LONDON, September 29
– Ontario Racing’s Prospect Series Finals are set to go Friday at The Raceway at the Western Fair District, on the opening night of the 2022-23 racing calendar.
Each Prospect Series Final has a purse of $15,000, beginning with two-year-old pacing fillies in race three, and ending with three-year-old pacing colts and geldings in race ten, the final race of the evening.
Scott McNiven from Putnam, Ont., just twenty minutes east of the racetrack, has four horses qualified for the Prospect Series Finals including Lolas Sunshine, a three-year-old pacing daughter of Sunshine Beach, with a pair of Prospect Series wins to her name this year.
“She’s improved greatly as we’ve gone along,” said McNiven. “Going into the final she looks good, but it will all depend on the trip. Sauble Amber likes to roll along in front. If she gets away on us it will be tough, but our filly has been closing pretty well lately.”
Sauble Amber (Betterthancheddar) is the 9-5 morning line favourite in the division, and looking to repeat as Prospect Series champion, after winning last season’s finale at Grand River Raceway as a two-year-old.
Six other sophomore pacers will leave the gate alongside Lolas Sunshine and Sauble Amber in the eighth race on the program.
In race four, the two-year-old pacing colt Prospect Series Final, McNiven has two horses qualified, including a homebred son of Artspeak, It Takes Two.
“He’s named after our two neighbour boys who live two houses down, and come down all the time, and especially during covid,” said McNiven. “So, at the time they were seven and nine and they would have to carry things together like a water bucket, so we named him It Takes Two.”
It Takes Two has two second place finishes this season in the Prospect Series, so he will be looking to have a number one next to his name when the tote board flashes the final results on Friday.
“He’s come along nicely as the summer’s progressed,” said McNiven. “He’s a great big growthy colt. I am quite sure he will get better next year, but I am happy with how he’s come along.”
McNiven has been racing at the London oval for 35 years, and he is looking forward to enjoying the opening night festivities with some competitive horses in the entry box.
“It’s 20 mins away so it’s nice,” said McNiven. “Everyone who has been travelling all summer, myself included, are looking forward to getting started here right close to home.”
Local reinsman Tyler Borth, from Ingersoll, Ont., has been tabbed to drive four Prospect Series Finals entrants, including two morning line favourites.
“I only live 20 minutes from London,” said Borth. “So after a long summer of travelling, to be back in London I am pumped, and it can’t come fast enough.”
Oceanview Massey is 2-1 in the two-year-old pacing colts division, and three-year-old trotting gelding My Holy Moley listed at 7-5.
“(Oceanview Massey) is game and he’s good gaited, so that’s nice,” said Borth. “He does everything you ask of him. I was third on the front with him, and he’s a nice little horse. He doesn’t do anything wrong. I like him a lot."
The Prospect Series Final is the culmination of a season long points race, and next year the regular season legs will see their purses increase to $8,000.
The Prospect Series provides racing opportunities for Ontario sired horses a tier below the Ontario Sires Stakes Gold and Grassroots program.
“I would love to be in the Gold or Grassroots Final,” said McNiven. “But these horses weren’t meant for there. It’s good that there is a third tier, something for them to learn their way in and make a couple of dollars along the way. Next year they will go for $8,000 a week, so all is good.”
Full entries for September 30 at The Raceway at the Western Fair District
Image: The Raceway at Western Fair District
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