CAMPBELLVILLE, ON — Modest might not be the first adjective you would associate with trainer Frank O’Reilly, but the Orton resident insists the credit does not lie with him for two-year-old trotting filly Cumin First’s recent success.
“Anybody could have trained her,” insists O’Reilly of his star pupil, who heads back to Mohawk Racetrack on Monday night in pursuit of her second Gold Final title. “All they would’ve had to do was feed her and jog her.”
Cumin First has been flawless since her debut in the Gold Series season opener at Flamboro Downs on July 13, where she overcame the outside Post 7 to score a 2:02.4 victory. In the July 20 Gold Final, driver Rick Zeron of Oakville engineered a classic pocket trip for the young trotter and Cumin First bounced out in the stretch to claim a 1:59.4 victory.
In last week’s Gold Elimination at Mohawk Racetrack, Zeron and the Striking Sahbra daughter found themselves back on the outer rail, but even Post 10 could not prevent Cumin First from claiming her third straight victory — by four and three-quarter lengths in a personal best 1:58.3.
“I knew she was good; I didn’t know she was that good. She’s just so handy she can overcome me, Rick Zeron and bad post positions,” quips O’Reilly, who never misses an opportunity to rib a driver. “She’s quite a creature.”
Zeron will steer Cumin First from Post 7 in Monday’s $120,000 Gold Final, with the other elimination winners, Easter Bonnet, I’ll Wait For You and Magical Debut, starting from Posts 3, 9, and 10.
Dr. Ruth Irving and Mary Anne Lauzon of Russell, Jim Fielding of Toronto and John Jesson of Tillsonburg share ownership on the filly, who was bred by Irving and Dr. Garth Henry’s Hamstan Farm Inc. In tribute to Irving, O’Reilly calls the filly �Ruthie’ around the barn, and through her first three starts Ruthie has earned her grateful owners a cool $100,000.
“Ruthie was always good, always good. She was always first or second on the list,” notes O’Reilly, who admits that the filly he was most impressed with all winter has thus far failed to make it to the races. “She’s good gaited, talented, what else can you say.
“You don’t make them good, they are born good,” he adds. “We just managed to keep from ruining her.”
O’Reilly is also coaxing out the innate talent of a second two-year-old trotting filly, Hollycrest, who will start from Post 5 in the $20,000 Gold Consolation on Monday. The Angus Hall miss finished fifth in her first start last week, and O’Reilly expects to see continued improvement from the filly over the coming weeks.
“She raced pretty good last week. That was a good mile — as much as we had hoped for,” says O’Reilly, who conditions the filly for breeder Langcrest Farm of Grand Valley. “She’s a nice usable filly; she’s going to be a nice usable filly.”
Regular reinsman Bill O’Donnell will steer Hollycrest in her second lifetime start on Monday, tackling the other third through sixth-place finishers from last week’s elimination round.
The $20,000 Gold Consolation is the first race on Mohawk Racetrack’s Monday evening program, kicking things off at 7:30 pm, and the $120,000 Gold Final is slated as Race 5.
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