Milton, ON — Port Perry took sole control of top spot in the 2-year-old trotting colt standings with his second Ontario Gold Series victory at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Thursday evening (Aug. 8).
The long-legged Port Perry moved sharply away from post six and once he took control the outcome was never in doubt. Rolling through fractions of :29.1, :59.3 and 1:28.4 Port Perry and driver Bob McClure were never threatened and in the stretch the colt hit a whole different gear, pulling away to a 7-1/2 length victory in 1:56.2. Blue Cupertino finished second, edging out fan favorite Horse Trader who settled for third.
“He’s improved amazingly in the last few weeks. He was bionic tonight,” said McClure of the Kadabra-Danica Hall colt. “In the last 100 feet he pulls away, reminds me of Warrawee Roo.”
McClure steers Port Perry for trainer Luc Blais and owner Determination, who also train and own top older trotter Warrawee Roo, a winner of $690,102 in his racing career. In spite of his success, however, Warrawee Roo is not the most celebrated horse in the Blais-Determination stable at present. That honur belongs to Kadabra son Forbidden Trade who captured the $1 million Hambletonian final at The Meadowlands on Aug. 3.
“It was an exciting moment that’s for sure. It’s a big event, the Hambo,” said Blais. “Everything — you know Bob (McClure) drove him good, the horse was feeling good — I think that day you need to be perfect everywhere if you want to win.”
Forbidden Trade, last year’s Ontario Sires Stakes champion, was flawless in three starts leading up to the Hambletonian and will be looking to add to his win tally when he returns to Woodbine Mohawk Park for Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series action on Monday (Aug. 12).
Port Perry’s commanding victory in Thursday night’s Gold Series test might have some dreaming of the 2020 Hambletonian, but Blais said he was not looking much further ahead than Friday morning with the strapping youngster.
“I’m going to see tomorrow, see how he comes back from that,” said the trainer. “He looked good again today, looked like he was strong today. He’s a big strong horse, you know, he needs lots of room, and I think he feels comfortable on that track (Mohawk Park).”
Thursday’s win was Port Perry’s second in Gold Series action. He also captured a division of the July 4 season opener at Woodbine Mohawk Park, and then finished second by a head to Blue Cupertino in the July 23 leg at Georgian Downs. An $85,000 yearling purchase at last fall’s Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, Port Perry has banked $101,496 in his first three lifetime starts and sits atop the freshman trotting colt Gold Series standings with 125 points.
The other $80,256 Gold division was captured by Moon Bridge in near identical fashion. Taking control from post six the fan favorite and driver Sylvain Filion rang up fractions of :28.1, :57.1 and 1:27.3 before drawing away to a five length victory in 1:57. HP Royal Theo finished second and Scamp was another length back in third.
“He was a little green, he never raced on the front probably,” Filion told Woodbine Mohawk Park’s Chad Rozema in the winner’s circle. “He was looking at stuff, birds and stuff, but he kept racing to the wire, and he was trotting through it, and he was real strong.”
Thursday’s appearance was Moon Bridge’s first in Ontario Sires Stakes action, but the E L Titan-Classic Belle colt logged a runner-up finish in a July 26 overnight event at The Meadowlands before making the trip north. Ake Svanstedt trains Moon Bridge for breeders Esa Lahtinen and Janne Korpi and their partner Jussi Hietalahti.
The 2-year-old trotting colts will make their fourth Gold Series start over the Grand River Raceway half-mile on Sept. 23.
On Friday evening (Aug. 9) Woodbine Mohawk Park welcomes the 2-year-old trotting fillies for their third Gold Series event. The fillies will battle in races three, six, and eight on the Friday evening program, which gets underway at 7:50 p.m.