Day At The Track

Pacing colts wage Grassroots battles

04:53 PM 28 Jun 2020 NZST
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The Wild Card, harness racing
The Wild Card and driver Doug McNair kicked off the three-year-old pacing colt Grassroots season
New Image Media Photo

MILTON, JUNE 27, 2020 - Sophomore pacing colts were the stars of the harness racing show at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Saturday night, battling for a total of $139,950 in six Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots divisions.

The Wild Card opened the program with a 1:52.2 score on the front end, holding off Sundown Kid and Century Grizzly at the wire. Doug McNair piloted the fan favourite to the one-half length victory for trainer Dr. Ian Moore of Cambridge, ON and his partners R G McGroup Ltd. of Bathurst, NB and Serge Savard of St-Bruno, QC.

"He raced good. He's a nice little guy to drive and has a big gait to him," said McNair. "Ian has them ready to go."

The win was the first of the season for The Wild Card and also marked the Bettors Delight son's first appearance in the Ontario Sires Stakes winner's circle.

McNair was back in the winner's circle following the fourth division, when Day Delight was promoted from second to first due to a pylon violation by West Coast Beach. West Coast Beach settled for second after the violation and Captivate Hanover was third.

"He was good too, he just kind of waited on them once he cleared," said the driver of Day Delight, who was caught in the stretch by West Coast Beach. "You don't like to see anyone get placed, but we will take it."

Victor Puddy trains Day Delight for Bill Manes of Rockwood, Lloyd Stone of Portland, 10462217 Canada Inc. of Gloucester, ON and Wayne MacRae of Fall River, NS. The Bettors Delight son was a two-time Grassroots winner last season, including a victory in his Grassroots Semi-final.

Bob McClure also piloted two Grassroots winners Saturday, guiding Lottery Winner to victory in the third $23,500 division and Bettorbuckleup to a win in the last split.

A recent arrival from New Jersey, Lottery Winner looked impressive in his Ontario debut, opening up a two-length margin on Better Take It and St Lads Beat It by the 1:51.3 finish. Lottery Winner made one start at the Gold Series level before returning to New Jersey last season, but McClure hopes the Nancy Takter trainee will be a regular player in the provincial program this year.

"He made a nice first impression," said the Rockwood resident. "He's not a big horse, but he has a slick gait. Hopefully he sticks around for the season."

Allentown, NJ resident Takter shares ownership of the Bettors Delight son with R A W Equine Inc. of Burlington, ON, Hatfield Stables of Columbus, OH and Joyce McClelland of Zanesville, OH.

McClure wrapped up the Grassroots program with fan favourite Bettorbuckleup, who sprinted home in 1:51 to best pacesetter Bettor At Hightide and a closing Delightful Terror. All three colts are sired by Bettors Delight.

"As nice of a horse as you could drive. My (four-year-old) son could drive him," said McClure, who engineered the win for trainer Nick Gallucci and owner Millar Farms of Stouffville, ON.

Of the six pacing colt divisions, Y S Mathis and driver Louis-Philippe Roy were sent off as the biggest favourites and delivered the widest margin of victory, cruising home six lengths the best in 1:51. A two-time Gold Series winner as a two-year-old, the Sportswriter son never gave his fans cause for concern, taking control before the half and accelerating away from the field in the stretch. Heart On My Sleeve and Bee Two Bee rounded out the top three.

"He's a very nice horse. He felt good, but he still wasn't steering great," said Roy, who steers Y S Mathis for trainer Richard Moreau and owner-breeder Yves Sarrazin of La Presentation, QC. "I'm confident Richard will do some adjustments before his next few starts and hope that he'll be able to compete at the Gold level."

The other division went to Mission Bay, who caught pacesetting favourite Sunshine List in the stretch for his first Ontario Sires Stakes victory. My Bettors Del closed for third.

"He raced really good last week and I thought he would be okay, but I didn't think that okay," said driver Phil Hudon, who engineered the 1:51.1 clocking for trainer Matthew Dupuis and owner Keith Cassell of Smiths Falls. "He feels like he's catching on. He's a big, strong horse."

Mission Bay and his peers will look to add to their point totals when they return to Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 24 for the second Grassroots Leg.

Complete results for Saturday's program are available at Woodbine Mohawk Park Results.

The Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series makes its debut at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Monday, June 29 with three divisions for the three-year-old pacing fillies. The fillies will be featured in Races 2, 6 and 9; with the first race going in behind the starting gate at 7 pm. Downloadable programs and a live stream of all the races are available on the Woodbine Mohawk Park website.

Video: Race 1 - The Wild Card; Race 2 - Mission Bay; Race 5 - Lottery Winner; Race 7 - Day Delight; Race 8 - Y S Mathis; Race 10 - Bettorbuckleup

OSS Program Information

For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com

Ontario Racing

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