In the first C$108,000 division Bettor At Hightide got a confident steer from trainer-driver Paul MacDonell to secure the victory. Starting from post two, MacDonell and Bettor At Hightide got away fourth and watched Sylvain Filion and Denali Seelster grab the early lead. When the fan favorites put up a tepid :28.1 first quarter MacDonell opted to take command of the race and Bettor At Hightide rang up a :56.4 half and 1:25.3 three-quarters.
Denali Seelster launched an attack in the stretch, but went briefly off-stride, leaving Bettor At Hightide to cruise home a 1-3/4 length winner in 1:53.1. Velocity Rukkus finished second and Noch Ten edged out Lottery Winner for third.
“We’ve been happy with his progress so far. He’s come along the right way,” said MacDonell. “He’s the kind of colt that learns quick, and it makes your job easier when you’ve got a good pupil like that. He learns and aims to please, I guess is the main thing he wants to do.”
MacDonell trains and drives Bettor At Hightide for owner-breeders Schooner II Stable. Saturday’s outing was the Bettor’s Delight son’s second lifetime, he finished third in a June 29 2-year-old race at Woodbine Mohawk Park after a pair of qualifying outings at the Campbellville oval.
“I thought he qualified really well two weeks ago and then he raced exceptional last week, I thought,” said MacDonell who also drove the colt’s mother, Queensland Beach, and his grandsire, the great Somebeachsomewhere. “He got a little check around the last turn and still came a pretty nice last half.
“Brent MacGrath and Schooner Stables, they had the mare and they had the grandmother. This colt, he was trained in Florida by Brent, he did a great job. I just got him in May so I’ve got to give a lot of credit to what he’s done with him.”
While Bettor At Hightide did his racing on the front end, YS Mathis took a radically different path in the second division. Starting from post five with Louis-Philippe Roy in the race bike, the Sportswriter colt got away fourth as Southwind Dredge hustled out to a :26.4 quarter. Southwind Dredge soon handed the lead over to Sports Obsession and MacDonell, who dialed things back to a :56.3 half and 1:26.3 three-quarters.
While Sports Obsession did the work up front, YS Mathis continued to sit on the rail in mid-pack and appeared to be locked in tight as a parade of horses powered up the outer lane. However, as the field squared up in the stretch the horses directly in front of YS Mathis found a bit of racing room to the right and pacesetter Sports Obsession started to drift off the rail. The opening was small, but Roy was able to squeeze YS Mathis through and after bursting into open space the colt sprinted off to a 1-1/2 length victory in 1:54. The Amazingsando and Aneta also closed hard from the back of the pack to claim the second and third-place share of the C$108,000 purse.
“He doesn’t need a lot of racetrack to show his talent. He’s pretty quick for a little piece,” said Roy, who drives the colt for trainer Jacques Dupont and owner-breeder Yves Sarrazin. “I just hope he keeps on improving and turns into a really nice colt.”
Saturday’s outing was the second for YS Mathis, who also finished third in his debut, a June 27 2-year-old race at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Prior to that he made two appearances in qualifying action at the Campbellville racetrack, a third on June 14 and a win on June 22.
“Last week he was a little too aggressive and he wouldn’t relax during the mile,” Roy said. “Jacques did a few adjustments on him and he was way more relaxed this week.”
Bettor At Hightide, YS Mathis and their freshman pacing colt peers will be back at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 15 for their second Gold Series event.
On Monday (July 8) the 2-year-old pacing fillies take over the spotlight at Woodbine Mohawk Park, competing in a trio of Gold Series divisions. The evening’s first race goes postward at 7:10 p.m. and the fillies will be showcased in races three, four and six.
Complete results for Saturday’s program are available by clicking here.