Day At The Track

Grassroots colts sharp at Georgian Downs

06:24 PM 15 Aug 2018 NZST
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AUGUST 14, 2018 - Ontario's talented two-year-old pacing colts and geldings put on a show for Georgian Downs fans on Tuesday night, competing in six Grassroots divisions.

Classified Material and driver Chris Christoforou, Jr. led off with a sharp 1:52.3 score from Post 9 in the first $19,500 division, missing the track record by one-fifth of a second. Controlling the tempo from start to finish, the Bettors Delight son hit the wire one and three-quarter lengths ahead of Century Farroh. Fan favourite Machdavid was well back in third.

Windsor resident Bob McIntosh trains Classified Material and the Hall of Fame horseman also bred and shares ownership of the gelding with Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington, Ontario and C S X Stables of Liberty Center, Ohio. The win was Classified Material's third of the season, but his first in Grassroots action.

The second division also saw Maintenance Man and driver Brett MacDonald employ front-end tactics from Post 5. The fan favourites battled down the stretch to a 1:54.2 victory, three-quarters of a length ahead of Face The Challenge and Taragon.

Harry Poulton trains the son of Bettors Delight for fractional ownership group Thestable Maintenance Man of Guelph, Ontario. The win was the colt's second straight at Georgian Downs. He also posted a 1:53.1 personal best in an August 5 overnight event. Tuesday's test was the pacer's first appearance in the Grassroots program after starting his season with a win and a ninth in the Gold Series.

"He had a decent start to the year in the Gold Series, but came up sick in his July 23 outing," said Anthony MacDonald, who operates with his wife Amy. "We opted to skip the Battle of Waterloo (Aug. 6) and stay off the half-mile tracks as he's a big colt, so tonight's race was the most logical. He raced well in Georgian last week and we couldn't be happier with how he looked tonight.

"With over 20 owners, he was one of our most popular colts training down," added MacDonald, who purchased the colt for $35,000 at last fall's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. Through five starts Maintenance Man has now earned $22,280.

The third division saw Bob McClure steer The First Step to his second straight victory in a personal best 1:55. The Betterthancheddar son hit the wire one length ahead of DA Delightful and favourite Thisishowwedoit.

McClure engineered the victory for trainer Timothy Gillespie of Grafton and his partner Jason Churchill of Colborne, Ontario. The partners acquired The First Step from the London Selected Sale and have already recouped his $18,000 purchase price after four starts.

Like Maintenance Man, Heisman Player dropped down from the Gold Series for Tuesday night's test and found his way to the winner's circle for the second straight week. The Sportswriter son and trainer-driver Rick Zeron employed a come-from-behind strategy from Post 9, pacing under the wire in 1:53.4. Deception Seelster was one-half length back in second and Silas Seelster was two more lengths back in third.

"He was a little bit rammy when I first started out with him this year and we got into some trouble in the first race so we took a few steps back with him, figured everything all out, and then we raced him and he raced really good," said Zeron. "He come back and win last week (Aug. 7) in 1:53.1, and he got home in :26.4, and I was really happy with him.

"Instead of taking him over to Grand River, because he's a big, long-gaited colt, I said I think I'll skip the Gold (Aug. 15) and I'll go to the Grassroots with him up in Georgian at a five-eighths and race him in there, keep him brave and get him a little bit more education," the Oakville resident continued. "Of course we drew the nine-hole, which was out nine-wide, so I floated out of there with him, got him spotted and I come third-over with him. At the head of the lane I had some room and I moved him over. He did the rest on his own."

Zeron shares ownership of the $30,000 Lexington yearling purchase with Howard Taylor of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, James Walker of Port Perry and Noblock Racing Stable of Collingwood, Ontario. The colt has banked $16,750 in his first four starts.

The last two divisions were captured by colts making their first-ever appearance in the winner's circle.

In the fifth split Scott Young guided Ahi to a 1:55 victory for trainer Mark Steacy and owner-breeder Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, Quebec. Passionate Prince also closed well to be second and fan favourite Village Champ rounded out the top three.

"He's a nice little horse that is improving with every start," noted Steacy. "Like his half-brothers Makasi ($181,276) and Hudson Phil ($210,332), he always gives his best."

In his first two Grassroots starts the Sportswriter son finished sixth (July 13) and fifth (July 23).

The final Grassroots blanket was awarded to Wager On Me, who sprinted home in :27.2 to catch pacesetter and fan favourite B Stoney. B Stoney and driver Jason Ryan hit the wire one-half length ahead of the favourite in 1:54.1, with Millenium Seelster grabbing the third-place share.

Rockwood resident Carl Jamieson owns and trains Wager On Me, who was a $23,000 purchase out of the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. The Bettors Delight son made one start in the Gold Series before moving to the Grassroots in time for the July 23 event, where he was a narrowly beaten third.

The two-year-old pacing colts and geldings will make their fourth Grassroots start at Hanover Raceway on August 25.

Georgian Downs wraps up its 2018 Ontario Sires Stakes schedule this Sunday, August 19 when the three-year-old pacing fillies will compete in their fourth Gold Leg as part of the Earl Rowe Trot program. In addition to the on-track excitement, which gets under way at 6 pm, the evening will also feature a fun-filled lineup of activities for the whole family.

From the Ontario Sire Stakes


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