Day At The Track

McNair looking forward to filly's local debut

07:00 AM 05 Aug 2016 NZST
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AUGUST 4, 2016 - After trips to Innisfil, Campbellville and Elora to watch Hab Faith compete in the Ontario Sires Stakes, Walkerton resident Gwen McNair is looking forward to catching the two-year-old trotting filly in harness racing action at Hanover Raceway on Saturday.

"I haven't missed her yet. I was down for the baby races at Mohawk, and I was over in Georgian, and I was at Mohawk and Grand River," said McNair. "I went over to Georgian by myself, about a two hour and 10 minute drive over to that one, lots of driving, but the roads and the weather are good. I just like to be able to say that I did it."

In the first three Grassroots events, Hab Faith posted two seconds and one third, putting her in fourth spot in the division standings with 62 points. McNair bred and raised the daughter of Kadabra and Sweetmarie Ofgrace, who is a half-sister to $1 million winner Son Of Grace, and noted that the filly's runner-up results may be a product of her hot-blooded genes.

"She is a handful in the paddock, she's anxious, she's pawing, but she got that from her grandmother and the mother does the same thing," explained the long-time owner and breeder. "Last Friday night (at Grand River), scoring out she was just not paying attention and was not behaving, she was doing all kinds of things. I think she wore herself out in her warm up, because she kind of packed it in a bit in the stretch.

"It probably goes back in her breeding, she's a handful, but it's something to see a two-year-old filly trotter at the racetrack, let along behaving herself at all," McNair added.

Hab Faith will make her fourth Grassroots start from Post 3 in the third Grassroots division, with Walkerton resident Terry Fritz in the race bike for McNair and her son, trainer Gregg McNair of Guelph. Among the fillies Hab Faith will face in the sixth race are Parkhill Nocredit, who also has three runner-up results through the first three events, from Post 1, and Man Shes Hot, who has one win, one second and one third, from Post 5.

"I'm hoping she does really well for the home crowd," said McNair. "But she's flighty and feisty and the whole thing, so...

"It's quite a gamble, the whole thing, but I wouldn't want it any other way," she added philosophically.

In addition to watching Hab Faith and her peers battle in the sixth race, one lucky Hanover Raceway fan will have an opportunity to meet the winner and her connections. Ontario Sires Stakes staff will be on hand Saturday night with the "Be A Winner" contest and by placing a ballot in the box representing their favourite filly, one fan could wind up in the winner's circle.

One ballot will be selected from the boxes representing each filly in Race 6 and those finalists will receive an Ontario Sires Stakes t-shirt, ball cap, and lanyard badge, along with a $15 win-place-show wager on their chosen horse. After cheering their fillies home, the representative of the winning filly will add an Ontario Sires Stakes jacket and golf shirt to their goodie bag, in addition to receiving a trophy and commemorative photo with the winner and her connections. Finally, the winning finalist will receive a $50 wagering voucher to employ through the remaining races.

Finalists of a different sort, those qualifying for the Country 93 Survivor Contest Finale, will also be paying close attention to the Grassroots divisions as they aim to accurately predict the winners in hopes of taking home one of three great prizes, topped by a 55-inch HD television.

The two-year-old trotting fillies will be featured in Races 2, 4, 6, and 8 on Hanover Raceway's action-packed Saturday evening program, with all the excitement getting under way at 7:15 pm.

Ontario Racing

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