LONDON, ON — As the three-year-old trotting colts prepare for the last Gold Final of their careers on Friday at Western Fair Raceway, Ricky MacPhee is hoping he still has the better end of the deal he struck with Jeff Gillis come Saturday morning.

“For me, so far, it was good,” says MacPhee of the trade that saw his three-year-old trotting colt Parlay head to Gillis in exchange for Gillis’s two-year-old pacing colt Cambalibra. “I raced him (Cambalibra) the first time and he raced good. I raced him yesterday and he raced like a rat.”

Parlay heads back to Western Fair off a 1:59.2 victory in the elimination round that saw him control the pace from gate to wire. That outing was the Kadabra son’s second start for Gillis, and his second victory.

“We were standing in the paddock and Jeff said, �Any horses you hate in the barn? If you’ve got any you’re interested in trading, I’ll trade with you,'” recalls MacPhee.

The Cambridge resident says he did not hate Parlay, a colt he owns in partnership with Harris O’Brien of Fort Erie and Robby Wiratmo Wibawa of Mississauga, but admits he was frustrated when the trotter started making breaks and deviated far from the form that saw him win five of his first six starts this season.

“At the first of the season he was just a killer,” reflects the horseman. “The night he hit the starting gate he might have sprained something, but after that he wanted to run all the time for no reason.

“He’s a nice horse. He’s good in the barn, but after a while you get frustrated,” he adds.

MacPhee will not be on hand to watch Parlay’s second tour round the Western Fair oval, as the Prince Edward Island native is heading home for the Atlantic Breeders Crown festivities, where his family will be recognized for their longtime contribution to the region’s harness racing community.

“I am going to PEI on Friday,” says MacPhee. “Our family is the representing family this year, and my father is getting older, so he thought it would be nice if the boys were all there.”

MacPhee is confident that Gillis will have Parlay in peak form for his last shot at a Gold Final title. The colt will battle for the honour from Post 1 in the ninth race, with the other elimination winner, Breewood Gringo, hot on his heels from the trailing Post 8. Former Gold Final winners I Wont Dance and Equity will start from Posts 2 and 4.

“He doesn’t look out of place there in the Final,” notes MacPhee. “We knew he had the ability to go with those other colts, he was just getting difficult.”

Ontario’s gifted sophomore trotting colts will wrap up their Gold Series careers in the ninth race at Western Fair Raceway on Friday. The London oval sends its first race in behind the gate at 7:05 pm.

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