M T L Maple kicked off the City of London Series Championship night with a bang on Friday at Western Fair Raceway winning his ninth straight win in 10 career starts.
With Mike Whelan in the bike, the three-year-old son of Malabar Maple got away second from the second tier Post 8 behind Gallant Rooney (Peter Core) in the $53,500 City of London Series Final for trotting colts and geldings. Refusing to sit a pocket trip, the even-money favourite brushed to command before reaching the first quarter mark in :29.3. M T L Maple led the way to the half in 1:01 and remained unbothered to the third quarter pole in 1:31.1. Around the final turn, the bay began to edge away under minimal urging to sweep his division of the series in 2:01 by three and three-quarter lengths.
Gallant Rooney stayed for second and Piracy (Stephen Davis) rounded out the top three.
Trained and owned by Walter Whelan, M T L Maple bumped his bankroll to $63,070 with tonight’s win.
“Nothing is ever real easy especially when you’re in the second tier - you kind of have to follow other people’s decisions - but he’s a pretty nice horse and once I got him back to where I wanted him he was pretty handy there,” said Mike Whelan following the race.
“He goes to Woodstock next for the Oxford Trotting Series and [will race in] any Grassroots that are scheduled in between.”
Windsong Felicity survived a long first over journey to pull off a mild 5-1 upset in the fillies and mares trotting final worth $53,800 for trainer/driver Glen Hardy.
Lucrative Lady (William Borth) was the quickest off the gate, but Daring Original (Trevor Henry) would claim the lead by the first quarter in :29.3 and take the field through panels of 1:00.1 and 1:30.1 while Windsong Felicity advanced first over. As the field turned for home, Windsong Felicity reached up for the lead and then drew away by four lengths to win in a career-best 2:00.4.
Baskin Wonder (Alan Wallace) was the runner-up with the fan favourite Lexis Ebba (Ross Battin) grabbing the show dough.
The three-year-old daughter of Via Blaze scored her third win in six career outings and lifted her bankroll to $37,850 for owners Steve Organ of Aurora and Rosemary Shelswell of Cookstown, Ont.
Quiteasassybanana and Bruce Richardson rallied off second-over cover to take the lion’s share of the $62,200 purse in the City of London Series Final for pacing fillies and mares.
The sophomore daughter of Grinfromeartoear got away fifth from Post 7 while the 6-5 favourite, Cats Meow (Trevor Henry), settled on top by the opening quarter in :28.1. From there, Elate Hanover (Mike Sumner) moved to the outside from fourth and applied heavy pressure through the middle intervals of :58.2 and 1:26.4 as her stablemate Quitesassybanana followed in behind. Around the final turn, Quitesassybanana swept three-wide and closed well to win in 1:55.4 by five and a half lengths.
St Lads Treasure (Doug McNair) came on to finish second and Cats Meow finished third.
The James Ainsworth pupil notched his third straight win and fourth of the season and her career. The winner of $60,850 is owned and bred by Ross Holmes of Ilderton, Ont.
Lyons Horace went the distance to capture to the $61,000 City of London Series Final for pacing colts and geldings.
Lyons Horace and driver Mike Langdon made use of the inside draw taking the lead right from the word go. The three-year-old Astreos colt led the field past the first quarter in :28.1 before taking a :30-second breather in the second interval. From there, Lyons Horace picked up the pace and strolled past three-quarters in 1:26.3 as the backfield was gearing up. In the stretch, the 3-5 favourite managed to hold off a quick-closing Greystone Cash (Anthony Haughan), who made a three-wide move at the third check in point. Lyons Horace clocked the mile in a career-best 1:55 winning by a neck. The pocket-sitting Great Luck (Mike Sumner) finished back in third.
The Shawn Robinson pupil, who sports a bankroll of $45,350, scored his fourth win in five lifetime starts for Joseph Lyons Mound of Burford, Ont.
The evening’s $15,000 Randy Kerr Memorial Trot went to Trottin Troy and driver Dave Wall, who carved out all the fractions en route to victory in 1:58.
Indiana Hall (Bill O’Donnell) finished three and a half lengths back in second and Twin B Rawley (Gord McKnight) was third.
Trained by Stephen Bossence for the Parent Racing Stable of Holland and the Crystal Ball Stables of Akron, Ohio, the five-year-old Chip Chip Hooray gelding won for the seventh time in 12 starts this year. His 18th lifetime score pushed his career earnings to $252,473.
After finishing second in his last three Preferred outings, Secret Weapon returned to the winner’s circle after making a late move to win the $12,800 Preferred 2 Pace.
With Doug McNair in the bike, the seven-year-old Western Hanover gelding sat in fifth before moving into the outer flow at the halfway point. By three-quarters, McNair angled his charge three-wide and Secret Weapon responded well sprinting home to win in 1:54.3 by a length and a half.
Cuban Seelster (Trevor Henry) was second-best with Three Cents (Gene Piroski) finishing third as the pacesetter, Trouball (Brad Forward) made a late break and finished last.
Wayne Preszcator trains the winner of two races in nine starts this year. Secret Weapon notched his 23rd career-win bumping his bankroll to $288,118 for owners Barbara Lehman of Waterloo, Robert Patterson of Caledon and James Lehman of Waterloo, Ont.
In other streaking action, the five-year-old son of Village Jiffy, Bio Babacar, who made his first start back with trainer Ernie Hendry, notched his fifth straight victory in the first race for $6,000 claimers. The wire-to-wire winner clocked the mile in 1:58.2 with Bruce Richardson in the bike for owner Donna Ferriss of Cottam, Ont.
To view Friday’s results, click here.