Milton, ON — On Friday evening, (Aug. 30), 2-year-old pacing filly Alicorn rewrote the Ontario Sires Stakes history books for the second time this summer, rocketing around Woodbine Mohawk Park in 1:50.3 for her second Gold Series victory.
Starting from post three, regular reinsman Louis-Philippe Roy eased the heavy favorite away from the gate and settled in fourth, as Kat took the field of nine to a :27.1 opening quarter. Karma Seelster quickly took control of the lead, but Alicorn was hot on her heels and had taken control by the :55.1 half. Once they had control, Alicorn and Roy stepped up the tempo and powered through a 1:22.4 three-quarters on their way to the 1:50.3 victory. Karma Seelster and Kat finished second and third, 2-1/4 lengths behind the winner.
“She’s just a big beast in a small body,” said Roy. “I was a little concerned with the way I had to use her to get to the front at the half, but when I pulled the plugs down the lane she let me know it was game over.”
“I was glad to see her get away fourth. Even though she only sat in until just about the quarter pole and then he removed her, I was glad to see her do that. I didn’t want to see her get too aggressive behind the gate, because she can take a good hold of you behind the gate,” added trainer Chantal Mitchell. “She’s always been like that, she knows what she’s there to do when she gets in behind the starting car, but when she makes the front she kind of goes to sleep. So it’s a catch-22 with how you want to race a horse like her really, but every time you ask her she gives you more.”
The mile lowered the filly’s own Ontario Sires Stakes record by two-fifths of a second. She won her July 19 Gold Series start at Woodbine Mohawk Park in 1:51.
Friday’s victory was Alicorn’s second straight at Woodbine Mohawk Park — she captured her Eternal Camnation division last weekend — and her fourth of the season. In seven starts, the Bettor’s Delight daughter has banked $164,270 for owners Windermere Stable LLC and Robert Muscara.
“I feel like she’s getting stronger and stronger. She’s feeling better and better after every start,” said Mitchell. “When she gets to the racetrack, she just knows how to turn it on, because at home she’s a nice, quiet little filly and when she gets to the track she’s got her game face on.”
The 2-year-old pacing fillies will wrap up their Gold Series regular season at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept. 30, but before that, Alicorn is also eligible to the Champlain Pace on Sept. 7 and the Shes A Great Lady, which sees eliminations take place on Sept. 14 and the final on Sept. 21.
“We’ll just see how she comes out of it (Friday’s race), because it’s a pretty tight schedule from here on to the end of the year,” said Mitchell about whether the filly will race in both the Champlain and Shes A Great Lady. “If she were to race in every race she’s got, she’d only be getting one week off between now and the end of the Breeders Crown.”
The other C$107,200 Gold Series division went to Temagami Seelster and driver Yannick Gingras, who used a similar strategy from post five. The favorites got away third, watching P L Notorious roll out to a :26.4 opening quarter, and then followed Rose Run Vantage up the outside, overtaking that filly heading by the :55.1 half. Temagami Seelster led the field to a 1:23.4 three-quarters, and when Rose Run Vantage and Peaky Sneaky tried to reel her in down the stretch, the filly dug in and held on for a head victory in 1:52. Rose Run Vantage and Peaky Sneaky had to settle for second and third.
“About halfway down the lane, it looked like they were going by her on the inside and the outside, and then he kicked the plugs and she dug right back in,” said trainer Wayne McGean. “She’s got a heart, that’s for sure.”
The win was Temagami Seelster’s first in Gold Series action. In the first three Gold legs, the Sunshine Beach daughter finished second twice and third once. In nine starts the filly has only missed the top three on two occasions, earning $109,699 for McGean and his partners David Mercer and Joseph Lewis.
“She was riding under the radar,” said the trainer. “This evening I told Yannick she’s a nice filly. He said, ‘Yeah, you drew away from some of the tougher ones’, and I said, ‘Yeah, but I think she’s a tough one too. I think she’s a real nice filly.’ He said, ‘Okay’. And he drove her like she was the best.
“She knows what it’s all about now, I think. She kind of proved tonight that she knows what it’s all about,” he added. “She was beat halfway down the lane, you know that and I know that, right?, but once he pulled the plugs, then she dug back in.”
Like Alicorn, Temagami Seelster is eligible to the Champlain and Shes A Great Lady stakes, and McGean is also taking a wait-and-see approach. Both fillies are currently among the top five point earners in the Gold Series division and will be assured of a berth in the Oct. 12 Super Final at Woodbine Mohawk Park.