Western Silk, Bay Girl Get Equal Billing

Published: August 6, 2010 09:27 am EDT

Mohawk Racetrack fans will enjoy a double dose of Ontario Sires Stakes excitement on Monday, August 9 as the Campbellville oval hosts Gold Finals

for the two-year-old trotting fillies and three-year-old pacing fillies.

With just nine contenders entered into the third Gold event of the season there was no need for eliminations, so the sophomore pacing lasses head to Mohawk off an extra week of rest that could not have come at a better time for Casie Coleman trainee Western Silk.

“Silky was a little bit sick over the weekend, so it worked out,” says the Cambridge, ON resident, adding that timely treatment and rest seem to have restored the filly’s health.

With four wins, one second and one third in her six starts this season — including victories in the season opening Gold elimination and final at Western Fair Raceway, and the $666,000 Fan Hanover at Mohawk Racetrack on June 26 — Western Silk will be among the favourites to take home the lion’s share of Sunday’s $170,000 Gold Final purse. Last season Coleman and her co-owner Tom Hill of Lancashire, Great Britain may have been concerned about the requirement that the fillies spend Sunday evening in Mohawk’s retention barn, but the combination of maturity, a change in routine and the company of stablemate Bay Girl seem to have eased the anxiety Western Silk experienced in strange surroundings as a two-year-old.

“If you look at her lines from last year, she used to get beat about 20 lengths when she hit D-barns,” recalls Coleman. “It helps a lot that she has Bay Girl to go with her — they ship together and I get their stalls beside each other — and we jog her in the morning when she’s in the D-barn. We changed up our schedule, how we usually do things, and it’s working for her.”

Through three stays in the retention barn this season, the Western Terror daughter has a runner-up finish and a win in the Fan Hanover elimination and final, and a third in the final of the July 24 Canadian Breeders Championship.
Mohawk fans were treated to an outstanding finish in the Canadian Breeders Championship, which saw the top three hit the wire abreast and caused a shift in the equine hierarchy in Coleman’s barn. In rein to Tim Tetrick, Bay Girl carved all the fractions and then battled like a titan down the stretch to hold off Ice Ice Baby and Western Silk in a stakes equaling 1:50 clocking.

“I wasn’t expecting a 1:50 mile,” admits Coleman. “I didn’t think she could beat my other filly, Western Silk.

“In the stretch my other horse and the horse that finished second were both actually by her for a little bit, but she dug back down,” adds the trainer. “She’s a pretty nice filly.”

Owned by Michael, Sam and Pat Sergi of Canton, New York, Bay Girl has two wins and three thirds in eight starts this season, and makes her first sophomore Ontario Sires Stakes appearance from Post 2 in Sunday’s seventh race. Bay Girl arrived in Coleman’s barn in late April and the trainer felt the Royal Mattjesty daughter was not ready for the first Gold Series event, and following their efforts in the Fan Hanover, neither filly attended the early July event at Georgian Downs won by Tiz To Dream.

Moffat, ON resident Jody Jamieson will steer Bay Girl from Post 2 in Monday’s seventh race, while Mark MacDonald of Cambridge, ON pilots Western Silk from Post 5. Reigning Gold Final champion Tiz To Dream and driver Doug McNair will be hampered in their pursuit of a second trophy by the outside Post 9.

Two-year-old trotting filly Enchantment will also be hampered by an outside post in Monday’s fifth race. The Angus Hall lass and driver Keith Oliver will start from Post 8 in the $130,000 contest, and while they were able to overcome Post 9 in the elimination round, Oliver expects the task will be tougher this week.

“She got a bad draw, but we’ll go from there and see how the race sets up,” says the Lynden, ON resident. “Hopefully I can get her in the race.”

Enchantment started her Ontario Sires Stakes career with a miscue and a ninth-place finish in the Grassroots season opener at Grand River Raceway on July 14. Trainer Bill Companion opted to qualify the youngster a second time, and when he sent her to Mohawk Racetrack on July 27 he handed the lines over to Oliver. The veteran reinsman delivered a 2:00.3 victory and Companion engaged his services for last week’s Gold elimination.

Confident in the filly’s ability, Oliver let Enchantment float off the starting gate and sent her up the outside heading for the half-way marker. Reaching the front around the final turn, the filly cruised home a one and three-quarter length winner in 1:59.

“She was strong, real strong, when I qualified her. I could have went more and she showed that the other night,” notes Oliver, who steers the filly for Companion’s Common Sense Stable of Rockwood, ON and KOR Stable Limited of Guelph, ON. “She raced great, she was still in hand.”

The other elimination winners will all start to Enchantment’s left, with Peach Martini getting Post 1, Marys Out Cruisin starting from Post 3 and defending Gold Final champion Extraordinaire making her bid for a third-straight victory from Post 6.

Mohawk Racetrack’s Monday evening program begins at 7:20 p.m., and Ontario Sires Stakes fans can catch the two-year-old trotting fillies battling in their $130,000 Gold Final in Race 5, and the three-year-old pacing fillies competing in their rich $170,000 Gold Final in Race 7.

To view Monday's entries, click here.