Day At The Track

Angus Hall colt bounces back from allergic reaction

05:45 PM 29 Jul 2015 NZST
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Driver Mike Saftic of Campbellville, ON pilots two-year-old trotting colt Willyorwonthe to a 1:58.4 Grassroots victory at Mohawk Racetrack on July 28
Driver Mike Saftic of Campbellville, ON pilots two-year-old trotting colt Willyorwonthe to a 1:58.4 Grassroots victory at Mohawk Racetrack on July 28

After having his early season derailed by allergies, two-year-old trotting colt Willyorwonthe finally found his way to the Ontario Sires Stakes winner's circle at the harness racing meeting at Mohawk Racetrack on Tuesday evening.

The colt and driver Mike Saftic of Campbellville, ON fired away from Post 8 in the last $18,000 Grassroots division and reeled off fractions of :28.2, :59 and 1:30.1 before fending off a late challenge from The Land Shark and sailing under the wire a three-quarter length winner in 1:58.4.

Sass was well behind the leaders in third.

It was Willyorwonthe's first win since he turned heads with a 1:56.3 triumph in a two-year-old conditioned event at Mohawk on July 2, and the effort caused owner-trainer Bill Megens of Puslinch, ON to breathe a small sigh of relief.

"He raced very good the first start," said Megens of the colt's July 2 debut.

"He had a few problems with food allergies so the vet, after the first race, suggested I treat him for the allergies and it kind of back-fired, he was allergic to the treatment."

Willyorwonthe broke out in a rash, his throat was inflamed and he developed a cough in response to the allergy treatment.

In his first two Ontario Sires Stakes appearances, at the Gold Series level on July 13 and 21, he finished seventh and fourth without the finishing kick he had shown Megens all winter.

"He'd been good all along and I couldn't figure out what the heck went wrong with him," said Megens, who learned that 30 per cent of horses have an adverse reaction to the allergy treatment.

"Hopefully we've got that under control now. He's not allergic to dust or nothing, it's just some foods."

Following Willyorwonthe's reaction to the allergy treatment, Megens reverted to the simple diet he had been feeding the son of Angus Hall and Mikestory since he was a foal.

"No more sweet feed or any of the mixed feeds."

"He's allergic to corn and soy beans both, so it makes it hard to get a feed that don't contain them, so I put him on straight oats," said the horseman, who bred both Willyorwonthe and his dam, $246,254 winner Mikestory.

"When I trained him down he was on straight oats and he always was good, and then I tried to get him a little better feed and it didn't work."

If Willyorwonthe continues to regain his health Megens will send him to Georgian Downs for the fourth Grassroots event on August 4, and a positive result there may see the young trotter take another run at the Gold Series colts.

"Hopefully he'll stay healthy for a while," said the horseman.

"We'll see after the next race, if he races well next time we'll probably try him in the Gold again."

Local trotter Holiday Bro also captured his first Ontario Sires Stakes trophy on Tuesday.

The son of Holiday Road and Armbro Xanadu circled out wide in the final quarter and sprinted down the stretch to a two length victory over favourite United BI and Muscle Time in 2:00.3 in the second division.

"They were all hanging in the last turn, so I whipped out like 10-wide and let him trot," quipped Phil Hudon, who piloted Holiday Bro to the win for owner-trainer Ivan Gallant of Rockwood, ON.

"I helped Ivan train him down and he's coming along nicely," added the Guelph, ON resident.

"He's getting better every start and he's a quick learner."

In his Grassroots debut, at Clinton Raceway on July 19, Holiday Bro finished second, so Tuesday's victory bumped his point tally to 75 and put him in fifth spot in the standings with three regular season events left on the two-year-old trotting colt calendar.

Milton, ON resident Randy Waples won two Grassroots events, with Thee Desperado and Frankly Speaking.

Starting from Post 5 in the first division, Thee Desperado recovered quickly from an early break in stride and then reeled in the leaders through the stretch to post a victory in his first lifetime start.

Waples and the Manofmanymissions son hit the wire one-half length ahead of favourite Recreate and Romeo, stopping the teletimer at 1:58.3.

Waples engineered the win for trainer Brent Belore of Embro, ON and owners Karen and Daniel MacIntyre of London, ON, Joshua McKibbin of Tillsonburg, ON and Nancy Newport of Ingersoll, ON.

Lightly rated Frankly Speaking also used a come-from-behind move to post his first victory in the fifth division.

The Angus Hall son bested Asterix and Clone The Tone by three-quarters of a length in 1:59.2.

Waples piloted the colt for trainer Mark Steacy of Lansdowne, ON and owners Frank Spagnolo of Potsdam, NY and Frank Schimizzi of Ottawa, ON.

Georgies Pockets kept a neck in front of UF Musclemass Star to record his second straight Grassroots victory in the fourth split.

The Muscle Mass son and driver Steve Condren hit the wire in 1:58.3.

Cool Creek Victory rounded out the top three.

Milton, ON resident Condren piloted the colt to his second win for trainer Melvin Turcotte of Coconut Creek, FL and owners M T Pockets Stables of Pompano Beach, FL. Georgies Pockets now shares top spot in the division standings with United BI.

Windsun Missile captured the other Grassroots division with a 2:00 clocking for trainer-driver Per Henriksen

. The duo bested JLs Bad Moon Risin and Welland Seelster.

Henriksen trains the Kadabra colt for Steve Organ of Aurora, ON, Asa Farm of Norwood, ON and Darryl Drain of Tweed, ON.

The two-year-old trotting colts make their fourth Grassroots start at Georgian Downs on August. 4, while their feminine peers arrive at Mohawk on Thursday evening for seven Grassroots divisions.

The two-year-old trotting fillies are featured in Races 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 9, and 11 on the Thursday program, which gets under way at 7:25 pm.

Ontario Horse Racing

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