Spot Play – (5) – STORMONT WEDDING – Race 7
Best Bet – (6) – WHATAREALBADGIRL – Race 8
20-cent Pick 5 - Race 1 – 1,2/3,4,6,8/3/4,5,7/3,7 = $9.60
20-cent Early Pick 4 - Race 4 – 4,5,7/3,7/3,4,9/4,5 = $7.20
20-cent Late Pick 4 - Race 8 – 5,6/3,4/2,3,8/2,3,7 = $7.20
Race 1 – (2) BELLONA left strongly and stalked leaders from third along the pylons early on in Western Fair debut Oct. 9; all business as she waited for cover passing the half, then used second-over approach to take down imperfectly-gaited rivals; outdueled Graceful Titan for 2:04.1 maiden victory; up in class tonight, after classy effort for Brett MacDonald. (1) STONEBRIDGE SYDNEY was the calm inside the storm at Flamboro Oct. 10, advancing from the back of the field through a wall of breakers; they scattered while she settled in third behind leader Heid by the half, waited for cover, then came second up behind eventual winner Frisk Away, whom she couldn't get past in the stretch, despite every chance. (7) ANNUAL ROYALTY has low-percentage post for wins at The Raceway, but just missed from post #6 at Flamboro Oct. 3; broke leaving but caught the field by closing in 29.2 for fourth in Sept. 19 Prospect Series start, also from Flamboro post #6.
Race 2 – (3) BLACK TITANIUM is up in class, but coming in off a good place result at Flamboro's 15000clmcd classification Sept. 22; he was sent off at 10/1 but outperforming those odds, under a tight hold throughout much of mile before getting loose from pocket late to hold second to a 1/9 Rock N Twist that night; lone lifetime victory was last year at London; late speed. (4) MAJOR ON THE BEACH is co-winningest horse this race (4 wins), after #8 Village Champ, who finished eighth in his August 12 Sarnia start from that tough post; Colin Kelly stays loyal to colt who struggled Oct. 6 at Flamboro, after a trip where he came second over from sixth at the half, only to be forced three-wide when first-over Rock N Twist went in reverse at the three-quarters. (6) BLAKES CHIP is a half-mile track specialist with three career victories, each on a different Ontario half, beginning at Western Fair March 18; that maiden win was a 1:59.3 going-away performance in which he was never headed; caught wide early Sept.29 at Flamboro, he settled seventh and offered mild closing effort for fifth.
Race 3 – (3) RAIN MAN BLUE CHIP was just over his head against Wild River Coyotee and Rub Me at Rideau Carleton Oct. 1; he hung on for fourth, individually clocked in 1:56.4, despite leaving hard from post #7 and being asked for more as he was sent first up from third at the three-quarters; half-mile track is a question mark, but class/post relief provide advantage. (4) RIVER DALI just missed Sept. 29 at Flamboro's 15000clmcd level; class drop here for six-time seasonal place finisher with one lifetime win. (7) EATAAMSBETTERSHARK won Sept. 26 qualifier at Flamboro, then converted stalking trip there into a lifetime-best 1:58.4 win Oct. 6; his only previous win? Jan. 6 at Western Fair, when this four-year-old went gate-to-wire from post #2.
Race 4 – (5) EXCELLENCE won Western Fair's 8500clmcd trot Oct. 7, turning in a well-timed 2:04.2 win for catch driver Doug McNair; unlike the other top-three picks this race, she's displayed current capability to win from off the pace; game overland effort last week was impressive. (4) UNABATING has 8 wins in 12 seasonal starts, and just added Lasix; except for atypically off-the-board finish as beaten fave at Kawartha Downs Sept. 26, he's a leaver who tends to win by significant margins, over various tracks. (7) WINGS OF BALLYKEEL gets Scott Coulter as catch driver, because regular pilot Anthony Haughan has apparently chosen #5 Excellence; her best recent results over half-mile tracks have been from inner or trailing posts, making this draw tough to overcome for this front-end-loving, six-time 2020 winner.
