Ontario’s top two-year-old pacing fillies put on a speed show at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Monday evening, competing for a total of $218,400 in a trio of Gold Series divisions.
Free Flyin Ticket kicked off the speed display in the first $72,266 division, reaching the wire three and three-quarter lengths the best in 1:52.1, making her the fastest two-year-old in Canada in 2019.
Starting from Post 5, driver Jonathan Drury eased the fan favourite off the gate into fifth as Mach My Kiss rolled out to a :27 quarter. When Mach My Kiss and driver Louis-Philippe Roy hit the brakes on the way to the :57.4 half, Drury tipped Free Flyin Ticket off the rail and the filly made rapid strides toward the front, reaching the three-quarters in 1:25.1. From there it was game over as Free Flyin Ticket sailed home in :27 to secure the victory. Sound Idea closed sharply to claim second-place honours, leaving Mach My Kiss to settle for third.
“We were just hoping to race her from off the pace if possible because we don’t want her to get hot on us, hotter than she can be,” said trainer Tony Beaton. “But then they went that second quarter and kind of backed into everybody, and so JD (Drury) was forced to move and show his hand. The filly did the rest herself. JD was very pleased with her.”
Waterdown, ON resident Beaton shares ownership of Free Flyin Ticket with David Mercer of Sydney, NS, Gary Volpe of St. Thomas, ON and George Quartarone of Claremont, ON. The partners purchased the daughter of Betterthancheddar and Free Ticket from last fall’s London Selected Yearling Sale, offering up $36,000 for the long-legged youngster.
“I went to London and looked at the babies, the sale was Saturday, Sunday, so Friday I went down and this was one of the fillies I had on my list and when I saw her I wanted to buy her right away,” Beaton recalled, joking that he was tempted to hide Free Flyin Ticket somewhere so no one else could look at her before the sale started.
Right from her earliest lessons Free Flyin Ticket did nothing but confirm Beaton’s first impression. She trained easily all winter, won a June 14 qualifier at Woodbine Mohawk Park by four lengths in 1:58.3 and a second qualifier at the Campbellville oval on June 21 by five lengths in 1:55.
“Her work seemed to come to her very easy. She just seemed more mature, or mature ahead of her time, compared to some of the other young ones,” Beaton noted. “She always showed high, high speed when we got training, it was a matter of she started getting a little bit hot and we had to keep her under control. Hopefully we seem to have her where we want her now and moving forward.”
Unfortunately, Free Flyin Ticket’s turn as Canada’s fastest freshman lasted less than 30 minutes as Off The Press came out in the second Gold division with a 1:52 effort.
Driver Bob McClure, who picked up the drive in the absence of Sylvain Filion, eased Off The Press away from Post 1 and was sitting fourth when Kit paced by the :27.3 quarter. McClure opted to move the fan favourite heading for the :56.1 half and Off The Press was just over a length behind the pacesetter by the 1:25 three-quarters. A :26.4 final quarter assured Off The Press of the victory, one and one-quarter lengths ahead of pocket-sitter Need Ur Opinion. Karma Seelster closed sharply for third.
“She’s a nice filly, I was really impressed with her last start and that mile was quite impressive tonight for only her second start,” said Paul Reid, who trains the daughter of Sportswriter and Dragon Flier K for owner-breeder Bob Key of Leechburg, PA.
Monday’s outing was Off The Press’ second lifetime start. In her June 28 debt at Woodbine Mohawk Park she rocketed home in :25.4 to finish fourth in a 1:55 mile won by All Day Sunshine. That effort confirmed what Reid had started to suspect when Off The Press won her June 8 and 14 qualifiers.
“The filly that was in the earlier division (Toonietina) actually trained better most of the winter, but once we got up here you could tell the difference once they started getting to the racetrack. There was quite a difference in the determination in this filly,” said Reid. “She was nice gaited and trained well all year, but I never really knew she had last week’s :25.4 (speed). I haven’t had too many in my life pace quarters like that, let alone a two-year-old, so that was a definite eye opener to her real speed.”
The last $73,067 Gold division was captured by fan favourite All Day Sunshine who went straight to the front from Post 8, conceded control through the centre of the mile to Temagami Seelster and then hustled up the rail to the win when the pacesetter drifted right in the lane. All Day Sunshine halted the teletimer at 1:53, one and one-half lengths ahead of a fast closing Martinis Place. Temagami Seelster took home third-place spoils.
Driver Doug McNair picked up the drive on All Day Sunshine in Filion’s absence and was impressed with the daughter of Sunshine Beach and Mustang Kensley.
“She’s a nice filly. She seems smart and versatile,” said the Guelph resident. “It looks like she’s on the right track.”
Richard Moreau of Puslinch, ON trains All Day Sunshine for Dan Lagace of Cambridge, ON, Anthony and Billy Joe Timmins of Birmingham, GB and Brad Gray of Dundas, ON. Monday’s victory gives the filly a record of two wins and one second in three starts and she will have a chance to add to that total when the fillies make their second Gold Series start at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 19.
Two-year-old pacing fillies will once again be the centre of attention on Woodbine Mohawk Park’s Tuesday, July 9 program as the Grassroots lasses gather for five $23,500 divisions. The fillies will kick things off in the first race, which goes postward at 7:10 p.m.