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Mystician Magical In Metro Pace


Published: September 4, 2010 9:34 pm ET

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Mystician, craftily handled by Jody Jamieson, exploded in mid-stretch to pull off a 29-1 shocker in the $1 million Metro Pace, the richest harness race on the continent for two-year-olds, during Saturday’s stakes-filled program of harness racing at Mohawk Racetrack.

Mystician, who enjoyed a pocket trip behind pacesetter Prodigal Seelster (Tim Tetrick), after leading the field to the opening quarter in :27.2, rallied from third, blowing by Great Vintage (John Campbell), who had come around to challenge the leader and briefly take charge in early stretch.

The son of Camluck-Mystic Mistress quickly opened two lengths, then held off a closing Feel Like A Fool (Brian Sears) to win the rich event by one and one-quarter lengths in 1:53.4, over a 'good' Mohawk strip pounded by evening rains. Great Vintage faded to third, while favoured Prodigal Seelster, after a half in :55.4 and three-quarters in 1:24.2, dropped to ninth down the lane.

Trained and co-owned by Nova Scotia native Jeffrey Gillis, Mystician entered the Metro with an excellent record, two wins and four seconds in six starts. But he'd finished a distant runner-up to Prodigal Seelster in his last two outings, the Battle of Waterloo at Grand River and last week's Metro elim. Hence, the 29-1 odds, while Prodigal Seelster went off as the 9-5 choice.

"I talked to (trainer) Jeff (Gillis) pre-race and he thought the horse was as good as he's ever been," said Jamieson, enjoying his second Metro win after steering Yankee Skyscaper to victory in 2006.

"This horse is way better in the cooler weather. The track isn't really that great but the front end has been holding up most of the night. The horse is aggressive and is a great horse and wants to go forward. So it was easy decision for me at the gate when he had his ears up going in.

"The track is changing every race. We get a little bit of rain. Then it stops. I didn't want to take anything for granted. I just wanted to be up close and let us make our own luck. The horse was awesome and he did make some luck."

Added Gillis, "I thought pretty early on he was a nice colt. I'd be lying if I thought we'd be winning the Metro but I thought we had a good colt. We did our regular routine this week. We brought him in and trained him here in around 2:12. That's just standard for him."

Gillis indicated that there likely won't be any rest for the Metro winner, as he'll probably contest next week's Champlain Stakes.

Mystician picked up a pot of $500,000 for the victory, his second stakes win after taking an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold final at Mohawk on July 15.

Ken Henwood of Mississauga, Mac Nichol of Burlington, ON and Gerald Stay of Buffalo, New York also share ownership of the winning colt. He was a $45,000 purchase in Standardbred Canada's Canadian Open Yearling Sale last year and his full sister, Neudorf, sells as Hip 106 in next weekend's Canadian Yearling Sale at the SC Sale Pavilion at Flamboro Downs.

Mystician paid $61.10, $14.20 and $6.90, combining with Feel Like A Fool ($9.40, $6.40) for a $539.50 (9-5) exactor. A 9-5-1 (Great Vintage, $4.60 to show) triactor was worth $3,375.50 while a $1 Superfecta [9-5-1-6 (Ohmygosh Hanover) lit up the toteboard with a $15,180.80 payoff.

Nassagaweya Stakes winner Shadyshark Hanover (Cams Card Shark-Shady Past) and driver Brian Sears won the $100,000 consolation in 1:52.2 for trainer Erv Miller, who shares ownership with John Fielding of Toronto, Richard Strachan of Ajax, ON and Ronald Michelon of Northbrook, Illinois.

Idyllic Remains Undefeated In She’s A Great Lady

Idyllic pulled the pocket and wore down her stablemate Pretty Katherine in an exciting stretch duel to capture the $688,000 She’s A Great Lady for two-year-old pacing fillies.

Casie Coleman trainee Idyllic was sent off the wings of the gate by driver Dave Miller from Post 4 and cleared to the lead comfortably before the opening quarter of :27.4. Mark MacDonald steered heavily favoured Pretty Katherine into the three-hole but was not content and moved her to the front before the half in :56.2.

