Day At The Track

Roseneath couple hoping for success in OSS

09:52 AM 17 Jul 2015 NZST
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 Retired Standardbred SJs Stormtrooper captures first prize in a roadster class at The Royal Winter Fair for owners Carolyn and Lloyd Nugent of Napanee, ON. SJs Stormtrooper and his stablemate A No Vacancy will lead the post parades during Kawartha Downs
Retired Standardbred SJs Stormtrooper captures first prize in a roadster class at The Royal Winter Fair for owners Carolyn and Lloyd Nugent of Napanee, ON. SJs Stormtrooper and his stablemate A No Vacancy will lead the post parades during Kawartha Downs

Harness racing track Kawartha Downs will celebrate its 43rd anniversary on Saturday, July 18 with a host of special giveaways for fans and five Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots events for the three-year-old trotting colts.

"Kawartha opened on July 22, so we try to do it the date closest to," said Kawartha's Heather MacKay.

"So we'll be giving out free cupcakes to celebrate the anniversary and this week, on our Facebook page and Twitter, we're going to have a throwback contest and it'll be around Kawartha's anniversary and the Sires Stakes as they relate to Kawartha Downs."

In addition to the throwback contest, fans will have ample opportunity to win at the racetrack on Saturday.

Starting at 6:30 pm Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) drivers will be handing out OSS t-shirts to the early arrivals, OSS ball caps will be tossed to fans after Grassroots division, there will be second chance draws, and special anniversary and OSS prize draws throughout the evening.

In addition, families will enjoy the children's activity centre, where the young ones can colour in an OSS activity book.

On the racetrack Carolyn and Lloyd Nugent's retired Standardbred roadster horses will add some pageantry to the evening.

SJs Stormtrooper, who is undefeated in roadster classes at the Royal Winter Fair, and A No Vacancy, who actually competed in a Grassroots event at Kawartha Downs during his three-year-old season, will lead each post parade.

Local colt At The Disco will make his 2015 Grassroots debut in the second $18,000 division for trainer Tommy Riley and his wife, owner Amanda Riley, of Roseneath, ON.

The Riley's purchased At The Disco from former Peterborough resident John Bax in May and the couple was delighted to learn that Kawartha Downs' 2015 OSS event was for sophomore trotting colts.

"It's was bonus, when I bought this fellow, that it was a Sires Stakes for him," said Tommy Riley. "It was perfect."

Since moving to Roseneath, At The Disco made a miscue in a May 30 conditioned event at Kawartha and finished fourth, qualified twice over the Fraserville oval and then posted his first lifetime victory in a conditioned event on July 11, touring the five-eighths mile surface in 2:01.2.

That result prompted Riley to enter the gelding for Saturday's Grassroots test.

"I just figured it would be the perfect time to try him just because it was so close."

"My wife and I, we were both raised there and both of our parents were raised there, so it was one of those things," said Riley, a third generation horseman.

"It was better to give it a whirl and try it, and if it pans out and everything works out in our favour then we'll probably race him in another one."

At The Disco and driver Nick Boyd of Guelph, ON will line up at Post 8 in the fifth race on Saturday, and Riley is hoping the son of Kadabra demonstrates some of the potential he knows is lurking under a fractious exterior.

"I love trotters, I like problem horses. Like At The Disco, he showed decent last quarters but he was making breaks so you know that he has the speed, you have to get him to where he's putting it all together," explained the trainer.

"I know he hasn't showed a whole bunch on his lines, but I think he'll turn out to be a nice horse in the future."

Among the Grassroots regulars At The Disco will face in Saturday's test is In Secret, who will start from Post 7 for Norwood, ON resident Per Henriksen.

The Grassroots divisions go postward in Races 1, 5, 7, 8, and 9 on Saturday's program, with the first race scheduled for 7 pm.

For fans hoping to meet their favourite Ontario Sires Stakes driver and pick up an OSS t-shirt, the festivities get under way at 6:30 pm.

Ontario Horse Racing

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