CAMPBELLVILLE, Ont. — Driver Jody Jamieson and Sintra gained a measure of redemption Saturday night.
Sintra, a 12/1 pick, overtook favourite Rockin Ron on the inside in deep stretch to win the $615,000 Canadian Pacing Derby at Mohawk Racetrack. That came after Sintra and Jamieson settled for second in their elimination race last weekend behind Rockin Ron, who won in a career-best time of 1:47.2.
"It just worked out," said Jamieson, who started Saturday's race from the No. 9 post. "I wasn't sure what I was going to do out of the gate.
"Dave (trainer/co-owner Dave Menary) didn't want me to get away 10th and I didn't want to be blasting out to the lead. I just wanted to get to the lead at the wire . . . I wasn't sure it was going to work out, even at the head of the stretch."
Jamieson, of Moffat, Ont., earned his first career Derby win, guiding Sintra across the finish line in 1:48.1 on a fast track. Rockin Ron, the even-money favourite driven by Louis Philippe Roy of Mont-Joli, Que., was second by a neck in the 10-horse field.
McWicked took third in Canadian harness racing's oldest stakes event (first race was run in 1936).
The remainder of the field, in order of finish, was: All Bets Off and Nirvana Seelster (dead heat); Keystone Velocity; Easy Lover Hanover; Check Six; Dealt A Winner; and Lyons Snyder.
Roy took Rockin Ron to fourth from the start before surging to the lead just prior to the half-mile mark. The duo remained in front coming off the final turn before being caught late by Jamieson and the hard-charging Sintra.
"Jody's horse came through the inside, I didn't see him," Roy said. "He (Rockin Ron) wasn't steering as good as he was last week.
"Last week he was perfectly straight, but he was a little bit on the line tonight. Ron (trainer Ron Burke) will correct that and he'll come back as good as he was last week."
Sintra paid $27.40, $11.70 and $7.10 while Rockin Ron returned $3.40 and $3.00. McWicked paid $4.60.
The win was the eighth in 13 starts this season for the four-year-old gelding and 16th of his career.
"It's pretty awesome," Menary said. "He's a special horse.
"He likes the big track. He likes to flaunt his speed."
And Jamieson gave Menary full marks for Sintra's come-from-behind win.
"Sintra, with any kind of a trip at all . . . he just explodes through," he said. "Dave Menary is the one to thank for all this, he's developed the horse and turned him into what he is today."
Jamieson, 40, is regarded among harness-driving's elite, having amassed over 7,500 career wins and $120 million in earnings. He's won the O'Brien award as Canada's top driver three times and twice captured the world driving title in addition to multiple Breeders Crown races.
But after winning over $11 million in 2011, Jamieson's numbers have declined in each of the last five years. And that's what made him so appreciative of Saturday's victory.
"The last couple of years just the positions I've put myself in to not be overly successful, I've got to tell you this one feels really good," he said. "It feels as good as any of the big wins I've ever had.
"I've never won a Derby before so it's amazing to be able to do it for the people in this stable with Dave and his partners. For them to have the seemingly unwavering confidence they have in me, it's been very much appreciated. These are the nights we do this for. He's an amazing horse, he's been amazing all year long and I'm just so blessed to have a chance to drive him."
The Manery stable also captured the $96,880 Champlain Stakes with two-year-old pacer Dragon Time. Yannick Gingras of Sorel, Que., drove the 7-2 second choice to his third win this season.
Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press