Race 5 – (3) AMETHYST SEELSTER is reunited with driver Lorne House, for whom she was narrowly second at Leamington Sept. 20; class-dropper took personal best of 1:54.3 at Flamboro's distaff Preferred-2 Handicap Jan. 9, going gate-to-wire at odds of 21/1. (1) RELEASE THE BABY finished third for the sixth time this year when she took on Western Fair filly and mare Nw1500l3cd company Oct. 7, losing ground late in the mile; class drop here. (7) LADY FINETUNE was scratched and added to the judges' list at Flamboro Oct. 6; before that, the four-year-old showed some closing ability at Mohawk, but was held back by traffic trouble and a pair of second-tier starts from post #10; a five-time winner last year, she's one to watch.
Race 6 – The last time (4) OCEANVIEW DEB had this post in Nw2500l3cd company, she was winning at Flamboro (Sept. 12); post relief and class drop from Preferred-3; she was fifth in last try at added distance, here on Jan. 8, but that was against Nw3750l3cd class; she's the apparent choice of Tyler Moore over... (9) KATCH KANNA, who leaves from second tier for catch driver Brett MacDonald; fourth in a row at this level; unable to make gains after following the top two, winner Club Belvedere and runner-up Magics Lucky Charm (#5 this race), from third and coming first up at the three-quarters in personal 2:01 effort at Flamboro Oct. 3. (3) NORTHERN TAILWIND drops down after struggles at Flamboro's Nw60000lcd level; front-end winner at Grand River August 28 was running on fumes by the wire, so added distance could pose challenge despite class drop this race. (7) ENCHANTED MISSION qualified impressively, winning gate-to-wire by over 10 lengths Oct. 3 at Flamboro, but note that this was a racing under saddle qualifier; parked in an unsuccessful first-up mission against Heineken Seelster at Flamboro Sept. 16, he backpedalled to last; Scott Coulter picks up the drive. (5) MAGICS LUCKY CHARM makes second consecutive start with Lasix; she did trip out behind Club Belvedere in place finish at Flamboro last week.
Race 7 – (5) STORMONT WEDDING has two recent practice trips for tonight's driver Paul MacKenzie, and she's improved in each; out and moving first over from seventh before the opening quarter at Grand River Sept. 25, the ambitious trip only yielded a gapped-out show finish, but filly's stamina and game pursuit of leaders made an impression. (4) COOL PRINCESS has 3 wins in 5 lifetime starts, which is enough to recommend reliably-gaited and versatile filly again. (2) BR SERENA SLAM has 3 show results in 13 tries this year; she can pass horses to improve position, as she did to finish third in her Oct. 9 seasonal debut at Western Fair for tonight's driver, Ryan Desroche.
Race 8 – (6) WHATAREALBADGIRL is a half-mile specialist, down in class for second Ontario start; her two career wins were off-the-pace efforts from mid-pack post positions at Charlottetown; apparent choice of Brett MacDonald over #1 Larjon Lena; nose-to-helmet in pocket during opening quarter Oct. 7 at The Raceway, she was fourth in close race for place behind winner Stevie Seelster. (5) RANDOMIROGEO shocked few when she won as 1/9 fave Oct. 7 at London; lightly-raced three-year-old made a statement with that going-away win by nine expanding lengths, timed in 2:00.4; Nick Steward stays with filly who hasn't missed board in three-race career. (3) CATCHAFEWRAYS has trainer Shawn Steacy in the sulky tonight, the Oct. 1 beaten fave's second consecutive start with Lasix; winless in 12 tries this year, maiden four-year-old nonetheless hit board in half those efforts.
