Big Efforts Open Valedictory

In Newsby COSA

Windsun Gotham and Better B Rolling drew first blood in the opening leg of the Valedictory Series at Woodbine Racetrack on Saturday, December 9.

A group of 16 three-year-old pacing colts and geldings were split into two $17,000 divisions for the first leg of the three-week Valedictory Series.

Making just his second start since the end of July, Windsun Gotham rallied off cover in the stretch to win the first division in 1:51.2. The Tony O’Sullivan trainee was steered to victory by Sylvain Filion.

Windsun Gotham got away fifth, tipping wide at the half to sit second-over. Following the cover of eventual third-place finisher and race-favourite Jk Pridenjoy, Windsun Gotham shot home in :27.3 to win by a one-and-a-half lengths over Brave World.

A gelded son of American Ideal, Windsun Gotham is now five for 17 this season and has earned over $58,000 for owners Thomas Pollack and O’Sullivan Racing Inc. The clocking of 1:51.2 was a lifetime best for the $16.40 winner.

Better B Rolling extended won his third consecutive race with a four-and-a-half length win in the second Valedictory division, going in 1:52.1.

Driven by Louis Philippe-Roy for trainer Ciaran Morrison, Better B Rolling went coast-to-coast, pacing home in :27.4, to pick up his eighth win of the season. The gelded son of Roll With Joe is owned and bred by W Donovan and has earned $56,650 in his first season of racing.

Hes A Popper finished second, while Artofficial Flavor was third.

Better B Rolling paid $5.80.

Sophomore pacing colts and geldings, who were non-winners of $60,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2017, were eligible for nomination to the Valedictory. The second leg of the series takes place next Saturday, December 16. The series finale is scheduled for Boxing Day, December 26.

Also on Saturday, 10-year-old Casimir Jitterbug went out a winner in his final start.

The Andrew Harris trainee captured a $22,000 overnight in 1:50.4 to cap off a career that saw him win 60 times, earn over $1 million and take a mark of 1:49.3 at Mohawk. Originally trained by Mario Rivest, Casimir Jitterbug raced in his early career in Sudbury before moving onto the Woodbine circuit and racing for trainers Gregg McNair and O’Sullivan.

The son of Sir Luck moved south of the border for O’Sullivan in the spring of 2014 and would eventually join the Harris barn in the summer of 2016.

Harris brought Casimir Jitterbug back to Woodbine for the final two starts of his career and the classy veteran will now rejoin original trainer Rivest for his retirement.

Live racing resumes Monday, December 11 at Woodbine. Post time is 7:30 p.m.

To view Saturday’s harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results – Woodbine Racetrack.

(With files from Woodbine Racetrack)