Boomboom Ballykeel surged by favourite Western Vintage in deep stretch to pull off a 10-1 upset in the $683,000 Metro Pace for two-year-olds featured on an action-packed Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack.
Driver Sylvain Filion urged the Ontario-sired son of Mach Three by the popular pacesetter off a three-hole trip to win in a career-best 1:50.4 for trainer Richard Moreau and owner/breeder Ballykeel Racing of Tillsonburg, Ont.
Yannick Gingras rolled 3-5 favourite Western Vintage to the lead over early leaver Tellitlikeitis (Ron Pierce) into a :26.1 opening quarter and carved out middle fractions of :54.3 and 1:22.2.
Meanwhile, Luck Be Withyou (Phil Hudon) advanced first over down the backstretch, but broke stride leaving Lets Drink On It (Jim Morrill Jr.) uncovered.
Western Vintage continued to lead the way into the stretch with Lets Drink On It and Some Major Beach hooking up from mid-pack, but an upset-minded Boomboom Ballykeel came charging through for the victory. Longshot Some Major Beach, who drew in off the Also Eligible list with Arthur Blue Chip scratched, still managed to finish third despite interference.
After a few tense moments as the racing judges' consulted with the drivers during an inquiry examining the collision in the stretch, Boomboom Ballykeel was deemed the winner and the order of finish was made official.
"There was tight quarters down the stretch, but I was pretty confident I was in my own rights,” said Filion. “But anytime there’s an inquiry like this going for this kind of money, it's pretty stressful.”
Sent postward as the fourth choice in the wagering after a pair of runner-up finishes in the Nassagaweya Stakes on Aug. 17 and his Metro elimination on Aug. 24, Boomboom Ballykeel paid $23 to win.
"When we drew the rail I thought maybe we had a good shot," said Canada's reigning Driver of the Year. "He raced so good last week, he just missed. You've got to give credit to Richard Moreau, he's done a great job with this horse. He's absolutely a real nice baby. He's got real good gate speed and he's real handy."
Boomboom Ballykeel now has three wins and two seconds in seven starts and earnings totalling $389,702 for his connections, who came together following the colt's first qualifying start in early June.
"I had Sylvain down to drive him in his first qualifying race and Sylvain took another horse so I drove him myself and I went flying by Sylvain in the stretch and won by four or five lengths," recalled Ballykeel Racing's Cam McKnight. "Sylvain said to me, "Woah, woah, woah! That horse is very fast!' And I said, 'Well I guess the only way you would drive him is if I give him to Moreau to train.' So then I got a one-two combo; I got the best trainer and the best driver in North America."
McKnight, who also bred the Metro winner's full-brother Mach Of Ballykeel, noted that it wasn't until that qualifying race that he knew Boomboom Ballykeel was a really nice colt with potential for a special win in his career.
"Anytime you get to do anything over and above is special. This is over and above," he smiled.
Earlier in the evening, 7-1 shot Here Comes William converted off a pocket trip to win the $30,000 Metro Consolation in a new mark of 1:51.4 for driver Ron Pierce and local owner and trainer Marie Dupont. The Dragon Again-Miracles Delight colt, who earned his first win on Canadian soil and fourth in seven lifetime starts, prevailed over pacesetter Carracci Hanover (Randy Waples) with Journeyman (Scott Zeron) shooting up the pylons for third into the win photo. The top three were separated by just a neck at the wire.
A Rocknroll Dance In A Canadian Pacing Derby Thriller
A Rocknroll Dance and Clear Vision produced a thrilling finish in the $651,000 Canadian Pacing Derby as the pair battled right to the wire in a 1:47.2 record mile on Saturday at Mohawk.
In the end A Rocknroll Dance edged out Clear Vision in the photo finish establishing a new stakes record and matching the track and Canadian record.
Pet Rock (David Miller) fired off the gate from post eight, but 8-5 favourite Bolt The Duer (Mark MacDonald) took over command past the :26.2 opening panel.