Race 9 – (3) GOLDEN LEADER was a beaten fave here Oct. 7, when Marzannk Hanover (#2 this race) took charge and opened up on the field for a five-length victory; despite class climb this week, it's unlikely the versatile five-time winner will let it happen again; this field's fastest, richest, winningest filly/mare of 2020. (4) LAND OF PARADISE and Travis Henry look to stalk, a tactic that worked for them most recently in winning Sept. 25 Prospect Series leg at Grand River; closed for show behind this race's top choice and winner Marzannk Hanover last week. (7) DAN DAR MAL and Scott Coulter are outsiders this race, just like Oct. 7; she uneventfully closed from seventh to fifth in the second half of the race, gaining ground despite a strung-out field; her history at Western Fair's lower classifications suggests a better performance is imminent.
Race 10 – (2) CENTURY GEORGIA is this field's fastest winner on a half in 2020; offered amazing value at 7/1 when she wired On3fnw17500 fillies at Grand River Sept. 21 in 1:56 personal best; that effort was for Scott Coulter, who stays with tonight's #8 JMR Mach Mel following her win at Flamboro last week; note that Century Georgia, saddled with post #8 in the slop that race, still closed in a field's-co-fastest 28.4 with tonight's driver Anthony Haughan in the bike. (3) P L NELLY wired London distaff Nw8000l rivals Oct. 7, Marc St. Louis Jr. returns to bike after their Sept. 12 miscue at Sarnia, when the consistently top-three filly finished off the board (as beaten fave) when she broke leaving. (8) JMR MACH MEL left from post #6 at Flamboro Sept. 17, chasing Golden Leader for place in a 1:56.2 personal effort; she wired the field from rail there Oct. 1 in the slop for another driver; tonight, Scott Coulter drives the six-year-old who often has a late kick and is making up for lost time in her first year of racing; second-tier start.
Race 11 – (2) DAWSON SPRINGS may have a single win in 2020, but it was in Flamboro's Sept. 5 Preferred-3 trot; front-end 1:58 flat victory came in the race right after a less-productive one at Mohawk; adding catch driver Travis Henry suggests a gate-to-wire mission could be in the works. (3) SCENE A MAGICIAN left from post #6 in Oct. 7 Western Fair Preferred-3 trot, closing overland from seventh at the half to score a narrow second-place finish behind Lefkada (#7 this race); that was at added distance, over a "good" surface; note Greg Dustin's gelding won London Preferred-3s at both distances Feb. 12 and March 4. (7) LEFKADA left Mohawk and found a mile-and-a-sixteenth victory here Oct. 7 on the class drop; tonight, she's assigned a tougher post position, but it's also her second consecutive start with Lasix.
Race 12 – (8) BETTER THAN CASH is co-owner/trainer Preston Shaw's only drive of the card; second-tier post position, but class relief and coming in off strong 1:56.3 Flamboro victory Oct. 6; closing power could work out well at added distance. (9) LARJON LUCKY also starts from trailing post; fourth for Anthony Haughan when closing from second tier start at Grand River Sept. 21; 14-for-22 in top-three finishes this season. (4) CASIMIR RUMRUNNER arrives from Mohawk, gets a helpful post, and could try the run-and-gun approach that helped him win here last Dec. 17 for former connections; Marc St. Louis Jr. gets the catch drive on three-time seasonal winner who likes to race on/near front. (6) TAILS AWAY has fastest 2020 record of this field on a half; he's tailed off since taking that 1:55.4 mark at Grand River August 10 against $15,000 claimers; first start since Sept. 21 for pacer who was 4/5 fave at this distance back on March 11, ending up fifth-placed-last due to interference. (5) REAL WICKED is apparent choice of Brett MacDonald over #2 Mo Bettor; down in class, but not to extent of his last wins, which were at Grand River's $8,500 claiming level.
Melissa Keith is a lifelong harness handicapper/bettor, Hervey/O'Brien Media Excellence Award-winning writer, and occasional racecaller. She is a contributor to TROT, Hoof Beats, Atlantic Post Calls, and Harness Racing Update, often covering topics related to wagering. Her most memorable bets include taking down the Truro Raceway Pick-7 pool for a $36 investment (it has not been offered since) and collecting $1,287 for a Woodbine Harness Pick-4 which cost a whopping $1.60.
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