Top 5 Races of the Week: Impressive firsts of 2012 (January 5-9)

January 11, 2012

TORONTO, January 11 – This weekly feature offers a look back at the best Standardbred races and performances of the week at Woodbine.

STARTING HIS AGED CAMPAIGN OFF RIGHT

#5 – Saturday, January 7; Race 9; Willowdale Pacing Series – Jeff Gillis, an O’Brien Award finalist in the Trainer of the Year category, sent out his champion pacer Mystician to make his first start of his aged campaign in the first leg of the Willowdale Pacing Series. In gate-to-wire fashion, the four-year-old bay won his 2012 debut by a neck in 1:54.  Mystician was driven to victory by Jody Jamieson, an O’Brien Award finalist in the Driver of the Year category. He paid $7.50 to win as the third choice.

Click here to watch the video replay – January 7; Race 9

SHE’S GOT ‘SPIRIT’

#4 – Thursday, January 5; Race 1; Lifetime Dream Trotting Series – In gate-to-wire fashion, Maple Leaf Spirit was triumphant in her $25,000 division of the first leg of the Lifetime Dream Trotting Series. The four-year-old mare not only won her first race of the year, but she won her first race for trainer Steven Charlton, who acquired the Maritime champion in November 2011. In a new lifetime mark of 1:56.2, the mare won by a head at odds of 7-1 with Chris Christoforou in the sulky. She paid $17.40 to win.

Click here to watch the video replay – January 5; Race 1

SHE MADE IT LOOK EASY

#3 – Thursday, January 5; Race 9; Lifetime Dream Trotting Series – Sashay made her debut for trainer Frank O’Reilly a winning one.  The four-year-old mare won her division of the Lifetime Dream Trotting Series by three lengths in 1:54.3, the fastest mile of the three divisions. With Sylvain Filion at the helm, Sashay extended her win streak to three, also winning her first dash of the year. She paid $5.70 to win as the second choice.

Click here to watch the video replay – January 5; Race 9

A SUCCESSFUL JOURNEY

#2 – Saturday, January 7; Race 2; Willowdale Pacing Series – Odysseus Bluechip and driver Mario Baillargeon pulled off a 6-1 shocker his $30,000 division of the first leg of the Willowdale Pacing Series. The one and three-quarter length score in 1:52.3 gave the four-year-old gelding his first win of his aged campaign. It also gave Ben Baillargeon he first training win of 2012.  Odysseus Bluechip paid $14.80 to win.

Click here to watch the video replay – January 7; Race 2

A TASTY VICTORY

#1 – Monday, January 9; Race 3; Preferred Trot – After a fourth-place finish in her most recent January 2 outing, Frenchfrysnvinegar, a O’Brien Award finalist in the Older Trotting Mare category, got redemption. The seven-year-old Jeff Gillis trainee won her first race of 2012. With Keith Oliver in the bike, Frenchfrysnvinegar captured the $38,000 Preferred Trot by one and a half lengths in 1:54.3. She paid $5 to win as the second choice.

Click here to watch the video replay – January 9; Race 3

Click here to read the recaps of the first leg of the Willowdale Pacing Series and click here to read the recaps of the first leg of the Lifetime Dream Trotting Series.

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