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Fillies rewrite the record books on Clinton’s Kin Pace card

"When you’ve got a final like that you’re going to go a big mile, it was a big effort."
(Photographs of Gotta Pay To Play and Wayne Henry and Write Me A Song and Mike Saftic courtesy of AG Photography)

The three-year-old fillies were flying around Clinton Raceway on Sunday afternoon, sending track records toppling throughout the $144,350 Kin Pace program.

Setting the tone for the afternoon in the first race, and first Grassroots division, trotter Ezee Tiguan and driver-trainer Lyle MacArthur held off a fast-closing Stormont Charlotte to reach the wire in a track record 2:00.3. P L Layla was four lengths back in third.

The victory was a satisfying one for fan favourites MacArthur and Ezee Tiguan, who were caught at the wire in the June 7 season opener and had to settle for second. St. George Brant resident MacArthur conditions the Angus Hall miss for Linda Wellwood of St. George Brant and Tammy Aspden of Caistor Centre, Ontario.

The record fell for a second time after the third $14,450 division, captured by Melanie G in 2:00. In rein to Louis Philippe Roy, the fan’s top choice cruised along on the front end, finishing three lengths ahead of Power And Grace and Shotgun Sally.

“She is a nice size filly, a bit aggressive. The inside post for sure helped,” said trainer Richard Moreau of Melanie G, who lined up at Post 3.

“We have been working on her front gait and it seems like it worked out,” the Puslinch resident continued, adding that his success with Melanie G is at least in part due to the mentorship of trotting specialist Per Henriksen. “He didn’t suggest anything specific on this horse, but he has shared so much knowledge with me over the years I have known him.”

Moreau conditions Angus Hall daughter Melanie G for Mary Anne Lauzon and breeder Dr. Ruth Irving of Russell, Ontario. Sunday’s track record effort was the filly’s first lifetime victory.

Two races later Clinton Raceway fans were once again applying their erasers to the track record page as Gotta Pay To Play rocketed around the half-mile oval to an eight and one-half length victory in 1:59.3. Frick and Dalliance Seelster battled into second and third behind the fan favourite.

Driver-trainer Wayne Henry piloted Gotta Pay To Play to her second straight victory for his Henry Stable of Arthur, Ontario. A Gold Series winner at two, the Windsong Espoir daughter seems to be back on track after a lacklustre start to her sophomore season.

“She had to have an operation on her throat; it seems to have worked,” Henry explained. “She’s a real good half-miler. She can trot a turn as fast as a straight-away.”

The other Grassroots division went to Miller Time, who was able to ease down the stretch to a 16 length victory after her main rivals broke stride around the final turn. The Windsong Espoir daughter and Travis Henry hit the wire in 2:01.3, well ahead of fan favourite Magics Lucky Charm and Trevor Henry and Agent Thirteen and Wayne Henry.

“She can trot a half and she’s honest, she doesn’t make breaks, so that’s pretty much her forte,” said trainer Mark Etsell. “She tries and she’s honest, two aspects you really like in a trotter.”

The win was Miller Time’s third of the season for Rockwood resident Etsell and his partner Chaun Tan of Cambridge, Ontario.

The afternoon’s rich finale, the $60,900 Kin Pace Final, saw the record setting continue as heavy favourite Write Me A Song reeled off a gate-to-wire score in 1:54.3. Katniss S BG tucked in behind Write Me A Song at the start and crossed the wire one and three-quarter lengths behind the winner. Askmysecretary, who, like Write Me A Song, won her elimination last weekend, finished four more lengths back in third.

“Everything went well. It was a little tighter this week, but when you’ve got a final like that you’re going to go a big mile, it was a big effort,” said owner-trainer Jack Darling of the record setting mile.

Campbellville resident Mike Saftic piloted the three-year-old pacing filly to the win, subbing for regular reinsman Jody Jamieson whose transportation arrangements fell through on Friday.

“He had this plan, it’s his son’s birthday party today, but he had a guy that was going to fly him to Clinton just for her race and then fly him back for the party, and then something happened that he couldn’t get the plane,” explained Exeter native Darling, who currently resides in Cambridge, Ontario. “So I got Mike Saftic last night to come take over. It was lucky because Mike had driven her, I think, two or three starts ago (June 23) so he knew her. It worked out well.”

Sportswriter daughter Write Me A Song will make her next start in the July 20 Gold Series event at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Clinton Raceway on Sunday, August 5 with the fourth Grassroots event for the three-year-old pacing colts.

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