Day At The Track

Trio of Royalty For Life colts triumph at Hiawatha

12:04 PM 12 Aug 2018 NZST
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AUGUST 11, 2018 - Sons of first-year sire Royalty For Life swept the two-year-old trotting colt and gelding Grassroots divisions at Hiawatha Horse Park on Saturday evening.

Royal Elite led off with a 2:02 score in the first $18,800 division, going straight to the front from Post 5 and laying down fractions of :27.4, :59.1 and 1:30.2 on his way to the one and one-half length victory. Cousin Peter closed hard to be second and Never Tell rounded out the top three.

"Royal Elite is coming along nicely," said trainer Mark Steacy, who conditions the colt for owner-breeder Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, Quebec. "He gives a good effort every time."

The trainer's son, Shawn Steacy, piloted Royal Elite to his second Grassroots victory. The colt was also victorious in the July 17 season opener at Georgian Downs and logged a third-place result in the July 31 event at Woodbine Mohawk Park. With a total of 112 points Royal Elite currently sits atop the division standings with two regular season events remaining.

Hot on Royal Elite's heels is the second division winner, A Royal Line. Like his rival the gelding fired out of Post 7 and rolled through a :28.3 quarter, 1:00.4 half and 1:30.4 three-quarters before pulling away from the field to a four length victory in a personal best 2:00.4. Priceless Ruler and fan favourite Rap Royalty finished second and third.

Hiawatha Horse Park's leading reinsman Garrett Rooney engineered A Royal Line's second Grassroots win for trainer-breeder Bob McIntosh of Windsor and his partners Dave Boyle of Bowmanville and Mardon Stables of Loretto, Ontario. Like Royal Elite, A Royal Line posted his first win in the Grassroots season opener, but then tested the Gold Series waters in the second leg, finishing third in his division at Georgian Downs on July 29. He is currently in sole possession of second spot in the Grassroots standings with 100 points.

The final division went to first-time Grassroots starter Radical Roy, who also employed front-end tactics from Post 5. In rein to Stephen Byron, Radical Roy trotted through fractions of :28.3, :58.1, and 1:30 on his way to a two and one-half length victory in 2:01.2. Warrawee Usain finished second and Debt Collector was third.

"Sometimes you're better to be the big fish in the small pond than to be a small fish in a big pond," said trainer John Bax of Radical Roy's late entry into the Grassroots. The gelding made his first two Ontario Sires Stakes starts at the Gold Series level, finishing sixth on both July 16 and 29. "It will be a confidence builder for him, and he certainly fit there."

Bax and his son Matt share ownership of Radical Roy with Don Allensen of Wyoming, Peter Porter of Port Dover, Ontario and Richard Gutnick of Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. The Campbellville resident admitted that he was a little worried about how Radical Roy would fare on Saturday due to a recent wave of sickness that has impacted a number of two-year-olds in the barn, including the gelding's turn-out partner Magical Journey, who finished fifth in his Gold Series division on Thursday evening.

"I've had two in the last week have a high white count, two-year-olds, so I was a little nervous at the three-quarter pole, hoping that he didn't have the bug," said Bax. "His partner (Magical Journey) had a high white count after the last race. He stopped up pretty good."

Bax has not decided whether Radical Roy will return to the Gold Series or remain in the Grassroots program for the remainder of his freshman season. Saturday's victory gives the gelding 50 points, which puts him among the top 20 point earners with two regular season events remaining.

He would need one more Grassroots start to qualify, but the top 20 point earners will compete in two $20,000 Semi-finals at Woodbine Mohawk Park on September 20. In his two Gold Series starts Radical Roy tallied six points, well outside the top 10 finish needed to land a berth in the season ending Super Final.

The next Grassroots event for the two-year-old trotting colts and geldings is September 3 at Woodbine Mohawk Park, while the Gold Series event is September 24 at Grand River Raceway.

From the Ontario Sire Stakes

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