Day At The Track

McNairs claim two Grassroots trophies

04:20 AM 07 Sep 2012 NZST
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Gregg (left) and Doug McNair
Gregg (left) and Doug McNair
Iron Horse Photo Inc. photo

Father-son duo Gregg and Doug McNair garnered a pair of Grassroots harness racing trophies at Hiawatha Horse Park on Thursday evening (September 6). The pair got off to a quick start as Doug McNair piloted three-year-old pacing colt Lucky Jet to an impressive nine length victory in the first $24,000 Grassroots division. The son of Jeremes Jet crossed the wire in a personal best 1:50.1.

Modern Xhibit, owned by Larry Ainsworth of Petrolia and William Boden of Vancouver, BC, finished second, fending off a late sprint from Red Carpet Dude.

Gregg McNair conditions Lucky Jet for Thomas Harmer of Willowbrook, IL, Michelle Crawford of Cazenovia, NY and Edward Kollross of Dubai, UAE. Through 16 sophomore starts the consistent pacer has tallied seven wins, five seconds and one third for earnings of $81,725.

Lucky Jet made five starts in the Grassroots program and two in the Gold Series and will lead the three-year-old pacing colts to the Sept. 19 Semifinal at Grand River Raceway with 200 points.

The McNairs made their second appearance in the Hiawatha winner’s circle following the ninth race. After tucking in behind pacesetter Rebel Jet, Doug McNair fired The Riddler out of the pocket in the stretch and sprinted home to a one and one-half length victory in 1:53.1. Rebel Jet settled for second and In Commando completed the top three.

Harmer, John Carver of Bettendorf, IA, Mary Caputo of Parkland, FL and Charles Sigrist of Frankfort, IL share ownership of The Riddler, who had posted just one other win in 15 starts this season. Another son of Jeremes Jet, The Riddler will need one or two colts ahead of him in the standings to opt out of the Semifinal in order to extend his season. He finished just four points out of the top 16, in eighteenth spot.

Life Signature picked up his third Grassroots victory with a front end effort in the eighth race, sailing under the wire in a personal best 1:52.2. Huxley earned runner-up honours, one and one-half lengths behind the leader, and The Unsub was two more lengths back in third.

Trevor Henry piloted Life Signature to the win for Steven Brunelle of Grand Bend, Bill Manes and Steven Papillon of Rockwood and Leonard Christopher of Acton. Andrew McCabe trains the son of Life Sign, who boasts a record of five wins, three seconds and two thirds in 14 starts this season and completes the Grassroots campaign in second spot in the division standings.

Better Get Ready, a late arrival on the Grassroots scene, assured himself of a berth in the Semifinal with a second straight victory on Thursday. The E Dees Cam son, trained by Jay Polifroni for Jim Polifroni of Sudbury, cruised home a three and one-half length winner in 1:52.3. So Take That and Mississippi Hippy battled to second and third.

In 14 sophomore starts Better Get Ready and driver Michael MacNeill have eight wins, one second and two thirds for earnings of $64,210. The gelding made his first Ontario Sires Stakes start in the Aug. 27 Grassroots contest at Mohawk Racetrack where he rocketed around the seven-eighths mile oval in a personal best 1:50.4.

The top 16 point earners will now begin preparations for the Sept. 19 Semifinals at Grand River Raceway. The top four finishers from each Semifinal will earn a berth in the $100,000 Grassroots Championship at Grand River on Sept. 29.

Thursday’s contest completed Hiawatha Horse Park’s 2012 Ontario Sires Stakes schedule, which also saw the Sarnia oval play host to the two-year-old trotting colts, three-year-old trotting fillies and two-year-old pacing fillies.

by Sandra SNYDER

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