Milton, ON – On A Streak punched his ticket to the Mohawk Million with an upset in Saturday’s C$535,000 William Wellwood Memorial for driver Scott Young, trainer Luc Blais and owner Determination.
The Wellwood Memorial was hyped as the showdown between undefeated colts Macho Martini and Southwind Tyrion, but both saw their perfect records broken when Macho Martini’s Blais stablemate On A Streak gamely dug in to hold off ‘Tyrion’ in a thrilling stretch drive.
“This is incredible, even a guy like me doesn’t have a whole lot of words,” said Young after the biggest win of his career. “I took a look over and saw (Southwind Tyrion) first up and (Macho Martini) following him obviously and I thought I could try and get a little distance in the last turn and my colt dug all the way down the lane and I still thought (Southwind Tyrion) was going to get me halfway down the lane, but he kept digging and we got it.”
On A Streak and Young got away third in a :27.2 opening-quarter set by Logan Park. Southwind Tyrion and Yannick Gingras got away fourth, while Macho Martini and driver Bob McClure were kept wide by their rival going into the turn. On A Streak got his cue to go in the second-quarter and made the front before hitting the half in :57.2.
The second-quarter also saw Macho Martini ready to go on, but waiting on Southwind Tyrion to move. That move to the outside by ‘Tyrion’ ultimately forced Macho Martini three-wide going into the final turn before finding room to slide in a lane onto his rival’s back.
On A Streak and Young ramped up the tempo on the far turn to race by three-quarters in 1:25.4 with Southwind Tyrion approaching first-up.
In the stretch, Southwind Tyrion confronted On A Streak and the rookies went to war. Macho Martini dipped to the inside and stayed with the top pair, finishing third by just over a length.
The final strides saw On A Streak prevail by a head for a timely maiden-breaking score. The result was a flip of last week’s elimination where ‘Tyrion’ prevailed by a nose over On A Streak.
“The day they finalized (the drivers) Bobby (McClure) texted me,” said Young about finding out he’d be driving On A Streak and Dicentra in Saturday’s rich finals. “Luc (Blais) had talked to me the day before and asked me if I was going to be here and I said ‘I’ll be around’.
“The nerves were good and I was even surprised by myself, but it’s my job, I’m here to work and do the best I can. The two colts that were undefeated had all eyes on them, but I had complete confidence in my colt and he just missed Yannick’s colt last week and with an inside post I figured he would be top-three for sure, anything better would be great and we got the big one.”
A son of Cantab Hall, On A Streak was a $155,000 Harrisburg yearling purchase by Serge Godin’s Determination. The Blais trainee entered the Wellwood Memorial with three runner-up finishes, a third and a fourth in five starts.
On A Streak paid $32 to win.
The winner of this year’s William Wellwood Memorial is guaranteed a free slot in the inaugural Mohawk Million on Sept. 26. On A Streak is the first confirmed horse in the field. Godin’s Determination already owned a slot and will now have an opportunity to race two horses in the field.
Godin’s second spot could be reserved for a special filly that dominated again on Saturday night.
Donna Soprano made a three-wide move up the backstretch moving to the lead and never looked back for a dominating 1:53.3 victory in the C$335,000 Peaceful Way for the team of McClure, Blais and Determination.
“I’ve talked many times about her temperament and she’s a little flighty, but I’ve also said she’s getting better every week and she was perfect tonight,” said McClure. “I moved her three-wide, she landed on the front and she came right back to me and just coasted home.
“She’s a very special filly and I’m just very lucky to drive her.”
The early-stages of the Peaceful Way saw many starters leaving for position with Dream Chapter stretching out Dicentra through a :27.1 opening quarter. Donna Soprano had yet to see the rail in mid-pack when McClure opted to circle three wide around Amazone Duharas. The heavy-favorite cleared stablemate Dicentra just after a :56.4 half.
Donna Soprano trotted by three-quarters in 1:25.2 with slight pressure from Amazone Duharas before leaving her rivals far behind with a wrapped up :28.1 final-quarter to win by 4-1/4 lengths. Lady Chaos rallied for second, while You Will Be Queen and Imextraspecial completed the Superfecta.
A $190,000 Harrisburg yearling purchase, Donna Soprano adds another Peaceful Way trophy to her family’s connection, joining her dam, Windsong Soprano, who won the race in 2008.
Owner Godin’s Determination sits loaded with top 2-year-old trotting talent. Donna Soprano is now five for five with C$278,082 earned. The clocking of 1:53.3 is a new career-best and is the second fastest in event history behind Manchego’s 1:52.4 mile in 2017.
Donna Soprano paid $2.70 to win.
REPLAYS AVAILABLE AT www.YouTube.com/WoodbineReplays (Races 5 and 9)