Day At The Track

Track record falls twice at Clinton Raceway

02:21 PM 06 Jul 2020 NZST
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Profound Paragon, harness racing
Three-year-old trotting filly Profound Paragon and driver Jean Bernard Renaud toured Clinton Raceway in a track record 1:59 on Sunday, July 5 to capture their $22,800 Grassroots division for trainer Julie Walker of Carlisle, ON and her co-owner Steven Tit
Jessica Carnochan photo

CLINTON, JULY 5, 2020 – Forty-eight sophomore harness racing trotting fillies descended on Clinton Raceway Sunday afternoon and the track record at the half-mile oval fell not once, but twice as the fillies battled in six $22,800 Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots divisions.

As the program got underway the three-year-old trotting filly track record stood at 1:59.3, set by Gotta Pay To Play in a July 2018 Grassroots event. That speed mark was erased in the third division when Moana wore down pacesetter Credits Celebrity and out-sprinted fan favourite Alexa Blue Chip to claim a two length victory in 1:59.2. Alexa Blue Chip settled for second and Credits Celebrity was third.

“I knew she’d be pretty good there compared to some of the other ones, because she gets around the turns like a hoop around a barrel, so I knew that would play in her favour overall,” said trainer Shawn Steacy. “And James had been taking her back and racing her conservatively the last couple starts, so I figured he’d be pressing pretty good off the gate and trying to be aggressive with her today.”

James MacDonald engineered the Muscle Mass daughter’s first win of 2020 for owners Landmark 12 Racing Stable of Lansdowne, 1187422 Ontario Inc. of Ottawa, ON and Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC. Moana was a two-time Grassroots winner at two, including a win in her Grassroots Semi-final, and Steacy hopes the filly is poised to match or better her freshman success this season.

“She’s always been a little bit on the aggressive side and I thought we were going to have trouble training her back with her aggression this year, but once we got about 10 or 15 training miles into her she settled right in and she trained back a lot better, a lot easier on herself, than I expected her to be,” Steacy explained. “In the long run of things she’ll be better because she’ll be able to conserve a lot more of her energy that way.”

Moana’s name would stay in Clinton’s record book for less than two hours however as Profound Paragon and driver Jean Bernard Renaud laid down a gate-to-wire 1:59 effort in the final division. Another daughter of Muscle Mass, Profound Paragon hit the wire one and three-quarter lengths ahead of fan favourite Hickman County and Sheer Energy.

The win was Profound Paragon’s second straight and her fourth of the sophomore campaign. A late bloomer, the filly did not make her first start until after the Ontario Sires Stakes season was complete last fall, but she showed enough promise that trainer Julie Walker and her co-owner Steven Titus of Manalapan, NJ were confident she would be a player on the Grassroots circuit this summer.

“We were going to give her the month of February off so that we didn’t tire her out for the Sires Stakes season and with that month off and COVID on top of that, she really got thick, she grew up a lot. She’s not really tall, but she got strong,” said Walker. “With the little break and everything we were able to take the trotting hopples off her, and like I said she just kept getting stronger and better.

“Our plan was always just the Grassroots because I’m not sure if she’s a high speed filly, but like you see today, she can go around any shape and size track and that’s kind of fun to have,” added the Carlisle, ON resident. “And she’s very smart, even going to the races today, it’s hot, and she just sits and falls asleep in the cross-ties, and just likes to do her job.”

Dancing Queen kicked off the Grassroots action with a 2:01 score for driver Brett MacDonald, trainer Ron MacDonald and owner Synerco Ventures Inc. of Toronto, ON. St Helens and No Angel Here finished one and one-quarter lengths behind the Royalty For Life daughter, who was making her Ontario Sires Stakes debut.

The second split went to Validation and driver Colin Kelly, who controlled the tempo from start to finish, sailing under the wire one and three-quarter lengths ahead of fan favourite Chelseas Magic. Incredible Hally was five lengths back in third.

“She trained down so well and then she just kind of got into a couple bad habits where she’d get excited behind the gate. She just needed some time. She’s very big and growthy so she just needed some time to mature I think,” said Kelly, who piloted the Muscle Mass daughter to her second sophomore win for trainer Rick Zeron of Oakville and his partner Howard Taylor of Philadelphia, PA. “She did everything well within hand today, she didn’t seem overly stressed and she seemed to do everything pretty easy and relaxed. Hopefully she just kind of builds on that and she can have a good season going forward.”

The Present captured the fourth division with a 2:02.4 effort for Bob McClure, trainer Marcel Barrieau of Cambridge and his partner Gestion Mastel of Longueil, QC. Peppas Angel finished three lengths back in second and Queen M was three more behind in third.

“She’s a very square-gaited trotter, perfect for a track like Clinton,” said McClure of the Royalty For Life daughter. “It’s tough to beat her on the small tracks.”

The fifth Grassroots battle went to a hard-charging Noblesse Duharas, who overcame an early break caused by interference to claim the 2:02 victory. Need An Alibi finished second and fan favourite Highland Foxytrotr was third.

“She raced super today. She got interfered with in the first turn and got mixed up, but then raced fantastic to come back and win,” said Scott Young, who piloted the Muscle Mass daughter to the win for trainer Denis Gueriel and owner Haras De L’Estrie Inc. of Dunham, QC. “I was super happy with her performance today.”

The focus shifted to the three-year-old pacing fillies at the end of the program as the $64,700 Kin Pace Final went postward in Race 10. A big closing effort by Watch My Speed and driver Jody Jamieson saw them claim the victor’s spoils as favourites High Roller Duke and Tuggingoncredit hooked wheels in the stretch, interfering with eventual runner-up Century Gianna and taking themselves out of the race. Preeminence recovered from an early break to finish third.

While they could not be trackside to cheer on the fillies, Clinton Raceway fans wagered just over $88,000 on the program. Complete results can be found at Clinton Raceway Results.

The three-year-old trotting fillies will make their second Grassroots start on July 26 at Rideau Carleton Raceway.

From the Ontario Sire Stakes

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