CAMPBELLVILLE, ON — Milton resident Randy Waples and Hall of Fame trainer Bob McIntosh dominated the freshman trotting divisions on the $400,000 Grassroots Championship program at Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday, Sept. 21.
Kicking off the Championship action in the second race, Waples guided McIntosh trainee Pasadena Star to a commanding three and three-quarter length victory over R Choochoo Charlie and Warrawee Promesse. The two-year-old son of top trotting sire Kadabra stopped the clock at 1:58 to record his sixth lifetime victory in eight starts for Windsor resident McIntosh and his partner C S X Stables of Liberty Center, OH.
“You’re going out there with a horse that you think is very competitive, if not the best one and basically you’re just going to try not to screw things up. That’s what I was looking for, don’t screw it up, and it worked out,” quipped Waples following the victory aboard the fan favourite and division point leader.
“Right from the time he went behind the gate as a baby he knew exactly what he was doing,” added the reinsman. “He was a smart horse and he’s always stayed that way. He’s got a little faster, but everything manner-wise is exactly the same.”
Three races later Waples was back in the winner’s circle having achieved an identical result with two-year-old trotting filly Chelseas Chance. Once again sent off as the favourite based on a division leading record of four wins and one second in five starts, Waples engineered a come from behind trip for the Kadabra daughter that saw her pull away in the stretch to a three and three-quarter length victory in 1:59.2. Supreme Monarch and Erin Hall rounded out the top three.
McIntosh and C S X Stables also bred and own Chelseas Chance, who boasts a freshman record of five wins in seven starts.
The freshman pacing championships went to a pair of local horses that employed vastly different strategies to achieve their goal. Pacing colt Lucky King and driver James MacDonald of Guelph controlled the tempo from start to finish, sailing home one and one-half lengths ahead of VIP Bayama and Shadow Place in 1:52.2.
Rockwood resident Andrew McCabe conditions Lucky King for Glenview Livestock of Guelph-Eramosa and Leonard Christopher of Acton, who took temporary leave of a nearby wedding to watch his horse capture a provincial championship.
“We came here to see him win, and he did! He didn’t disappoint us,” said Christopher with a laugh. “It was great.”
The Camluck colt, a full brother to former Grassroots winner Red Carpet Dude ($160,330), was a $14,000 acquisition out of the 2012 Harrisburg Yearling Sale and returned $59,512 to his owners with his fourth win in 10 starts.
In the freshman pacing filly Championship Shadows Wonder closed from sixth at the top of the stretch to a one and one-quarter length victory over Itsa Surprise Tome and favourite Momara. The Shadow Play daughter and driver Jack Moiseyev of Moffat stopped the clock in 1:54.2.
“She’s been a just a lovely filly to work with, to do anything with, all summer long, she just had some bad luck starting out,” explained Guelph resident Dr. Ian Moore. “She got the one win and then just figured, ‘Oh this is what I’ve got to do,’ and away she’s been, so it’s been great.”
Moore trains and owns the filly in partnership with R G McGroup of Bathurst, NB and Serge Savard of Saint Bruno, QC.
Three-year-old pacing colt Panpero Firpo wrote his name into the history books by defending the Grassroots title he claimed at two. The No Pan Intended son and driver Brett Miller achieved the rare feat by storming from the back of the pack to the front with a :26.3 final quarter. George Jettison and Sea Harrier also closed well to finish second and third in the 1:51.3 mile.
David Menary of Cheltenham conditions Panpero Firpo for owner-breeder Peter Pan Stables Inc. of Pepper Pike, OH.
Driver Brett Miller scored a second Grassroots Championship with sophomore pacing filly Mattys Big Day, who rolled out of the pocket to best pacesetter Betit To Getit in 1:53. Favourite Western Empress settled for third. Corey Johnson conditions Jeremes Jet daughter Mattys Big Day for Debbie Element and Ecurie JGV Enrg of Laval, QC.
Reigning Lampman Cup titleholder Sylvain Filion of Milton piloted Legzy to a 1:56.3 victory in the three-year-old trotting filly Championship. The Amigo Hall miss, sent off as the fans’ top choice, bested Wind Stroll and Moms Apple Pie. Rockwood resident Rob Fellows conditions Legzy for owner-breeders Edward Wilson of Seagrave and Michael Pozefsky of Saratoga Springs, NY.
The three-year-old trotting colt crown was captured in commanding fashion by Crosbys Clam Bake who rocketed down the stretch to an eight and one-quarter length victory over Photo Mass and Super Duke in 1:55.3. Guelph resident Doug McNair engineered the Kadabra gelding’s sixth lifetime win for trainer Per Henriksen of Norwood and owner Edward Lohmeyer of Cream Ridge, NJ.
“Per’s done a great job getting him where he is now. He just told me, you don’t get paid at the quarter or the half,” said McNair after the race. “I could have got away last, that’s how much the best he was, as long as he stayed trotting. I knew he could win as long as he stayed trotting.”
McNair and his peers will be back at Mohawk Racetrack next Saturday night, guiding the best Gold Series horses in the province on the $1,600,000 Super Final program.
Videos for all races attached.