Huge Stakes Night in London

Published: November 2, 2008 09:00 am EST

One of the top programs of the 2008 Fall Meet at Western Fair Raceway will turn to the starting gate this Saturday.

A pair of championship finals will be contested in the Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series. The two-year-old filly pacers and two-year-old colt pacers will strut their stuff in the Gold Series title matches in London in their final appearance before the Gold Superfinals set for later in November at Woodbine Racetrack.

While St Lads Popcorn is a clear cut favourite in the two-year-old filly pace final from Post 2, the two-year-old colt pace title match stands to be an explosive contest with a highly anticipated match-up of new track record holder Shipps Xpectancy and Governor's Cup champion Nebupanezzar. The pair of rookie speedballs have drawn Posts 7 and 5 respectively after winning their eliminations last Friday.

"Two of them took a good strong run at my colt in the elim and he put them away and all credit to him, he was drawing away on his own in the stretch" said driver Jack Moiseyev of Shipps Expectancy. "I honestly didn't come in here thinking I'd have to go a track record of 1:54.4 to win it. The track wasn't perfect either because of the snow and thaw during the week.

"This is an exceptional colt and John (trainer John Kopas) has done a great job with him," he added. "It should be one great match-up in the Gold final with Nebupanezzar and really it's a tough group all the way up and down the program page. It was nice to be back for a winner's photo again in London, I hadn't been here for one since the Molson Pace with Our Lucky Killean a couple years ago."

This Saturday's card will also feature all four championships of the 2008 Middlesex County Series. Post time is 7:05 p.m.

Actor's Work Saluted

The legacy of the body of work by the late actor Jerry Orbach continues to be saluted in Ontario harness racing each time pacer Lenny Briscoe turns to the starting gate.

"I'm certain that his breeder, Paul Lindsey, was a big fan of Law And Order and he really enjoyed that character," says trainer Mike Sinclair. "Lots of people name horses for the favourite things or people in their lives and it'd be tough to find anyone that hasn't watched Law And Order and liked Detective Lenny Briscoe."

The detective character on the show was played by the late Jerry Orbach for over thirteen seasons, ending in 2004. Orbach passed away in December of that year.

"I think Lenny Briscoe will enjoy returning to London to race on Tuesday (November 4th)" says trainer Sinclair of the three-year-old D M Dilinger gelding owned by the numbered company of Randy Lawson of Sudbury, ON. "He took his life's mark of 1:56.3 in London on June 27 in a division of the OSS Grassroots Series and he gets around a half mile track just great."

Lenny Briscoe has post one at London in Tuesday's 2nd race.

"He's just coming back from a few weeks off after finishing fifth in the Grassroots semi-finals at Flamboro," Sinclair says. "We decided to sit him out to keep his life's earnings under $40,000 as of November 1 so he could fit an upcoming series at Woodbine that we'll try and peak him for."

Patrick Loves London

One of the best performing competitors in Western Fair's Preferred Pace over the past three years, XLB Patrick, stands a big chance to return to form in the Monday, November 3 edition of the $18,400 event in London . He'll start from the trailing Post 8 in Monday's ninth race.

"He cut the mile there on October 13 and in recent years he would've beaten them off that three-quarters of 1:26.2," says trainer Mark Austin of the nine-year-old Davids Pass gelding. "After that race we found his white blood cell count was off and have treated him up. I trained him late last week in 2:08 and he seemed really good again so here's hoping it's all systems go for Monday in London."

Austin also gave details on why XLB Patrick has such a liking for the Western Fair oval.

"He's the kind of horse that's not at his best in the Summer months which suits Western Fair's schedule really great," Austin says of the 51-time career winner of over $533,000 for Windsor, ON owner Mike Cecile. "Plus he has great gate speed and he likes the firmer surface in the colder weather months in London too."

The November 3 Preferred Pace is dotted with high achieving veterans. These include Coreys On Crombie, campaigning for Ohio's Ken Sommer, Bobnoxious, a 56-time career winner racing for Dan and Tom Courtemanche of Michigan, Junior K, sent out by Hall of Famer Keith Waples and the 2008 runner-up in the Molson Pace, Grand Bend Turbo.

Through December at Western Fair, post time each Monday and Tuesday afternoon is 3:05 p.m., with Friday and Saturday evening programs turning to the gate at 7:05 p.m.

(Western Fair)

To view Monday's entries, click here.