The three-year-old filly stakes scene just got a whole lot more interesting following Wrapped To Go's surprise victory against dominant fillies Fire Watch and Blue Star Texas this past Saturday, at Century Downs Racetrack and Casino.
Wrapped To Go first made it to the races under the care of Connie Kolthammer (Outlaw Stable) - who took home the Cams Card Shark miss, as a yearling, from the 2013 Harrisburg sale for the bargain price of just $1,500.
This filly showed loads of talent in her career debut back on July 12, of 2014 - a come from behind second-place finish, at Alberta Downs, where she was race timed in 1:57.3. She's been a great cheque-getter early in her career. Only once did she fail to earn a cheque from 12 starts as a two-year-old - though she could not find the winner's circle in her rookie season.
It didn't take long for the filly to break her maiden in 2015... It would be late-April and it would be her season debut where Wrapped To Go would roll gate-to-wire at Century Downs, with Kolthammer in the bike, stopping the timer in 1:58.4.
It's now three months later and the filly has found a new home after being sold, privately, to Ann and Harvey Jaeger, of Airdrie. The Jaeger's were quick to select the likeable Jim Marino to handle the training and driving duties on their new purchase.
Many folks will remember that Marino was involved in a very serious racing accident in February, at Fraser Downs, but has since made a remarkable recovery to return to the sport he loves. "At first I took it slow with only a drive or two per race day," he said about his return to the race bike - just over a month ago. "Now I'm getting stronger... Still doing physiotherapy, twice a week, to regain range of motion," he explained. "I've got a bit of a head nod, still, but really I'm just happy to be back up on two feet and racing horses again."
Marino has driven 1899 winners during his 18-year career and now finds himself training and driving a top prospect in this weekend's $70,000 Ralph Klein Final in Wrapped To Go. "I definitely capitalized on the trip Saturday," says Marino. "Those fillies (Blue Star Texas and Fire Watch) may have been a little short and they battled, but this filly (Wrapped To Go) has a little breeding behind her," he says. "She's very well-mannered and she's smart too... Connie (Kolthammer) did a wonderful job with her."
The first elimination saw the heavy race favourite Blue Star Texas lead for most of it, with the second-choice Fire Watch parked and uncovered... Cam Finish rode the pocket - while Wrapped To Go sat off the contested pace. In the late going - Wrapped To Go was fresh and ready to pounce for a new life best 1:55.2 win. Fire Watch was all heart to finish second, while Blue Star Texas held third... Cam Finish stayed for fourth.
Elimination two would go to race fave Thats Extra for owner's Blair and Erna Corbeila and Kelly Hoerdt. The daughter of Allamerican Native would also grab a new best of 1:56.2 on Saturday - winning over My Villas On Fire, Beauty Of Nature and Remember Terror. The top four finishers from both eliminations go on to race in the bonus round this coming weekend.
Since only nine horses were entered for the Brad Gunn Stakes, for three-year-old colts and geldings, no elimination heats were required. Both the Ralph Klein and Brad Gunn Finals will be broadcast live this Saturday afternoon, August 8 on CTV - airing between 4-5 MT.