With currently no horse racing permitted in Canada – some Ontario horse people have ventured south of the border and have had some luck in recent weeks. Driver Brett MacDonald, a Raceway regular, has been doing it and doing it well at Northfield Park – coming off a huge Mares Open Pace victory with Bettor Trix N for New Jersey’s Curtin Anz Stable and trainer Patrick Shepherd. She literally ran the competition off their feet, on Saturday night, as a pair of race favourites made breaks going to the quarter mile – just as she made front. After that it was fractions of 26.4, 56.1 and 1:24.3 – with a 29-flat final frame to win easily in 1:53.3… Bettor Trix N had been a regular upper class mare on the Ontario circuit, for trainer JR Plante, prior to shipping south in the new year.
We’ve seen familiar Raceway horses in Bettors Western, Whatarealbadgirl, Walter Mitty and Noahs Play all win in recent weeks at Northfield, as well, for MacDonald and Shepherd. Shepherd had recruited leading driver Aaron Merriman to pilot Sir Pugsley, Down On My Luck and Wild Country to victory lane throughout the month of January over the quick Cleveland, Ohio half-miler.
We were chatting with Ontario trainer Taylor Fritz over the weekend and she has a few in to go tonight (Monday), at Northfield Park, with Brett MacDonald aboard. She’s been in the London winner’s circle plenty with fast-class pacer Brocks Fortune over the last few seasons – he’ll start from post 7 in the Race 15 finale. “He’s sharp, trained up and ready to go,” she says. “My new one, Machtu N, makes his first start for us in Race 4… I’ve made a few changes with him and hopefully they’ll help – we shall see!”
Machtu N was a starter in the 2016 edition of the Molson Pace. It’d be just his fourth North American start, after showing well at Yonkers, but he’d have no luck and finish last in our signature event - where Evenin Of Pleasure would pace to a track record 1:50.3 upset win over Sunfire Blue Chip and Mcwicked. Other starters included All Bets Off, P H Supercam, State Treasurer and Bettor Rock On N. That was a great looking field of horses eh!
2016 Molson Pace Replay www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsRqbWO1uvc
Other Ontario horses to watch for on this Monday evening program at Northfield Park include…
- 2 Littlebitaswagger (Merriman-Shepherd) in Race 4
- 5 Power And Grace (MacDonald-Shepherd) in Race 7
- 8 Down On My Luck (Merriman-Shepherd) in Race 10
- 3 Franks Angel (Lems-Tierney) in Race 11
- 8 Prestige Seelster (MacDonald-Symes) in Race 12
We’ve got selections for Northfield Park featured at www.atbforum.com/northfield-park-picks-mon-feb-8th-w-shannon-sugar-doyle/ - best of luck if playing along!
Shannon ‘Sugar’ Doyle
The Raceway at Western Fair District