Day At The Track

Grassroots triple for Sylvain Filion

12:20 AM 08 Jul 2020 NZST
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No Better Joy, harness racing Uncontrollable, harness racing
No Better Joy and driver Bob McClure
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Uncontrollable and driver Sylvain Filion
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No Bettor Joy
Uncontrollable
Brilliant Corners
Avion Seelster
Saratoga Blue Chip
Lawless Shadow
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MILTON, ON - JULY 6, 2020 - Two-year-old harness racing pacing colts invaded Woodbine Mohawk Park on Monday evening, starring in six $23,000 Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots divisions and No Better Joy kicked off the provincial campaign in style with an impressive 1:52.1 victory.

Starting from the outside Post 9, driver Bob McClure settled No Better Joy in fourth as Flash Cube took the field to a :27.2 opening quarter. Heading for the :56.2 half McClure put the fan favourite on the front, but Flash Cube stepped up to apply pressure before the 1:24.3 three-quarters. At the top of the stretch it looked as though Flash Cube would prevail, but No Bettor Joy shifted into another gear and came back on for a head victory. Flash Cube settled for second and Cantstoplying closed well to be third.

"I've never had a horse, like even when you're training at the farm and when you come to the top of the stretch, even if there's another set 20 or 30 lengths ahead, he always puts it in another gear to chase them, so I think he kind of seen that horse and he picked it up again," said Nicky Comegna, who trains No Better Joy for his father Bruno Comegna of Burlington, ON. "He's always had that attitude, that's why I liked him."

Comegna's son Jordan picked No Better Joy out at last fall's London Selected Yearling Sale, offering up $46,000 for the Betterthancheddar son. The youngster impressed his connections all winter, but a few hiccups in qualifying action and his first race made Comegna opt for the Grassroots rather than the July 3 Gold Series event.

"If he had gone good last week we were going to put him in on Friday, but I just couldn't justify throwing him in there after that interference break (June 26)," said the Cambridge resident. "So I figured we'd maybe get him in a little easier and see if we do have something that can go a little bit, you know. Believe it or not it gave him an extra two, three days to kind of forget about last week, and it worked out."

McClure closed the Grassroots portion of the evening with another victory, guiding Shadow Play son Lawless Shadow to a 1:53 score for trainer Dr. Ian Moore of Cambridge, ON and his partners R G McGroup Ltd. of Bathurst, NB, Serge Savard of St-Bruno, QC and Frank Cannon of Sanford, FL. Bulldog Hanover was hot on the heels of the fan favorite in second and Wisk Key K completed the top three.

Driver Sylvain Filion captured three Grassroots divisions, kicking off his hat trick in the second $23,150 contest with fan favourite Uncontrollable. The Control The Moment son delivered the largest margin of victory in the Grassroots divisions, reaching the wire six and one-half lengths ahead of Candy Trader and Watch My Beverage in 1:53.

"He told me a couple of days ago that he was really high on him. He said he probably made a mistake, he should have probably put him in the Gold, so it made me pretty high on him too, you know," said Filion of the Scott McEneny trainee. "He was actually very, very nice. I left with him, then I pulled again around the last turn and he just cruised home."

Like No Better Joy, Uncontrollable will likely make the jump up to the Gold Series for his second Ontario Sires Stakes start. McEneny, who also owns the $6,000 yearling purchase, noted that a strong showing against the top colts on July 18 could see Uncontrollable supplemented to the Battle Of Waterloo Eliminations at Grand River Raceway on July 27.

"I think I'm going to give him a shot. You know what, he's better off a helmet. You can see he buzzed around them really quick and then he kind of got a little lazy, but I think if you can keep him covered up he can pace with any of them," said Puslinch resident McEneny. "Like I said, first start, with a big drop time-wise, and he did it right, so I'm pretty happy with him."

Filion was back in the winner's circle after the third division with Betterthancheddar son Brilliant Corners, who sat fourth before stepping out to mount an attack on pacesetting favourite West Coast Kid. Brilliant Corners sprinted home to a 1:54.2 victory, one and three-quarter lengths ahead of his TheStable.ca stablemate First Glance. Frank Deford was four and one-quarter lengths back in third.

"He was a bit of a hot-headed horse early on and I was able to sit him in the hole in the qualifiers, but he was really strong, headstrong you know, and he wouldn't really relax, but tonight he was as good as I've ever seen him. Calm, relaxed and I was able to sit him in the hole as long as I wanted and that's the reason why he was so strong at the end of the mile," said Filion. "He's learning - it's still a learning process with the two-year-olds - but every time I sat behind him he got better and better, so I hope he keeps going."

Filion engineered the win for trainer Harry Poulton and fractional ownership group TheStable Brilliant Corners of Guelph, ON.

The Milton resident completed the hat trick in the fifth division with Saratoga Blue Chip, who was as headstrong as Brilliant Corners was relaxed. The He's Watching son gave Filion a workout as he sat in the pocket behind Mr Charisma, but had enough left to get home for a one-half length win over Beach Blogger. Mr Charisma finished third in the 1:53.3 mile.

"When he left the gate he was half a runaway. I had a hard time to hold him and I had to re-move him to the front, and then I had to take a huge hold of him again to let James (MacDonald, with Mr Charisma) go by, and then moved him again around the end of the last turn. So it wasn't the greatest drive, but it worked out anyway," said Filion with a rueful chuckle. "He stretched my arms pretty good."

Filion piloted Saratoga Blue Chip to the win for trainer Anthony Beaton and owner Larry Menary of Branchton, Michael Guerriero of Brampton, Alan Alber of Thornhill, ON and George Harrison of Wanes Walton, England.

Avion Seelster took the other division with a 1:53.2 victory over Lil Red Sportsstar and Warrawee Wazzup. Jody Jamieson piloted the Sportswriter colt to the win for owner-trainer Jack Darling.

"There's a good group of Grassrooters. Wow, it's amazing how fast they go," said Filion of the freshman colt season opener. "The weather is so warm, and no wind at all and the track is perfect, so it makes for speed."

The two-year-old pacing colts will return to Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 20 for their second Grassroots start. Complete results from Monday's program are available at Woodbine Mohawk Park Results.

From the Ontario Sire Stakes

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