrack on October 10.

Saturday’s double feature gets underway at 7:30 p.m., with the two-year-old pacing colts squaring off over the Mohawk oval in Races 2 and 5, and the three-year-old pacing colts duelling in Races 4 and 9. Also on Saturday night’s program is the $375,100 Milton Stakes for aged pacing mares, slated as Race 8.

To view the harness racing entries for Saturday's card from Mohawk, click here

(With files from the OSS)

September 30, 2009 - 12:16 pmHappened to realize the

Jan Riley SAID...

Happened to realize the other day that Armbro Bala is the Grand-dam of Shipps Xpectancy by No Nukes/Armbro Purse. Thrilled to see that she had quite a few fairly successful offspring. I groomed Ol' Bala during her three year old campaign.

I wish you the best in racing history this weekend.

Jan


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