Eight divisions of Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots two-year old trotting fillies invaded Hanover Raceway on Saturday, and the harness racing card was absolutely dominated by veteran pilot Trevor Ritchie.
In eight drives on the night, Ritchie found himself in the winner’s circle four times, including a hat-trick of OSS wins.
In the fifth race, the future Hall of Famer engineered an off-the-pace victory with Stormont Hotplate. The win came in the filly’s second lifetime start for trainer Kevin Benn as she swept from third to first in the stretch to trip the teletimer in 2:04.2.
Ritchie hurried back to the winner’s circle aboard Pegasus One for Chance Stewart in the sixth race. The rookie trotter wired the field to win her first lifetime start in 2:01.3, edging out local hopeful I Am Special.
In the ninth race, an event for conditioned trotters, Ritchie was three lengths the best with Knight of Intrigue for trainer Chris Beaver. The 2:00.3 score was classy veterans first in 2012, pushing his lifetime earning past $200,000.
The 56-year old Acton, Ontario resident capped off his night with a win aboard Tymal Textme for William James. It was another wire to wire mile for Ritchie, who has long been known for his prowess with trotters. The two-year oldfilly made the front and never looked back, winning in 2:02.0 to give Ritchie the four win score.
The fastest mile of the night belonged to Random Majority with Paul Walker in the race bike. ATrot eligible filly, Random Majority converted a perfect pocket trip, improving to 2 wins in 2 lifetime starts for trainer John Bax of Peterborough, Ontario.
After the race, part-owner Matthew Bax remarked, “She’s a nice filly we got for just 11,000 at the Forest City sale. She trained down very well and she’s been a good surprise for us.” When asked about the promising filly’s future, Bax informed “we might go back into the Grassroots at Dresden, or the Golds, but will likely be back to Hanover for theTrot eliminations in September.” The win for Random Majority was just two-fifths of a second off the track record of 2:01.0 for two-year old trotting fillies.
Racing continues next Thursday and Saturday at 7:15. Saturday August 28th will be the Dream of Glory Eliminations. 88 3 year old colt and filly trotters are eligible for the Dream of Glory eliminations. The top 8 will return on August 4th for the 100,000 dollar final.
by Gord DOUGAN