Day At The Track

Fresh faces grace Grassroots in Sarnia

01:50 PM 11 Aug 2019 NZST
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SARNIA, ON - AUG. 10, 2019 - Five divisions of freshman harness racing trotting fillies stepped to centre stage at Hiawatha Horse Park on Saturday evening, competing for a total of $117,500 in the third Grassroots Leg of their season, and a trio of fillies scored their first-ever victories in the Ontario Sires Stakes event.

The fillies kicked things off in the first race and Enjoyin My Life picked up her first lifetime victory with a 2:00 effort. Starting from Post 8, Enjoyin My Life left the gate smartly and was sitting fourth when Peppas Angel reached the quarter pole in :28.1. After following the leaders to the :59.1 half, driver Ryan Holliday decided to send Enjoyin My Life up the outer lane and the filly had a head in front of Peppas Angel at the 1:29.2 three-quarters.

Trotting strongly down the stretch, Enjoyin My Life pulled away to a four and one-half length victory. Peppas Angel finished second and Craving You was four more lengths back in third.

"She was good, very professional," said Holliday, who was making his first appearance in the Royalty For Life daughter's race bike. "Nice filly. Trotted good, did everything you'd want."

Isabelle Darveau of Flamborough trains Enjoyin My Life for numbered company 1187422 Ontario Inc. of Ottawa, ON. The half-sister to former Gold Series winner Okeanos was a $44,000 purchase at last fall's London Selected Yearling Sale.

Highland Foxytrotr got her second straight Grassroots win in the second $23,500 division. Starting from Post 7 Highland Foxytrotr and driver Alfie Carroll led the field to a sharp :27.4 opening quarter and then yielded to fan favourite Canadian Titan. After following that filly through a :58.4 half and 1:29 three-quarters, Carroll gave Highland Foxytrotr a clear lane and the filly nabbed Canadian Titan at the wire by a nose in 1:59.3. Zebs Flur finished third.

"She's a really nice, solid filly and Amanda (Fine) had her sharp," said Carroll, who drove Highland Foxytrotr to the win for trainer Amanda Fine of Guelph and owner-breeder Highland Thoroughbred Farm of Inglewood, ON. "She raced tough."

In the third division driver Paul MacDonell employed an off-the-pace approach from Post 10 with first-time winner Mckees Angel. Sitting sixth as Emily Antoinette rang up a :28.4 quarter and 1:00.4 half, MacDonell sent Mckees Angel up the outer lane heading for the 1:29.4 three-quarters. Accelerating off the final turn Mckees Angel was able to circle the leaders and hold off fan favourite Yen for a three-quarter length victory in 200.2. Susies Lady closed hard to be third.

"She was really good tonight, excellent," said Ted MacDonnell of Allenford, ON who trains the Archangel daughter for owner-breeder Legendary Standardbred Farms of Mt. Morris, NY. "She's just been a work in progress. Each week she's getting a little better and a little better. She's always shown a nice bit of ability and a nice bit of trot, so we knew it was there.

"She has a great pedigree, she's out of a really good family that filly, so we're hoping for things to continue," the trainer added. "Paul's (MacDonell) done a great job with her, so fortunate to be able to have him come here."

A full-sister to $860,719 winner Top Flight Angel, Mckees Angel had finished off the board in her first two lifetime starts, a July 23 overnight and the July 30 Grassroots Leg at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

Mag N Roses picked up her second straight Grassroots win in the fourth division, going gate-to-wire from Post 4 in 2:00.3. Warrawee Vulcan finished two and three-quarter lengths behind the fan favourite in second and Credits Celebrity was another length back in third.

Mario Baillargeon drove Mag N Roses to the win for trainer Jean Francois Maguire of Carlisle and his partners Julie Malenfant of Carlisle, ON and Richard Legris of St-Charles-Borromee, QC. The Royalty For Life daughter was a $17,000 acquisition from last fall's London Selected Yearling Sale.

In the final division Need An Alibi got a calm, cool steer from Stephen Byron to earn her first-ever victory. Starting from Post 4, Byron eased the filly away from the starting gate and was near the back of the pack when Haven Seelster reached the :28.3 quarter. Moving up the outer lane, Need An Alibi had halved the distance between her and the pacesetter by the 1:01.1 half and as horses started to make mistakes around them Byron simply kept the filly focussed on her work.

Third at the 1:31.3 three-quarters posted by Queen M, Need An Alibi was on top as the field turned for home and stayed game for a one-half length victory in 2:02.2. Fan favourite Eternal Jewel finished second and Queen M was third.

"She sat on the outside the whole mile," said trainer John Bax. "Going to the three-quarter pole a horse runs on the inside, thinks about coming out and doesn't, the horse in front of us runs, goes out, so it was just kind of like parting of the seas and we went straight through.

"He (Byron) just sat there kind of cool and allowed everything to happen around him and he didn't jerk her sideways or grab her up or anything and him being relaxed, she was relaxed," the trainer added. "It was a pleasant surprise. She wasn't the one we thought would pay for the diesel fuel."

Bax Stable of Campbellville shares ownership of Need An Alibi with Brilo Farms of Sharon, ON and Dave Hudson of Dallas, TX. The partners purchased the E L Titan daughter for $52,000 at last fall's Harrisburg Yearling Sale.

The two-year-old trotting fillies will return to Grassroots action on Sept. 4 at Grand River Raceway, the fourth of their five regular season events.

Complete results for Saturday's program are available at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0810sarfn.dat.

From the Ontario Sire Stakes

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