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Fillies hoping for luck at Clinton Raceway
Fillies hoping for luck at Clinton Raceway

Windsong Ophelia may not be a typical 3-year-old trotting filly, but trainer Bud Sinclair is hoping the quirky youngster can earn a share of the C$144,350 in purse money up for grabs at Clinton Raceway on Sunday afternoon (July 8).

The filly will start from post six in the first of four C$14,000-plus Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots divisions, and when she trots up behind the gate it will be the last step in a very specific race-day routine.

“You’ve got to do everything the same every day, or it just mentally doesn’t work for her,” explains Stratford, Ont. resident Sinclair.

“As soon as we get her off the trailer, we have to go out and warm her up one trip right away, and that seems to get her to mellow out. If she’s got to stand around too long, it doesn’t work either,” he continued. “We’re in early so that should help her; we don’t have to be there super early, and it’s afternoon racing, so I’m hoping that maybe helps her nerves a bit too.”

Sinclair and his staff spent most of the winter developing the highly specific daily routines that keep Windsong Ophelia in a mindset conducive to racing and to date she has delivered one win, two seconds and two thirds in nine starts, earning owner Jerry VanBoekel of Woodstock, Ont. a total of C$11,970.

“You’ve got to get her mentally prepared for everything, and then once you do that, so far things have been working,” noted Sinclair. “Hopefully it stays that way.”

Fergus, Ont. resident Bruce Richardson will steer Cornaro Dasolo daughter Windsong Ophelia in the first race on the Sunday afternoon program, which will be capped off by the C$60,900 Kin Pace Final.

Coming off an impressive 1:55.3 clocking in her Kin Pace elimination last Sunday (July 1), Write Me A Song is the early favourite to claim the 2018 Kin Pace title. The filly and driver Jody Jamieson of Moffat, Ont. led from start to finish in their elimination and will line up at post four in Sunday’s eleventh race.

“She should be tough to beat if all goes well in Clinton. That was pretty impressive last week; I just hope she can do it again,” said Jack Darling, who owns and trains the long-legged daughter of Sportswriter. “She gets around the turns pretty good. They’re pretty tight for her, but she seemed to handle it okay.”

If Write Me A Song can deliver a victory, the filly will be joined in the winner’s circle by a sizeable fan club. Darling grew up in the Exeter, Ont. area and his family are planning to be on hand for Sunday’s final.

“I came from right down the road,” said Darling, who now makes his home in Cambridge, Ont. “I’ve got some brothers from Exeter, so they’ll be out to Clinton on Sunday.”

Raced just four times at two due to a season-ending injury, Write Me A Song has rapidly made up for lost time in her sophomore campaign. In nine starts she has posted five wins, two seconds and one third for earnings of C$80,500. Competing on the Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series circuit, she has delivered one second and one third in two starts against the province’s top fillies.

“She’s a good-sized filly, but very athletic, likes to do her work,” noted Darling. “She’s very fast and she was, she could get a little bit speed crazy, but her last couple starts we’ve rigged her up a little differently and she’s been a lot better.”

Grassroots regular Askmysecretary won the other Kin Pace elimination on July 1 with a 1:59.1 effort, also going gate-to-wire. The Mach Three daughter and driver Doug McNair of Guelph will start from the trailing post eight in Sunday’s final for trainer Ted MacDonnell of Allenford, Ont. and his partners Leonard Gamble of Etobicoke, Ont. and Tony Lawrence of Hanover, Ont.

Sunday’s program gets underway at 1:30 p.m., with the Grassroots contests slated as races one, three, five and seven, and the Kin Pace going to post in race 11. Complete entries for the program can be found here.

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