MILTON, September 11, 2021 – Odds-on favourites Stonebridge Helios and Silver Label served notice to their competition, each going powerful miles to win their respective divisions of the Champlain Stakes on Saturday (Sept. 11) at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
Stonebridge Helios strolled to the top from post 8 and led at every pole to take the $213,170 Champlain Two-Year-Old Pace in 1:52.1.
Driver Bob McClure motored the Sunshine Beach colt for the lead and landed at the pylons past a :27.3 first quarter with Market Based settling for the pocket. Bob Loblaw raced third to the backstretch as the field lined single file to a :56.3 half. To the far turn, Bob Loblaw tipped first over and made slight gains, prompting Market Based to vacate the pocket to three-quarters in 1:25.
The top pair scooted clear of the competition to the bottom of the turn as Bob Loblaw broke stride, scattering the field around him. With Market Based the closest pursuer, Stonebridge Helios put away his rivals with ease and strode to a 3-1/4-length victory with Century Inspector sliding up the inside for third and Atlas Hanover taking fourth.
“He did it real easy, so he ended up getting away and he was going to be in a position to either move to the front or be first up,” McClure said after the race. “But he felt so good, I just decided to just give him his head and let him go cut it. He got to the front and really relaxed. About halfway through the last turn I just spoke to him and he swelled right up and did he ever kick home. I shut him down pretty early, just kept his attention. He’s progressing into an extremely nice colt.”
Conditioned by John Pentland, who co-owns with John Fleischman and breeder Angie Stiller, Stonebridge Helios won his fourth race from six starts, earning $268,710. He paid $3.90 to win.
Silver Label ground uncovered into the final turn and reeled in loose pacesetter Boudoir Hanover to win the $180,520 Champlain Two-Year-Old Filly Pace in 1:52.2.
Big Bettor Hanover grabbed the lead to a :27.4 first quarter with Treacherous Kiss racing second. Boudoir Hanover secured a spot in fourth rounding the first turn and soon vacated that position to snatch the lead by a :56.3 half.
Once in command, Boudoir Hanover opened a sizeable margin on the field as driver James MacDonald got underway out of fifth with Silver Label. The far-turn sprint clicked three-quarters in 1:23.1 and proved taxing on Boudoir Hanover, who started to shorten stride in the stretch. Silver Label recouped her deficit on the breakaway leader late in the lane and slid by Boudoir Hanover to win by 1-3/4 lengths. Big Bettor Hanover gave chase from third with Treacherous Kiss taking fourth.
“I didn’t want to get in a big rush with her and blast her to the front,” MacDonald said after the race. “She really loves coming off a helmet. I was hoping I could find one. I probably could’ve brushed her to the lead, but I just had so much confidence in her. I said ‘If I got to come first up, I got to come first up.’ When she sees a horse, she just really wants to track them down. I was really confident – it looked like Todd [McCarthy and Boudoir Hanover] was going to get away, and then she just finds more every time you need her to. Just a beautiful horse and a pleasure to drive.”
A daughter of Bettors Delight owned and bred by Millar Farms, Silver Label remains unbeaten from six starts and has banked $246,176. Nick Gallucci trains the $2.70 winner.