MILTON, August 26, 2022 – Familiar faces were back in the winner’s circle in Friday evening’s Ontario Sires Stakes Gold leg for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
Stonebridge Helios picked up his third Gold win of the year, while Kolby Two Step grabbed his second in Friday’s fourth leg of the season.
Despite a rough beginning, Stonebridge Helios came up large with a powerful 1:49.4 score in his $100,400 Gold division.
Driven by Doug McNair, Stonebridge Helios had troubles at the gate and spotted his rivals a handful of lengths when the wings folded. St Lads Sterling rocketed out to the lead and posted strong fractions of :26.1, :54.2 and 1:22.3.
McNair gave ‘Helios’ his cue to roll at the half and the race-favourite turned in a big final-turn move to pace up beside the leader.
In the stretch, Stonebridge Helios muscled by St Lads Sterling to post a near two lengths victory for his third sub-1:50 win of the season.
“He’s kind of a tricky horse leaving the gate,” said McNair about the start of the race. “Some nights he’s better than others and tonight when I scored him out, he was just like he was behind the gate.”
Friday’s victory gives Stonebridge Helios six wins in nine starts this season.
“They were just stretched right out and rolling right along and he felt like he was going a half in a minute. He’s quite a horse. When I moved him he just come up right alongside (St Lads Sterling) like it was a great trip, but it really wasn’t. He’s a real special horse.”
A son of Sunshine Beach, Stonebridge Helios is now four for five since joining the barn of trainer Gregg McNair. The latest Gold victory gives the sophomore 10 career wins and pushes his earnings over $542,000. John Fleischman and Angie Stiller share ownership.
Stonebridge Helios paid $2.20 to win.
The $101,300 first division saw Kolby Two Step take command in the second-quarter and never look back for a 1:51.2 victory.
Betterhavemymoney shot out early to post a :26.4 opening-quarter, while Sport Secret sat parked around the turn pushing towards the lead. Kolby Two Step and driver MacDonald got away fourth after starting from the rail and quickly brushed to the lead in the second-quarter. The new leader got things his own way, posting a half of :55.3 and three-quarters of 1:24.3.
The final-quarter saw Kolby Two Step sprint home in :26.4 to seal the deal with Sport Secret pacing the same clip right behind to finish second by a length. Betterhavemymoney finished third, while Century Inspector was fourth after coming first-up on the final turn.
The Tim Gillespie trained Kolby Two Step is now a two-time winner on the season with both wins having come in OSS Gold events. The sophomore pacer did not start in the most recent leg, but now has wins in back-to-back Gold events at Mohawk Park.
“Tim’s done a great job managing him. I thought maybe skipping Georgian wasn’t the best, but I think the horse had a little issue and wasn’t 100 per cent,” said James MacDonald. “He got a nice tightener last week and tonight he was back like he was when he won the last Gold. (Tim’s) done a great job and the horse keeps performing, fingers crossed he stays good.”
Kolby Two Step now has two wins and $162,150 earned in eight starts this season. Friday’s win boosts the gelded son of Betterthancheddar’s career numbers to five wins and $276,287 for owners Gillespie and Jason Churchill.
Kolby Two Step paid $3.90 to win.
The fifth and final Gold leg of the OSS season will take place on September 30 at Woodbine Mohawk Park.