CAMPBELLVILLE, September 22 – China Pearls got to take home her first Ontario Sires Stakes Gold trophy Thursday night at Mohawk Racetrack after winning the $170,000 event for three-year-old filly trotters.
The Carmen Hie student found the winner’s circle as the 1-2 favourite.
Oh Sweet Baby (Mario Baillargeon) was the early leader past the opening panel in :28.2. Driver Randy Waples decided to launch a first-over attack from third with China Pearls and the pair cleared to the front before the half in :57.3.
Magic Wheel (Joe Hudon) made a bid for the lead and took command before the final turn. Magic Wheel hit the three quarter pole in 1:25.1, but began to tire.
In deep stretch, China Pearls passed Magic Wheel to score the two length victory in 1:54.3. Oh Sweet Baby got up for second and Magic Wheel faded to third.
"She was really relaxed," said Waples, following the win. "She raced really well. The last couple of weeks there she’s been kind of a little bit fussy going to the gate, but tonight she was perfect. She was all business."
In her debut season, the daughter of Kadabra-Pure Sable has won six races in 14 starts, including the SBOA Stakes final and Canadian Breeders Championship. The bay now boasts career earnings of $311,105 for Carman Hie Stable Inc, Blake Anthony, Peter Kloepfer and Ted Murrell.
No eliminations were required as only seven sophomore trotting fillies were entered. China Pearls paid $3 to win.
The victory also pushes Waples lifetime driver earnings past $100 million. The three-time O’Brien Award winning driver is humble about his success and reaching the milestone.
"It means everything. It is just something that I never dreamed of," said Waples, a resident of Milton, Ontario. "When I got into this business I wanted to win 1000 races and hopefully make $10 million. For what’s happened since then, it’s unbelievable the opportunities that I’ve had given to me.
"I got to thank all the owners, trainers and grooms," he added. "They put good horses on the track. They let me drive them. They make me look good. I never forget any of them. I never want to take credit for anything because I just don’t think I deserve the credit. I am a very lucky person and I just hope that it keeps going."
One of the veteran driver’s biggest victories this season was the $730,000 Maple Leaf Trot with the seven-year-old gelding, San Pail.
Waples sits second on the Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) driver standings with 193 trips to the winner’s circle and over $6.6 million in seasonal earnings. He also has 5,529 lifetime victories.