Paul Ysebaert and Bob McIntosh have been buying, breeding and racing horses together for two decades and the latest product of their harness racing partnership will be lining up behind the Hiawatha Horse Park starting gate on Saturday in the fourth of six Grassroots divisions.
Expresso Yourself heads into the Sarnia contest on a three race win streak, with two of those victories coming in Grassroots action. A daughter ofand Electrical Express, Ysebaert says the novice pacer reminds him a bit of her half-sister, $1 million winner Electrical Art.
“She’s a gutsy little filly that doesn’t want any one to pass her,” says the Mooretown resident.
“She shows little signs of Electrical Art,” he adds. “She wasn’t the fastest filly, but she dug in every start. You knew what you were getting.”
Since her June 23 qualifier at Mohawk Racetrack, Expresso Yourself has been on a rapid learning curve. The youngster made a break in her July 4 debut at Dresden Raceway and still managed to hit the wire first, stopping the teletimer at 2:01. The filly then got her first look at Hiawatha Horse Park in a July 12 qualifier, where she finished fourth in 1:58.3. Expresso Yourself made her debut in the Grassroots program on July 20, delivering a third-place effort from Post 7 at Woodstock Raceway.
Second in an overnight event at Grand River Raceway on Aug.1, Expresso Yourself returned to the winner’s circle with a 2:00 victory at Hiawatha on Aug. 9 and then added two Grassroots trophies to her collection at Flamboro Downs on August 15 and Hanover Raceway on Aug. 23. The Hanover victory saw the filly cruise home five and one-half lengths on top in a personal best 1:56.1.
“You know what you have within about five starts,” notes former NHL winger Ysebaert. “We know her demeanour.
“We pretty much know that she’s a gutsy little filly,” he continues. “I don’t know if she’s grown any, I haven’t seen her up close in about three weeks and it’s amazing how much they can change in a month, but she’s a good size, she’s got a great gait and a good attitude.”
Expresso Yourself currently sits in a tie for fourth in the division standings with 112 points, and Ysebaert is confident that McIntosh will have the filly ready to rumble in the Grassroots post season, which gets under way on Sept. 21 at Grand River Raceway.
“He’s one of the best managers as far as trainers go,” says the longtime owner. “It’s all about the horses.”
Ysebaert and his family will be on hand to watch Expresso Yourself tour their local oval on Saturday, and once the filly’s work is done the racing fan will be sticking around to watch McIntosh’s entries in the $1 million Metro Pace and $610,000 Shes A Great Lady finals via the televised feed from Mohawk Racetrack.
“I obviously follow racing all the time, especially Bob’s horses, whether I own them or not,” Ysebaert explains.
“He’s been not only a good friend, but a good partner as well.”
Mike Saftic will steer Expresso Yourself for the partners on Saturday, sending her after a share of the $24,000 Grassroots purse from Post 2 in the seventh race. Among the fillies they face are Hanover division winner Miss Coco Luck from Post 1 and Flamboro division winner Cams Macharena from Post 9.
In addition to Expresso Yourself, Windsor resident McIntosh will also harness five other starters in the second last Grassroots event of the season. Its Perfect will lead off from Post 9 in the third race, Western Empress gets Post 6 in Race 4, Snowbird will benefit from Post 1 in Race 6, Pan Luis Obispo will start from Post 8 in Race 8 and Release The Magic will wrap things up from Post 9 in the ninth race.
Hiawatha Horse Park’s Saturday evening program gets under way at 6:30 pm.
by Sandra SNYDER