Meanwhile, A Rocknroll Dance and Tim Tetrick inherited third-place when Sweet Lou (Yannick Gingras) broke stride into the first turn and made a backstretch brush to take over the lead before the :53.4 half-mile mark.
As A Rocknroll Dance headed to three-quarters in 1:20.4, Clear Vision (Brett Miller) advanced from mid-pack and moved up to engage the leader in a duel that lasted the entire length of the stretch. The pair battled back and forth with A Rocknroll Dance getting his nose to the wire first for his 16th and fastest career win. Clear Vision settled for second while his stablemate, Foiled Again (Ron Pierce), finished third.
"It was very, very tight," said Tetrick. "He had me by a good head and my horse fought back and his horse never gave up. It was a nice race all the way to the wire."
Double millionaire A Rocknroll Dance is trained by Jim Mulinix for the A Rocknroll Dance Stable of Wauseon, OH. The 7-2 second choice, who came into the stakes final with back-to-back sub-1:48 victories under his belt, paid $6.70 to win.
"The Mulinix crew has him on his toes and he feels good and he's brave and he's showing how good a horse he is in his last couple of starts," added Tetrick.
Precocious Beauty Matches Shes A Great Lady Stakes Record
Two-year-old pacing filly Precocious Beauty turned in a 1:50.2 stakes record equalling performance in the $451,000 Shes A Great Lady final for the father and son team of trainer Gregg and driver Doug McNair.
Sudoku (Jim Morill Jr.) established the early lead over Gallie Bythe Beach (John Campbell) and Precocious Beauty with Ali Blue (Yannick Gingras) parked out through a :26.2 opening quarter.
Ali Blue eventually found a spot along the pylons in second while Gallie Bythe Beach swept to command down the backstretch and hit the half-mile mark in :54 flat. She proceeded to three-quarters in 1:22.2 with Ali Blue back out launching a first over attack and Precocious Beauty hot on her heels.
McNair rolled Precocious Beauty three-wide off cover around the final turn and the streaking filly sprinted home in :27.1 to edge out Gallie Bythe Beach for the half-length victory. Beach Gal (Scott Zeron) came on for third, finishing over three lengths behind.
Sent postward as the 6-5 favourite following her elimination victory last weekend, Precocious Beauty paid $4.60 to win. The 1:50.2 clocking also matched her lifetime mark set the weekend prior to the eliminations in a division of the Eternal Camnation Stakes and was one-fifth of a second off I Luv The Nitelife's world record.
"When they're going for $450,000 any horse can win it," said Doug McNair of his expectations entering the race. "Scotty’s horse [Beach Gal] raced big last week [winning her elimination in 1:50.3]. There was a big half in that race last week so they were bound to go a big mile. My filly was two seconds slower last week, but I still had a lot of faith in her and she bounced back for us tonight."
Precocious Beauty now sports a racing record reading 4-2-0 in six career starts with earnings soaring to $315,167. The homebred Art Major-Precious Beauty filly is owned by James Avritt of Lebanon, KY, who broke her as a yearling before Gregg McNair picked her up and trained her down while wintering in Florida.
The Guelph, Ont. horseman said the filly showed promise "right from the get-go."
"She's staked up to everything so you could tell we liked her," he said. "She races here next Saturday night and then she gets about three weeks off and goes down to Lexington. Hopefully she races down there and then the Breeders Crown."
Your So Vain Circles Simcoe Field
Your So Vain found himself trailing a field of eight sophomore trotters early on in the $121,737 second division of the Simcoe Stakes, but made up his 11-3/4 length deficit and powered home to an open length victory with driver Scott Zeron aboard.
Deadliest Catch (Ron Pierce) established the lead through a :27.3 opening quarter with the parked out Murmur Hanover (Rick Zeron) dropping into the pocket spot over Loco Caballo (Anthony MacDonald).
Toocool Forschool (Mike Saftic) launched a first over attack from fourth down the backstretch and cleared to command just past the :57-second half-mile mark. Meanwhile, Bluto (Yannick Gingras) began to roll from mid-pack and edged by Toocool Forschool as they neared the 1:25.4 third quarter mark with Creampuff Macdaddy (Randy Waples) and Your So Vain in the outer flow.
