TORONTO, ON — Woodbine Racetrack hosts the last set of Gold Series Eliminations for the two-year-old trotting fillies this Friday, Oct. 31, and nineteen youngsters will be lining up for a share of $80,000 in Ontario Sires Stakes loot.

Igual Que Tu will lead the parade of fillies onto the Toronto oval in the third race, and trainer Rousell Mackenzie is hoping the addition of trotting hopples to the filly’s equipment bag will help propel her into next week’s Gold Final.

“She got a little startled in Ottawa. One horse crossed over in front of her and she made a break, it wasn’t interference, she just got startled and made the break,” explains Mackenzie. “We qualified her with the hopples on, and she’s been good the last few weeks. We are looking forward to racing her on Friday.”

Friday’s elimination will be Igual Que Tu’s third Gold Series appearance. The Amigo Hall daughter made her first lifetime start in a Gold Elimination at Mohawk Racetrack on July 28, where she made a break off the gate and finished well behind winner Cumin First. Mackenzie opted to drop the filly down to the Grassroots for her next start, and Igual Que Tu delivered a solid 2:01.1 victory over the Georgian Downs oval.

A third-place finish in Grassroots action at Grand River Raceway on Sept. 12, and a narrow loss in a Trillium division at Georgian Downs on Sept. 20, followed before Mackenzie decided the filly was ready for another shot at the Gold Series in the Rideau Carleton event. Disappointed for a second time, the trotting hopples were added to Igual Que Tu’s equipment bag, and the filly delivered a steady qualifier at Mohawk Racetrack on Oct. 20.

“She has a big brain and a big gait, and hopefully her best racing days are ahead of her,” says Mackenzie, who conditions Igual Que Tu for his wife Caryl Leigh Mackenzie of Elora and Jojo Chintoh’s Westdale Stables of Hamilton. “We are optimistic going into the race.”

Stephen Byron will steer Igual Que Tu from Post 1 in the third race, facing off against a field of Gold Series veterans, including two-time Gold Final winner Cumin First from Post 4. The pair will be looking for a top five finish in order to earn a return invitation to Woodbine for the Nov. 7 Gold Final.

“This filly is very sound, very clean, very good gaited, and she has a good attitude. That’s what you’re looking for in this game, and then you’ve got to have a little bit of racing luck,” says Mackenzie. “The post is good, the division looks okay, so we’ll give it our best shot.”

The talented two-year-old trotting fillies will battle in Races 3 and 6 on Woodbine Racetrack’s Friday evening program, with the top five finishers from each $40,000 Gold Elimination returning to the Toronto oval for the Nov. 7 Gold Final. Post time at Woodbine on Friday is 7:30 pm.

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