CAMPBELLVILLE, ON — Buoyed by a win in the Bridger Series last week, My Friend jumped back into Ontario Sires Stakes action and scored an impressive victory in the first of three $40,000 Gold Eliminations for two-year-old trotting colts at Mohawk Racetrack on Monday evening.
Jason Brewer returned to the race bike behind the Amigo Hall son and spun the colt away from Post 5 and into third spot on the rail, watching Mike Saftic and Hitithard explode away from Post 10 to a :28.2 opening quarter. Hitithard and Saftic continued to control the pace through the :58 half, but heading toward the final turn Brewer sent My Friend after the lead, and the pair were up alongside Hitithard by the 1:27.4 three-quarters.
After the hot early fractions, Hitithard was unable to fend off My Friend, who sailed away to a two and three-quarter length victory in a personal best 1:58. Pointe Of Honour closed well to finish second and Magical Ability found his way around the faltering pacesetter to claim the third-place share of the $40,000 purse. Hitithard faded to fourth, and fan favourite Senator Hall was never part of the mix and hit the wire in sixth.
Campbellville resident Blair Burgess trains My Friend for his wife Karin Olsson Burgess and father Bob Burgess of Campbellville. In his three earlier starts the colt had finished fourth in the July 15 Gold Elimination at Kawartha Downs and fifth in the Gold Consolation seven days later, then delivered a strong come-from-behind effort to claim a leg of the Bridger Series at Mohawk on Aug. 7 in 2:02.1.
In the second Gold Elimination, Hibbler made an impressive leap from the Grassroots to the Gold Series with a gate-to-wire victory in 2:00.2. Jody Jamieson took over driving duties from co-owner Fred Jamieson for Monday’s outing, and sent the colt straight to the front from Post 5. Play Right did his best to reel in the pacesetter down the stretch, but Hibbler prevailed by half a length. Denver AS rounded out the top three, while reigning Gold Final champion and the fans’ top choice Sin To Win made an early break from the trailing Post 11 and was never a factor in the race.
Trainer Murray Weber and Fred Jamieson of Putnam, and Renato Confortin of London, share ownership on Hibbler. The trio acquired the son of Striking Sahbra and Meghans Memories for just $12,000 from last fall’s Forest City Yearling Sale, and have banked $30,000 through the youngsters first two starts. In his July 27 provincial debut, Hibbler was a 2:05.1 winner in Grassroots action at Clinton Raceway.
After the second elimination the skies opened over Campbellville and changed the conditions from fast to sloppy, with track officials rating the surface two seconds slower than normal. As a result, Jody Jamieson opted for come from behind tactics with Lemon Candy, keeping the first time Gold starter off the rail in hopes of finding more solid footing.
The decision paid dividends as fan favourite Mopey Corey tired in the stretch after leading the field for most of the mile. A strong finishing kick propelled Lemon Candy to a one length victory in 1:59, with Aloft closing well to be second and Mopey Corey hanging on for third.
ACL Stuteri AB of Paris, KY owns the gelded son of Kadabra and Lemons Mill, a half-brother to former Ontario Sires Stakes competitors Mill Work, Mr Lemon and Lemon Drop, and Anette Lorentzon trains the youngster. Monday’s outing marked Lemon Candy’s debut in the provincial program, and was just his second lifetime start, the first a seventh-place finish in overnight action at Mohawk on July 31.
The top three finishers from each elimination, plus At The Gate, who finished fourth behind Lemon Candy, will return to Mohawk Racetrack on Monday, Aug. 25 for their $120,000 Gold Final. The freshman trotting colts will line up behind the starting gate as follows:
Post 1 — Hibbler
Post 2 — At The Gate
Post 3 — Lemon Candy
Post 4 — Play Right
Post 5 — Aloft
Post 6 — Pointe Of Honour
Post 7 — Mopey Corey
Post 8 — My Friend
Post 9 — Denver AS
Post 10 — Magical Ability
For complete results please go to: http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/results/data/rmohsmo.html.