Day At The Track

Second golden night for Filion and Svanstedt

02:44 PM 10 Aug 2019 NZST
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Winter Olympics, harness racing Intense Justice, harness racing
Winter Olympics winning a OSS Gold division at Mohawk Park.
New Image Media photo
Intense Justice and driver Chris Christoforou
New Image Media photo

MILTON, ON - AUG. 9, 2019 - Two-year-old harness racing trotting fillies took centre stage at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday and for the second straight evening driver Sylvain Filion and trainer Ake Svanstedt struck Gold with a first-time Ontario Sires Stakes starter.

On Thursday night Filion guided Svanstedt trainee Moon Bridge to victory in freshman trotting colt Gold Series action and on Friday the Milton resident teamed up with Winter Olympics. The fan favourites left smartly from Post 6 and settled into third as Jula Shes Magic rolled out to a :29.1 opening quarter. Feeling confident in Winter Olympics through the opening stages, Filion pointed her toward the front heading for the :58.3 half and the filly carried on unchallenged through the 1:27.4 three-quarters.

Turning for home She Rocks Kemp shifted into high gear and started to reel in Winter Olympics, but the tempo setter had enough left in the tank to secure a three-quarter length victory in 1:56.3. She Rocks Kemp finished second and Jula Shes Magic was two more lengths back in third.

"I was just being extra careful leaving the gate, I didn't want to get caught in a speed duel," said Filion. "I just waited until things settled down to re-move to the front, and from there she did the rest on her own."

Both Winter Olympics and Moon Bridge made one start south of the border before shipping to Woodbine Mohawk Park for this week's Ontario Sires Stakes action. Sarah Svanstedt briefed Filion on the duo Thursday afternoon and the driver said both youngsters lived up to their advance billing.

"She told me that they were pretty high on them, and I guess they were right," said Filion.

"That's a very nice filly. Big and strong, and she can do everything right. She was a little green on the front end, but there was still lots left," he added. "She really impressed me the way she travels. She looks like she's walking out there and she's still going pretty fast."

Wrightstown, NJ resident Ake Svanstedt also owns Winter Olympics, who is a daughter of Muscle Mass and Olympic Dreams.

Intense Justice clocked the second fastest mile of the three Gold Series divisions Friday, touring the Woodbine Mohawk Park oval in 1:56.4. The filly and regular reinsman Chris Christoforou got away third from Post 2 and watched heavy favourite Warrawee Vicky lead the field to a :28.3 opening quarter. Warrawee Vicky continued to lead at the :58.4 half, but Christoforou had circled around pocket sitter Jasmine Volo and dropped in behind the pacesetter, who reached the three-quarters in 1:27.3.

In the stretch Christoforou angled out around Warrawee Vicky and asked Intense Justice for a burst of speed. The Justice Hall daughter responded and pulled away to a one and three-quarter length victory. Warrawee Vicky finished second, her first loss in five lifetime starts, and Wine Rack Hanover was third.

"She showed me a lot of talent the first time I sat behind her," said Christoforou, who has driven the filly in all of her starts, beginning with a June 8 qualifier. "She has a great turn of foot and a very nice gait. She's a very good feeling filly and once the gate opens she's all business."

Dany Fontaine of Terrebonne, QC trains Intense Justice for owner-breeder Ecurie Gaetan Bono Inc. of Montreal, QC. Friday's win was the filly's second in Gold Series action this season and boosted her lifetime earnings to $103,182. The filly's elder brother Only For Justice is also a two-time Gold Series winner this season.

"Dany does a fantastic job with her and all his horses, he's patient and a very intelligent horseman," said Christoforou, who makes his home in Campbellville, ON. "I'm very happy for her owner-breeder Mr. Bono. If you look at the numbers, he is an excellent judge of pedigree and has done a brilliant job with his breeding program. It's been an absolute pleasure to drive for them."

The other $73,067 Gold Series division went to Sheer Energy, who went gate-to-wire from Post 6, stopping the clock at 1:58.1. Modern Mass was three and one-quarter lengths back in second and Th Present was two more lengths back in third.

Guelph, ON resident Louis-Philippe Roy engineered the win for trainer George Ducharme of Norfolk, MA and owner W. J. Donovan of Delray Beach, FL. The filly, a half-sister to $1.2 million winner Manofmanymissions, was the $187,000 sale topper at last fall's London Selected Yearling Sale and now has two wins to her credit through three starts.

The two-year-old trotting fillies will make their fourth Gold Series start on Sept. 24 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Complete results from Friday's program are available at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0809wbsbsn.dat.

On Monday, Aug. 12 Woodbine Mohawk Park will host Gold Series action for the three-year-old trotting colts. The colts will square off in Races 2 and 8 on the program, which gets under way at 7:10 pm.

From the Ontario Sire Stakes

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