If diamonds are a girl’s best friend, it might be safe to say ‘Gold’ is just fine for the guys.
If you were to ask trainer/driver Roger Mayotte, he’d likely be in full agreement as his rookie trotter, Okeanos, gave him a Gold Series score for his birthday during Thursday’s program at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
The strapping son of E L Titan-Enjoy N My Lady got away seventh while Lifetime Royalty shot to the top and sliced out fractions of :27.4, :57.2 and 1:26.3. The leader tired in the lane, and that left the door wide-open for a host of challengers in the backfield.
Okeanos, who slipped into the flow in the backstretch, was seventh and three-wide at the three-quarter pole before using a :28.3 closing kick to win by a half-length margin over Southwind Avenger in 1:56.4. Dream Nation, who was 3-for-3 coming into the contest, settled for third.
“He’s very, very nervous, a high strung horse. He’s been an ongoing project that way through the winter,” said Mayotte, who was also celebrating his birthday. “We had to get him over that stuff, but he’s always showed us some speed and the gait.”
Just In Time Stable and R A W Equine Inc share ownership on the youngster who was a $62,000 purchase from last year’s London Select Yearling Sale. Okeanos lifted his lifetime earnings to $38,562 with the win.
“He’s been showing a lot of promise all along and when he broke in that first Gold there, in my mind he was going to be first or second, the way he was starting to change gears. Unfortunately I think it was my fault, I might have just startled him a bit,” reflected trainer-driver Mayotte, who also shares ownership of the gelding. “We decided to go to the Grassroots instead of going to Georgian to keep him on the big track; he’s a fairly big colt.”
It was a great start to the night for driver Bob McClure, trainer Luc Blais and owner Determination – a perfect night, in fact.
That trio clicked to win the first three races thanks to big efforts from Ex Hanover, Talbotcreek Whiskey and the talented, freshman trotter Forbidden Trade.
The regally-bred son of Kadabra-Pure Ivory, who was sent off as an overwhelming favourite, rallied for a 1:57.4 triumph in his $67,200 division to kick off the OSS festivities.
Forbidden Trade got away seventh in the early stages while the lead belonged to Isnt He An Angel. That longshot hung up the first panel in :28.1 before giving way to Zig Zag in the backstretch. That one put up the half in :58 before making a break around the final turn. Isnt He An Angel inherited the top and took the field to the three-quarter pole in 1:28.1.
Forbidden Trade, who tipped out and followed the flow while sitting sixth at the half, advanced to be third while racing three-wide at the three-quarter pole. The colt fired home in :29.1 to win by 1-3/4 lengths over Cool Clifford. Isnt He An Angel faded late and settled for third.
Purchased for $110,000 from last year’s Harrisburg Yearling Sale, Forbidden Trade upped his lifetime earnings to $65,076 with the win.
“He’s been a complete professional right from the start, he acts like an aged horse,” said McClure, who felt the colt may have been at his most impressive in the July 29 Gold Leg at Georgian Downs, where he finished fourth.
“Last week was probably his most impressive mile, he was just beat a head for second. Three of the previous week’s winners were in together and he had the nine-hole and got away last,” the Elora resident told Woodbine Mohawk Park’s Chad Rozema in the winner’s circle. “I think he showed he’s one of the best, if not the best colt in the division right now.”
Royal Rob is now undefeated in his first two tries thanks to his ultra-impressive victory in the third division for driver Trevor Henry and trainer Bob McIntosh.
The homebred son of Royalty For Life-Armbro Chelsea got away third in the $67,200 affair while CT Conabra launched to the lead and whacked out fractions of :28.3, :58.2 and 1:27.2. Royal Rob came first-over on the way to the half, and he managed to move into the pocket going into the final turn. After the brief cover, Royal Rob edged to the outside turning for home and kicked out a :28.4 final frame to win by 2-1/4 lengths over Knight Angel in 1:56.3. CT Conabra was third.
Sent off as the even-money favourite, the gelding pushed his cash stash to $43,525 for Robert McIntosh Stables Inc, Dave Boyle, Gordon Wright and Randy Liepa.
“He’s a nice colt. He’s smart and has a great gait,” said driver Trevor Henry, who also piloted Royal Rob to a Grassroots victory at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 31. “He has all the tools to be a good one.”
To view results for Thursday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Thursday Results – Woodbine Mohawk Park.
(With quotes from OSS)