Day At The Track

Baillargeon notches two more OSS wins

12:24 PM 02 Jul 2020 NZST
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ELORA, ON - JULY 1, 2020 - After sweeping the three-year-old trotting colt Gold Series season opener, trainer Ben Baillargeon turned his attention to the Grassroots Series at Grand River Raceway on Wednesday evening and delivered two more victories.

The Guelph resident kicked off the Canada Day program with a victory as No Time To Play and driver Sylvain Filion rolled through fractions of :28.3, :58.2 and 1:29.1 on their way to a 1:59.1 score in the first $22,800 division. Hetalkstoangels finished three and one-quarter lengths behind the fan favourite in second and Mr Arch rounded out the top three.

"He's still very green, very dumb, and you can quote me on that too. I told Sylvain, 'Be careful when you come on the track I don't know if he'll go straight or turn'. The trot is there 100 per cent, the trot is there, he trots nice, but his mind wanders around," said Baillargeon. "I didn't know how to rig him tonight when I came here, and I changed the rigging after I warmed him up. I said, 'Well, if we get through the first turn then we're okay'. I think he's got everything to be a very nice horse down the road you know, like a four-year-old. He's got the speed, he trotted 1:55.4 his second lifetime start."

Wednesday's outing was just No Time To Play's third lifetime start. He made his debut in an overnight event at Woodbine Mohawk Park on June 9, finishing fourth, then delivered a second-place effort on June 16. Baillargeon trains the son of Kadabra for Ecuries Daniel Plouffe Inc. of Bromont, Jean Dessureault of Candiac and Claude Hamel of Ayer's Cliff, QC.

Eight races later Baillargeon and Filion capped off the evening with their second victory. Like his stablemate, Ongoing Royalty controlled the tempo from start to finish, posting fractions of :29.2, 1:00 and 1:29.1 before hitting the wire three lengths the best in 1:59.1. Dart Guy finished second and King Of Hearts was three more lengths back in third.

"A friend of mine (Sylvio Ravary) owns him, we were raised together, and he said Ben I have this colt and he might be okay and this and that. They sent him to me about five, six weeks ago. They had him trained on the farm track in Quebec in 2:06," said Baillargeon. "He raced real good tonight. He's still a very green colt, but a good gaited colt and willing to do it, so that's nice."

Les Cedres, QC resident Sylvio Ravary shares ownership of the Royalty For Life son with Andre Desrochers of St-Hughes, QC.

While No Time To Play and Ongoing Royalty were making their Ontario Sires Stakes debuts on Wednesday, the other three division winners were regulars on the Grassroots circuit last season.

The second division winner, Ripped And Ready, was a Grassroots winner at two and qualified for the Semi-finals. Grand River fans sent the colt off as their top choice and driver Guy Gagnon engineered a front-end effort that saw Ripped And Ready hold off a charging Fit Bitt in the stretch to record a 1:58 victory. Franks Angel rounded out the top three.

Thierry Vandenplas trains Muscle Mass son Ripped And Ready for owner-breeder Dr. Ruth Irving of Russell, ON.

The winner of the third split, Awesomedabra, was a two-time Grassroots winner as a freshman, with one of those wins coming in the Semi-finals. On Wednesday the Kadabra son had to overcome a mid-race miscue and lay down a :28.4 last quarter to get a head in front of Pot Stock at the 1:59 finish. Titans Dream finished one length back in third.

"Unfortunately he made a break going to the half on a loose part of the track, luckily he was strong enough to overcome it," said Chris Christoforou, who drove the gelding to the win for owner-trainer Gary Lance of Port Perry, ON. "He got back into contention at the head of the stretch - he got out wide in the lane where the footing was better - and had enough to get his head in front at the wire. He raced very good."

Unlike Ripped And Ready and Awesomedabra, Remember Titans never found his way to the winner's circle in his freshman campaign, but the E L Titan son was consistent enough to make it all the way to the Grassroots Championship. On Wednesday, he finally visited the winner's circle with a front-end effort in the fourth $23,150 division. Crossfit Mouse was three lengths back when Remember Titans halted the teletimer at 1:58 and The Reins Of Titan was another length and one-half back in third.

"Until tonight he was the best maiden in Canada I think," said trainer Shawn Steacy with a chuckle. "He's just a solid trotter. Until tonight he didn't have a nose for winning, that's all. But ultra-consistent, can get around any size track and kind of will do as much as what any horse around him will do. I'm hoping that he starts to like this winning thing, hopefully it becomes a habit."

Steacy trains Remember Titans for Landmark 12 Racing Stable of Lansdowne, A K Malik Stable of Ottawa, ON and Dale Larson of Kent City, MI. James MacDonald piloted the colt to his first lifetime win.

The three-year-old trotting colts will make their second Grassroots start at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 16.

On Friday, June 17 Grand River Raceway will host its second Ontario Sires Stakes event of the 2020 season, welcoming the two-year-old pacing fillies to Elora for their second Grassroots leg.

Complete results for Wednesday's program are available at Grand River Raceway Results.

From the Ontario Sire Stakes

 

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