TORONTO, ON — Wrapping up the 2009 provincial stakes season at Woodbine Racetrack on Monday evening, the three-year-old pacing fillies delivered a pair of impressive miles in Trillium Series action.

Leading off the talent showcase was Northern Duchess, who scored just her second win of the season in the first $34,421 split. Starting from Post 1, the Western Terror daughter settled in fifth on the rail as Ocean Of Motion and Nora Lee battled to a :27.3 opening quarter. When Full Circle Tamara stepped to the outside, powering up to a :57 half, driver Mike Saftic sent Northern Duchess out in her wake and the pair had gained control of the front end well before the 1:24.4 three-quarters.

On top by four and three-quarter lengths when they turned for home, Saftic and Northern Duchess cruised down the stretch to a three length victory in a personal best 1:53.2. Fan Favourite Keepers Destiny and Pretty Thing circled out three-wide to earn the second and third-place finisher’s share.

John Pentland trains Northern Duchess for Karen Carroll of Shedden, and has sent the filly behind the gate 12 times this season, netting two wins, two seconds and three thirds. The filly has earned $83,260 through a sophomore season marred by injury, a tidy addition to the $221,051 she banked as a freshman.

In the second Trillium Series skirmish, 2008 freshman champion St Lads Popcorn set a lively tempo, ringing up fractions of :26.2, :56 and 1:25. Stepping to the outside before the half however, was Apricot Brandy, and the fan favourite wrestled control of the lead from St Lads Popcorn around the final turn then cruised home to a 1:52.2 victory.

Pocket sitter Amora Hanover finished two and one-quarter lengths back in second, with Warrawee Koine rounding out the top three. St Lads Popcorn settled for fourth-place spoils.

Jody Jamieson engineered Apricot Brandy’s seventh win of the season for trainer Blair Burgess and owners Robert Burgess of Campbellville and Karin Olsson Burgess of Milton. Through 24 starts the Real Desire daughter has accumulated seven wins, six seconds and five thirds for earnings of $148,064. Mondays’ victory matched the personal best she recorded at Woodbine on Nov. 13.

Monday’s event concluded the 2009 Ontario Sires Stakes season, and signalled the end of the Trillium Series, first established in 1988. Designed to encourage the purchase of well-bred fillies and to promote the development of the Standardbred broodmare band in Ontario, the program was phased out over a two-year period following the 2007 Ontario Horse Improvement Program Review.

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