TORONTO, ON — Voelz Hanover is at the top of her game heading into Monday’s $140,000 Gold Final at Woodbine Racetrack, and trainer Ben Baillargeon says the key to the three-year-old pacing filly’s recent success has been her new found friendship with stablemate Ingrid Hanover.

“That mare has been the key to her turning around,” says the Rockwood resident. “They spend the night outside still, and they’re almost in the same stall. There’s just a middle wall, four feet high, between them.

“If she’s in the paddock outside by herself, she stands by the gate and pouts,” adds the horseman. “I turned them out myself last night (Wednesday) about eight o’clock — and it was a cold night last night — and they took off trotting. They love it. The other mare has been a good thing for her.”

Since Baillargeon introduced the sophomore pacing fillies, both Voelz Hanover’s health and attitude have improved. She has been no worse than second since Sept. 13 and her struggles with tie-up syndrome have eased.

“Right now everything is pretty good,” says Baillargeon, who trains the filly for Richard Berthiaume of Pointe-Aux-Trembles, QC. “She’s had not much problems with tying up lately. The last three times she raced, even with retention, she’s had no issues. Right now she’s happy and she’s racing good.”

Voelz Hanover heads in to the last Gold Final of the sophomore filly season off an impressive win in the Gold Elimination round. The Astreos daughter and driver Mario Baillargeon hustled off the starting gate from Post 4 and then allowed fan favourite Chancey Lady to do all the work on the front end before stepping back out in the stretch and accelerating away to a two and one-quarter length victory. The 1:51.2 clocking was a personal best for Voelz Hanover, who set a world record last season when she circled Hiawatha Horse Park’s five-eighths mile oval in 1:51.3.

The pair will return to Post 4 in Monday’s Gold Final, and Baillargeon says the filly should be able to use her gate speed to good advantage again this week.

“Post 4 is perfect. It’s better than the 10; the nine and 10 are very tough at Woodbine,” notes the trainer. “Gate speed is the key to success out there.”

The filly’s longtime rival Chancey Lady landed Post 10, while the other Semifinal winner, Ms Goliath, will start from Post 5 in Monday’s fifth race. The only other filly to win a Gold Final this season is I’m Just Special, and she will start from Post 2.

Monday’s Gold Final wraps up the three-year-old pacing fillies’ regular season, with only the top 10 point earners advancing to the $300,000 Super Final at Woodbine on Nov. 15. Eight of the contestants in Monday’s final are already ranked in the top 10, with Changing Gears (Post 6) and Call Me Yours (Post 8) needing top two finishes to make the leap into the post season.

Woodbine Racetrack’s Monday evening program gets under way at 7:20 pm, and the three-year-old pacing fillies will wage their last Gold Final battle in the fifth race.

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