The Joseph Cirasuola trainee used a 27 final quarter to find the winner’s circle in the opening dash.
|New Image Media Photos|
|Ruff Me Up won his WEGZ Pacing Series split in 1:52.2.|
With driver Keith Oliver in the bike, Ruff Me Up held command. The duo hit the half in 55.3 then the three-quarters in 1:25.2, before opening up a two length lead to get under the wire in 1:52.2. Draconian finished second with Rays San (Sylvain Filion) rounding out the triactor.
“There is nothing better than a win,” said Cirasuola with a big smile. “They don’t come too often.
|Anderlecht won in 1:52 after a six-month layoff.|
“It’s a Cinderella story,” he added. “We bought him real cheap and he is getting extremely good at the right time.”
Cirasuola says the gelding had issues with his front legs when he got him. He feels that as long as Ruff Me Up stays sound, he will be one of the top contenders in the series.
The 20-time career winner, who is four-for-four in 2012, increased his bankroll to $212,166 for owner Shirley Halas of Northville, Mich.
Ruff Me Up paid $6.90 to win as the third choice.
Following a six-month layoff, Anderlecht delivered as the post-time favorite in the second division of the WEGZ Series.
The Igor Vrablic pupil, who dropped into the pocket after following a first-up Dark Prince (Anthony MacDonald) past the half, sat behind fractions of 26.3, 55.1 and 1:23.1.
In the stretch, driver Randy Waples angled the 7-year-old pacer from the rail to take the lead. The pair stopped the teletimer in 1:52, one length ahead of Rock On Precious (Billy Davis Jr.). Lucky Terror (Jody Jamieson) finished third.
The son of Cam's Card Shark-Princess Chablis notched his 22nd lifetime victory and first of the season. He has banked $627,305 to date for owners Black Road Stable of Cambridge, Ont., and Point Zero Seven Racing of Burlington, Ont.
Anderlecht returned $3.70 to win.
In the fastest division, Bay Of Sharks romped to a 5-1/4-length score in 1:50.4 for trainer Colin Johnson.
Facebook (Doug McNair) clocked the first quarter in 26.1 before a parked Gunpowder (Anthony MacDonald) tried to challenge the tempo-setter, but was unsuccessful past the half in 54.2. Driver Jody Jamieson then took the 1-5 favorite, Bay Of Sharks, three-wide and was able to clear in the final turn.
|Bay Of Sharks won his WEGZ division in 1:50.4.|
As the 6-year-old paced by the three-quarter marker in 1:22.4, he began to open up on the field, which secured the triumph. Warners Speedy Art (Scott Zeron) got up for second and Mach Wheel (Joe Hudon) finished third.
The son of Cam's Card Shark-Whitley Bay scored his third win in four starts this year for owner Michael Sergi of Canton, N.Y. The 14-time career winner has stashed away $351,007 in his career.
Bay Of Sharks paid $2.40 to win.
The series is for pacers who are 4-year-olds and older in 2012 that are non-winners of $50,000 (3-year-olds $75,000) in 2011. Pacers must also have a minimum of 10 starts in 2011.
The $30,000 second leg of the WEGZ Series is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 11, with the $50,000 final set for Saturday, Feb. 18.
Live Standardbred racing will return on Monday evening with a 12-race program, which features the first leg of the Don Mills Trotting Series. First race post time is 7:10 p.m.