TORONTO, ON — Standing in the Woodbine Racetrack winner’s circle for the second time on Saturday evening, John Fielding was basking in the light of a season that has sparkled as brightly as the Irish crystal trophies awarded to his Super Final winners.
For the second time in two weeks the Toronto resident captured two lucrative victories at the Woodbine oval, watching Poof Shes Gone set a track and Ontario Sires Stakes record in the two-year-old trotting filly Super Final, and Code Word sweep down the stretch to an upset in the two-year-old pacing colt contest. Fielding also watched via satellite as Costa Rica captured the $157,800 Matron Two-Year-Old Filly Trot at Dover Downs earlier in the evening.
“It’s so nice, after being in it as long as my brother Jim and I have been it, to get two nice fillies like that,” said Fielding. “We’ve had a great run this year.”
Heavy favourite Poof Shes Gone and driver David Miller delivered an impressive effort to claim their tenth victory, reaching the finish four lengths ahead of Wilsonator and Windcross in a sparkling 1:55.3. The mile shaved two-fifths of a second off the Ontario Sires Stakes record set at Mohawk Racetrack by Bella Dolce in 2007.
“He (Miller) never popped the plugs and she was standing there, honestly, like she had just gone a training mile,” said Fielding of the filly’s relaxed demeanour in the winner’s circle. “She wasn’t blowing at all.”
Fielding shares ownership on the winner of $1,076,326 with Melvin Hartman of Ottawa, Herb Liverman of Miami Beach, FL and David McDuffee of Nashua, NH and Richard “Nifty” Norman handles training duties.
The longtime owner made his second trip to the winner’s circle following the two-year-old pacing colt contest, when Rick Zeron engineered a come-from-behind effort with lightly rated Code Word, swinging out three-wide around the final turn and sprinting home to a one length victory in 1:51.3 over BP Chimo and Keystone Raptor.
Winless in Ontario Sires Stakes action all summer, up until Saturday Code Word had been something of a disappointment to Fielding and his partner John Carver of Moline, IL. Fielding also owns a share of Keystone Raptor and had expected a second trip to the Super Final winner’s circle could come compliments of that colt, but after Code Word’s impressive Super Final victory the prospects for his group of 2010 sophomore pacing colts brightened significantly.
“He was another one that wasn’t blowing in the winner’s circle,” noted Fielding of the Tony O’Sullivan trainee. “He’s a very sharp looking horse, and he’s a Western Terror, and, again, another horse that has great potential next year as a three-year-old.”
Following in his father’s footsteps, Scott Zeron guided FBs Terror to an eye-catching front end victory in the two-year-old pacing filly Super Final. The 20-year-old Oakville resident engineered the victory for trainer Mario Macri of Brampton and owners Michael Guerriero and FB Racing of Moffat, and both the grandstand and the paddock exploded with sound when the pair reached the finish line half a length ahead of St Lads Trixie and Tiz To Dream.
“I was screaming, me and my dad were both screaming when I got off the track,” said Zeron. “Ever since this new whipping rule we have to have a line in each hand right, or else I’d have definitely given a fist pump or something. I would have been going nuts.”
Zeron sent the Western Terror daughter straight to the front from Post 5 and faced a tough decision when division leader Western Silk and Mark MacDonald powered up on his outside heading to the half. The young reinsman opted to maintain control, and FBs Terror responded with an impressive effort that saw her cruise home to her fourth victory in a personal best 1:53.1.
“It was a tough decision, I was like, you know what, his (MacDonald’s) plugs are out, it looks like he already put the hammer down,” explained Zeron. “I just gave her her head, I didn’t even speak to her, just gave her her head and let her rattle up a little bit, and she was huge. Huge.
“It was unbelievable, she’s just a small little girl, oh I love her, love her,” he added exuberantly.
Following the three-year-old pacing colt final, owner Harold Shipp, trainer John Kopas and driver Jack Moiseyev had to wait through an inquiry before learning that Shipps Xpectancy had been awarded the win, but the delay did nothing to take the edge off their delight in the victory.
“I’m very delighted for Mr. Shipp, never was a finer man in the game,” said Kopas. “I’m just delighted for him, he’s a great friend and a real asset to this business, we need more like him in this game.”
The Mach Three son’s connections had to wait for almost 30 minutes while Ontario Racing Commission officials reviewed the actions of driver David Miller and Ideal Race between the half and three-quarter poles. Their deliberations revealed that Miller and his mount had interfered with the progress of Shady Cam and driver Jason Brewer, so Ideal Race was placed from first back to seventh and Shipps Xpectancy was promoted from second to first.
“It’s well worth the wait, what’s a half hour in my life at 83 and a half?” asked Shipp. “That call, the judges call, was a $75,000 call to me, but it’s not so much the prize money, but the prize of having won a great race against other great contenders. When I think about the Bulletproof Stables, they must have been biting their nails as much as myself and my family and friends had done while waiting for the results.
“Somebody wins, somebody goes down, tonight was our turn, so as I said, our ship did come in tonight,” he quipped.
The inquiry delayed the start of the last three Super Final contests, and did nothing to soothe the nerves of trainer Mike Keeling, who was more nervous about Elusive Desire’s Super Final start than he had been sending the three-year-old trotting filly out in the prestigious Hambletonian Oaks.
“I felt more pressure tonight than I ever felt with her,” admitted Keeling after the filly delivered a commanding 1:54.1 victory. “When we saw they put it in the tenth race we’re going, oh no, they’re kind of thinking that she’s kind of the marquee player.”
The only freshman champion to score a repeat Super Final victory, Elusive Desire was as impressive in her eighteenth sophomore start as she had been all season, giving credence to Keeling’s pre-race opinion that she was in peak form in spite of the late date.
“I was worried she was too sharp, I really was,” said the Cambridge resident, who conditions the Angus Hall lass for P C Wellwood Enterprises Inc. of Cambridge, Charles Armstrong of Brampton and Robert Fasken of Oakville. “I talk about her personality, and that’s the key to her. The only thing I can say I did right, was I read personality right I think. She could have been a horse that you could have got frustrated with, and for some reason, I kind of knew that she was going to do things on her terms and there was no sense fighting with her.”
Keeling expects fans will have one last opportunity to see the winner of $1,286,348 in action. Provided she bounces back from Saturday’s Super Final win, Elusive Desire will wrap up her sophomore career in the Nov. 21 Trillium Series event at Woodbine Racetrack.
The other Super Final trophies were awarded to three-year-old pacing filly Shacked Up, who toured the Woodbine oval in 1:51.3; two-year-old trotting colt Text Me, who delivered a 1:56.2 effort; and three-year-old trotting colt I Wont Dance, who won by a nose in 1:54.3.
For complete results please go to: http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r1114wdbsn.dat.