In 1998 the signature event at Western Fair Raceway was known as the Molson Export Invitational going for a purse of $25,000. It would be raced on the final Friday of May - a warm 26C night with fast track conditions.
Programmed as Race 9 on the card - a select field of 8 top class pacers got the invite with 7 starters visiting from Mohawk and 1 shipping in from Montreal…
1. JUMP UP (Keith Oliver - Gregg McNair) 5/1
2. OOHS N AAHS (Clint Warrington Jr. - Gerald Dinelle) 3/1
3. EMERY FLIGHT (Keith Waples - Keith Waples) 1/1
4. ANY EXCUSE (Dennis Morrissey - Dan Morrissey) 13/1
5. SMILE AS YOU GO (Paul MacDonell - William Wellwood) 7/2
6. BANDO NIKI (Dave Wall - Ben Wallace) 8/1
7. WHAT A BEACH (Mario Baillargeon - Larry Musher) 18/1
8. ONE EIGHTY (Don McElroy - Brian Lee) 11/1
Without a video replay it appears Jump Up left sharply and had both Oohs N Aahs and Emery Flight parked wide to an opening quarter of 27 flat. Emery Flight did make front, but Jump Up would be back out and challenging towards the half in 56.4. Smile As You Go began to circle up (3-wide), out of the back-field, toward three-quarters in 1:25.3 - as Emery Flight was still leading - with Oohs N Aahs riding the pocket. As they turned for home Emery Flight was still on top - Smile As You Go was still coming and Oohs N Aahs was looking for some racing room.
At the finish Oohs N Aahs was the unofficial winner by almost a length and for second - a triple dead heat between Emery Flight, Any Excuse and What A Beach. The lone mare in the field, Oohs N Aahs, would end up losing the victory - on a placing - after causing interference to Smile As You Go through the stretch… The end result would be a triple dead heat - for the win - with Emery Flight paying $2.20, Any Excuse paid $6.80 and What A Beach returned $8.70. Of course the win prices were much lower, than their post time odds, because of the three-way split.
The remaining order of finish read Bando Niki, Smile As You Go, Oohs N Aahs, One Eighty and Jump Up. Time of the mile was 1:55.2 - with that time disallowed because of the placing.
*The total amount bet on the race was $19,982.
One more dead heat - for the win - would take place on the night and it would come in a $101,720 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Final… Northern Dynasty (Paul MacDonell) and Superstar Killean (Ray Schnitttker) would hit the line together in 1:54.4 - a new track record for 3YO colts. The remaining running order there read Seymour Butts, Run Like Magic, High Rent District, Super Trooper, Medway Factor, Noble Intent and Dex Appeal.
*The total amount bet on the race was $15,609.
Other winners on the program included Mathers Girouette (Dan Chreighton) 2:00.3, Goldpost (Don McElroy) 1:59.1, Legendary Lover (Peter Core) 1:58.1, Thamesview Cameo (Dave Wall) 1:57.1, Greystone Dawn (Brent Belore) 1:58.3, Cosmic Cam (Ray McLean Jr) 1:58.1, Unique Beauty (Brent Belore) 2:02.1, Manson Seelster (Dave Wall) 1:57.3, Rackum Red (Don McElroy) 1:56.1 and Classic Ember (Don McElroy) 2:00.4.
*The total wager for the 12-dash program was $144,845.
Shannon ‘Sugar’ Doyle
The Raceway at Western Fair District