Rexdale, ON --- On Saturday’s program at Woodbine, 4-year-old and older pacers contested two C$50,000 divisions of the opening leg of the Spring Pacing Championship Series. Both Sparky Mark and Golden Receiver prevailed as favorites in their respective tilts.
Sparky Mark, in rein to driver Sylvain Filion, scored the fastest win among the two divisions after stopping the clock in 1:49.4.
The son of Astreos cleared to the front past the opening panel in :26.4 then laid down panels of :54 and 1:22.2 before brushing home to win by a head. Melvyn (Luc Ouellette) found racing room late in the mile to finish second with Mach Dreamer (Rick Zeron) completing the Triactor.
Trained by Mark Austin, Sparky Mark enjoyed his first victory of 2012 from four starts for owner-breeder Leo Thibodeau. He paid $4.30 to win.
“It was a tough trip for him tonight, but he raced terrific,” Filion said following the win. “At this level there are no easy races for anyone, but he really dug-in tonight. He’s not a very big horse, but he’s all heart and leaves it all on the track. This was just his second start back so I think he’ll be that much better next week.”
With eight wins in his last nine starts, Golden Receiver prevailed in the other division, stopping the timer in 1:50.
Driven by Randy Waples and conditioned by Mark Harder, Golden Receiver went gate-to-wire through fractions of :26, :55.3 and 1:23.4 before scoring a one length victory. St Elmo Hero (Jody Jamieson) enjoyed a pocket trip to finish second with Classic Rock Nroll (Doug McNair) third.
“He was good tonight,” trainer Mark Harder said following the win. “They went a slow middle half so I kind of thought Randy put him to sleep. That was a big final quarter (:26.1) and he responded well. He’s really on his game right now.”
Golden Receiver, a 7-year-old son of Village Jove, is owned by breeder Nina Simmonds, along with Stephen Springer, Richard Taylor and Stable 45.
The brown gelding, who swept the Presidential Series at The Meadowlands earlier this year, boasts a 6-0-1 record from seven starts in 2012. He paid $2.90 to win.
The second leg of the Spring Pacing Championship and Glorys Comet Trotting Series will be raced on Saturday, March 31.