McClure sweeps Gold Series divisions

Milton, ON — Driver Bob McClure swept the 2-year-old pacing colt Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series divisions at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Saturday (Aug. 14), steering Stonebridge Helios and Kolby Two Step to impressive victories.

In the first $79,840 division, McClure and Stonebridge Helios wound up at the back of the six-horse field from post five and watched from there as fan favorite Erinwood Yves controlled the pace through fractions of :27.2, :56.4 and 1:24.4. Coming off the final turn McClure turned Stonebridge Helios loose in an open lane and the Sunshine Beach-Ken Doll J colt powered down the stretch in :26.1 to get a head in front of Erinwood Yves at the 1:52 finish. Camealongway was another head back in third.

“That’s definitely the worst drive I’ve given this week, luckily there was a lot of horsepower in front of me or he probably wouldn’t have been top three with the position I had him in,” said McClure. “And there was a headwind here tonight too. They’re not supposed to make up ground with a headwind, not like that.”

John Pentland trains Stonebridge Helios and owns the colt in partnership with breeder Angie Stiller and John Fleischman. The London, Ont., resident was deeply impressed with the colt, who was also a winner in the July 16 Gold leg at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

“That was big time, that was a big time thrill,” said Pentland. “He didn’t look to me like he’d hit the board, I had just kind of resolved myself, maybe he’ll get up for fourth. That’s a good horse.

“I said the other day, he’s one of the three best horses I think I’ve ever sat behind. The other two would be Chancey Lady and Chatham Light,” Pentland added. Pacing mare Chancey Lady was a winner of $2 million who took a record of 1:48.4 in 2010, and pacing horse Chatham Light earned $849,845 in his career, taking a record of 1:53.3 in 1990. “I don’t know if he’s going to end up anywhere in that kind of company, I have no idea, he’s got to do a lot more, but he’s just such a nice horse, so good gaited, drives so good, do anything you want with him. He’s a real class act that horse.”

McClure was back in the winner’s circle four races later with the bettor’s second choice Kolby Two Step. Starting from post three, Kolby Two Step left smartly and settled in behind Century Inspector before the :27.2 quarter. McClure soon sent Kolby Two Step to the lead and was pursued by Bob Loblaw, who hit the half in :55.3. McClure then tipped Kolby Two Step out behind Betterhavemymoney, but the fan favorite did not have his usual pop and McClure was soon looking for a wider lane. In the stretch Kolby Two Step kicked home to a 1-1/2 length win in a personal best 1:51.2. Century Inspector closed for second and Bob Loblaw stayed game for third.

“It’s a tricky situation sometimes, those small fields,” said McClure. “Usually there’s a cheap middle half and it’s tough to make up ground, but that was obviously not the case in Kolby Two Step’s race. That was a very exciting race for a five horse field. I wish it had been a little more boring.

“I left out, I had to re-move, I had to grab up, and when I went to ask him a third time I was in disbelief that he had some more to give me.”

McClure drives Kolby Two Step for trainer Timothy Gillespie and his co-owner Jason Churchill. The win was the Betterthancheddar-Dancing Heart son’s third of the season. He was also victorious in his July 1 debut and in the July 9 Grassroots leg, both at Woodbine Mohawk Park, and finished second to Betterhavemymoney in the July 16 Gold leg.

“The first time I baby raced him (June 25) they indicated that they were hoping to put him in the Grassroots the next Friday, but when they pulled him out of the stall he was just a monster of a horse, and then as soon as you got on the track you could feel that there was some power there. After his qualifier I told them, ‘You might want to set your standards a little higher here, I think he’s a legitimate Gold colt,’” said McClure. “And then he jogged in his first lifetime start, then he blew them away in his second, in a Grassroots, and I thought he raced awesome in his first Gold. He had to do a lot of work, and he had to triple move and he just got beat by a better horse that night, by Betterhavemymoney.”

The fourth Gold Series Leg goes postward Sept. 4 at Woodbine Mohawk Park and both Stonebridge Helios and Kolby Two Step are eligible for the Champlain Stakes one week later, however that is the only open stake event either colt has on his calendar. Following the Champlain they will return to Gold Series action on Oct. 3 at Flamboro Downs before wrapping up their season in the Oct. 16 Super Final.

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