CAMPBELLVILLE, ON — Ontario’s top two-year-old pacing fillies proved that they are still in high gear in spite of the date on the calendar when Serious Comfort stopped the clock in a record setting 1:52.3 last weekend at Mohawk Racetrack. Heading into their $300,000 Super Final at the Campbellville oval on Saturday evening, trainer Roy Jeffries believes his filly’s record could be erased before the ink has had an opportunity to dry.
“That was a huge mile last week. I wasn’t expecting that kind of speed at this time of year,” says Jeffries, who conditions the two-time Gold Final winner for breeder and owner Millar Farms of Newmarket. “And there’s a lot of early speed in that race Saturday. The first quarter is going to be a foot race.”
After participating in a fruitless early speed duel in the Oct. 25 Gold Elimination, Jeffries and driver Roger Mayotte opted for a different strategy in last Saturday’s Final. Easing off the gate, Mayotte and Serious Comfort watched Special Magic lay down lightning fast fractions and then used elimination winner and race favourite Invitro as a wind break in their drive from the back of the pack to the half length victory.
“In the elimination she was the favourite and Roger drove her like the favourite, but it was the fractions that beat her. I don’t want to take anything away from Doug Brown’s filly (Invitro), but she didn’t get much of a breather anywhere in the mile,” says the Newmarket resident. “We certainly didn’t want another trip like that in the Final, so we made the best plan that we could. We knew Doug Brown’s horse was definitely the one to beat and to follow it, we knew he’d have us close in the stretch.”
Serious Comfort will start from Post 2 on Saturday night, while Invitro and Special Magic line up from the outside Posts 8 and 9 so Jeffries knows the plan will not work this week, however he does not expect to see Mayotte and the Precious Bunny daughter firing off the gate and charging for the lead through the opening stages of the race.
“I don’t think this time we’re going to be behind Doug’s horse, given the draw he’s got and the draw we’ve got,” says Jeffries, pointing to Special Magic, A And Gs Rockette (Post 3) and Taylor Lynne (Post 7) as potential pacesetters. “And I don’t believe we can out leave those three, so what happens after that is up to Roger. Again, the fractions will dictate a lot. It should be a great race.”
After the freshman fillies battle in Race 3, their masculine counterparts step onto the seven-eighths mile oval to decide which will be awarded top dog status in 2003. After 10 regular season events two-time Gold Final winner Putasmileon leads the two-year-old pacing colts into the $300,000 Super Final, but trainer Bill Robinson is concerned that some of the fresh faces in the field will give the winner of $225,791 and his stablemate Apache Limo a run for their money.
“I think it’s going to be a heck off a race,” says the Hagersville resident. “I think we all have to beat that one of Nat Varty’s (Reason To Smile), but mine could upset with a trip.”
Grinfromeartoear son Putasmileon finished fourth behind OSS newcomer Reason To Smile in the Nov. 2 Gold Final at Windsor Raceway, one of just three times he has missed the board in 12 starts, and Robinson and his staff feared the colt had been struck by a viral infection.
“We were looking for excuses Sunday so we had him scoped,” says the Hagersville resident. “It came back so mild that I’m not even going to give it to you as an excuse.
“Apache Limo got a good trip last week and didn’t race good, and he did scope sick,” adds the trainer. “If I can get him cleaned up, he’s a very fast horse, he could be a factor.”
Apache Limo, a son of Apaches Fame owned by CMR Farms of Hagersville, and Putasmileon, owned by the Fred Monteleone Stable LLC of Pompano Beach, FL, will line up side-by-side from Posts 6 and 7 on Saturday and, like Jeffries, Robinson does not expect to see either of his colts firing out to challenge for the lead.
“I’d like to see Putasmileon get away fourth and Apache Limo at the back and a battle on the front end,” notes the Ontario Sires Stakes’ leading trainer. “Then they get tired on the front and Apache Limo comes on and Putasmileon comes on and I finish one, two.”
Among the colts Robinson would like to sneak by on Saturday are the one, two finishers from Windsor, Reason To Smile and Uptown Casino, who will be handicapped by Posts 9 and 10 in the fifth race.
Saturday’s $2.4 million Super Final showcase gets under way at 7:40 pm in Mohawk Racetrack’s first race, with the other seven season finales featured in Races 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9.