Day At The Track

Selmas Wish aiming to strike in Grassroots

03:25 AM 14 Aug 2012 NZST
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Ontario Sires Stakes

Kawartha Downs harness racing fans get a second dose of the province's top 3-year-old pacing fillies this week as the Fraserville oval plays host to five $24,000 Grassroots divisions on Thursday (August 16).

Selmas Wish will make her third start in the Grassroots program on Thursday, and trainer Craig Barss is hoping the hometown advantage boosts the filly into a top five spot in the fifth race. In the June 9 Grassroots season opener at Hanover Raceway Selmas Wish finished seventh, and in the July 27 contest at Grand River Raceway she finished eighth.

“I thought I’d give it one more kick at the can because it’s at Kawartha. It’s only 25 minutes from my house,” says Baltimore resident Barss. “She raced really good her last start, so we’re hoping she carries over from that.”

The daughter of Mach Three and Ashlees Luck delivered a solid second-place performance in an overnight event at Kawartha on August 4, hitting the wire one length behind Hornets Nest and pacing her own mile in 1:55.4. Jonathan Drury engineered that effort and will be back in the race bike on Thursday, steering Selmas Wish from Post 2 in the second Grassroots division.

“Jonathan Drury has done well with her,” notes Barss, who shares ownership of the filly with Nurko Sokolovic of Waterloo. “He seems like a good lad and he seems to get along with her good.”

Drury has piloted Selmas Wish in six of her 13 starts this season, finishing in the top five on every occasion. Barss says the reinsman has adapted to the filly’s quirks, which include a preference for racing with her mouth wide open.

“She’s a little finicky with her mouth, she’s got a funny mouth on her,” says the trainer. “She likes to get her mouth wide open and if you try to close it she doesn’t pick up the bit.”

Barss and Sokolovic bred and raised Selmas Wish, who is a full sister to their $169,425 winner Stolen Car. Last season Stolen Car captured two Grassroots trophies and finished second in the three-year-old pacing colt Grassroots Final. The colt’s success facilitated a late arrival to the races for Selmas Wish, and has her owners hopeful that she will eventually find success on the provincial circuit.

“She’s improving,” notes Barss. “Her brother took a while to get rolling too and he ended up second in the Grassroots Final, so we are hoping for her to strike.”

The trainer opted to start Selmas Wish just once at two, giving the dainty filly extra time to mature and find her stride. She returned to action in late March and has amassed two wins, two seconds, two thirds and $13,680 in 13 starts. Aside from her lacklustre performance in the Grand River Raceway Grassroots event, the filly has been no worse than third since June 16.

Selmas Wish will face off against a field of eight Ontario Sires Stakes veterans in her quest for a top five finish on Thursday, including division co-leader Phoenix Seelster who will be hampered by the outside Post 8. Among the other contenders are former Gold Series regular Legal Entity from Post 3 and previous Grassroots division winners Fine Art Mindale and Express Jet from Posts 4 and 5.

In addition to the fifth race, Ontario’s talented three-year-old pacing fillies will grace the Kawartha Downs oval in Races 4, 6, 7, and 8. Post time for the Fraserville oval’s Thursday evening program is 7 pm.

To view Selmas Wish’s previous Grassroots starts please go to http://www.ontariosiresstakes.com/participants/display_horse.html?tattoo=1GN17

by Sandra SNYDER

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