Last shot at Grassroots glory for 3yo fillies

04:13 AM 07 Sep 2012 NZST
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J Bradley Harris
J Bradley Harris

With the regular harness racing season coming to a rapid close, competition for the last few Grassroots points will be fierce when the 3-year-old pacing fillies gather at Mohawk Racetrack on Monday, September 10.

The top 16 point earners after Monday’s test will advance to the division Semifinals, and although Silky Britches has had a consistent season for owners Harness The Dream Stables of Burlington, Jerome Voldock of Arnprior and Limco Inc. of Chateauguay, QC, trainer Victor Puddy does not expect to be making the trip to Grand River Raceway for the post season.

“It would have been nice. That’s what we were dreaming for,” admits the horseman. “She’s had some rough trips.”

In five Grassroots appearances Silky Britches posted one second, one third, one fourth, and one fifth-place finish to net 50 points. With the current cut off for the post season sitting at 83 points the daughter of Lis Mara and Saucy Britches would need a win to boost her high enough up the standings, a task that will be difficult from Post 9.

“I just hope she gets a good trip,” says Puddy. “If she gets some help she’ll get a chunk of it.”

Regular reinsman Bradley Harris will steer Silky Britches in the regular season finale, facing off against four fillies currently ranked in the top 16, three others needing a win to extend their season and two fillies without any Grassroots points. The pair head into Monday’s test off a fourth-place result at Flamboro Downs on Sept. 2 that saw them lead for the bulk of the mile before being reeled in through the stretch.

“She’s real nice. She doesn’t do anything wrong. She’s just a nice little mare,” says Puddy. “She’s a keeper.”

Harness The Dream Stables, Voldock and Limco Inc. purchased Silky Britches out of the Spring Fling Mixed Sale in June and the filly has earned the partners just shy of $40,000 in 10 starts. Puddy says once the filly’s Ontario Sires Stakes season career comes to a close, she will be headed to the conditioned classes at half-mile racetracks like Flamboro Downs, Grand River Raceway and The Raceway at Western Fair District. The half-sister to $511,514 winner Armbro Cayenne recorded her 1:55.3 personal best at Grand River on Aug. 8.

“She gets over a half real good, and she’s tough enough too,” notes the trainer.

“She’s great gaited. She’s small, but she’s blocky, and she’s got a big heart,” he adds.

Silky Britches and her peers will open the Grassroots action on Monday in Race 4, with the other two divisions parading onto the Mohawk Racetrack oval in Races 6 and 9. The ninth race will give Mohawk fans a preview of the post season as eight of the 10 contenders are currently ranked in the top 16.

Number two ranked Sauble Claire starts from Post 5, and fifth ranked Machleen will line up right beside her at Post 6. Driving Miss Deo currently sits seventh in the standings and will start from Post 4, while eighth ranked Pending Approval gets Post 7.

Eat Me Up and Lyons Luck share the ninth spot with 100 points and will start from Posts 2 and 10, respectively. Jet Speed, currently in eleventh, gets Post 9 and Your Beautiful, tied for sixteenth with 83 points, gets Post 1.

Mohawk Racetrack sends its first race into the starter’s hands at 7:10 pm on Monday, Sept. 10.

GODIVA SEELSTER WRAPPING UP FRESHMAN SEASON AT HOME

Many of the two-year-old pacing fillies headed to Rideau Carleton Raceway on Sunday are hoping the trip nets them enough points to secure a berth in the Grassroots post season, but Godiva Seelster has a slightly different agenda.

With a fourth-place finish in her only other Grassroots start, not even a victory will propel Godiva Seelster into the Sept. 21 Semifinals. Trainer Mark Steacy is sending the filly to Ottawa on Sunday to extend her education by one additional race and to make one final assessment of her burgeoning skills.

"She's been okay. She hasn't been the strongest filly," explains Steacy. "She was a late foal and she's been immature most of the year."

A $20,000 purchase out of last fall's Forest City Yearling Sale, Godiva Seelster is a half-sister to former Ontario Sires Stakes standout Go Alberta Go ($386,388). Although she has only netted one second and one third in her eight starts, Steacy has seen enough glimpses of talent that he is content to wait on the growthy daughter of Camluck and $190,280 winner Go Jme Go.

"Usually Camluck's get better with age, hopefully that's the case with her," says the horseman, who conditions Godiva Seelster for Barry White of Orleans, Landmark V Racing Stable of Kingston, David Reid of Glenburnie and Higgs Boys Stable of Gananoque.

Godiva Seelster qualified at Rideau Carleton Raceway in June and has made four appearances at the Ottawa oval, the most recent a sixth-place effort on Aug. 31. On Sunday the filly will make her final start from Post 2 in the fourth race and Steacy will hand the lines over to Rideau Carleton's leading reinsman Simon Allard.

"This is her last race of the year and Simon knows that track inside and out," says Steacy. "And he's a little more aggressive, so that might just wake her up a bit too."

Among the fillies that Allard and Godiva Seelster will face in Sunday's $24,000 test is fifth-ranked Keystone Maddie, who will start from Post 6, and eleventh-ranked Senorita Santanna, who gets Post 3. Snowbird, who currently sits in a tie for the sixteenth and last spot in the Semifinal, and Posey Tina, who is 21 points out of sixteenth, will be battling hard to boost their tally and extend their season from Posts 9 and 1, respectively.

The top 16 point earners following Sunday's event will advance to the Sept. 21 Semifinals at Grand River Raceway and the top four finishers from each Semifinal will compete in the $100,000 Grassroots Championship on Sept. 29.

Division point leader Western Empress will be looking to pad her point total from Post 8 in the first race, battling against seven other fillies including her stablemate in the Bob McIntosh stable, Expresso Yourself, from Post 1.

The two-year-old pacing fillies will open Rideau Carleton Raceway's Sunday evening program at 6:30 pm and will also be featured in Races 4 and 8.

by Sandra SNYDER

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