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Westwardho Hanover and his connections after winning the Willowdale Pacing Series Final.
With the Thoroughbreds off for the winter months awaiting their April opening, Woodbine hosts Standardbred racing over the 7/8 mile stonedust oval. There were two pacing series finals contested on Saturday night, with conditions typical for mid-January in Toronto, overcast skies, a race time temperature of 20 degrees, and the 5 MPH breeze making it feel like 12 degrees.
The feature race was the $100,000 final of the Willowdale Pacing Series for 4-year-olds, run at the standard 1 mile distance around 2 turns. A field of 9 lined up behind the starter, with Westwardho Hanover sent off as the 4-5 favorite, off consecutive third place finishes in the first two legs of the series. In to challenge him included 2-1 second choice Mystician, winner of the first two legs, and 9-1 third choice Camaes Fellow, fourth and sixth in the first two legs, after winning a $38,000 preferred race in December. Driver Doug McNair sent Camaes Fellow to the lead first time past the stands hrough an opening furlong in 13 seconds, but favorite Westwardho Hanover, parked wide, took over the lead on the turn through 1/4 in 26 3/5 seconds. Westwardho Hanover led down the backstretch, opening up a 2 length advantage through a half in 55 seconds, with Camaes Fellow continuing to stalk. Entering the lane, Westwardho Hanover began to widen his lead, getting 3/4 in 1:22.2. In midstretch he was 3 1/4 lengths in front through 7/8 in 1:35 4/5. Mystician, who was 5th and parked wide early, closed with a rush late but Westwardho Hanover held him off by a neck in a stakes record equalling 1:50. It was another 2 lengths back to Camaes Fellow third.
Pgm Horse Driver Win Place Show 6 Westwardho Hanover Miller 3.70 2.30 2.10 5 Mystician Jamieson 2.80 2.10 1 Camaes Fellow McNair 3.50 Winning Time: 1:50.0 $2 Exacta 6-5 6.80 $2 Trifecta 6-5-1 22.10Results Chart
Left: Westwardho Hanover in the winner's circle. Winning driver Brett Miller said, "To be honest, I didn't really have a game plan coming into tonight. I kind of let the horse decide what he wanted to do and he wanted to leave the gate. When we didn't face any pressure in the middle half, I thought our chances were really good. At the end of the mile, Mystician almost got us. He went a great mile, also."
Right: Westwardho Hanover in the post parade. Trained by Ron Burke and owned by Westward Ho Stable in Frederickstown, PA, he increased his bankroll to $647,320. The son of Dragon Again now has 11 career victories and boasts a record of 1 win and 2 thirds in 3 starts in 2012, after posting a record of 6 wins, 4 seconds, and 5 third in 20 starts in 2011.
Results chart from Standardbred Canada
Left: Modern Legend in the winner's circle. Winning driver Jack Moiseyev said, "You never know what other drivers are going to do in a race, but I wanted my horse to be up near the front. Once we made the front, he relaxed and we were able to get a slow quarter out of it. Turning for home, I was pretty confident that they weren't going to catch me."
Right: Modern Legend in the post parade. Bred, owned and trained by Dave Drew of St. Catharines, Ontario, Modern Legend increased his
bankroll to $126,086. The son of Modern Art boasts a career record of 8 wins, 2 seconds, and 0 thirds from 12 career starts.
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