Milton, ON — Father Patrick-Southwind Sauna colt Synergy got up the rail to win by the narrowest of margins in Friday’s (Aug. 30) $137,157 Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old trotters at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
A full field of 10 rookies met up for the Grand Circuit contest. Per Engblom trainee Synergy went off as the slight favorite over Luc Blais’ Port Perry and the two rookies would be connected throughout.
Synergy and driver Yannick Gingras moved up to the top from second moving into the backstretch. Port Perry and driver Bob McClure followed and zipped up to lead the field by the half in :57.2. Horse Trader applied first-up pressure going to three-quarters, sitting a length away from Port Perry in 1:26.4.
Port Perry put away the outside rival in the stretch, but drifted off the rail just enough that Synergy could shoot through in deep stretch. The rookies hit the line in a photo finish that saw Synergy reach up to win by a nose in 1:55.4. Horse Trader finished third, while Scamp and Nylander finished in a dead-heat for fourth.
“I wasn’t sure honestly, it was really tight,” said Gingras of the photo finish. “I had the momentum going across, so I knew I had a chance, but it was too close to call.
“When Bobby (McClure) came I was happy to let him go. My horse is really good, but he hadn’t raced in a month and he’s been on the front a few times, so I was definitely happy to follow somebody.”
Synergy was making his first start since finishing fifth in the Peter Haughton Memorial on Aug. 3 at The Meadowlands. The Engblom trainee has now won three of four starts and earned $98,995 for owners Brittany Farms, John Fielding, Herb Liverman and David Anderson. He was a $275,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase.
A $2 win ticket on Synergy returned $5.20.
Friday evening’s program also saw a jaw-dropping performance from Youaremycandygirl in the $22,500 Mares Preferred. The 4-year-old mare was making her debut for trainer Richard Moreau and made an immediate statement.
Driver Louis Philippe Roy angled Youaremycandygirl out from third approaching three-quarters and immediately surged up alongside Seaswift Joy N, who reached the third marker in 1:23.3.
Youaremycandygirl was in full flight swinging into the lane and stormed away from her rivals with an incredible :25.3 final quarter to win in 1:49.1.
Owned by Bill Donovan, Youaremycandygirl picked up her second win in 10 starts this season. The career-earner of nearly $1.5 million now has 20 career victories. She paid $19.20 to win.
Live racing continues Saturday evening with the C$1.6 million Maple Leaf Trot and Canadian Pacing Derby card. Post time is 7:10 p.m.