TORONTO, ON — As expected, the 2011 Super Finals delivered outstanding battles, surprising upsets and well-deserved championships as the top two and three-year-old trotters and pacers in Ontario battled over the Woodbine Racetrack oval for a total of $2.4 million on Saturday evening.
Leading off the talent laden season finale was the two-year-old pacing colt final, which saw division leader Warrawee Needy clearly demonstrate why only six other colts braved the post season waters. Driver Jody Jamieson had the long-legged son of E Dees Cam on top by the opening eighth and had opened up a nine and one-half length gap by the time he reached the wire in a seemingly effortless 1:50.3.
Machapelo dogged Warrawee Needy’s heels for most of the race before being left behind in the stretch, while Hard To Mach finished 20 lengths back in third.
“He looked like he wasn’t even trying, did you see him,” said elated owner Thomas Kyron from the winner’s circle. “So he must step at least six inches more than the average pacer, at least, to look that effortless.”
Toronto resident Kyron shares ownership of Warrawee Needy with trainer Carl Jamieson of Princeton, breeder Dr. Michael Wilson of Rockwood and Floyd Marshall of Jarvis. The colt’s Super Final triumph capped off a 12 race season that saw him capture nine starts, and post one second, one third and one fifth-place finish in his other three appearances, banking a total of $535,000. Only three of the pacer’s starts came outside the Ontario Sires Stakes program; his June 17 career debut and the elimination and final of the Battle of Waterloo.
“It’s been a great ride,” added Marshall. “Carl’s a very astute trainer; he really knows what he is doing. I have a lot of respect for him.”
Warrawee Needy will now head south for the winter, and as long as he continues to flourish in the Florida sun, his connections are looking forward to a sophomore season that will feature far more open stake events for Ontario’s freshman pacing colt champion.
Moffat resident Jody Jamieson was back in the winner’s circle following the three-year-old trotting colt Super Final with upset victor Mister Herbie, who delivered a spectacular eight and one-half length victory in an Ontario Sires Stakes record 1:52. Jamieson sent the Here Comes Herbie son to the front heading for the three-quarters and Mister Herbie simply sprinted away from the field to just his second lifetime victory in the Gold Series program.
Early leader Imperial Count stayed game through the wire to be second, ahead of fan favourite and division leader Daylon Magician, who failed to replicate his freshman Super Final victory.
Jamieson engineered the victory for trainer Jeff Gillis of Hillsburgh and his partners Mac Nichol of Burlington and Gerald Stay of Buffalo, NY. The group purchased Mister Herbie out of the Carl Jamieson barn in early October and have made three straight appearances in the Woodbine winner’s circle, recouping $173,000, well over the gelding’s purchase price.
“I really think that Carl had him heading in the right direction,” said Gillis after the race, noting that the gelding was lucky to make the Super Final. “It all worked out, we were very fortunate.”
The three-year-old trotting colt celebration was the second of the evening for Gillis, who also shepherded two-year-old pacing filly Apogee Hanover to victory on behalf of her regular trainer Erv Miller and owner Roger Hammer of Bedford, PA.
“I’ve been babysitting her for a couple weeks,” noted Gillis. “It’s their accomplishment.”
Oakville resident Scott Zeron piloted the Jeremes Jet daughter to her fifth win of the season — all coming in Gold Series action — and was heard shouting �Good girl’ to the filly as they crossed the wire four lengths ahead of Mindsweeper and Classy Lane Rose in 1:52.2.
“She’s been a little bit of a tough horse to drive, just because she gets me nervous making breaks every once in a while, and I’m happy she stayed flat today,” admitted Zeron, last year’s Ontario Sires Stakes driving champion, who finished second in the standings this season. “She’ll just brush her knee just that little bit where on some of the smaller tracks that we were on; it scared her enough that she would make breaks. She’d come right back at it, but still it would take her out of the race.”
The young reinsman made a second appearance in the Super Final winner’s circle with two-year-old trotting filly Miss Paris, who cruised to a one and three-quarter length victory over Frisky Strike and Counter Pointe in 1:57.2.
Zeron pilots Miss Paris for trainer Richard “Nifty” Norman and owners Mel Hartman of Ottawa, Herb Liverman of Miami Beach, FL and David McDuffee of Delray Beach, FL, and said he is one of the Kadabra daughter’s biggest fans.
“I just call her sweetheart every time I drive her,” said the 22-year-old reinsman. “She is so nice to drive, she is very good gaited, and she doesn’t ever give me a hard time out there, so it’s easy for me to situate her in good positions on the track where I can win with her.”
The filly’s seventh win in 14 starts boosted her freshman bank roll to $486,656.
Zeron wrapped up the 2011 OSS season in second spot behind veteran reinsman Randy Waples, who added two Super Final victories to his provincial resume on Saturday. The Milton resident engineered the most spectacular upset of the evening when he guided three-year-old pacing filly Waasmula to a nose victory over the pacesetting Breeders Crown champion Monkey On My Wheel thanks to a 26 second last quarter. The Million Dollar Cam daughter stopped the teletimer at 1:51.2 to post her first ever Ontario Sires Stakes victory.
“You always need a little luck,” said Caistor Centre resident Bruce Goit, who trains Waasmula for owner and breeder Brent Vincent of Allenford. “We’ve been prepping for this, we’ve been working at it, and she’s been racing great and just not catching any breaks, but finally we drew good and got forwardly placed and she showed what she could do.”
Waples also guided his regular mount China Pearls to a convincing two and one-quarter length victory in the three-year-old trotting filly contest for trainer Carman Hie of Beamsville, and his partners Stewart Cockshutt of Rockwood, Blake Anthony of Millgrove, Peter Kloepfer of Harley and Ted Murrell of Sharon.
“It’s fantastic, I’m very happy for China Pearls,” said Hie of the winner of $498,405. “She’s just been a model citizen.”
The Kadabra daughter wrapped up her first season of racing with seven wins, one second and six thirds in 18 starts, and Hie expects her to return for a four-year-old campaign next summer.
Prestidigitator captured the two-year-old trotting colt final with an impressive eight and one-quarter length victory over Good Sound Advice and Heres The Magic. Fan favourite The Game Plan went off stride heading for the three-quarters and finished well back in ninth.
The 1:56.3 clocking was a personal best for Prestidigitator, who wrapped up his freshman season with a record of four wins, two seconds and one third in 11 starts, banking $320,672 for trainer Dustin Jones and Ecurie Synergie of Montreal, QC. Milton resident Sylvain Filion piloted the Kadabra son to three Gold Elimination victories through the regular season and engineered Saturday’s triumph.
The final Super Final trophy went home with three-year-old pacing gelding Camaes Fellow, who sprinted down the stretch to a one and one-half length victory over Twin B Legend and fan favourite Mystician, halting the teletimer at 1:50.1. Guelph resident Doug McNair piloted the Mach Three son to his sixth lifetime victory for trainer Tony O’Sullivan of Cambridge and owner Frank Bellino of Bronxville, NY, and said the trip worked out perfectly for his hard closing mount, who was also victorious off a late charge in the last Gold Final of the season.
Saturday’s $2.4 million event wrapped up the 2011 Ontario Sires Stakes season, which saw eight provincial speed records matched or bettered by this year’s talented crop of trotters and pacers. With the yearling sales concluded, owners and trainers will now be turning their attention and hopes toward next year’s contenders, who will no doubt continue to demonstrate that horses bred and raised in Ontario are among the finest in the world.
To watch all of Saturday’s outstanding Super Final performances please go to: 2011 Super Finals
For complete results please go to: Woodbine Racetrack Results — Nov. 12, 2011