Calhoun Earns Super Final Win At Woodbine
L A Delight kicked off the evening’s festivities with an effortless front end tour of the Rexdale racetrack that saw her hit the wire four lengths ahead of Twin B Thong and Thisorthat Hanover in an Ontario Sires Stakes record equalling 1:51.2. Milton, ON resident Randy Waples teamed the homebred daughter of Bettors Delight and West Of L A to the win for Windsor, ON resident McIntosh and his partners Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington, ON and C S X Stables of Liberty Center, OH.
“You’re always nervous in a race, because it’s a horse race, anything can happen, but I’ve got a lot of confidence in her. I knew she’d race well,” said Al McIntosh, who only missed two of the filly’s 12 races in a season that saw her bested just once, in her June 25 debut.
“It’s worth it,” said the long-time owner and breeder. “If you don’t show up for a horse like this you’re not in the business for the right reasons.”
While L A Delight was collecting her eleventh win, her trainer was still onboard a flight from Lexington, KY with driver John Campbell, who piloted nine starters on Saturday afternoon’s Kentucky Futurity program at the Red Mile.
“We were cutting it pretty tight, I was nervous,” admitted trainer McIntosh, with a chuckle.
The pair arrived just in time for the two-year-old trotting colt final and Ailsa Craig, ON native Campbell delivered a commanding performance with Tony Soprano, hitting the wire two and three-quarter lengths ahead of Will Take Charge and Deweylovernleaver in 1:55.1, just one-fifth of a second off the Ontario Sires Stakes record.
“He’s a colt that I was high on all last winter. I try not to get too high on them, but I was very high on him,” said McIntosh. “He might have had a little growing spurt there and got a little bit iffy a couple times, but he’s been very good. He’s grown right throughout the season, grown uniformly, so he’s just a really mature horse now.”
McIntosh shares ownership of the son of Kadabra and Windsong Soprano with Mardon Stables of Loretto, Paradox Farm Inc. of Caledon East and Dave Boyle of Bowmanville, ON. The win boosted the trotter’s record to four wins, one second and two thirds in 10 starts and ensured his appearance in next weekend’s Breeders Crown eliminations at Woodbine.
“We’ll give it a crack. We’ve got some money in the bank to play with, so we’ll give him a try against the Breeders Crown colts, see what happens,” said McIntosh.
Chatham, ON resident Steve Calhoun also scored a Super Final win at Woodbine Racetrack on Saturday. The owner’s three-year-old pacing gelding Reverend Hanover cruised to a two and one-quarter length win over Moonwriter and Physicallyinclined in 1:50.1.
Calhoun shares ownership of Reverend Hanover with trainer Casie Coleman of Cambridge, West Wins Stable of Cambridge and Anthony Beaton of Waterdown, ON. The gelding, who was also the Super Final winner at two, is the son of Coleman and Calhoun’s $1.6 million winner Sportswriter, giving the repeat victory an added layer of meaning.
“Sportswriter was the best thing that’s ever happened to me in racing, and no matter what happens from now on, Sportswriter will always be the best thing that ever happened,” said Calhoun. “He literally changed my life; he changed my family’s life, so he has meant everything to us.
“Every night I look and see what Sportswriter’s are racing, and then you get to follow them. You kind of feel like you own a little piece of all of them,” added the owner, who remains part of the syndicate that manages the stallion. “It’s great fun to watch them, for sure.”
The Calhoun family and Coleman were also in the winner’s circle following the two-year-old pacing colt Super Final as Betting Line earned his sixth victory with a 1:52 score over division rivals Nvestment Bluechip and Voracity. The Bettors Delight son is owned by West Wins Stable, Christine Calhoun and Mac Nichol of Burlington, ON and boosted his lifetime earnings to $481,258 with the win.
Driver Chris Christoforou piloted both Reverend Hanover and Betting Line to their victories and also picked up a win in the three-year-old trotting colt division with Dont Rush. The Campbellville resident and Dont Rush defended their Super Final title with a front end effort that saw them hit the wire one and one-quarter lengths ahead of Rubber Duck and Platoon Seelster in 1:55.2. Trainer Dustin Jones of Waterdown and Greg Judson of Athens, ON share ownership of the son of Infinitif.
Driver Randy Waples and trainer Gregg McNair also made repeat appearances in the Super Final winner’s circle.
In addition to his regular mount L A Delight, Waples picked up a catch drive aboard two-year-old trotting filly division leader Caprice Hill and piloted the Kadabra daughter to a 1:56.4 score over Emoticon Hanover and Silky Flashy Nfast. New Jersey-based trainer Tony Alagna conditions Caprice Hill for Tom Hill of Hamilton, ON. Like L A Delight, the filly has only been bested once this season, boosting her record to seven wins in eight starts with the Super Final victory.
McNair scored his pair of victories in the three-year-old trotting filly and pacing filly championships with Second Sister and Solar Sister.
Second Sister and driver Rick Zeron of Oakville, ON scored a 1:55.3 upset in the trotting filly title bout, reeling in Elegant Serenity at the wire. Amoureuse Hanover was three and one-half lengths back in third. McNair conditions Second Sister for Jarold Hawks of Jeddo, MI, who had never won a Gold Series trophy before the Deweycheatumnhowe daughter captured her division at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 29. The filly’s victory capped off a best-ever year in the Ontario Sires Stakes program for Hawks, whose Muscles For Life captured the two-year-old trotting colt Grassroots title at Mohawk on Sept. 26.
In rein to Doug McNair of Guelph, Solar Sister also used a late burst of speed to capture the pacing filly title, edging out her stablemate Glamour Seelster and pacesetter Tessa Seelster for the 1:51.1 victory. McNair conditions Solar Sister for owner-breeders David Willmot of King City and Clay Harland Horner of Toronto, ON. The victory boosted the Mach Three daughter’s earnings to $732,340.
Saturday’s $2 million Super Final battles wrapped up the 2015 Ontario Sires Stakes season, which saw two provincial speed records lowered, two repeat Super Final champions crowned, and Grassroots and Gold Series battles waged at 12 different racetracks across the province.