Day At The Track

Battle Eliminations set for Grand River Raceway

07:11 AM 27 Jul 2013 NZST
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Battle Of Waterloo
Battle Of Waterloo

ELORA, ON — The stage is set for the July 29th elimination rounds of Grand River Raceway’s signature race, the 16th annual Battle Of Waterloo and its sister dash, the fifth annual Battle Of The Belles.

The top nine finishers for each of these elimination events for Ontario-sired two-year-old pacers, advance to their respective finals during the track’s 23rd annual harness racing celebration, Industry Day, on August 5 (post time 1:30).

Battle Of Waterloo

Trainer Wayne McGean paid $12,500 to supplement Steady Warrior into the $125,000 Battle Of Waterloo and drew the rail in the third of four eight-horse divisions.

The Royal Mattjesty colt is still on the hunt for his maiden win, but has racked up $61,300 in four starts, including a pair of runner-up finishes and a third in the Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) Gold Series. McGean and co-owner Michael Gouthro paid just $5,000 for the pacer as a yearling. He finished a half-length behind Arthur Blue Chip in the $150,000 OSS Gold Mid-Summer Challenge at Mohawk Racetrack on July 19.   

But Steady Warrior won’t face Arthur Blue Chip on Monday night. The Ian Moore trainee will start from post six in the third division (race six). A winner of two from three starts, Arthur Blue Chip set a personal best of 1:52.4 in the OSS Mid-Summer Challenge. He has banked $110,000 and was a $135,000 yearling for the Shadow One Stable of Guelph, ON. Moore won the 2009 Battle Of Waterloo with Wellthereyougo.

National speed leaders Rather Swell, Falcon Justice and Boomboom Ballykeel will also start in race six, from posts three, seven and eight respectively.

Falcon Justice (Mister Big) is currently the quickest rookie gelding in the country. The Rod Boyd trainee won his first career start on June 20 at Mohawk Racetrack in 1:53.1. Boomboom Ballykeel holds the distinction on a half-miler after his maiden win at Hanover Raceway in 1:56.4 on July 20. He’s conditioned by Canada’s current leading trainer, Richard Moreau, and driven by the nation’s top dash driver, Trevor Henry. A maiden score of 1:54.4 in an OSS Grassroots division on July 6 at Georgian Downs made Rather Swell the quickest rookie pacing gelding over a five-eighths mile track. The Robert McIntosh homebred is a son of Western Maverick.

Lucky King, in the first division, also holds a current Canadian speed record. The Camluck son’s most recent win at Georgian Downs on July 6 in 1:54.1 makes him the quickest rookie colt over a five-eighths surface in 2013. He starts from post seven in race four for trainer Andrew McCabe.

Cluster Hanover starts to the right of Lucky King for trainer/owner Jack Darling. Still chasing his maiden win in this fifth start, Cluster Hanover has banked $40,725 and finished third in the OSS Mid-Summer Challenge. Darling purchased the Badlands Hanover gelding as a yearling for $95,000. Three-time Battle Of Waterloo champ Jody Jamieson will steer.

Titus Seelster looks to double-up in the final boys’ division (race 10). The pacer captured his first lifetime victory in 1:53.1 with a driving-away win by seven lengths in the $50,000 OSS Mid-Summer Challenge Consolation on July 19. Stephane Larocque trains the Artistic Fella colt, a winner of $38,125 in two starts.

Battle Of The Belles

Eliminations for the $75,000 Battle Of The Belles will be contested by 24 fillies in three divisions (races 2, 3 and 5).

Lady Shadow headlines the first group. She is represented by the Guelph, ON father-son, trainer-driver duo of Gregg and Doug McNair, winners of the 2008 Battle Of Waterloo with Trail Boss. Gregg McNair is also on-point to secure his second consecutive Johnston Cup (for leading trainer in the OSS). He has a stronghold on the standings, thanks to the likes of Lady Shadow. She leads this elimination field for earnings with $51,500 in three starts and a mark of 1:54.4.

The McNairs also have Momara — the current leader for OSS Grassroots earnings ($17,356). She enters the second Belles division hoping for a hat-trick. She won by seven and nine lengths respectively in her last two OSS Grassroots outings.

Performing Art leads all OSS freshman pacing fillies with $52,500 banked in three OSS starts. She also holds the current season’s record for her division over a five-eighths mile track with a 1:54.2 score at Rideau Carleton Raceway on July 11. She starts from post four in the second division for trainer Otis Hall.

Alibi Seelster starts from post seven for Jack Darling in race five. The Shadow Play miss was third in the $150,000 OSS Mid-Summer Challenge. A winner of two from four, she was a $27,000 yearling who has already paid her way with $61,000 banked and a mark of 1:53.3.

Finalists & Post Position Draw

Post positions for the finals will be drawn as follows:

• Post Position Draw for the Battle Of The Belles: Drawn live on the Tarmac Show after race 6 on July 29. (Top three finishers from each of the three elimination divisions advance to the final on August 5.)

• Post Position Draw for the Battle Of Waterloo: Drawn live on the Tarmac Show after race 11 on July 29. (Top two finishers from each of the four elimination divisions, plus one of the third-place finishers — as drawn by lot — advance to the final on August 5.)

Post time for race one on Monday, July 29 is 7:05 p.m.

For complete Industry Day details, visit www.IndustryDayCelebration.com

Kelly Spencer

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