Super Final champion Scarlett Hanover made her sophomore debut in the Ontario Sires Stakes on Monday and marched straight back into the Woodbine Mohawk Park winner’s circle.
Reunited with driver Ed Hensley and trainer Ashleigh Hensley after wintering south of the border, Scarlett Hanover lined up at Post 4 in the first $100,600 Gold Series division. The fan favourite let Best Head West led the field of seven to a :29.1 opening quarter and then swept to the front. Unchallenged through a :57.4 half and 1:25.3 three-quarters, Scarlett Hanover kept Best Head West at bay in the stretch to record a neck victory in 1:53. Nightlife Seelster rounded out the top three.
“We weren’t sure if we were going to get her back or not, because things are opening up a little bit more, but I think it’s a lot easier for everybody if they stay here because there’s so much racing for them here for the summer,” said Ashleigh Hensley. “We enjoy having her. She does nothing wrong, she’s very smart to work with in the barn, and on the track and everything, and on race day she always knows, she lays down and sleeps in the morning. She knows it’s game day.”
At two Scarlett Hanover made four visits to the Woodbine Mohawk Park winner’s circle, capturing one Gold Leg and the season ending Super Final, along with her Champlain Stakes division and Shes A Great Lady Elimination. Through 14 starts the Bettors Delight daughter tallied six wins, four seconds, one third and earnings of $449,690 for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC of Fredericktown, PA, Frank Baldachino of Harvey Cedars, NJ, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby of Delray Beach, FL and Weaver Bruscemi LLC of Canonsburg, PA. For her efforts the filly was honoured with the O’Brien Award for two-year-old pacing fillies.
This season trainer Ron Burke prepped Scarlett Hanover for the sophomore stakes season with a trio of qualifiers and two overnight starts prior to sending her back to the Hensley’s Dundas-area farm.
“She has grown a little bit and she’s really filled out, she’s got a nice, big, round bum on her and she’s gained a lot of weight, she looks really good,” said Hensley. “I enjoy taking care of her and I’m just really happy that she’s back. Hopefully she can have another good summer, because she deserves it.”
The second $100,600 Gold division saw Voelz Delight get her third win of the season with a pocket trip behind fan favourite Jody. Starting from Post 3, driver Sylvain Filion and Voelz Delight hustled off the gate and were sitting second behind Alumni Seelster when that filly reached the :27.1 quarter. Filion opted not to remain behind Alumni Seelster and moved Voelz Delight to the front, but was quickly overtaken by Jody. Jody powered through a :55.4 half and 1:24 three-quarters, but when Voelz Delight tipped out in the stretch she pulled away to a three-quarter length victory in 1:52.2. Jody settled for second and Ourlittlemiracle was third.
“She comes to play most every race. She didn’t change much from last year you know, but she tries, she’s a good mare,” said trainer Ben Baillargeon, adding that the track seemed a bit heavy on Monday. “Horses are getting tired tonight over that track for some reason, so I think it’s a very good mile, 1:52.2. I am really happy with her, like I said, she comes to play.”
Baillargeon trains Voelz Delight for owner-breeder Richard Berthiaume of Pointe-Aux-Trembles, QC. As a two-year-old the daughter of Bettors Delight and $1.7 million winner Voelz Hanover captured one Gold Leg in an eight race season that saw her amass a record of two wins, two seconds and three thirds for earnings of $164,943. In the season ending Super Final she finished second, just a head behind Scarlett Hanover.
The three-year-old pacing fillies will return to Woodbine Mohawk Park for their second Gold Series start on Friday, July 23.
The Campbellville oval’s action-packed Ontario Sires Stakes schedule continues on Tuesday, July 6 with the Gold Series debut of the two-year-old trotting fillies.