The 2015 Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) season wrapped up on Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack with $2 million in purses on the line for a star-studded card of harness racing.
Eight new Super Final champions were crowned and Trot Insider has recapped of all the action below.
Two-Year-Old Filly Pace
L A Delight lived up to expectations as the overwhelming 1-5 favourite in the evening's first $250,000 Super Final as she expanded her double-digit win streak with a 1:51.2 stakes record victory for trainer Bob McIntosh.
The victory gave McIntosh his ninth Super Final win, the most of any trainer in OSS history.
Good Will Hanover (Paul MacDonell) established the lead from the inside post position over L A Delight and driver Randy Waples, who left from mid-field and protected the pocket position as outsider Free Show (Jody Jamieson) found herself parked out through a :25.2 scorcher.
Free Show eventually worked her way to the top, but Good Will Hanover came back out for the retake by the half in :54.4. Thisorthat Hanover (Phil Hudon) was also on the move from fourth at that point and the filly took over command with L A Delight chasing her and taking a brief tuck by the 1:22.4 three-quarters mark.
Thisorthat Hanover raced into the stretch, but L A Delight rolled right by down the lane and opened up four lengths to equal the stakes record for two-year-old filly pacers that was set earlier this year by Thatsoveryverynice. Divisional point leader Twin B Thong (Chris Christoforou) came on for second over Thisorthat Hanover.
"Jody was on my back last week and he had a lot of pace and I just thought his filly needed to be roughed up a little bit," said Waples of his early strategy in the race. "I was pretty worried about Paul's filly too, like giving her a two-hole trip, because she's an awful nice filly too. I just thought I'd make them mix it up a little bit and then see what happens because mine, she just doesn't really get tired, so I figured even if I had to come first over at least she'd have a fair shot at it."
L A Delight has now won 11 (consecutive) stakes races from 12 career starts to bank over $700,000 in purses, making her the leading money-earning horse in Canada this year. Among her victories are the Grand Circuit's Shes A Great Lady Stakes and divisions of the Eternal Camnation and Champlain.
"We've proven it over and over again that Ontario-breds can go with anybody in the world and she's just another case of that," said Waples.
The Bettors Delight-West Of L A filly is owned and bred by the Robert McIntosh Stables Inc. of Windsor, Ont., C S X Stables of Liberty Center, Ohio and Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington, Ont.
Two-Year-Old Filly Trot
Waples headed straight back to the winner's circle with 1-9 choice Caprice Hill after keeping her to task in the final turn for the 1:56.4 triumph.
While five of the trotting fillies made early breaks, Waples sent Caprice Hill to the lead from post seven and the Tony Alagna trainee carved out fractions of :28.3, :58.1 and 1:27. Despite a bobble in the last turn and winding up out in the three-path, Caprice Hill recouped and trotted home for the two-length victory over the late-closing Emoticon Hanover (Sylvain Filion) and Silky Flashy Nfast (Mario Baillargeon).
"She's just unbelievable," said Waples, who picked up the catch-drive on the winning filly with Tim Tetrick unable to make the trip due to other stakes commitments stateside. "It was my fault that she made the bobble coming around the turn. I had so much horse and I was just letting her stay within herself, or whatever, and it was kind of deep footing on the rail and she just put a little bit of a step in there. As soon as I gave her her head, she took off trotting. She's just fantastic. Horses like that, they are so intelligent. She's going to have a long career, this filly."
The Kadabra-Bramasole filly boasts a near perfect freshman campaign with seven wins in eight starts and career earnings passing the half-million dollar mark for owner Tom Hill of Hamilton, Ont. She was the OSS divisional co-leader (with Devils Advocate) and also boasts victories in the Peaceful Way Stakes and a division of the Champlain.
"She's had three different drivers, you know, Yannick [Gingras], Timmy [Tetrick] and now Randy. Anybody can drive a Rolls-Royce and I think she's a Rolls-Royce with hair on," said Hill, who purchased the Hanover Shoe Farms-bred filly for $55,000 from the Harrisburg Sale.
Caprice Hill will now head to the Breeders Crown.
"I think probably -- you don't like to say this because people think you're big headed -- but I think she's probably the best trotting filly in the world," stated Hill. "And I think she's beat all the ones that have claimed to be the best. We're not afraid of any of them."
Two-Year-Old Colt Pace
The favourite trend continued as 3-5 Betting Line and driver Chris Christoforou assumed command early on and powered home for the 1:52 triumph in the next Super Final.
Voracity (Randy Waples) left for the lead from post four with Betting Line just to his outside and Nvestment Bluechip (Jody Jamieson) widest of all from post 10. Nvestment Bluechip took over the top spot before Betting Line cleared at the :27.1 first quarter mark. From there, Betting Line led the field through middle splits of :56.1 and 1:25 and turned for home with a one-length lead as Nocturnal Bluechip (Paul MacDonell) had moved first over. Betting Line doubled his leading margin down the lane with divisional point leader Nvestment Bluechip following for second-place. Voracity finished third.