07/07/2017 9:15PM

Mohawk: Dancin Doug, Sports Legend impress in Ontario Sires Stakes debuts

New Image Media
Dancin Doug was the first of two sons of Sportswriter to win in Ontario Sires Stakes competition at Mohawk on Friday

Sons of Ontario sire Sportswriter put on a show at Mohawk Racetrack on Friday evening in the first Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series event for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings.

A total of 10 Sportswriter offspring went postward in two C$97,200 Gold Series divisions, and it was Dancin Doug who emerged from the first battle with a Gold trophy.

Starting from post four the colt, with Doug McNair at the lines, landed third and watched from a respectful distance as fan favorite Taste Of History and second choice Simple Kinda Man rocketed out to a 25 3/5 opening quarter, a 53 4/5 half and a 1:22 3/5 three-quarters. Rolling off the last turn McNair tipped Dancin Doug around the exhausted leaders, and the fans’ third choice paced down the stretch to a one length win in 1:52 2/5. Western Passage and Lucky Sport, also sons of Sportswriter, closed well to finish second and third.

“I actually thought I had him up too close because the speed was real hot,” said McNair. “But he kept up and he did everything I needed him to do.”

McNair crafted Dancin Doug’s first lifetime win for trainer Ron Adams and owners David Kryway and numbered company 1362313 Ontario Ltd.  The partners acquired the half-brother to $1.5 million winner Dancin Yankee at the 2016 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale for $95,000 and have recouped C$50,280 through the youngster’s first two starts.

Thursday’s outing was the fourth time McNair has sat in a race bike behind Dancin Doug, and he has been slightly more impressed with the colt after each outing.

“I schooled him about a week before he qualified. They told me to go in 2:05 and I went in 2:00, but he just did it so handy,” McNair recalled. “I knew he had a little go to him, but I didn’t know how much go he had.  Then after the first qualifier (June 10), last quarter in 26 seconds flat, you know that’s pretty good speed. A lot of horses can go in 27 and a piece or 28 last quarters, but 26 seconds flat in the first start is pretty impressive.

“He’s a big horse, he’s nice gaited, and he’s smart.  It’s still early, but he’s doing everything right.”

Four races later the second group of novice pacers lined up behind the Mohawk Racetrack starting gate, and once again it was Sportswriter sons crossing under the wire first.

Fan favorite Goth Hanover took control early and led a parade of colts through a 27 quarter, 55 3/5 half and 1:23 4/5 three-quarters. Goth Hanover was being shadowed by Atomic Seelster and Sports Legend, and as the leader squared up in the stretch, both colts were preparing their charge. Laying down a 27 4/5 final quarter, it was Sports Legend who reeled in Goth Hanover, scoring a one-half length victory in 1:52 2/5. Atomic Seelster, a son of Shadow Play, finished third.

Like Dancin Doug, Sports Legend prepped for Thursday’s Gold test with a 2-year-old event at Mohawk on June 30, finishing second, but Mohawk fans overlooked the gelding, sending him off as their seventh choice. Even trainer Richard Moreau admitted that he was a bit surprised by the pacer’s victorious effort.

“They deal with the babies all winter, and they had good expectations for this horse,” said Moreau, who conditions Sports Legend for Gestion J Y Blais Inc. and welcomed the gelding to his barn just before his June 24 qualifier at Mohawk. “I didn’t really believe until tonight.”

Sylvain Filion piloted Sports Legend to the win and noted that the gelding was significantly improved over his maiden outing.

“Last week he raced pretty good, but he got bumpy late because he lost his momentum; if he doesn’t do that last week he’s way closer to the leader,” explained Filion from the winner’s circle. “But tonight he was pacing way better and he raced big.”

The first foal out of $258,417 winner Island Terror, Sports Legend was a $50,000 purchase from the 2016 Standardbred Horse Sale and has earned C$52,100 in his first two starts.

--press release (Ontario Sires Stakes)--