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News and Insight On Winbak Farm

Read below for the latest on Winbak Achievements and graduates. Stories are from the leading industry news sources.

Home Field Advantage To Pay Off?

Friday, July 8, 2011  By: Standardbred Canada
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Home Field Advantage To Pay Off?



While his peers ship across the province in a horse trailer on Monday, two-year-old pacing gelding Retail will be enjoying his normal routine, hoping that home field advantage helps him to a top four placing in one of two $40,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series eliminations.



In preparation for his OSS debut, Retail qualified sharply around a sloppy Rideau Carleton Raceway oval on June 23, where he finished second by less than a length in 2:02.4. Then trainer-driver Guy Gagnon gave him a test in non-winners-of-one-race company on July 4, and Retail held his own, as he finished fourth in a 1:58 mile.



“I qualified him in 2:02 in the mud, I raced him one time, he paced in 1:58, he [came] back in :28.4,” said Gagnon. “We wanted to try him here because we don’t have to travel.



“He has a big heart, he tries hard,” added the Gatineau, QC resident, who currently leads the driver’s colony at Rideau Carleton. “He’s a really nice horse to work around. He [does] everything right.”



Owner Robert Seguin of Gatineau purchased Retail for $12,000 at last year’s Canadian Open Yearling Sale and taught the son of Royal Mattjesty his early lessons. When Retail seemed to reach a plateau in June, Seguin opted to hand the gelding over to Gagnon, who made a few changes to the pacer’s equipment and routines.



“I think he was in 2:02, 2:04 when he sent him to me,” recalled Gagnon. “He [had] a couple things to change — equipment, shoeing. I fixed it the best I can, right now he looks good.”



Gagnon will steer Retail from Post 4 in the second Gold elimination, where he will line up alongside the undefeated Warrawee Needy, currently ranked as the fastest two-year-old in North America via his 1:51.4 mile in the June 27 Gold eliminations at Mohawk Racetrack. While Gagnon does not expect Retail to challenge the reigning Gold final champion, he is hoping the half-brother to $168,338 winner Going Native can hold his own in the field of seven.



“I [schooled] him (Thursday) morning again in Rideau, and he schooled very [well],” reported Gagnon. “He maybe can surprise Monday night.



“Four is just in the middle of the field. It’s a good spot for him at Rideau,” he added.



The other division will feature Gold elimination winner and Gold final runner-up Jake Sully from the advantageous Post 1.



The two-year-old pacing colts will battle in Races 2 and 4 on Monday evening, with the top four finishers from each elimination, plus one fifth-place finisher selected by random draw, returning to the Ottawa oval for the July 18 Gold final. Post time for Monday’s first race is 4:30 p.m.


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