Sunday, November 15, 2009

Photo Essay: Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final Championships

It was a beautiful Saturday evening at Woodbine as eight divisions of Ontario's finest lined up to contest the OSS Super Final Championships.

I spent much of the evening in the harness barn where grooms busily prepared their horses for a chance at a $300,000 purse.

What follows are photos of some of the equine stars of the show.

* * *

Before the main events got underway, there were two preliminary races to get the evening started.

Igor Vrablic, former soccer star and now a horse trainer, lined up Hagi in the first race of the night. Hagi is named after the Romanian footballer who scored goals for esteemed clubs such as Barcelona, Real Madrid and Galatasaray. Vrablic played striker for Canada in their only World Cup appearance back in 1986.

Hagi the footballer scoring goals

Hagi, who won his previous outing, faded to finish seventh in a race won by longshot Mattscape Seelster at 35-1.

Admire the nifty footwork of Hagi as he makes his way to the track

The first OSS Superfinal of the evening was for three year-old pacing fillies. Luc Ouelette gunned to victory as the favourite with Shacked Up, keeping Not Enough and Cheap Motel in check. The best looking horse in the race, Northern Duchess, fought gamely down the lane but faded to finish last.

Northern Duchess - First in my heart, last on the sheet.

She's a beauty and we'll be hearing from her over the winter

St Lads Popcorn, an O'Brien Award winner in 2008, finished 7th

Coming Late lived up to her name chasing the field home in fifth

An oddity in this particular division? Trainer Tracy Brainard entered five fillies and finished first through fifth! Shacked Up, Not Enough, Cheap Motel, Kaballah Karen B and Coming Late. That's what I call a Super High Five!

* * *

Odds on favourite Poof Shes Gone vanished in thin air only to appear at the finish line as a four length winner in the two year-old filles Trot.

Fortunately, Triple Dead Heat was on hand to capture the only two existing photos of the filly from the evening.

Poof Shes Here - handlers keeping an eye on the magic

Poof! Now she's in the winners circle!

* * *

The OSS pace for three year-old colts and geldings was won, as expected, by Shipps Xpectancy. Primary Purpose and Lyons Horace finished second and third respectively.

Here's Shipps Xpectancy before the race looking very much the horse in form

The feisty Fast Pay was doing his Sean Penn impression mugging for photos

Lyons Horace, at odds of 54-1, finished third

* * *

Our good friends at the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society had a booth set up on the main floor grandstand.

Christmas is coming soon! Who wants a horse for Christmas?!!

Out by the main entrance, fans lined up to have their photo taken with Sooner Hanover.

Sooner Hanover is the one on the right

All hustle and bustle in the barn on this night

Only at racetime did the action in the barn come to a stop

* * *

The trot for three year-old colts and geldings was won by I Won't Dance by a nose over Striking Lindsey who finished a nose in front of Equity who just squeezed out Parlay.

While the track photographer was preparing to take an incredible 3-way win photo, I was back in the barn with the paparazzi trying to locate Celebrity Hercules.

Celebrity Hercules shows us his good side

Celebrity Hercules chillin' with his entourage

At odds of 27-1, Celebrity Hercules finished eighth. But he looked good doing it. Expect to see more from this colt.

* * *

Text Me dialed up a huge win in the trot for two year-old colts and geldings. After weeks of preparation, trainer Robert McIntosh sent an SMS to driver Randy Waples who agreed to take the drive. Waples would send an instant message to the field by bursting straight to the lead. Text Me did not hang up down the lane and track announcer Ken Middleton called him a winner.

Grumpy Jake was not too happy about finishing second and Zorgwijk Kingpin rallied to finish third.

Pointe To Pointe had a rough trip and was distanced

Ja El Express is one handsome colt

Seriously, check out the male model

Text Me took time away from Facebook messaging to pose for photos

His favourite emoticon is the smiley face with the tongue sticking out - :>P

* * *

The OSS final for two year-old filly pacers was won by FBS Terror. Scott Zeron engineered a perfect trip leading at every call as St Lads Trixie and Tiz To Dream closed to pick up the pieces.

The beautiful Bay Girl finished eighth

Tiz To Dream finished third for driver Doug McNair

A tough night for Western Silk. The big filly already has seven wins to her name but finished last on this night.

* * *

Elusive Desire proved to be elusive to the field winning the three year-old filly trot at short odds over Novelty As and Friendly Amigo. It was the 11th win in 18 starts for Elusive Desire in 2009. What a champ!

The cutely named Cuddler cuddles up to Tammy in the barn. (Cuddler would finish sixth.)

I'll Wait For You waited a bit too long to get started and finished eighth

* * *

The two year-old pace for colts and geldings was won by 25-1 shot Code Word. BP Chimo was up for second while Keystone Raptor hung on gamely to finish third.

Keystone Raptor in all his racing gear

Congratulations to all the winners on the evening. More coverage of the event can be found on the Standardbred Canada website.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good article!

The Great Hagi