Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Clinton Raceway on Sunday afternoon with the first Grassroots harness racing event for the two-year-old trotting colts.
Parkhill resident Daniel McCann will see two of his young trotters make their debut over the Clinton half-mile and the longtime owner is hoping both Charlie Muscle and Random Dynasty can earn a share of the $144,000 up for grabs in six Grassroots divisions.
“I don’t know a lot about them yet. I was down to Florida once in February, they always look good down there, but as you know when you get going a little faster you never know what’s coming out of the woodwork,” says McCann. “We prefer to start with Grassroots and sometimes they can work up a little higher, but you never seem to go wrong if you don’t bury them at the start.”
Arthur resident Wayne Henry trains both Charlie Muscle and Random Dynasty and will steer both colts in their Grassroots debuts. Charlie Muscle will bat first for the Henry team, stepping in behind the Clinton starting gate from Post 6 in the first race.
“Charlie, we got him in Harrisburg I guess, Wayne and I and Murray Brethour, and we just need a little more speed out of him, but he looks solid and we’ve got hopes for him on Sunday,” says McCann of theson the partners acquired for $20,000 at last fall’s Harrisburg Yearling Sale. “You need manners is number one, as everybody knows. I think he seems to have the manners if we find out about the speed and go from there.”
Henry has piloted Charlie Muscle in three qualifiers, recording a 2:08 mile at Mohawk Racetrack on June 9, a 2:06.3 clocking at Mohawk on June 14 and a 2:05.2 runner-up effort at Flamboro Downs on June 22. McCann, Arthur and Sunderland resident Brethour will be looking for the youngster to shave a few more seconds off his best effort to claim a share of the first race purse.
Stablemate Random Dynasty heads into the ninth race off just one qualifier, a 2:08.4 effort at Flamboro Downs on June 29, but McCann says he and partners Henry and Jeffrey Thomson of Chesley have high hopes for the full brother to $691,223 winner Random Destiny.
“We are excited about him,” admits McCann. “He was delayed a little bit I think when Wayne got home from Florida, he was maybe set back a couple weeks.
“I know the breeders pretty good, I’ve known them for awhile and they were after us to get one of their trotters and see if Wayne could make a man out of him,” adds the owner with a chuckle.
Random Dynasty was a $25,000 purchase out the Forest City Yearling Sale consignment of James C. and James H. Baillie and Richard Grenier of London. The son ofand Front Porch Swing will make his first lifetime start from Post 3.
Unfortunately McCann will not be on hand to watch Charlie Muscle and Random Dynasty compete over his local oval on Sunday, instead he will be watching another two-year-old hopeful compete in a New York Sires Stakes event in Buffalo, NY.
“Trevor (Henry) and I have a two-year-oldfilly in Buffalo and I’ve got to get my paperwork done up to race over there,” he explains. “It just happens that everything is at once.”
While he cannot be in Clinton to see the colts compete first hand, McCann is confident that Sunday’s outing will be another solid step in their development. A long time partner of the Henry family, who focus almost exclusively on trotters, the owner has enjoyed a decade worth of success in the Ontario Sires Stakes program.
“Wayne always does a good job, he pretty well gets 90 percent, 90 to 100 per cent of them get there. They all have different speeds of course, but he does a great job of getting them here. He seems to have a knack for getting the trotters to the track,” says McCann.
“And sometimes the cheap ones turn out good and a bit of vice versa too I guess,” he adds with a laugh. “You don’t really know I guess, like everybody says, you can’t see what size their heart and stuff is.”
Charlie Muscle and his peers in the first Grassroots division will kick Clinton Raceway’s July 8 program off at 1:30 pm, with the other five freshman trotting colt tests slated as Races 2, 3, 8, 9, and 10.
by Sandra SNYDER