ELORA, August 17 – Ontario’s top two-year-old pacing fillies travelled to Grand River Raceway tonight for a pair of $102,200 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold divisions.
OSS action began in race four with Starlight Dancer emerging victorious from the eight-horse field.
When the gate rolled Doug McNair drove No Soup Tonight to the lead from post two and led the field through opening fractions of 28.1 and 58.3.
Jody Jamieson and Brynley Seelster began a first up move as the field passed the grandstand for the first time and pressured No Soup Tonight for the next quarter mile.
Unfortunately for Jamieson and his filly, odds-on favourite Starlight Dancer followed second-up from fourth, and Johnathan Drury angled out three-wide around the far turn to take the lead and power home in a final panel of 29.1 for a one length score in 1:56.4.
It was the first stakes win for the daughter of Artspeak, who visited the winner’s circle once prior on June 23 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The Melissa Lamoreaux trainee is owned by 1187422 Ontario Inc, and paid $3.80 for the win.
Tre Ta Ta (Control The Moment) found racing room down the stretch to grab a hard charging second with trainer Beau Brown in the race bike. Brown co-owns the filly with Jennifer Brown of Ostrander, OH, who earned $25,550 in the biggest score of her young career.
Brynley Seelster was rewarded with a third-place cheque for her effort going first up for over a quarter mile, the same position she finished in the Battle of the Belles at Grand River on August 1. Cambridge, Ont., resident Jack Darling trains and owns the Big Jim filly.
In the second $102,200 Gold division Savethelastdance stayed undefeated in her young career, winning her third consecutive start, but first at the top level of the OSS.
The Bettors’ Delight filly was making her debut on a half-mile track with her previous victories coming at the 7/8th oval at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
After moving to the lead through the first turn she went off-stride, but James MacDonald was able to get her back on gait and still hold the lead.
The Nick Gallucci trainee held off separate challenges – first from Lyons Bettorday and then a late charging Beca Mitchell in the stretch – to prove the best all the way home in a time of 1:55. She paid $2.90 for the win.
“Going into the race the only concern with her was going to a new place,” said Gallucci. “I think that has to do with why she made a break in the first turn. She doesn’t seem to react well to changes, so the biggest concern was not the track size, but just being at a new track.”
The filly will return to the familiar confines of Woodbine Mohawk Park for the remainder of the season, where Gallucci believes she can continue her strong form to start her campaign.
“She is used to that track, and so she should stay flat there,” said Gallucci. “She has a lot of big dances left, so we will do the best we can. She is definitely progressing and has speed but we are just trying to rate it a little bit.”
The late charging Beca Mitchell, piloted by Jody Jamieson, earned her best OSS result of the season for trainer Jason McGinnis in her second-place effort. The Sportswriter filly is owned by Dontworryaboutit Stable (Guelph, Ont.) and Never 2 Late Stable (Greenlawn, NY).
Trevor Henry navigated second favourite Big Big Plans through a ground saving pocket trip but was able to rally down the stretch and finished third. It was her first loss since her pari-mutuel debut on June 23, after the All Bets Off daughter swept the Battle of the Belles and won a pair of Gold legs earlier this season.
Robert McIntosh trains and co-owns the filly with Mardon Stables (Loretto, Ont.) and Dave Boyle (Bowmanville, Ont.).