MILTON, May 19, 2018 – The first stakes events of 2018 season at Woodbine Mohawk Park highlighted Saturday’s Fireworks and Family Fun Night card.
The $113,792 SBOA Trot and $115,792 SBOA Pace featured some of the top Ontario sired three-year-old fillies in the game.
O’Brien Award winner Percy Blue Chip didn’t let a little stinging in the early-going get in the way of adding another trophy to her collection. The Dr. Ian Moore trained pacing filly made a statement with a 1:51.4 victory in her season debut.
Driver Sylvain Filion was sitting behind Percy Blue Chip for the first-time ever in Saturday’s SBOA Stakes and he fired her out from post-six towards the lead. Quite A Sight and driver Trevor Henry also blasted from the rail and didn’t let ‘Percy’ clear without a fight.
Parked by the opening-quarter in :26.2, Percy Blue Chip finally cleared at three-eighths and kept on motoring up to the half in :54.1. A :29.3 breather on the final-turn sealed the deal, as Percy Blue Chip pulled away from rivals in the lane with a :28 kicker to win by 3 ¼ lengths.
Sudden Passing finished second, while Quite A Sight and Play The Bell finished third and fourth, respectively.
“I can tell you right now I like her very much,” said Filion post-race. “It was her first start of the year and we got stung a bit to the quarter, but when she cleared she felt very good and when I asked her around the last turn she just took off.”
A daughter of Shadow Play, Percy Blue Chip won five of nine starts last season, including the Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final, and banked $440,795 for owners Shadow Two Stable, James & Wilma MacKenzie and Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc.
Saturday’s season-debut victory pushes Percy Blue Chip over $500,000 in career earnings. She paid $3 to win.
The landscape of the SBOA Trot changed drastically prior to the evening’s first-race, as Ontario Sires Stakes champion Kadabra Queen was scratched due to sickness.
Per Henriksen trainee Illusioneesta took full advantage of the absence, defeating five rivals in 1:58.1. Chris Christoforou steered the daughter of Kadabra to victory, making a second-quarter leap from second to first and never looking back.
Illusioneesta trotted home in :28.2 to win by two-lengths over Miss Mimi, Apprentice M and Magics Lucky Charm.
Owned by Harbor Racing Stable LLC and Asa Farm, Illusioneesta was winless in 10 starts last season, but did compete in major stakes and banked over $100,000. The Kadabra filly has discovered the taste of victory this season with now two wins in four starts.
Illusioneesta’s career earnings climb to $178,568 following Saturday’s victory. She paid $3.70 to win.
Saturday’s card also saw a lengthy win streak snapped in the $34,000 Preferred Pace.
Casie Coleman trainee McWicked was large in his season debut, coming first up to win in 1:50.1. Bob McClure was in the bike behind the Casie Coleman trainee.
Easy Lover Hanover, who had won nine in a row, got away second and made a quick second-quarter move to the lead. McWicked charged up to confront ‘Easy Lover’ at three-quarters and eventually muscled by in the stretch for the victory.
Isitfridayyet got up for second, while Nirvana Seelster just edged out Easy Lover Hanover for third.
Owned by S S G Stables, McWicked came into his season debut off a pair of qualifiers, including a 1:50.3 mile last Friday. The Coleman trainee went 7 for 27 last season and banked nearly $600,000.
Saturday’s victory was the 23rd overall for the winner of $2.4 million.
McWicked paid $6.70 to win.
Live racing resumes Monday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Post time is 7:30 p.m.