Three-year-old fillies will kick off the 2022 Ohio Sires Stakes season at Miami Valley Raceway on Wednesday afternoon (May 4). Two divisions of pacers and two divisions of trotters will go to the gate, each vying for a purse of $55,000.
Trainer Ron Burke will send out six starters, three in each division of the pace, while Chris Beaver leads the trainers on the trotting side with four starters, two in each division.
The first OHSS race of the day will feature James K. Memorial Hackett winner Toes In The Water. Trained by Tye Loy, the daughter of Long Tom upset Gabbys C Note, battling down the stretch to win by three-quarters of a length in a new lifetime mark of 1:55.3. Toes In The Water is owned by Loy and Roger Morlock.
Last year, Toes In The Water won five of 10 races and finished second in the Buckeye Stallion Series final. Loy said he wasn’t surprised by the win in the Hackett.
“The way she qualified at Northfield before the elimination was a nice mile," said Loy. "The track wasn’t that great and it was windy. She was just right qualifying in :57."
Also in the first division is Stephanie Hill. The Beaver trainee finished third in the Hackett final.
In the second division, Hackett runner-up and morning line favourite Gabbys C Note starts the defense of her Sires Stakes title. Beaver said it is hard to repeat as Sires Stakes champion.
“There always seems to be different winners from two to three,” said Beaver. “Some horses improve a lot more from two to three, so you never know for sure which one will be your best one.”
Beaver said he is lucky to have a large stable with some nice backups to his Sire Stakes champions in each division.
Gabbys C Note is owned by Beaver, his mother Johanna, and Steve Zeehandelar.
In the first division of pacers, Cape Cod Hanover is the morning line favourite. The daughter of Downbytheseaside is coming off her victory in the Hackett Memorial. She is looking for her third win of the season. Cape Cod Hanover is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Rick Lombardo Racing and RAS Racing.
The Burke trainee will be joined by stablemate Twenty, who finished third in the Hackett final and Catamaran.
Also in the first division is 2022 Buckeye Stallion Series two-year-old pacing champion Bittrsweetsymphony. Trainer Crist Hershberger said this year they are taking a shot at the Sires Stakes.
“Last year, some of her wins were very easy, like there was no competition.”
Hershberger said the daughter of Well Said has been coming back well this winter and spring. She is making her 2022 debut coming off two qualifying wins.
The second division will see last year’s filly pacing champion making her season debut. Sea Silk will be one of three Burke trainees to go behind the starting gate. She will be joined by stablemates Costal and Sloopy. Coastal finished second in the Hackett final.
Burke said Sea Silk has been perfect in her training this spring and he is expecting big things.
“I think she is significantly better than my other fillies,” he noted.
Sea Silk won all nine of her Ohio starts, finishing the year nine-for-11 and earning $584,092.
Burke said Sea Silk is a legit Grand Circuit horse.
“She’s perfect gaited, perfect size, she’s a good horse. She really doesn’t have any flaws.”
Sea Silk is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Knox Services and Hatfield Stables.
Three-year-old colt pacers and trotters are schedule to open Sires Stakes action on Saturday afternoon (May 7) at Miami Valley Raceway.
(With files from Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association)