CAMPBELLVILLE, ON — Mohawk Racetrack fans got their money’s worth on Saturday evening as the top Ontario-sired trotters and pacers delivered outstanding racing in eight $300,000 Super Finals.
Two-year-old trotting filly Peaceful Way opened the talent show with an impressive Ontario Sires Stakes record performance to score her eighth straight victory and move within $8,500 of a $1 million season.
Leaving from Post 6, driver Chris Christoforou and Peaceful Way sailed to the front just past the :28.4 opening quarter and maintained a comfortable lead before accelerating off to a four-length victory in 1:57 over Ifhallscouldtalk and Miss Michelle H. The time shaved four-fifths of a second off the former record for a two-year-old trotting filly on a seven-eighths mile oval, set by the great Elegantimage in 1996.
“Until somebody beats her, I’d have to say she’s the best. She proved it in the Goldsmith Maid (Oct. 18). I’ve never seen any horse, let alone a two-year-old trotting filly do the kind of trip she did in the mud,” said trainer Dave Tingley. “She’s very deep, that’s what makes her the champion she is.”
Tingley shares ownership on Peaceful Way with breeder Angie Stiller of Arva and Joseph and Barbara Myers of Jamesville, VA. The Guelph resident now turns his attention to preparing the gifted young trotter for the Nov. 21 and 29 Breeders Crown at The Meadowlands where she will tackle the best freshman trotting fillies in North America.
Also headed to the Breeders Crown off an impressive Super Final victory is Amigo Hall, who cruised to an effortless 1:56 victory in the three-year-old trotting colt division. Like Christoforou, driver Mike Lachance sent the Balanced Image son to the front just after the first turn and pulled away from the field with every powerful stride, hitting the wire two and three-quarter lengths up on Meadowview Sunny and JM Vangogh.
“He’s got gate speed if you want it or he can come from behind,” says Lachance. “Right now he’s just a perfect horse and with his breeding I think he should be better at four.”
Lachance drove the 2003 Hambletonian champion to the victory for trainer Blair Burgess and owners Robert Burgess of Campbellville, Karin Olsson Burgess of Milton and Walnut Hall Limited of Lexington, KY. Following the Breeders Crown, the partners have decided to give the colt a well deserved rest and then resume his training in preparation for a four-year-old campaign.
Amigo Hall’s feminine counterpart Queen Of Jewels will start her winter vacation tomorrow after adding a glittering Super Final trophy to her collection. The win was driver Steve Condren’s second trip to the winner’s circle on the $2.4 million program and cemented Queen Of Jewels’ status as the top Ontario-sired three-year-old trotting filly of 2003.
“I was worried before the race. She didn’t seem as good tonight as she had been. We had some coughing going on and I just wasn’t happy with the way things were going,” said trainer Carman Hie. “I’m very relieved. Before she won the last Gold Final I thought that she’d had a good year, and then she won the Gold Final, and now this. It’s a great year.”
Hie shares ownership on the winner of $444,706 with Stewart Cockshutt of Rockwood, Gary Smith of Burlington and Peter Kloepfer of Harley. The King Conch daughter halted the Mohawk teletimer at 1:57.1, two lengths ahead of Chelemark Ginger and Wescott.
Condren’s other Super Final victory came in the two-year-old trotting colt division with In Conchnito, who hit the wire in 1:58.1 to score his sixth victory for trainer Robert McIntosh Stables Inc. of La Salle, Dave Boyle of Bowmanville and CSX Stables of Liberty Center, OH.
Freedom Hanover scored a 1:54.1 upset in the novice pacing colt event, one of three divisions settled by a narrow margin, for Sampson Street Stables of Old Forge, PA, Deena Rachel Frost of Delray Beach, FL, Jerry Silva of Bellmore, NY and Mathias Meinzinger of Central Islip, NY.
Freshman pacing filly Serious Comfort also eked out a head victory over rival Invitro, claiming the 1:53.3 win for trainer Roy Jeffries and owner-breeders Millar Farms of Newmarket, and three-year-old pacing filly Please Me Please captured her fifth win of the season with a 1:52.4 squeaker over Burning Point on behalf of Robert McIntosh Stables Inc., Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington and Dwight Stacey of Mitchell.
The final $300,000 division went to Armbro Acquire, who battled to a 1:52.3 front-end victory over Border Patrol and Make It Brief.
“He’s been a tough horse all year. He really deserved that,” said Bruce MacDonald, who conditions the Rustler Hanover colt for Mardon Stables of Loretto and Daniel MacIsaac of Charlottetown, PEI. “He wasn’t the bridesmaid tonight.”
The win boosted the colt’s record to five wins, 10 seconds and three thirds in 27 starts for earnings of $359,092.
While many of the three-year-olds head for a well deserved rest, Mohawk Racetrack fans will have one last opportunity to catch the two-year-old trotters and pacers in action in the Canadian Breeders Championship on Nov. 22.