CAMPBELLVILLE, ON — On Saturday night Mohawk Racetrack is the destination of choice for the cream of the 2002 Ontario Sires Stakes crop as the Campbellville oval hosts the $2.4 million Gold Series Super Finals.
The culmination of an outstanding season that saw 25 track and 13 Ontario Sires Stakes speed records equalled or lowered, and two horses earn more than $1 million dollars, this year’s Super Finals are expected to feature the coronation of several division kings and queens.
Among the colts expected to add another notch to an already impressive belt is pacing colt Sir Luck who became the first Ontario-sired two-year-old to earn over $1 million when he captured the Oct. 4 Gold Final at Mohawk.
Following his third Gold Final victory the Camluck colt headed to New Jersey to have an operation to correct an epiglottal entrapment. He returned to trainer Bill Budd’s barn on Oct. 29 and qualified smartly at Mohawk on Nov. 5 in 1:55.4 and again on Nov. 12 in 1:53.4, and the Carlisle resident says he is ready for battle in Saturday’s fifth race.
“He’s great. That was a good mile this morning (Tuesday), he was very strong,” says Budd. “He’s ready to roll now. I’ll just give him tomorrow off, jog him the next couple of days and race him.”
Although Saturday’s $300,000 Super Final will be the litmus test for the throat operation, Budd says everything looks good through the endoscope.
“After the first time I trained him I scoped him and he was pretty good. I scoped him again last Friday (Nov. 8) and he looked real good,” says the trainer. “They did a great job.”
Sir Luck will start from Post 1 on Saturday with regular driver Mike Saftic in the race bike and Budd says the draw suits his superstar fine. The veteran conditioner was also pleased with the Post 7 drawn by his number two colt Boulder Creek, who comes into the race off a victory in the last Gold Final at Western Fair Raceway on Nov. 8 and will be driven by Rick Zeron Saturday.
Both colts are owned by Cliff Siegel’s C. and I. Siegel Racing Stable Ltd of Brooklyn, NY and finished the regular season in the top two spots in the Super Final point standings.
“Bill Budd’s horses are the class of the field. There’s no argument there,” says trainer Bill Robinson, who will harness Au Rumba from Post 3. “He (Au Rumba) is definitely over classed in there.”
Robinson will send a total of nine horses to the gate in four of the eight divisions on Saturday night and the Hagersville resident expects his best shot at a winner’s circle appearance will come with three-year-old pacing colt Dreamfair Vogel, who heads into the event on a five race win streak which includes the elimination and Final of the last two Gold Series events.
“I can’t say much about him other than he is the best in the division,” says Robinson. “He’s going into it good and he hasn’t fought any sickness that I know about.”
Robinson trains Dreamfair Vogel for owner-breeders John and Mary Lamers of Ingersoll, who placed the Village Jiffy son in his care after the colt failed to make the final of the Confederation Cup in mid-August. Since moving into Robinson’s barn the colt has been undefeated, but Robinson says he can’t take credit for Dreamfair Vogel’s natural ability.
“I made some equipment changes, changed his training routine and put him on the program, but he’s always been a good horse,” says Robinson. “I didn’t make him a good horse.”
Randy Waples will steer Dreamfair Vogel from Post 8 in the ninth race on Saturday night while Paul MacDonell handles the lines on Robinson’s second starter Pacific Titan, a horse Robinson has not been able to work magic with this season.
“”He’s been kind of a disappointment. I can’t seem to get what I was supposed to get out of him,” says the trainer candidly. “I’ve tried a lot of different things with him, but I can’t seem to get him focused. He can do it. He just likes to do it at his own time and in his own way.
“I didn’t do much with him this tour, just let him relax and showed him a lot of grass.”
Among the horses Robinson will have his eye on are Armbro Warranty (Post 5), a recent addition to his son Brett’s stable, and The Cammissioner, who will start from Post 1 with Chris Christoforou in the race bike for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor, Dwight Stacey of Mitchell and Michael Kohler of Sterling Heights, MI.
Like Robinson, McIntosh will harness more than one starter Saturday night, and he says that the stars will have to align perfectly for Camluck colt The Cammissioner to record a victory.
“He was touched by the virus after he finished second in Windsor (Sept. 29). He came out of that race with his blood screwed up,” says McIntosh, who has already locked up a second straight Johnston Cup award as the top trainer in the Sires Stakes program. “He is improved this week some. I trained him this morning (Tuesday) and he seemed to have a little more fire to him, but he’ll have to be back to his previous form to be a threat in there. Hopefully we’ll see the real Cammissioner on Saturday.”
A total of six starters from McIntosh’s Windsor facility will make the trip to Mohawk Racetrack for Saturday’s Super Final extravaganza, which gets under way at 7:40 pm. The eight $300,000 divisions are featured in Races 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9.