04/08/2012 9:51AM

Woodbine Harness: San Pail is defeated by Mister Herbie

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Mister Herbie (#4) just gets past San Pail in a thrilling finish.

It was no ordinary Saturday night for San Pail, the 2011 Horse of the Year on both sides of the border, as the winner in excess of $3-million tasted defeat for the first time since July 16, 2011.  Mister Herbie played giant killer as he reached the winner’s circle first in the $125,000 final of the Glorys Comet Series Saturday at Woodbine. The mile time of 1:51 3/5 was a new series record.

San Pail, with regular pilot Randy Waples at the helm, sat comfortably in third position at the opening station in :26 3/5 before brushing to the lead before the mid-way point in :55 1/5.

With San Pail setting the tempo, Mister Herbie and driver Jody Jamieson began the first-over attack around the final turn and quickly matched strides with the 51-time winner past three-quarters in 1:23 3/5.

Turning for home, a seven-horse race quickly became a two-horse race as Mister Herbie and San Pail separated themselves from the field and matched strides until San Pail gave way late as Mister Herbie notched his 13th career victory by a nose. Windsong Geant (Rick) Zeron finished third.

“He was obviously much better tonight,” trainer and co-owner Jeff Gillis said following the win. “He was about 75 to 80 per cent healthy during the first leg because of his quarter crack, but we also discovered that he had an ulcer on his pallet which we were able to treat. Coming into tonight, I knew he’d be better, but I didn’t know by how much. Judging by his performance, it’s safe to say he’s 100 per cent.”

Gillis admits he believed in Mister Herbie’s ability to defeat San Pail.

“I thought if we were at our best, we would be able to beat San Pail. Whether that day was tonight or later in the year, I wasn’t sure. Other than the two European horses [in the Breeders Crown], I thought our horse as the most legitimate horse to take a run at him.”

Gillis was also quick to give praise to San Pail for his performance.

“San Pail raced a huge race in my opinion and he got stung hard to get to the front. I have nothing but absolute tremendous respect for the horse. We just got the better of him today and I’m sure he’ll get the better of us in the future. This race just went out way. ”

Mister Herbie, a career winner of $454,403, is also owned by Mac Nichol and Gerald Stay.

Following the win, trainer and co-owner Rod Hughes was not disappointed by San Pail’s effort.

“We can’t be disappointed by his performance,” Hughes said following the race. “He got beat twice last year and bounced back. We have a long year to look forward to and I’m confident we’ll have a successful one.”

Mister Herbie, a son of Here Comes Herbie, boasts a record of 3-1-0 from four starts this season. He paid $14.80 to win.

Golden Receiver wins again

After finding the winner’s circle in both preliminary legs, Golden Receiver and driver Randy Waples dashed away from their rivals by five and three quarter lengths to capture the $125,000 Spring Pacing Championship.

Sent off as the even-money favorite, the 44-time winner blasted to command well before the opening panel in :25 1/5. St Elmo Hero (Scott Zeron) was in the pocket with Aracache Hanover (Doug McNair) backing off into third.

Golden Receiver, a 7-year-old son of Village Jove, would continue to lead through a :53 4/5 half with Classic Rock Nroll (Jody Jamieson) on the outside with Melvyn (Luc Ouellette) tracking him.

As Golden Receiver cruised through three-quarters in 1:22 1/5, Waples asked his charge for more pace down the lane and the brown gelding responded by brushing home to stop the timer in 1:49 2/5. Melvyn finished second with Bettors Reward (Stephane Bouchard) third.

“There aren’t too many horses out there that can beat him off the gate, so it was the obvious choice to leave,” Waples said after the win. “It made my job that much easier, but the great thing about him (Golden Receiver) is that he’ll come right back to you. You can drive him with two fingers. At the top of the stretch I didn’t want to take any chances so I kicked the ear plugs. Last week, I didn’t.”

Trainer and co-owner Mark Harder was very pleased by Golden Receiver’s three-week stay at Woodbine.

“He raced tremendous tonight,” Harder said. “Randy [Waples] did a great job of managing him over the past few weeks. The horse didn’t have to go any faster than he had to and Randy was able to steal some moderate fractions with him in this series. It all added up to tonight because the horse was fresh.”

Stable 45, Richard Taylor, Stephen Springer and breeder, Nina Simmonds own Golden Receiver who increased his lifetime earnings to $900,425. Golden Receiver paid $4 for the win.

Also on the 12-race program, the $50,000 Youthful Series final took place featuring 3-year-olds who are non-winners of three races or $15,000 in 2011.

Much like Golden Receiver, Piston Broke captured both preliminary rounds before delivering by open lengths in the rich final, stopping the timer in 1:51 4/5.

Driven by regular pilot Sylvain Filion, the son of Shark Gesture enjoyed a second-over journey through panels of :25 4/5, :55 and 1:24 1/5, before tipping off cover and exploding down the stretch to score his 7th career victory. Im The Pied Piper (Scott Zeron) was second with Racing Rocky (Paul MacDonell) completing the triactor.

“He has a great week and it seems like he’s getting better and better every start,” trainer and co-owner Rob Fellows said following the win. “He’s had 11 starts this year and he’s still green, but Sylvain [Filion] has done a great job teaching him along the way. The big question now is do we go into the Diplomat Series or give him some time off.”

Piston Broke, a career winner of $111,510, is also owned by Willard Sabrosky and Arpad Szabo. He paid $3.10 to win as the favorite.

(edited press release - WEG)