Pretty Katherine received the respect she deserved as there were no challengers as she took her rivals past the three-quarters in 1:24.1.

Down the stretch, Pretty Katherine tried to open up on her rivals but Idyllic was able to stay with her and surged by in the final strides to prevail in 1:53. Pretty Katherine stayed for second with Strike An Attitude (Steve Condren) finishing third.

Idyllic paid $11.10 for the win. The daughter of American Ideal-Magic Dreamer is undefeated in five starts with earnings totaling $424,264.

"I felt really good coming for home with these fillies. From day one these two fillies (Idyllic and Pretty Katherine) trained down together and I didn't know which one was better and I still don't," Coleman commented in the winner's circle.

"I never give the drivers instructions but I was comfortable getting away 1-2. She (Pretty Katherine) did all the road work and there was huge head wind turning for home that she had to deal with. They raced absolutely awesome," Coleman stated.

Idyllic was just a $13,000 yearling purchase last year at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. She is owned by the West Wins Stable of Cambridge, ON, Michael and Joseph La Cova of West Islip, New York and John Campagnuolo of Loxahatchee, Florida.

So Perfect (Western Ideal-Sounds Perfect) broke her maiden in the $50,000 consolation, stopping the clock in 1:54.3. Brian Sears drove for trainer Jimmy Takter and Brittany Farms of Versailles, Kentucky.

Won The West Surpasses $3 Million Milestone

Won The West, with driver Dave Miller, powered his way to victory in the historic $780,000 Canadian Pacing Derby, Saturday over a rain-soaked Mohawk oval.

It was the 31st career win for the well-traveled six-year-old gelded son of Western Hanover-Gabrielle and with the $390,000 first place prize, he pushed his career bankroll to over $3 million.

Won The West was sent postward the 3-1 third choice, behind the 6-5 favourite Shark Gesture (George Brennan), the defending champion, who took over from Bigtime Ball (Paul MacDonell) just before an opening quarter in :27-seconds flat.

After the half was reached in :55.1, Shark Gesture held a two length advantage, but approaching the far turn, Hypnotic Blue Chip (Jody Jamieson) brushed up to challenge the leader, who suddenly made a break. Thus, Hypnotic Blue Chip inherited the lead turning for home, as the three-quarters was clocked in 1:23.1.

But Miller had Won The West flying on the inside in mid-stretch and the pair prevailed by one and one-half lengths in 1:51.2. Hypnotic Blue Chip hung on for second, while Bettor Sweet (Brian Sears) came on for third.

“I just left the gate. I wanted to make sure I was up close to the front,” said Miller. “ I decided I’d take back and follow (driver) Jody (Jamieson, driving Hypnotic Blue Chip). The trip worked out great. I had live cover right to the stretch. And I was able to go left (towards the rail), which always helps this horse and he paced good right through the wire. He’s a good horse. He (Hypnotic Blue Chip) had a couple of lengths on me. But my horse, once he got straightened
away, he took right off.”

Trained by Ronald Burke, Won The West entered the Canadian Pacing Derby with four wins this year in 12 starts, including a victories in the Molson Pace on May 28 at Western Fair Raceway and a division of the U.S. Pacing Championship on August 7 at The Meadowlands. He had most recently finished second, then third, to Shark Gesture in the Haughton prep and final last month.

Won The West, who joined such pacing greats as Lis Mara, Art Major, Real Desire, Gallo Blue Chip and Western Ideal as Derby winners just this decade, paid $8.60, $4.40 and $3.60, combining with Hypnotic Blue Chip ($3.10, $3.10) for a $29.10 (4-2) exactor. A 4-2-7 (Bettor Sweet, $6.10 to show) triactor returned $215.40 while a $1 Superfecta [4-2-7-10 (Lisagain)] came back $1,265.90.

Strollin Stable of Marion, William Robinson and James Koehler of Findlay, Ohio share ownership of the talented pacer.

Muscle Massive Cruises To Simcoe Stakes Glory

Hambletonian winner Muscle Massive cruised to an easy two length score after a four week break in the first of two $127,947 Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old trotters featured on Saturday’s stakes-packed program at Mohawk.

