As the Boston faithful chanted “Thank You Kessel” -- referencing the 2009 trade deal that sent Phil Kessel to the Leafs in exchange for draft picks that would become Boston stars Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton -- MacIsaac thought, “Why not?” and weeks later the name Thankyoukessel was approved by Standardbred Canada.
Thankyoukessel made his racing debut in the summer of 2012 and over the past two years has amassed a consistent record of seven wins, two seconds and three thirds in 19 starts for earnings of C$212,445. Competing at the Ontario Sire Stakes (OSS) Gold Series level this season the gelding has posted two wins, two thirds and one fifth, ranking him second in the point standings heading into Saturday night’s C$200,000 Super Final at Mohawk Racetrack.
“He started off the year good with a win down in London and he really, really didn’t give us a bad race all year,” the Moffat, Ont. resident MacIsaac said. “He doesn’t do a whole lot wrong; he’s a pretty nice boy.”
In addition to his successes in the Gold Series, Thankyoukessel also captured the Canadian Breeders Championship at Mohawk on July 20 in a personal best 1:54.2 and his sophomore debut in a May 2 overnight event at Woodbine Racetrack. The Ken Warkentin-sired gelding has surpassed the standard set by his full-sister Witch Way, who was a Gold Final winner and earned C$170,833 in her career.
“The best thing about that mare, all her foals have been good gaited,” MacIsaac, who raced a 2-year-old, Federal Flex-sired half-brother to Thankyoukessel this summer, said, and will start training a yearling Federal Flex-sired brother this fall. “That makes it a lot easier to get them to the races.”
Thankyoukessel and driver Mike Saftic of Campbellville will make their run at the OSS division title from post three in Saturday’s seventh race, and MacIsaac is expecting another exciting show from the talented Ontario-sired colts. Points leader Buddy Hally will start from post four, Goodtimes and Mid-Summer Challenge winner Flanagan Memory got post seven, and Yonkers Trot Elimination winner and reigning Super Final winner Creampuff Macdaddy will start from post nine.
“I don’t know how it will end up shaping up,” the trainer noted. “But Flanagan Memory looks like the horse to beat.”
Thankyoukessel finished third to Flanagan Memory in the Sept. 20 Gold Series event at Mohawk Racetrack, a mile timed in 1:53.3, and MacIsaac is not sure the gelding can alter that result on Saturday. However, whether Thankyoukessel finishes his sophomore stakes campaign with a win or a loss, MacIsaac and Williston will head home just as happy with the trotter’s efforts as Boston fans have been with the Kessel trade.
“We’re just looking forward to tomorrow (Saturday). I hope things work out for him and he gets a piece of it, but regardless, it’s been a great year for us,” MacIsaac explained. “Anything he gets will be a bonus for us right now. We’re going to enjoy it any way.”
Post time for Mohawk Racetrack’s Saturday, Sept. 28 program will be 7:25 p.m., ET, with the Ontario Sire Stakes Super Finals featured in races two through five and seven through 10.
For complete entries please go to http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/racing/entries/data/e0928mohsn.dat.