Big efforts in Ontario Graduate Finals

Big efforts in Ontario Graduate Finals

MILTON, May 6, 2023 – The inaugural Ontario Sired Graduate Series wrapped up in exciting fashion on Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

The new series for Ontario Sired four-year-olds featured three $80,000-plus finals that headlined Saturday’s 12-race program. The series finales came on the heels of three preliminary legs for each event.

Ontario sired superstar Adare Castle completed the sweep of the Ontario Graduate Trot event with a career-best 1:52.1 victory.

The Mark Etsell trained Adare Castle and driver James MacDonald got away third in the field of six, racing for a purse of $83,500. The duo would power to the top in the second-quarter and put up fractions of :56.4 and 1:25.1. In the stretch, Adare Castle didn’t allow her rivals to get any closer than her wheel, powering home in :27 to win by a length and three-quarters.

“The great part about Adare Castle is she’s always got a little bit more left if you need it and she just kept digging through the wire,” said MacDonald, who was also asked to compare Adare Castle and star pacing mare So Much More.

“I’m just a lucky guy to get to sit behind both of them. They have some similarities, neither one has blazing gate speed, but both of them are tough as whalebone. (They) keep going and keep coming, so if Adare Castle can do what So Much More has done as an aged horse, Mark (Etsell) and the ownership group will be very happy.”

Mischevious Rose made it a mares sweep of the Open Trot final by finishing second. Safe Conduct was third, while Esplosione was fourth.

Adare Castle is now four for four to begin her four-year-old campaign. The latest stakes victory increases her career numbers to 18 wins and over $1.2 million earned for owners Etsell, Robert Newton, Graham Hopkins and Peter Porter.

Grand Circuit competition is likely next for Adare Castle, as she’s eligible to the Miss Versatility and Armbro Flight.

Adare Castle paid $2.50 to win.

Raptors Won dug in tremendously to hold off heavy-favourite Silver Label by a nose in the $84,500 Ontario Graduate finals for mare pacers.

Sylvain Filion put the Richard Moreau trained Raptors Won on the front and kept on rocking to score the victory. The leader posted clips of :26.3, :54.4 and 1:22.4 before delivering a :26.3 final-quarter to hit the wire first in a career-best 1:49.2. Silver Label came first-up from fifth on the final turn and forced a photo finish in the runner-up effort.

“If (Silver Label) had come past the quarter, I probably would’ve let her go, but then Dewitt For Josie tried to remove on me, so I had to go on,” said Filion post-race of the front-end mission with Raptors Won. “She felt very good and I just felt I didn’t want to let (Silver Label) get close to me, so I let her rock.”

Intothemysticmoon finished third, while Dewitt For Josie was fourth.

Owned by Bruno Lepage, Raptors Won was winless in six starts this season prior to Saturday, including fourth, third and sixth-place efforts in the preliminary legs. She now has 10 career wins and earnings of over $200,000.

Raptors Won paid $16.70 to win.

The evening’s third final saw Cold Creek Queso fight off rivals Camara Moment to win the $81,500 Graduate Open Pace.

The contest began with a blazing opening-quarter of :25.4, as Cold Creek Queso, Kolby Two Step and Camara Moment all pressed for the front. Camara Moment cleared Kolby Two Step entering the backstretch, but was quickly overtaken by a third to first move from Cold Creek Queso.

Once on the lead, the 3/5 favourite Cold Creek Queso and driver Sylvain Filion got full control in the middle-half, posting panels of :55.2 and 1:24.1. In the stretch, Cold Creek Queso would hold off a tough Camara Moment to win by a neck ​ in 1:50.3. Ron finished third, while Dreamfair Arnie B was fourth.

“I had to get a little breather…we left out of there pretty hard,” said Filion post-race. “Down the lane, Camara Moment was coming at us pretty hard and got me a little anxious.”

Cold Creek Queso sat out leg three after winning the opening two legs in impressive fashion. The Murray Brethour trainee is now three for three this season and has career totals of 10 wins and over $350,000 earned for owner Cold Creek Standardbred.

With Ontario sired competition complete, Filion is optimistic about Cold Creek Queso’s future.

“We haven’t seen the top of him yet. Hopefully he’ll keep improving and be a top-class horse.”

Cold Creek Queso paid $3.20 to win.

Live racing resumes Monday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Post time is 7 p.m.



Mark McKelvie
Mark McKelvie Sr. Manager Communications, Woodbine Entertainment





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About Woodbine Entertainment

Woodbine Entertainment is the largest horse racing operator in Canada, with Thoroughbred horse racing at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, and Standardbred horse racing at Woodbine Mohawk Park in Milton. Woodbine Entertaiment also owns and operates HPIbet, Canada’s only betting platform dedicated to horse racing. Woodbine and Mohawk Park are host to several world-class racing events including The King’s Plate, three Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races, and the Pepsi North America Cup. Run without share capital, Woodbine Entertainment has a mandate to financially invest all profit back into the horse racing industry and the 25,000 jobs it supports across Ontario.   

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