Ontario’s top three-year-old pacing fillies mixed it up at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday, July 23 and Dabarndawgswatchin and Western Wish sent the favourites home empty-handed.
In the first $101,400 Gold division, driver Jody Jamieson had Dabarndawgswatchin on the move from Post 2 as soon as the wings folded and the filly led the field of eight to a :27.2 opening quarter. When Scarlett Hanover swept to the front, Jamieson was content to follow last year’s division champion through a :56 half and a 1:24.1 three-quarters. Turning for home Jamieson gave Dabarndawgswatchin a clear look at the wire and the filly reeled in Scarlett Hanover, with half a length to spare, for a 1:51.3 victory. Aint She Perfect finished third, in spite of hooking wheels late with Scarlett Hanover. Favourite Best Head West was fourth.
“She just been a different filly these last two starts,” said Jamieson of Guelph, ON. “She was pretty good before, but Dave (Menary) found she had a lot of mucous after a couple earlier starts and he’s got her healthy lately and she’s been awesome.”
Fifth in the July 5 Gold Series opener, the Hes Watching daughter scored a 1:50.4 win in overnight action at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 16. Through five sophomore starts Dabarndawgswatchin has a record of three wins, one second and one fifth for trainer Dave Menary of Cambridge and owner-breeders Julie Ferguson of Greely and Lloyd Stone of Portland, ON.
The second $101,400 division saw Western Wish make a successful leap from the Grassroots program to the Gold. Starting from Post 5, Western Wish landed in fifth as Always Watching paced to a :27.1 quarter. Favourite Voelz Delight took command before the :55.3 half and driver Doug McNair soon had Western Wish taking aim on the leader. Battling around the final turn, Voelz Delight and Western Wish hit the 1:23 three-quarters in lock-step, but in the stretch Western Wish sprinted away to a two and three-quarter length win in a personal best 1:50.4. Game Of Shadows closed well to be second and Voelz Delight settled for third.
Carmen Auciello of Stouffville trains Western Wish for Aaron Waxman of Carlisle, Frank Cirillo of Kleinburg and Santo Vena of Brampton, ON. The Betterthancheddar daughter’s victory erased the last shadow of doubt her connections had about the diminutive filly’s big game ability.
“Aaron (Waxman) watches pretty well every race from every province and every state in North America and he saw her race out in PEI. He knew she was an Ontario Sired filly, and thought she might be worth buying,” said Auciello, who took delivery of the partners’ new acquisition in early June. “To be honest I had no idea she was so small. She’s literally the smallest horse I have, out of 80 horses. She’s the size of Doberman or something. She’s really small, but she has the heart like a lion, she’s such a nice filly.”
Upon her arrival in Ontario Auciello entered Western Wish in a June 17 overnight where she sprinted to a 1:52 personal best, finishing two lengths ahead of Dabarndawgswatchin. Her connections were impressed, but their plans to race her in the July 5 Gold event were derailed when a virus ran through Auciello’s barn. Instead Western Wish made her debut in the July 12 Grassroots season opener, where she finished fourth.
“Anything I already had in Ontario for the last six months did not get sick, but because she came from PEI, and I had five or six come from Down Under and a couple come from the States, they got hit hard. She was really sick for about 10 days and we had to miss the Gold because she was still sick, but the Grassroots was a week later,” said Auciello. “It just worked out perfect. She raced great that night, finished fourth, she had a tough trip, but it just kind of set us up for tonight. And we schooled her this past Tuesday and she was amazing so yeah, I was pretty confident going into tonight but you never know, they’re living breathing animals, anything can happen. She was awesome. She’s such a nice little mare.”
Western Wish and Dabarndawgswatchin will be looking to add to their Gold Series win tally when the three-year-old pacing fillies meet up for the third leg at Grand River Raceway on Aug 2., part of the Elora oval’s annual Industry Day program.
Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at the Campbellville oval on Saturday, July 24 with four $22,500 Grassroots divisions for the three-year-old pacing colts.
To view results for Friday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Friday Results – Woodbine Mohawk Park.