10/18/2014 9:46PM

Woodbine Harness: Some surprises in colt elims

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Habitat was the lone favorite to survive in stakes elimination action at Woodbine on Saturday.

As often is the case with young horses, you never know what you are going to get. When Woodbine hosted eliminations for the Governor’s Cup and Valley Victory for 2-year-old pacers and trotters respectively, longshot bettors were mostly in paradise.

Habitat was the lone bit of good news for favorite players as he took it to his foes in the first of two C$25,000 Valley Victory eliminations for rookie trotters. The Ron Burke trainee led at every call in an ultra-easy 1:55 4/5 victory.

Driver Yannick Gingras made the front by the first call in 27 3/5 and rated a very soft second quarter of 58 seconds. The pace quickened with a 28 4/5 third panel with Habitat dominating his competition in the stretch.

Jetpedia followed cover for second while Aldebaran Eagle overcame an uncovered trip for third. Walter White and Iron also made the final.

Habitat is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Our Horse Cents Stable, and Weaver Bruscemi. The Conway Hall-Habits Best colt has won six of nine career starts.

The first division saw an upset as Whataworkout put in a big first-over effort to score at 21-1.

The Jimmy Takter-trained trio of Uncle Lasse, Pinkman, and The Bank led the way through the opening half in 57 1/5 when Whataworkout began to launch his bid on the rim. Uncle Lasse tried to bear down for the charge of Whataworkout after three quarters in 1:26 4/5, but the son of Muscle Hill was too strong at the wire in 1:56 3/5.

Uncle Lasse settled for second. Big Rich, Pinkman, and The Bank rounded out the finalists.

Whataworkout is trained by Frank Antonacci for Lindy Farms of Conn. The victory was the colt’s second in four lifetime starts.

In the Governor’s Cup for freshman pacers, Lyons Again flashed speed at both ends of his mile to capture the first C$25,000 division in 1:52 4/5.

Driver Yannick Gingras left hard with a 26 3/5 opening quarter before waiting in the pocket as leader Lyons Levi Lewis did battle with Rufo through the middle splits of 56 1/5 and 1:23 3/5. In the stretch, Lyons Again found room and fended off Traceur Hanover by three-quarters of a length.

Lyons Again ($30.50) is owned by Geoffrey Lyons Mound and trained by Ron Burke.

Lost For Words, Go Daddy Go, and Migrate Blue Chip finished in the top five to make the October 25 final.

With the bettors enamored with 2-5 favorite Artspeak, those with some vision got a healthy return on Pierce Hanover in the second round of the Governor’s Cup.

Blood Brother set the early pace with a 27 4/5 quarter but was soon in the pocket as Arque Hanover came to call. The latter was able to set the half in 55 4/5 and three quarters in 1:24, but Pierce Hanover was bearing down.

Jody Jamieson urged home Pierce Hanover ($28.10) to a 1:52 1/5 win over a closing Blood Brother and Artspeak, who recovered from a break between the second and third calls to be third.

Arque Hanover and Lancaster Park completed those eligible to the final.

The winner is co-owned and trained by Jeffrey Gillis along with Gerald Stay, Mac Nichol, and Big Als Stables.

The Valley Victory final on October 25 will go for C$521,000. The Governor’s Cup has a purse of C$565,000.

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