Creampuff Macdaddy got by the top pair in the stretch, but Your So Vain unleashed a :27.1 final kicker en route to the four and three-quarter length victory in 1:53.4. Deadliest Catch finished second over Loco Caballo.
Brad Maxwell trains the Donato Hanover-Tennis Lover colt for P G Van Camp Stables of Port Perry, Ont.
Your So Vain earned just his third win in 10 career starts while pushing his bankroll nearly $135,000. The lightly raced colt scored a Grand Circuit International Stallion Stakes win at The Red Mile at two before needing to have a bone chip removed.
"Right from the get-go he was staked to everything because he has heart and you can see how he can close," said co-owner Paul Van Camp. "Tim Tetrick drove him in Lexington and he was far from right and won in :55 so he's always shown the two things. Soundness is coming so we had high hopes."
The 6-5 favourite paid $4.60 to win.
Lindys Tru Grit Wins Simcoe Opener
Lindys Tru Grit kicked off the stakes action on Metro Pace Night at Mohawk as he defeated the favourites for his biggest career victory to date in the first of two $121,737 Simcoe divisions for three-year-old trotters.
When the wings of the gate swung open for the first stakes event of the night, outside post eight starter E L Rocket (Ron Pierce) forged his way to the lead through a :27.4 opening quarter over early leaver Kinetic King (John Campbell) and favourite High Bridge (Yannick Gingras) while insider Lindys Tru Grit and Tim Tetrick settled away fourth.
As E L Rocket cleared to command, High Bridge made his move and advanced to the lead down the backstretch en route to the half in :56.3. Tetrick then sent Lindys Tru Grit underway and moved up to challenge the front-runner as they raced by the third interval in 1:25.4.
Lindys Tru Grit eventually edged by High Bridge down the lane and then held off a late surge from E L Rocket in deep stretch to prevail in a career-best 1:53.4. The 7-2 third choice paid $9.20 to win. Second choice E L Rocket came up just a neck short while even-money favourite High Bridge settled for third one and a half lengths behind.
"It was a horse race," commented Tetrick after the victory. "My horse from the rail didn't get away as good as I liked, but it worked out. They went enough speed that a couple of them raced a little bit and then slowed things down. My horse got to ease there first up and when I called on him down the lane he fought horses really well."
After making just one start as a freshman, Lindys Tru Grit has earned four wins in nine sophomore starts with his earnings soaring to nearly $150,000.
"He's playing a little catch up," said Tetrick. "But he's got a lot of athletic ability, which really helps him. He finds ways to get the job done and he's got talent."
The Cantab Hall-True Diva colt is trained by Frank Antonacci and owned by breeder Lindy Racing Stable of Enfield, CT and partner Robert Rudolph of Vineland, NJ.
Camaes Fellow Delivers In Preferred Pace
Ontario-sired Camaes Fellow earned his sixth sub-1:50 victory of the season for trainer David Menary in Friday night's $34,000 Preferred Pace at Mohawk.
Driver Yannick Gingras sent the five-year-old Mach Three-Camae gelding to the lead from post five into a speedy :25.4 opening panel. After a second quarter breather to the half in :55, Camaes Fellow rolled to three-quarters in 1:22 with Ok Commander (Mike Saftic) stalled first over and Piston Broke (Tim Tetrick) rallying three-wide.
Owning a length and a half lead entering the stretch, Camaes Fellow was able to hold off the pylon-skimming Upfront Hoosierboy (Randy Waples) from the three-hole. The 6-5 favourite prevailed by half a length in 1:48.1 to notch his 19th career win. Pocket-sitter Speed Again (Billy Davis Jr.) finished third.
The Ontario Sires Stakes graduate has now won eight of his 18 seasonal starts pushing his lifetime earnings to $733,510. He is owned Pennsylvania's Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and M1 Stable LLC.
To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Mohawk Racetrack.