London, ON --- In one of the most exciting editions of The Raceway at Western Fair District’s signature race, the C$150,000 Molson Pace, last year’s winner State Treasurer defended his title despite a terrible start and an inquiry on a beautiful evening in front of a great crowd on Friday night (May 30) at the London half-mile track.
Fan favorite Foiled Again, harness racing’s richest performer with more than $6.2 million earned, was making his sixth appearance in the Molson Pace and the 10-year-old showed his younger rivals he still knows how to step off the gate.
|Iron Horse Photo|
|State Treasurer (#1) gets up on the outside to narrowly defeat Apprentice Hanover (#4) and Foiled Again (#7) in Friday night's Molson Pace.|
Yannick Gingras had Foiled Again flying from post seven to grab control from early leader Dancin Yankee by the :26.1 first quarter while State Treasurer, with Chris Christoforou at the controls, made a slight bobble leaving and got away at the back of the talented field.
Bandolito with Mark MacDonald at the lines came first up to challenge Foiled Again who paced by the half in :54.4. Bandolito tired before the 1:23 three-quarters but there was lots of action behind him.
Christoforou had State Treasurer three wide down the backside and picked up the cover of Apprentice Hanover and Jody Jamieson heading into the stretch. It was a great race to the finish with State Treasurer getting up on the outside to win by a neck in 1:51.4. Apprentice Hanover was a close second followed by the always game Foiled Again, just a half-length back in third. Dancin Yankee and Bettor's Edge picked up the final two checks.
The winning connections, trainer Dr. Ian Moore and owners Sally MacDonald and Paul MacDonald, had to wait out an inquiry regarding the start before the race was declared official.
“I sweated a little bit last year too, but this is a little different this year,” noted Moore. “He’s a real good little horse, he tries his heart out and he showed that tonight for sure.”
When asked if he was worried about the start, Christoforou responded: “There was a tremendous amount of worry, but I was sitting behind the right horse in the race and he proved that tonight.
“I was hoping to get back down on Jody’s back after I went three wide and that worked out so I wasn’t three wide all around the turn. He just swooped his way by and got his little head up in front and I’m real proud of him.”
Bred by Brittany Farms, State Treasurer was a mere $6,500 yearling purchase. The now 5-year-old son of Real Desire was posting his fourth win in five attempts this year (the other start being a second place finish). Friday night’s winner’s share of the purse put his 2014 earnings at C$134,500 while lifetime he sits with C$614,991.
Friday night marked the final card of racing for The Raceway’s meet.
MacDonald triumphant in two City of London finals
Mark MacDonald, one of harness racing’s most talented drivers, made his return to The Raceway at Western Fair District where he made his start and was leading driver for several seasons, and captured two of the four City of London finals on Friday night, part of the Molson Pace undercard.
The third and fastest City of London final, a C$38,200 contest for pacing distaffers, had tons of action with MacDonald, now a regular on the New York circuit, scoring a victory.
As the race got underway Trevor Henry and Face To Face overtook Miss Brandi K by the :27.3 opening panel. She hit the half in :55.3 with pressure from favorite Milliondollar Babe, who was neck and neck with the leader down the backside, but they were both overtaken by Lyons Katrina and MacDonald, who’d been stalking second over, and were absolutely flying by the 1:25.4 three-quarters.
Lyons Katrina slowed in the stretch but held on to win in 1:57.1. Played By Anangel was a close second followed by Miss Brandi K.
It was first lifetime win for Lyons Katrina, a 3-year-old daughter of Major In Art owned by Geoffrey Lyons and trained by James Morrison. Bred by Bill Loyens, the filly is the second foal from C$457,000 winner Milliondollarsmile, her first being C$482,000 winner Windsong Jack.
The fourth and final City of London final, the C$39,000 test for pacing horses, saw MacDonald and Fortune Playboy cutting the pace early as they hit the opening quarter in :27.3. They had pressure from Teranadawn at the :57.2 half but rebuffed that challenge and hit the three-quarters in 1:26 and held their position through the wire in 1:57.3. Hussys Blu Boy was second with Decroft Havaball third.
Fortune Playboy, a 4-year-old gelding by Rambaran, was recording his seventh win in 10 starts this year for trainer Patrick Shepherd and owner Holland Racing Stable.
In the C$35,600 final for male trotters it ended up being a four horse race thanks to a late scratch and several breakers in the early going. That allowed Trevor Henry and Shadywood Kid easy access to the front end early and they never relinquished it.
The 3-year-old gelding by Pegasus Spur tripped off splits of :29, 1:00.2 and 1:30.4 and was a comfortable winner in 2:01.3 over Crime Novel and Kdazzle. Henry, the leading driver at The Raceway, co-owns the winner with John MacLeod who bred the Shadywood Kid trotter with Henry’s father, Ross. Trained by Shannon Henry, Shadywood Kid was recording his first lifetime win in his 11th attempt.
An exciting photo finish took place in the C$34,800 final for mare trotters which saw Ja El Diamond setting the early tempo for Steve Byron through fractions of :29.3, 1:01.2 and 1:31.1. Heroine Seelster sat the pocket the entire mile and was trapped in that spot until the late going when she finally found racing room and trotted up quickly but was just a nose short at the wire in 2:02.1. Oaklea Wand was third.
Pat Hunt trains the winner, a 3-year-old daughter of Angus Hall owned by Glengate Farms. Unraced last year at two, Ja El Diamond now has three wins in six starts this year for C$31,000 in earnings.