Highland Kismet oozes greatness in Goodtimes

Milton, ON — Highland Kismet, with Bob McClure in the race bike, stamped himself as a superstar-in-the-making courtesy of a stupendous score in the C$225,000 Goodtimes Stakes on Saturday evening (June 15) at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

Sent on his way as the 2-5 choice in the Goodtimes, Highland Kismet arrived at his latest test off a polished 1-3/4-length winning performance in his elimination last week at the Milton oval.

On this night, he took things to a whole new level.

It was an early scramble as Top Mast, Private Access and Shermont battled into the first turn, while Highland Kismet was fanned nearly four-wide. Top Mast led the pack through an opening panel in :27.2, but Highland Kismet, in fourth, was given his cue by McClure, and the son of Father Patrick responded by seizing command shortly before the half in :55.3.

Private Access, the second choice on the board at 6-1, came calling on the leader soon after and then turned up the pressure into the turn for home. Highland Kismet, a neck on top after three-quarters in 1:24.4, fended off his foe and then strolled away from his pursuers with ease down the lane. McClure sat chilly in the sulky as the bay colt stormed home in :26.4 to post a 3-1/4-length win over Private Access in a lifetime best and stakes record-equaling 1:51.3. Top Mast was third.

Highland Kismet and driver Bob McClure equaled the Goodtimes stakes record with a 1:51.3 effort. New Image Media.

“He’s two fingers to drive,” said McClure. “You can start him up, shut him down. I didn’t mind. I was fully intending to half-miss the gate because I knew all the outside speed was going to be pushing, so I wasn’t worried about them dropping in front of me.

“This colt, super, super stepped up, and I couldn’t believe how big a kick he had coming home, and how easy he did it, and how great he’s been.”

Unraced at 2, the Mark Etsell trainee was a two-length winner in 1:54.4 in his May 2 debut. Scratched out of his next start, Highland Kismet returned on May 23, just missing the top spot by a head.

One week later, he was back on the winning track courtesy of a 5-1/4-length victory in 1:53.1.

“He’s come a long way quick,” said Etsell. “He’s been a bit of a surprise, actually.”

Added McClure, “He was a real troubled 2-year-old. He had a lot of trouble with his gait, and you wouldn’t know it now with the job that Mark has done with him. He’s perfect.”

Bred and owned by Highland Thoroughbred Farm of Ingersoll, Ont., Highland Kismet paid $2.90 for his Goodtimes victory.

The race presentation was made by John Bax, who campaigned world champion and Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame inductee Goodtimes to a 50-win career and over C$2.2 million in lifetime earnings.

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