10/26/2014 12:18AM

Woodbine Harness: Rookies impress in Fall Four finals

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Artspeak is back on the winning track.

The finest two-year-olds in harness racing were on display Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack for the Fall Four Stakes.

Made up of the Governors Cup, Valley Victory, Three Diamonds and Goldsmith Maid, the Fall Four Stakes has been an annual showcase of the best freshmen in the sport.

A costly miscue and a giant upset got the action underway in the $464,000 Goldsmith Maid for two-year-old trotting fillies.

Mission Brief, the 3/5 heavy favourite, made a break leaving the gate throwing the fate of the rich final up into the air.

Capitalizing on the public’s choice break was 70-1 longshot Smexi and driver Corey Callahan.

A daughter of Explosive Matter, Smexi got a two-hole trip behind Stubborn Belle and driver Paul MacDonell and was able to come off the leaders back in the stretch and trot on to a length and a half victory.

Stubborn Belle held on for second, while Juanitas Fury finished third.

“Leaving out of there I looked over and saw that she (Mission Brief) had made a break,” said Callahan following the race. “We got really lucky Paul and I, we just kind of got things on our own up there, nobody really moved and it worked perfect for me.”

Trained by Jimmy Takter for owners Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding and Herb Liverman, Smexi had only one victory in eleven starts heading into the Goldsmith Maid.

Takter, who drove Smexi in her elimination last week, handed the lines over to Callahan and told the driver his filly was ready and to put her in the race.

“Tonight before the race he (Takter) pulled me aside and told me listen she was a little rough on me last week,” said Callahan. “But I warmed her up tonight and she was really sharp and on her toes.”

The Goldsmith Maid victory pushes Smexi’s career bankroll to over $364,000.

Smexi paid $159.30 to win, while a $2 exactor paid just under $1,200.

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Fall Four night quickly became the Takter show in the $521,000 Valley Victory for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings.

Takter trainees finished first, second, fourth and fifth to almost take the entire purse home in the rich final.

Pinkman and driver Sylvain Filion were able to convert off a second over trip to narrowly defeat stablemate Uncle Lasse by a head in 1:55 4/5.

The heavy 3/5 favourite, Habitat, finished third wedged between Takter starters, as The Bank and Walter White finished fourth and fifth respectively.

A son of Explosive Matter, Pinkman was making only his sixth career start in the Valley Victory final, but has now won four of those starts for earnings of over $330,000.

Following the race, Takter explained why Pinkman was a little late getting to the races.

“We castrated him after his baby races, he kind of didn’t pay attention where he was supposed to,” said Takter. “He had a very complicated castration, so it took a little bit of a long time for him to get where he (is), but he has surprised me a lot.”

Takter also said the son of Explosive Matter wasn’t on his radar as a superstar training down.

“Average, he did everything right, but I had quite a few horses that I thought were a lot better, but these horses that have the good willing to want to do it, especially at this time of year, can get it all.”

Pinkman is owned by Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland and Herb Liverman.

He returned $16.60 to win.

Artspeak, this year’s Metro Pace winner, bounced back in impressive fashion to win the $565,000 Governors Cup for the two-year-old pacing colts and geldings.

Leaving from post position six, Artspeak and driver Scott Zeron got away sixth and were able to get into the outer flow on the backstretch, as Lost For Words hung up a big half of :54 3/5.

As the field rounded the final turn, Pierce Hanover cleared to the front leaving Artspeak second over on the back of Lyons Again, as the field ripped by the three-quarter pole in 1:21 4/5.

In the stretch, Artspeak came off his cover and powered by his rivals to take the lead and score a solid length and a half victory in 1:50 4/5.

Go Daddy Go got up to finish second, while Pierce Hanover held on for third.

A son of Western Ideal, Artspeak is trained by Tony Alagna for owners Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco and In The GYM Partners.

Heading into the Governors Cup final, Artspeak had made a break in two consecutive starts for the first two losses of his career.

Following the race, Alagna spoke about the recent miscues from the two-year-old and getting him ready for the final.

“I came up Tuesday, trained him up Wednesday and he trained fantastic at the farm, so I thought we had the kinks worked out,” said Alagna. “Most people know that if I didn’t have confidence the horse was ok, with the connections that own the horse he would’ve never been here to race, so I was very happy that he showed us the redemption that everybody thought he should.”

After training Artspeak earlier in the week, Alagna said he told the connections at dinner that he had full confidence in the horse.

“I told them that night at dinner, he’s back on his game, we’ve got our horse back.”

By adding the Governors Cup to his resume that already includes the Metro Pace, Artspeak has now won the two richest events of the season for two-year-old pacers.

His record now stands at eight wins from ten starts for career earnings of just over $805,000.

Artspeak paid $3.50 to win.

Jk She’salady improved to a perfect ten for ten with another victory in the $424,000 Three Diamonds for two-year-old pacing fillies Saturday night at Woodbine.

Sent off as the heavy 1/5 favourite, Jk She’salady and Yannick Gingras got away fifth and sat along the rail until the midway point of the race.

Around the final turn, Gingras sent Jk She’salady first up to challenge the leader, The Show Returns, as the fillies were on even terms at the three-quarter pole in 1:24.

Jk She’salady came off the turn and quickly created separation with the field and cruised home to an impressive looking length and a half victory in 1:52 1/5.

Solar Sister took the place spot, while Ideal Nuggets finished third.

The Three Diamonds victory was the tenth win in a row for the undefeated Jk She’salady.

Following the race, Gingras talked about racing her first up once again Saturday night.

“It seems to be working for her, so no sense in changing anything,” said Gingras. “She likes to relax in the first half and she’s got a huge brush for the second half.”

A daughter of Art Major, Jk She’salady is trained by Nancy Johansson for owners 3 Brothers Stable.

Jk She’salady has now banked over $669,000 in her rookie season and has earned herself consideration in Horse of the Year talk.

She returned $2.50 to win.

-Edited Release (WEG Media)

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