10/25/2013 8:38PM

Vernon: Goddess and Southwind Spirit graduate in Kindergarten finals

Southwind Spirit splashed home a winner with Yannick Gingras at the controls.

A pair of Kindergarten races for 2-year-old trotters worth over $200,000 each was contested at Vernon Downs on Friday night (October 25). Goddess reigned supreme in the filly split while Southwind Spirit cruised to victory in the colt division.

Three left best off the gate with Goddess assuming control from Red Hot Spicy at the opening quarter in 28 1/5. The lead was short lived as Yoga and driver/trainer Jimmy Takter made their way to the front. Driver John Campbell behind Goddess decided to be aggressive from his new pocket location and immediately brushed back to the top past the half in 57 2/5.

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Goddess would feel the heat from a first-over Fashion Huntress, but after three quarters in 1:26 it was clear that Campbell’s filly had more left in the tank. Goddess opened up on the field and left Yoga chasing for second money and Cee Bee Yes a somewhat flat third.

The final clocking for Goddess was 1:56 3/5 in the $206,000 final.

“It didn’t look like the fractions would be crazy if I went back to the front and less can go wrong on the front,” said Campbell on his tactics.

For Goddess ($8.50 to win), a daughter of Donato Hanover out of Macaria Hanover, it was her fourth win in 11 career starts. She has now earned $155,825 in her rookie year of racing for trainer and co-owner Paul Kelley, along with Joe Sbrocco and William Weaver III.

Over a freshly downgraded to sloppy track, Southwind Spirit never truly had an anxious moment while going wire to wire for driver Yannick Gingras.

Gingras quickly positioned Southwind Spirit on the engine with a 28 1/5 opening quarter while placing fellow leaver Sumatra in the pocket. Those two sat one-two past the next two calls in 57 2/5 and 1:25 1/5. The only true threat came from an uncovered Trixton, who made a break around the five-eighths marker.

In the stretch Southwind Spirit widened his lead to a safe margin and held well clear of Outburst and Lightning Force while under a mild drive in 1:55.

“He did all the work tonight,” said Gingras about being on the lead. “There is a big headwind in the stretch but he got it done.”

The Ron Burke trained Southwind Spirit ($4.20) won for the sixth time in 12 starts this year for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Stable 45. The Muscle Hill / Spice On Ice-sired colt increased his career bankroll to $310,925 by winning the $217,500 final.