Fresh off a maiden breaking win in her elimination, Elusive Desire front-stepped her way to victory lane in the $120,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Final for two-year-old trotting fillies while Illusionist became harness racing's newest millionare tonight at Woodbine Racetrack.
With Paul MacDonell at the reins, the Angus Hall filly left from Post 7, reaching the quarter pole in :27.2. Elusive Desire rolled to the half in :59 as Cumin First (Rick Zeron) tipped out from fifth and applied first-over pressure.
After a second-quarter breather, Elusive Desire stepped on the gas and passed the third quarter station in 1:29.3. The Mike Keeling trainee kicked away from her rivals by almost five lengths with a :28.1 final effort, reaching the wire in 1:57.4.
Cumin First stayed for second and Friendly Amigo (Blair Burgess) came on for third.
The winner of $245,904 has compiled a record of 2-6-4 in 12 starts for owners P C Wellwood Enterprises Inc. of Cambridge, Charles Armstrong of Brampton and Robert Fasken of Oakville, Ont.
In the $20,000 Gold Consolation, Charles Armstrong's Striking Fashion also picked up her second lifetime win and lowered her mark in rein to Mark MacDonald.
As the gate swung open, Keep In Dutch (Steve Condren) and Igual Que Tu (Steve Byron) broke stride while B Cor Tanya (Riina Rekila) powered to the lead. After a :29 opening panel, MacDonald took Striking Fashion to the front, but faced a first-over challenge from Ill Wait For You (Trevor Ritchie) en route to the half in :59.2.
Ill Wait For You cleared the lead and rolled past the third quarter station in 1:29.3, but Striking Fashion used a :28.4 final quarter effort to collar the post time favourite at the wire in 1:58.3. B Cor Tanya stayed for third.
The daughter of Striking Sahbra, who hangs her harness in the Rene Laarman barn, now sports a bankroll of $33,150 for Armstrong and Melvin Hartman of Ottawa, Ont.
With a fifth place finish in the sixth race, pacing mare Illusionist surpassed the million-dollar mark in career earnings.
The seven-year-old daughter of Camluck, who has earned $1,000,557 in purses, is trained by Phillip Coleman for David Lumsden of Ancaster, Ont. She sports a record of 43 wins, 18 seconds and 22 third-place finishes in 136 career starts.
To view Friday's results, click here.