MILTON, September 14, 2019 – Hp Royal Theo came off the final turn three-wide and stormed by rivals to win the $370,000 William Wellwood Memorial for two-year-old trotters on Saturday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
The Ben Baillargeon trained Hp Royal Theo and driver Louis Philippe Roy flipped the script after a narrow loss in last week’s elimination to defeat elimination winner Capricornus by a length and three-quarters in a career-best 1:54.2.
The opening-quarter of the race saw fireworks with several leavers, including Port Perry and Beyond Kronos from near the outside of the gate. Beyond Kronos claimed the top spot at an opening-quarter of :27.2, while Port Perry sat second with elimination winner Back Of The Neck right behind and Nylander left parked.
Beyond Kronos led the field up to the half in :56.1. Hp Royal Theo moved out from mid-pack to sit second-over behind Nylander, while Capricornus sat on the eventual winner’s back.
The third-station was reached in 1:25.2 with Beyond Kronos creating separation to lead by two-lengths. Nylander began to fade approaching three-quarters, forcing Roy to go three-wide with Hp Royal Theo.
In the stretch, Hp Royal Theo found his best stride and muscled by rivals with a :28.2 last-quarter for the victory. Changing roles from last week, Capricornus couldn’t track down his rival and finished second. Back Of The Neck was third, while Port Perry was fourth. Beyond Kronos dropped back to finish sixth.
“He’s a freak, I call him the freak,” said Baillargeon of Hp Royal Theo. “He doesn’t mind fighting. His first qualifier he went :28 the first-quarter and :28 the last-quarter, the speed was always there we just had to manage him. Now he’s controlled it and we’re going to try to keep it that way.”
A son of Royalty For Life, Hp Royal Theo was bred by Claude Hamel, who shares ownership of the gelding with Michel Damphousse. The rookie moved into the barn of trainer Baillargeon following his qualifying debut with original trainer Jean Tourigny.
“Jean Tourigny did all the ground work and after that we had to work a few quirks he had,” said Baillargeon, who also gave credit to his trotter’s drivers. “He was a little aggressive, but between Sylvain (Filion) and Louis (Roy) we got it done and now we have a great horse.”
Hp Royal Theo is now two for six with $227,600 earned and returned $15.40 to win.