Fillies Put On Speed Show In Innisfil

Imextraspecial and HP Mama B sprinted around Georgian Downs on Saturday (July 17) to claim the winner’s share of $101,400 in their respective three-year-old trotting filly Gold Series divisions.

Imextraspecial opened the card with a stalking trip behind pacesetter Dashing Muscle. Starting from post 3, driver Trevor Henry tucked the favourite in behind Dashing Muscle as that filly led the field of eight through fractions of :27.1, :56.4 and 1:25.3, and then tipped out of the pocket and powered down the stretch to a 1:55 victory. Dashing Muscle settled for second, one length behind Imextraspecial, and You Will Be Queen was 4-3/4 lengths back in third.

Paul Walker trains Imextraspecial for owner Keith Coulter of Mono, Ont. and the Owen Sound resident said the Muscle Mass filly looks ready to battle in the Gold Series again this season.

“She had a good winter. She trained well all winter. She put one bad race in when we brought her back, but everything else has been pretty good with her,” said Walker. “It’s going to be a little tougher this year for sure. It depends how you draw and stuff, but if she stays like she is she’ll be right there digging.”

Last season, Imextraspecial won two Grassroots and three Gold Series starts for earnings of $223,128. Saturday’s victory improved the filly’s sophomore Ontario Sires Stakes record to one win and one second for earnings of $81,750.

“She’s got a great stride on her when she races and she tries, even the last Gold there she couldn’t beat that mare of Ben’s (Baillargeon), but she kept trying. She won’t give up,” said Walker of Imextraspecial’s runner-up finish to HP Mama B in the July 1 Gold Series season opener at Woodbine Mohawk Park. “We’re just fortunate that she’s come back pretty good. Hopefully we can keep her that way. As I say, she’s not going to win them all, but she’ll be digging for it anyway.”

None of the fillies in Saturday’s second $101,400 Gold divisions could catch HP Mama B either. Driver Sylvain Filion fired the favourite out of post 3 and hit the quarter in :27.3 before dialing the tempo back on her way to a :57.3 half. Comfortably in front at the 1:26 three-quarters, Filion opened the filly's lead around the final turn and coasted home a two-length winner in 1:54.3, just one-fifth of a second shy of the three-year-old trotting filly track record. Meadowview Lilly and Up And Ready closed well to be second and third, but could not catch HP Mama B.

“The mare is very good right now. She’s strong, she can leave pretty good, and she gets it her own way right now,” said trainer Ben Baillargeon. “One of these days somebody will try her, like try to park her or something, but right now she’s tough. She goes to the front and gets little breather, and the race is over. One of these days she won’t get a breather and we’ll see how really good she is, but right now we’re very happy.”

Baillargeon trains HP Mama B for his wife, Guylaine Picard of Guelph, Ont., and their family friend Celine Paquin of Ayers Cliff, Que. The Royalty For Life filly is two-for-two in Gold Series action and also had a win in overnight action on June 18, giving her sophomore earnings of $114,200. As a two-year-old HP Mama B won two Grassroots Legs, her Semi-Final and the Grassroots Championships for earnings of $76,087.

“I am just hoping it keeps going. The more it keeps going, the better it is for me,” said Baillargeon. “She’s strong, she takes good care of herself and she likes what she’s doing. She’s a good eater, a big horse, and hopefully stays like that.”

The three-year-old trotting fillies will have their next opportunity to reel in HP Mama B in the third Gold Series Leg on Aug. 6 at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Georgian Downs on Sunday, July 18 with a trio of Gold Series divisions originally scheduled for Tuesday, July 13 when Georgian Downs was forced to cancel following heavy rain. The two-year-old pacing fillies will compete in Races 1, 2 and 3 on Sunday, kicking things off at 6 p.m. (EDT), and fans can download a program and watch the live stream on the Georgian Downs website.

Towards the tail of the card, Ivana Flybye N took the evening's undercard feature — a $13,000 Fillies & Mares Preferred 2 Pace. The seven-year-old American Ideal mare sat third to a :27 first quarter before driver J. R. Plante circled the 1-5 favourite to the point. Once in control, the Carmen Auciello trainee cruised through middle fractions of :55 and 1:23.3 to cap a 1:52.1 mile by 1-1/2 lengths over Saulsbrook Jessie. So Frisky finished third. Ivana Flybye N competes for owner Mt Stables Ontario Inc. and paid $2.30 to win.

(with files from Ontario Sires Stakes)

To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Georgian Downs.