Driver Ron Pierce sent Muscle Massive to the lead from Post 7 and carved out fractions of :28.3, :59 and 1:27.3 en route to victory in 1:56.1 over a track rated "good" and one second off. Text Me (Randy Waples) finished second off a pocket trip with Hes A Demon (Josy Jamieson) advancing first up to get third.

“It was a nice little tightner,” said Pierce in the winner’s circle. “This colt he was wound up pretty good for the Hambo. I know he’s had a pretty easy two to three weeks after the Hambo but I figured he had plenty in his tank.”

Piece said he was not concerned at all about the track’s condition. “The track’s very good tonight considering the amount of rain we’ve had,” he noted.

The heavy favourite paid $2.50 to win. Jimmy Takter trains the son of Muscles Yankee-Graceful Touch for owners Marvin Katz, Sam Goldband, Al Libfeld and Louie Camera, all of Ontario, and Order By Stable and Brixton Medical Ab, both of Sweden.

“My partners Al and Sam and I have been involved in this industry for almost 30 years and to describe winning the Hambletonian is beyond words. The day was a spectacular day,” reflected Katz. “Of course it was great weather and great for racing, and to win it was just the ultimate feeling. It was just an extraordinary feeling. We’ve won other great races before but that was really an extraordinary thing.

“I want to say thank you to Jimmy Takter,” he added. “This is really Jimmy Takter’s horse. He’s done a sensational job. He chose him for us, he developed him and he loved him right from the get-go.”

The Canadian Trotting Classic eliminations are on Muscle Massive’s radar next.

Break The Bank K Brilliant In Simcoe

Break The Bank K teamed up with Brian Sears to demolish the field of three-year-old trotters in the second $127,947 Simcoe Stakes division.

Windsong Geant (Jody Jamieson) took control of the field from Post 3 and led the way past the opening quarter in :27.4 before odds-on Break The Bank K and Sears made a backstretch brush from third and cleared the lead at the half in :57.4. The Revenue S-American Misty colt opened up nearly six lengths on his rivals en route to the third quarter in 1:24.4 and continued to extend his lead in the stretch. By the time he hit the wire in a career-best 1:54, he had secured a 13-1/2 length lead. Keystone Swagger (Tim Tetrick) finished second with Arriba Amigo (Trevor Ritchie) third.

"I think it is a big mile tonight, the track is definitely off a couple of seconds," noted Sears in the winner's circle. "He is a pretty talented horse, I thought he might be the best horse out there this year coming into his three-year-old campaign but he's had some attitude problems. If this horse ever gets his mind right he can be a real strong contender."

Break The Bank K will also head to the Canadian Trotting Classic next weekend and when asked how he stacks up against a horse with Muscle Massive's credentials, Sears said Break The Bank K can be competitive.

"He is coming around and getting into form and you've got to like the way he raced tonight. That horse is definitely a nice horse, Muscle Massive. He's shown what he can do and he's not afraid to race other horses. With the right trip with this horse (Break The Bank K), and like I said, if he gets his mind right, he can be right there with him."

Break The Bank K paid $3.70 to win. Trond Smedshammer trains and Robert Key of Leechburg, Pennsylvania owns and bred the winner of two races in 12 starts and $152,732 this year.

Major Hottie Wires Preferred Pacers

Major Hottie kicked off Saturday’s card at Mohawk with a wire-to-wire score in the $34,000 Preferred Pace.

Major Hottie used his early gate speed to grab the lead from Post 6 during a :26.1 opener. The five-year-old son of Art Major-Dominatricks and driver Mark MacDonald reached the half in :55.1 while Kindly Poet (Randy Waples) moved underway from last picking up cover from 3-5 favourite Mr Apples (Mario Baillargeon) en route to three-quarters in 1:23. However, Major Hottie could not be touched tonight and sailed home to a two and a quarter length score in 1:51.3. Mr Apples picked up second with longshot Power Off (Rick Zeron) coming on for third.

Major Hottie paid $6.50 to win as the 2-1 second choice. The victory was his ninth in 26 starts this season for trainer Stephen Charlton and the Larocque Racing Stable of Thornhill, ON. His 2010 bankroll now sits at $232,240.

To view Saturday's results, click here.

(With files from WEG)

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