Day At The Track

OSS News: Local filly triumphs in Grassroots

09:58 AM 30 Aug 2020 NZST
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Top Of The Bar, harness racing
Bob McClure drove two-year-old trotting filly Top Of The Bar to her second Grassroots victory with a 2:06 effort at Hanover Raceway
Tiffany Chantel photo

HANOVER, ON - AUG. 29, 2020 - Locally owned freshman trotting filly Top Of The Bar delivered an impressive performance at Hanover Raceway on Saturday, Aug. 29 to earn her second  Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots victory of the season.

Starting from Post 2 with driver Bob McClure in the race bike, Top Of The Bar settled in third as A Blue Blood led the field to a :31 opening quarter over a rain-soaked and wind-battered oval rated three seconds slower than normal. As A Blue Blood carried on to a 1:04 half,

McClure sent Top Of The Bar up the outside and the filly continued to stalk the pacesetter through a 1:35.2 three-quarters. In the stretch Top Of The Bar finally reeled in A Blue Blood, getting up for a one-half length victory in 2:06. A Blue Blood settled for second and fan favourite Flanagan Destiny was third.

"She's such a solid filly," said McClure. "One thing about Mark Etsell, his horses can trot, so when you go to a track like Hanover you can stand on them pretty good and know they can take it."

McClure engineered the win for Rockwood resident Etsell and his co-owners Robert Newton of Walkerton, Graham Hopkins of Chesley and Peter Porter of Port Dover, ON. The Muscle Mass daughter was also victorious in Grassroots action at Grand River Raceway on July 29 and finished third in the July 13 season opener at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

"She raced good. When she raced it was pretty muddy, windy and muddy, and she did it, I guess the hard way, first up, and Bob said she was good," said Hanover native Etsell. "He was confident. He knows that she's kind of a rugged little girl."

Top Of The Bar will make her fourth lifetime start in the last regular season Grassroots leg at Flamboro Downs on Sept. 17 before heading to the Grassroots Semi-Finals at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Oct. 1. With a total of 112 Grassroots points, the filly currently sits second in the division point standings. The top 20 point earners advance to the Semi-Finals.

Doing It All made a leap into the top 10 with her first Grassroots victory in the second $22,100 division. From Post 1 the Kadabra daughter and driver Stephen Byron got away second behind early pacesetter Snowfalla, who rang up a :31.3 quarter and a 1:04.3 half. Tribeca Seelster tallied the 1:35 third fraction and duelled Doing It All down the stretch, but Doing It All got a head in front at the wire for the 2:07.2 score. Kadillac Girl recovered from an early break to be third.

"They weren't going much today, but it rained pretty good up there. It rained until just about post time," said trainer John Bax. "She's a big, big, good gaited filly who just doesn't know how to race yet and hasn't filled out. I think she's going to be more of a three-year-old."

Campbellville resident Bax conditions Doing It All for owner Menhammar Stuteri AB of Paris, KY, who offered up $100,000 for the filly at last fall's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. In her three previous Grassroots starts Doing It All had finished seventh, fifth and fourth, giving her a total of 65 points.

The final $22,100 division saw Tipsy In Dixie claim her second Grassroots victory with a gate-to-wire effort from Post 3 that saw her trot under the wire in 2:07.2, four and three-quarter lengths ahead of Movin To The Top and Fortune Tellers K.

James MacDonald piloted the fan favourite to the win for trainer Harry Poulton and fractional ownership group TheStable Tipsy In Dixie of Guelph, ON, and the reinsman said he was confident in the filly from the start.

"She just buzzes around the farm track, and she got around Grand River like a hoop on a barrel. I would have been thoroughly, thoroughly shocked if she didn't handle Hanover well. I was pretty confident going in," said MacDonald. "She's just a little beauty. She's just a good gaited, nice little filly, she doesn't do anything wrong. She's a little sweetheart."

With two wins and a second in three Grassroots starts, Muscle Mass daughter Tipsy In Dixie leads the two-year-old pacing fillies into the final leg with 125 points.

Click the links to see complete results and replays of the afternoon's program.

Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Hanover Raceway next weekend, Saturday, Sept. 5, with the final Grassroots leg for the three-year-old pacing fillies.

From the Ontario Sire Stakes

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