Woodbine Mohawk Park hosted a pair of $108,000 Gold Series divisions for the two-year-old trotting colts on Thursday, July 30 and Macho Martini and Tokyo Seelster both made their third straight appearance in the Milton oval’s winner’s circle.
First off the gate was Macho Martini, starting from Post 8 with regular reinsman Bob McClure in the race bike. The pair had to dodge a breaking Royal Tyrone heading into the first turn and were six lengths off the pace when Rookie Season reached the :28.2 quarter, but Macho Martini had caught the leaders by the :58.3 half and established a comfortable lead before the 1:28.2 three-quarters. Heading for home the fan favourite opened up a four and one-half length margin on his peers and hit the wire in 1:56.4. Master Grand overcame a bobble at the start and interference at the half to finish second and Rookie Season was four more lengths back in third.
“What a fun horse to be a part of. Every week he just goes out and does his job,” said Rockwood, ON resident McClure. “His personality off the track too, he’s just a big, cocky kid, just a lot of fun.”
Campbellville, ON resident Luc Blais conditions Macho Martini for Determination of Montreal, QC, who offered up $37,000 for the Muscle Mass son at the 2019 Harrisburg Yearling Sale. Blais said the colt demonstrated talent all winter and has already developed into a professional racehorse.
“He was always the best colt in the winter, training. He’s a mature horse, he looks like a three-year-old, strong and mature,” said Blais. “He’s very professional. He’s got a nice presence. He’s a proud horse, you know. What you see on the track, he’s like that in the barn.”
With a full slate of stakes events on his calendar, including the Champlain and William Wellwood Memorial, Blais said Macho Martini will enjoy a mini-vacation next week after winning the first two Gold legs and the first leg of the Millard Farms Series.
“He had three big weeks now and we’re going to give him a week off,” said Blais. “The season is going to be long now, the big race coming in a couple weeks. We’re going to try to make him fresh as we can.”
In the second division Tokyo Seelster left smartly from Post 7 and was sitting third when Highland Mowgli reached the quarter in :29. Regular reinsman Sylvain Filion soon had Tokyo Seelster on the move and the fan favourite hit the half in :58.2. Harry mounted a challenge heading for the 1:29.1 three-quarters and got a head in front of Tokyo Seelster, but the colt kicked it into another gear and powered away to a three and one-half length victory in 1:57. Highland Mowgli finished second and Harry was third.
“Leaving the gate I was just being careful to avoid breakers and stuff like that and once we turned on the backside, I pulled to go to the front, decided to control the pace,” said Milton, ON resident Filion. “Once he got there he relaxed really good, he relaxed almost too much, he kind of fell asleep on me, until Paul Walker came alongside with his trotter (Harry) and then he took off again. He was really, really strong at the wire.
“That’s what I like about him, he’s going to probably last longer that way,” said Filion of the colt’s laidback approach to racing. “I’d rather have him like this than the opposite, too rammy and stuff like that, no, that’s a good quality in a two-year-old trotter.”
Richard Moreau trains Tokyo Seelster for Michael and Sam Sergi of Canton, NY, who purchased the Kadabra son for $52,000 at last fall’s London Selected Yearling Sale. The Sergi’s watched the race from home and were impressed with the youngster’s third effort.
“At the top of the stretch they were all coming pretty good at him and I thought, ‘Geez’, but when he found that extra gear then we were all like, ‘Wow’. He could be the real deal,” said Michael Sergi. “It’s sort of bittersweet that we can’t come there to watch, because we can’t cross the border, but we’ll cheer from home I guess.”
Sam Sergi bought his first Standardbred four decades ago and has shared his love of harness racing with son Michael over the years, from driving and training to breeding mares and standing stallions. They typically start their young horses at their Canton farm before handing them over to trainers, but Tokyo Seelster remained in Ontario after the sale last fall.
“My dad usually breaks them but he was having some health issues so we just decided to leave him there to be broke. We were actually going to bring him home and train him but we live in New York, our track was really bad, it was pure ice for most of the winter, so that’s when we decided to send him to Robbie,” said Sergi, noting that Tokyo Seelster learned his first lessons from Moreau and his staff, moved to the barn of Ottawa horseman Robbie Robinson for his winter conditioning, and then returned to Moreau in time for the Gold Series season opener on July 9. “Every time we would call and talk he (Robinson) was like, ‘Yeah, he’s doing great, feeling good’. And a couple of times he was even like, ‘You know, I really don’t want to jinx him, I just don’t want to say, but he is special’.”
Sergi said Tokyo Seelster looks to be the best two-year-old trotting colt the family has owned, and they look forward to watching him battle in the remaining Gold events, as well as the Champlain and William Wellwood Memorial.
The freshman trotting colts will make their third Gold Series start at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Aug. 20.
Complete results from Thursday’s program are available at Woodbine Mohawk Park Results.
Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at the Milton oval on Friday, July 31 with three Gold Series divisions for the two-year-old trotting fillies. The fillies will compete in Races 1, 4 and 8, with the first race getting underway at 7 pm.
Race Replays: Race 2 – Macho Martini; Race 8 – Tokyo Seelster
(Photo of Bob McClure and Macho Martini courtesy New Image Media_Mario Glynn)
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