It was debut night for the two-year-old trotting colts on Thursday and the 25 youngsters put on an impressive show for Woodbine Mohawk Park fans in a trio of $73,000 Gold Series divisions.
Tokyo Seelster went off as the heavy favourite in the first division and the Kadabra son delivered a commanding front end performance that saw him trot under the wire two and one-half lengths ahead of his peers in 1:58.1. Rookie Season shadowed the fan favourite to claim runner-up honours and C My Kicks Hanover closed hard to be third.
“We broke him and then he went on to Robbie Robinson and we just got him back last week,” said trainer Richard Moreau of Puslinch, tipping his hat to Robinson for teaching the colt his early lessons. “He’s a beautiful colt, mature for his age.”
Moreau selected Tokyo Seelster from the London Yearling Sale last fall, offering up $52,000 for the colt on behalf of owners Michael and Sam Sergi of Canton, NY. Ottawa-based Robinson gave the young trotter two qualifiers at Rideau Carleton Raceway in June and then brought him to Woodbine Mohawk Park for a June 30 race, which he won by a neck in 1:58.
“He’s big and strong and mature for his age and his size. Usually those big kind of trotters are kind of clumsy and stuff, but he’s all business and he knows what to do. I give credit to Robbie Robinson, he did a great job with the horse to have him the way he is now, he just did a great job with him,” said driver Sylvain Filion of Milton, echoing Moreau’s praise. “I could have raced him any way I wanted, but once I cleared the front, I knew I was in control of the race and that was it, he was an easy winner.”
The second division saw Woodbine Mohawk Park fans put their money behind Walkonthemoon, but Macho Martini caught the pacesetting favourite in the stretch to claim the 1:57.2 victory by three-quarters of a length. Walkonthemoon settled for second and Greg finished seven lengths back in third.
The win may have come as a surprise to fans, but driver Bob McClure has been convinced of Macho Martini’s star potential for several weeks.
“The first time he came to Mohawk was probably a month ago. I had heard about him from Luc (Blais) and the first time I went with him I said, ‘Either this one is really, really good or the rest are really, really bad’, because he was just waves ahead of the other ones and such a natural,” said McClure. “And then the first time I ever stretched him out was his last qualifier (July 3), and I had no idea I was coming :27 flat, all I knew was that he just kept getting faster and faster and faster. Even tonight, down by the wire is where he was trotting his fastest, so he’s had me excited for about a month now.”
McClure, trainer Luc Blais and owner Determination of Montreal, QC are no strangers to success in the trotting colt ranks. Macho Martini’s stablemate Forbidden Trade was an Ontario Sires Stakes star at two and three and captured the Hambletonian Final last summer. McClure points out that young horses can change a great deal over the season, sometimes for the better and sometimes not, but for now he is allowing himself to imagine unlimited potential for Macho Martini.
“At this point you don’t know what they’re going to be, the sky’s the limit,” said the Guelph resident. “Especially when they go out and the open their career that way, you know. You start thinking down the road and it’s pretty exciting.”
The Muscle Mass son was a $37,000 purchase from the Harrisburg Yearling Sale and provided a quick return on investment Thursday, banking $36,933 with the win.
Not to be outdone by his peers, in the final division favourite Royal Tyrone halted the teletimer at 1:57.1, overcoming a couple of awkward moments in the stretch to keep a head in front of Mystic and Logan Park.
“When I tried to get him into gear in the lane he was trying to trot fast, but he was getting a little mixed up. He can go a lot faster if I can iron him out,” said driver Robert Shepherd with a rueful chuckle. “He’s a really manageable colt, but when one comes he wants to race, he wants to go fast, he wants to win, right, and then he just gets a little mixed up late.”
Shepherd and his partner Isabelle Darveau condition Royal Tyrone for 1187422 Ontario Inc. of Ottawa, ON and they will spend the next three weeks trying to help the Royalty For Life gelding maximize his speed in preparation for the second Gold Leg on July 30 at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
“I’m going to maybe change some things, see if I can maybe just mess around with some gear and stuff I think,” said Flamborough resident Shepherd of the gelding, who was a $13,000 acquisition from the London Selected Yearling Sale. “I can’t fault the colt, he always tries, he always wants to go forward.”
Two-year-old Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at the Milton oval on Friday, July 10 with five Grassroots divisions for the pacing fillies. The fillies will make their provincial debut in Races 2, 4, 6, 9 and 10 on the program, which gets underway at 7 p.m.
To view results for Thursday’s card of harness racing, click the following link: Thursday Results – Woodbine Mohawk Park.