WINDSOR, ON — Windsor Raceway’s 2003 Ontario Sires Stakes season drew to a close on Sunday with an impressive Gold Final victory by a two-year-old pacing colt whose provincial career is just getting started.
Reason To Smile made his Ontario Sires Stakes debut in last weekend’s Gold Elimination at Windsor, and the Grinfromeartoear son delivered such a confident victory that fans had no qualms about making him their top choice Sunday’s $130,000 contest.
Leaving from Post 6 with regular reinsman Chris Christoforou in the race bike, Reason To Smile floated off the gate into fourth spot as Grand Hall led the field of nine to a :27.3 opening quarter. Heading for the halfway marker Christoforou sent his young charge after the lead and Reason To Smile was in front by a comfortable margin when the teletimer clicked by :56. One and a half lengths on top at the 1:25.1 three-quarters, the duo had extended their lead to one and three-quarter lengths by the 1:54.4 finish to match their elimination clocking.
The other Elimination winner, Uptown Casino, closed well to finish second and early leader Grand Hall fended off two-time Gold Final winner Putasmileon to earn the third-place finisher’s share of the $130,000 purse.
The 1:54.4 victory was Reason To Smile’s third in his brief four race career and boosted his earnings to $97,339. Nat Varty trains the talented youngster for Perfect World Enterprises of Old Westbury, NY, who acquired the colt for US$30,000 at last fall’s Tattersalls Yearling Sale.
Combined with his elimination victory, Reason To Smile tallied 100 points in Gold Series action, good enough for seventh in the division standings and a berth in next Saturday’s $300,000 Super Final at Mohawk Racetrack. The top 10 point earners will square off in the rich season finale, part of the $2.4 million Super Final Championship night at the Campbellville oval.
Reason To Smile’s victory wrapped up Windsor Raceway’s 2003 Ontario Sires Stakes season, which saw Jasper Avenue rewrite the track record for the three-year-old pacing fillies with her 1:52 Gold Final victory on Saturday (Nov. 1) evening. Through the past four months the five-eighths mile oval has also played host to seven Gold Series events, three Grassroots and one Trillium Series.
The provincial program will return to Windsor in 2004 with a fresh crop of trotters and pacers eager to write their own chapter of the track’s history.