LONDON, ON — Fans gathered at Western Fair Raceway on Halloween Night were treated to four outstanding performances by Ontario’s most talented freshman pacers, including a track record triumph by gelding Shipps Xpectancy.

Starting from the advantageous rail with Jack Moiseyev in the race bike, Shipps Xpectancy grabbed control of the race from the outset and rolled through a :29 opening quarter and a :57.2 half before facing a challenge. Heading by the 1:26 three-quarters Trail Boss and Doug McNair applied heavy pressure to the pacesetter from the outside, but Shipps Xpectancy shook off his rival and sprinted home to a three length victory in a track record 1:54.4.

Shady Cam dogged Shipps Xpectancy’s footsteps throughout the mile and paced into second-place, while Rescue Plan closed well to be third. Trail Boss faded to fourth after his mid-race battle, but will also advance to next Saturday’s $140,000 Gold Final.

The mile lowered the two-year-old pacing colt track record of 1:56.1 shared by former Ontario Sires Stakes competitors C B Flight and Fish My Pal. C B Flight established the standard in a Gold Elimination at the London oval on Oct. 23, 1993, and Fish My Pal matched it in the Grassroots Championship on Oct. 30, 1999.

John Kopas trains Shipps Xpectancy for the Harold G. Shipp Stable of Mississauga. Through 12 starts this season the Mach Three gelding has posted three wins, one second and four thirds for earnings of $186,674.

The other pacing colt Gold Elimination went to division leader Nebupanezzar, who cruised along on the front end to a four length victory in 1:55.3. Defending Gold Final champion Surrealist finished second, Stonebridge Terror was just under a length back in third and Allamerican Extra rounded out the qualifiers for the Nov. 8 Gold Final.

Steve Condren engineered Nebupanezzar’s ninth win in 12 starts for trainer Bob McIntosh of LaSalle and owner-breeder Peter Pan Stables Inc. of Pepper Pike, OH. The No Pan Intended son went into Friday’s Gold Elimination off an outstanding performance in the Oct. 25 Governor’s Cup at Woodbine Racetrack, and Western Fair Raceway was so confident in the young pacer’s ability they declined to offer show wagering in the tenth race.

The two-year-old pacing fillies kicked off the Gold Series excitement at the London oval, with Arts Star picking up her second straight win with a 1:56.4 effort from Post 4 in the first $40,000 split. The Modern Art lass and driver Brad Forward circled out three-wide at the three-quarter pole to get up for the win, reeling in the first over Northern Duchess, pacesetter Shellace and pocket sitter Icey Breeze, who wound up second, third and fourth respectively.

Casie Coleman trains Arts Star for Steve Calhoun and Michael Lindley of Chatham and West Wins Stable of Cambridge. The third foal from a half-sister to $1 million winner Stonebridge Kisses, Arts Star was a $40,000 yearling acquisition from the 2007 Lexington Select Sale and has amassed a record of three wins, two seconds and one third in nine starts for earnings of $75,800.

Division leader St Lads Popcorn also got the job done in the second pacing filly split, fending off a late challenge from John Kopas trainee Take My Pulse to score a three-quarter length win in 1:56.3. Grassroots champion Tomorrowpan proved that she deserved a shot in the big leagues with her third-place effort, and Star Gazed rounded out the top four.

Jason Brewer was in his customary spot in St Lads Popcorn’s race bike, as the filly earned her eighth win of the season for trainer and owner Jack Darling of Cambridge. In 11 starts, the Twin B Champ lass has accumulated eight wins, including three Gold Final titles, and one second for earnings of $342,323, a tidy return on the $5,000 Darling spent to acquire the filly at last fall’s Forest City Yearling Sale.

The top four finishers from each Gold Elimination will make the return trip to Western Fair Raceway next Saturday, Nov. 8 to compete in a pair of $140,000 Gold Finals, the last regular season event on their schedule before the lucrative Super Final.

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