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Feisty Kendall Seelster adds Gold win to her growing resume

“When we first started going fast with her, training fast miles, it was just like flipping a switch."

(Photo of driver Randy Waples and Kendall Seelster courtesy of New Image Media)

Kendall Seelster added an Ontario Sires Stakes trophy to her collection at Mohawk Racetrack on Friday with a commanding victory in the $125,800 two-year-old pacing filly Gold Series contest.

The win was the Shadow Play daughter’s second straight at the Campbellville oval — she was also victorious in the $169,381 Champlain Stakes on Sept. 2 — and Mohawk fans sent her off as the heavy favourite in Race 5.

Starting from the trailing Post 11, driver Randy Waples of Milton, ON settled Kendall Seelster in sixth on the rail, behind two-time Gold Series winner Big Thong, as Play The Bell and Lady Grande battled to a :27.3 opening quarter. As Cardiff took control heading for the :55.3 half, driver James MacDonald tipped Big Thong into the outer lane and Waples sent Kendall Seelster out in her wake. Cardiff led the field of 10 past the 1:25.1 three-quarters, but Waples swung Kendall Seelster out from behind Big Thong coming off the corner and the fan favourite cruised by her peers to a three and one-quarter length victory in 1:52.4. Lady Grande closed hard to be second, as did Kendall Seelster’s stablemate Just Her Luck to claim the third-place finisher’s spoils.

“Randy had mentioned it before that he didn’t have to gun her out of there, that she would come from off the pace, and she proved it tonight,” said trainer Paul Reid of Kendall Seelster’s victory. “It’s always good to see when you’re not one dimensional; it just makes it so tough if you are.”

Reid, whose Ontario operation is based at First Line Training Centre in rural Milton, conditions both Kendall Seelster and Just Her Luck for 1187422 Ontario Inc. of Ottawa, ON and has been impressed with both youngsters since their arrival in his barn.

“I picked them up the first of May and they’d been in like 2:25, 2:20 I guess, and we finished them off and started to race them. She (Kendall Seelster) felt like a nice filly right from the start, obviously I didn’t think she was going to be this good,” admitted the horseman. “She did feel like she had the ability, but she’s a smaller filly you know, I was a little concerned.

“When we first started going fast with her, training fast miles, it was just like flipping a switch, two different horses, because she’s kind of short, even in the post parade she’s kind of short and trappy going, and then as soon as she hits a nice gear boy it just smooths out and it’s just great,” the trainer added.

In addition to Monday’s win and her Champlain victory, where she dealt Ontario Sires Stakes rival Percy Bluechip her first loss, Kendall Seelster has an overnight win in an August 1 event at Mohawk and four runner-up efforts, three of them behind Percy Bluechip, to her credit. A $47,000 purchase at the 2016 Forest City Yearling Sale, the filly has amassed $262,085 through eight lifetime starts. Friday’s victory boosted Kendall Seelster’s Gold Series point total to 108, putting her in a tie for second behind Percy Bluechip, who skipped Friday’s event.

Stablemate Just Her Luck has accumulated 31 points and currently sits seventh in the standings. The homebred daughter of Sportswriter and Just Luck has made just five starts to date, recording one second and two thirds for earnings of $34,888, but Reid is hopeful that Friday’s result means things are moving in the right direction for the youngster.

“(Just Her Luck)’s very, very nice, better gait, more fluid right from the word go,” recalled Reid. “Honestly, when I started with them I thought she might have been the better of the two. It didn’t take long to figure out that the other one was, but she’s a very nice filly.

“She’s been fighting sickness and hasn’t been 100 per cent and we give her a little time, and she’s coming back around now. I think she’s a fast filly, like she’s already paced 1:52.3, so I mean she’s no slouch,” Reid continued. “I think this start will help get her a little tighter and hopefully we can keep her healthy. I think she’s competitive, maybe not with the top two, but she’s only a step behind.”

Kendall Seelster will put her two-race win streak on the line against North America’s top fillies in the Shes A Great Lady Eliminations at Mohawk on Saturday, Sept. 16, and Reid hopes she continues to channel her growing feistiness into winning races.

“Last week after she win, on the way home she kicked the back window out of my horse trailer. She doesn’t get very tired either,” said Reid with a rueful chuckle. “A lot of them, as they get racier they get a little more feisty, so hopefully she just keeps putting that feistiness toward the race like she has been.”

Following the break for the Shes A Great Lady, Ontario’s talented two-year-old pacing fillies will wrap up their Gold Series regular season at Mohawk on Oct. 5, with the top 10 point earners advancing to the $225,000 Super Final at the Campbellville oval on Oct. 14.

Ontario’s top two-year-old pacing colts will battle in their fourth Gold Series event on Mohawk Racetrack’s Saturday evening program, competing in Races 8 and 10 on a card that also features eliminations for the Canadian Trotting Classic and Elegantimage Stakes and the Simcoe Stakes divisions for three-year-old pacing colts and fillies. Saturday’s program gets under way at 7:30 pm.

 

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