TORONTO, ON — Western Silk has not been defeated in Ontario Sires Stakes competition this season, and only six fillies have declared themselves brave enough to face the talented three-year-old pacing filly in this Saturday’s $300,000 Super Final at Woodbine Racetrack.
The winner of $1.2 million heads into the season finale off a 1:50.3 performance over the Woodbine oval in Gold Final action on Nov. 5, and trainer Casie Coleman says the Western Terror daughter is just as sharp now as she was winning the season opener in May.
“Silky raced awesome last week. A mile in 1:50.3 in that head wind was huge,” says Cambridge, ON resident Coleman, who shares ownership of Western Silk with Tom Hill of Lancashire, GB. “I think Silky is coming into this race very good right now.”
Western Silk and regular reinsman Mark MacDonald will make their bid for a Super Final trophy from Post 4 in Saturday’s tenth race. In addition to two Gold Elimination and three Gold Final wins, the pair also captured the $666,000 Fan Hanover Final at Mohawk Racetrack in June, the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association Stake at Mohawk in August, and the historic Jugette at the Delaware, Ohio County Fairgrounds in September.
Of only four occasions when Western Silk was bested this season, one was in the Canadian Breeders Championship at Mohawk in July where she was edged out at the wire by stablemate Bay Girl. Bay Girl heads into Saturday’s test off a fourth-place result in last weekend’s Gold Final, which saw the Royal Mattjesty daughter and regular reinsman Phil Hudon sprint to the front from Post 10 and carve all the fractions before being caught in the stretch.
“She raced great last week. I was thrilled with her, it was a very, very tough race,” says Coleman of Bay Girl, who is owned by Michael, Sam and Pat Sergi of Canton, NY. “She has the outside again, but it’s only a seven-horse field this week.”
Hudon will send Bay Girl after her fourth win of the season from Post 7 in the tenth race, and Coleman expects a first class effort from both the winner of $443,256 and her richer stablemate.
“I am very happy with both of my fillies heading into the Super Final,” says the trainer. “They are both keeping their weight on good and they seem healthy.
“I told them if they had a dead heat for the win they can have a holiday after this week,” she adds with a laugh.
In addition to her sophomore stars, Coleman will also harness Village Janus in the two-year-old pacing filly Super Final. Owner-trainer Rod Therres handed the Modern Art daughter over to Coleman after the filly finished a disappointing ninth in the Oct. 22 Gold Final at Woodbine, and the trainer and her staff have been pulling out all the stops to coax one last strong effort out of their new addition.
After tinkering with her training regimen and equipment, Coleman sent Village Janus to qualify at Mohawk Racetrack on Nov. 5 and the filly came back with a third-place result behind division leader Lauren and her stablemate in the Bob McIntosh barn, Bunkhouse Babe.
“I wasn’t happy with the qualifier at all last week,” says Coleman bluntly. “I hope I am wrong, I hope she goes out and wins the Super Final, but I think she’s just a tired filly.”
Village Janus captured the Aug. 2 Battle of the Belles Final at Grand River Raceway for Cambridge resident Therres and Larry Schmidt of Abbotsford, BC, but has not posted a win in Ontario Sires Stakes action since her July 14 debut in the Grassroots program at Dresden Raceway.
Jeff Gillis will also harness a two-year-old pacing filly who has not seen the inside of a Gold Series winner’s circle, but the Hillsburgh, ON resident is pleased with Lady Jill’s recent results and believes she is heading into the $300,000 test on a high note.
“She’s rounding into form. She paced in 1:54 and change her first start, and they thought a lot of her, but then she kind of plateau-ed,” says Gillis, who conditions Lady Jill for owner-breeder Banjo Farms of Toronto. “Her last three starts have been good. We think she’s heading into the race on the right kind of form.”
Camluck lass Lady Jill and driver Chris Christoforou will start from Post 8 in the fourth race on Saturday, while division point leader Lauren gets Post 6, and recent Gold Final winner Modern Connection starts from Post 3.
Lady Jill is just one of five horses that Gillis will harness during the $2.4 million Super Final Championship event on Saturday. Leading the parade of horses from his stable is two-year-old pacing colt point leader Mystician, who gets the rail and the addition of Lasix in the sixth race.
“He just hasn’t been finding the wire that good his last couple starts,” explains Gillis, who shares ownership of Mystician with Ken Henwood of Mississauga, ON, Mac Nichol of Burlington, ON and Gerald Stay of Buffalo, NY.
“Maybe he’s tired, maybe he’s worn down a little bit — and rightfully so, he’s had a big year,” adds the horseman, who counts among his career highlights the colt’s victory in the $1 million Metro Pace Final at Mohawk in early September. “I hope he’s got one more in him.”
The Camluck son faces a full field of challengers, including archrival Prodigal Seelster, who will start from Post 8 in the freshman pacing colt showdown.
Two of Gillis’s starters will line up behind the gate in the three-year-old pacing colt final, and the trainer says both Code Word and Twin B Warrior have a legitimate shot at the division crown.
“Code Word has been pretty steady the last while. He raced very good, I thought, in London, after having raced very well in Windsor,” says the horseman. “I think he has a fighting chance in there.”
As a two-year-old, Code Word delivered owners John Fielding of Toronto and John Carver of Rapids City, IL to the Super Final winner’s circle with an upset victory, and Gillis says the Western Terror son is capable of a repeat from Post 7. Chris Christoforou will steer the winner of $309,140.
After sweeping his Sept. 28 elimination and the Oct. 5 Gold Final at Windsor Raceway, Twin B Warrior skipped the last Gold Series event at Western Fair Raceway in favour of a pair of overnight battles at Woodbine, and Gillis says the consistent son of Apaches Fame is on his game.
“He’s been just a lovely horse to have, right from Day 1,” says Gillis, who trains Twin B Warrior for Mac Nichol. “He’s pretty consistent I think. He’s always in the hunt. I don’t think you can ever count him out.”
Randy Waples will steer Twin B Warrior from Post 8 in the seventh race.
Gillis’s final entry is Sim Brown, who will be handicapped by the outside Post 10 in the two-year-old trotting colt event, slated as Race 5 on the rich Super Final card.
“He’s been cursed,” laments Gillis, who co-owns the gelding with Nichol and Stay. “He has enough ability to have $200,000 or $300,000 made by now, but he’s made some untimely breaks and the draw hasn’t been kind to him.”
The Angus Hall son and Waples face a talent laden field that features three-time Gold Final winner Buckhams Bay from Post 4 and Ontario Sires Stakes record setter Daylon Magician from Post 7.
The slate of Super Final battles begins in Race 3 and continues through Race 10 on Saturday night, with a total of $2.4 million in Ontario Sires Stakes purse money on offer to the best two and three-year-old trotters and pacers in the province. Woodbine Racetrack’s first race rolls in behind the starting gate at 7:30 pm.
To watch all the regular season Gold Series races click: Regular Season Results
For complete entries click: Woodbine Racetrack Entries – Nov. 13, 2010