OCT. 1, 2015 - Harness racing trainer Ben Baillargeon says Tessa Seelster may not be the prettiest filly to watch on the racetrack, but when it comes to grit and heart the three-year-old pacing filly has no equal. "She's a very gutsy mare, because she almost died as a two-year-old," explained Rockwood, ON resident Baillargeon. "She was on the operating table for colic surgery and the small bowel ruptured so they had to sew it by hand, and the chance of her surviving was about slim and none." Not only did Tessa Seelster survive the surgery, she went on to race as two-year-old, posting two victories in seven starts, and on Thursday evening she captured her first Ontario Sires Stakes trophy in Gold Series action at Flamboro Downs. Starting from Post 3 in the first $105,000 division, driver Mario Baillargeon of Milton, ON settled Tessa Seelster into fourth as fan favourite Solar Sister fired off the starting gate to a :27.1 opening quarter. The resinman kept Tessa Seelster in fourth through the :56.1 half and then sent the daughter of Shadow Play up the outside, reaching the 1:24.4 three-quarters with a narrow lead. Tessa Seelster stayed game down the stretch, holding off Maplelea for a three-quarter length victory in 1:53.1. Capela was well behind the leaders in third. "The half-mile is not her best asset, and she still made it today, so I am very pleased with the result," said Baillargeon, who conditions the filly for Richard Berthiaume of Pointe-Aux-Trembles, QC. "Very pleased with the result and looking forward to next week." Tessa Seelster and the other nine leading point earners from the five regular season Gold events will make their next start in the $250,000 Super Final at Woodbine Racetrack on Oct. 10. "She will try her heart out anyway, because she's a very gutsy mare," noted Baillargeon. Among the fillies joining Tessa Seelster on the starting gate at Woodbine will be Thursday's other division winner, Glamour Seelster. With Guelph, ON resident Doug McNair in the race bike Glamour Seelster fired off the starting gate from Post 2 and landed third on the rail as fan favourite Wrangler Magic led the field to a :28.1 opening quarter. The pair continued to sit third as Wrangler Magic paced by the half in :57, then circled around the leaders to take command before the 1:25 three-quarters. From there Glamour Seelster cruised home a one and one-half length winner in 1:53, with Ms Mac N Cheese and Wrangler Magic crossing the finish line in her wake. "She's a high speed filly, she can pace as fast as any horse I've driven for a piece," said McNair. "She's getting better every week." The driver's father, Gregg McNair of Guelph, conditions Glamour Seelster for Lindsey and Connie Rankin of Lexington, MI. The win, her first in Gold Series action, improved the Jeremes Jet daughter's record to seven wins, one second and one third in 11 starts and boosted her earnings to $155,033. In addition to the sophomore pacing fillies' last regular season Gold event, Flamboro Downs also hosted the regular season finale for the two-year-old pacing colts on Thursday. Two-time Grassroots winner Continual Hanover made the move to the Gold Series level look easy, reeling in pacesetter Arsenic in the stretch to post a three-quarter length victory in 1:55.1. Fan favourite Nocturnal Bluechip was hot on Arsenic's heels in third. "He's always been right on the cusp of the Gold, but it was a bit easier to stay with the Grassroots," said driver Jody Jamieson of Continual Hanover. "Tonight he was real good, and dodged (division leaders) Voracity, Betting Line and Nvestment Bluechip, which is always good." Jack Darling of Cambridge, ON owns and trains Continual Hanover, who qualified for the freshman pacing colt Super Final with Thursday's victory. The Bettor's Delight colt will require a new driver for the Oct. 10 test as Jamieson is already committed to division point leader Nvestment Bluechip, but the Moffat, ON resident says the colt is a legitimate player in the season finale. "I think he's got a good chance with the right trip," said Jamieson of Continual Hanover's prospects. "He's peaking at the right time." In the second pacing colt division, Semi Automatic earned his second Gold trophy with an effortless six and one-half length score over New Talent and Cruise Patrol. The fan favourite and driver James MacDonald of Guelph, ON hit the wire in 1:55. "Semi was great tonight. He has had a great year," said MacDonald of the Badlands Hanover son. "Tonight he was pacing great, drew well (Post 2), so I moved him to the front and he controlled the race and won pretty handy." MacDonald crafted the win for trainer Tony O'Sullivan of Puslinch, ON and his partners Let It Ride Stables Inc. of Boca Raton, FL and J and T Silva Stables LLC of Long Beach, NY. The win bumped Semi Automatic into second spot in the division standings with 142 points from two wins, one second, one third and one fifth in the five regular season Gold events. The Gold Series regular season wraps up at Woodbine Racetrack on Friday, Oct. 2 with two $105,000 divisions for the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings, and then the Toronto oval will welcome the best horses from each division for the $2 million Super Final Night on Oct. 10. Ontario Horse Racing
CAMPBELLVILLE, May 18 - Rockin With Dewey trotted to a new career-mark of 1:52 to win the first leg of the Miss Versatility Monday night at Mohawk. A field of seven older trotting mares squared off Monday in round one of the harness racing series, Miss Versatility. The series for trotting mares is contested throughout the season over different track sizes. The final of the series is contested on Little Brown Jug day at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. Charmed Life was sent off as the heavy 1/5 favourite in Monday's opening leg. Rockin With Dewey, who defeated Charmed Life a week ago, was parked around the first turn, but cleared to the front as the field entered the backstretch, while Charmed Life was situated in fourth. Driven by Mario Baillargeon, Rockin With Dewey posted a half-mile time of :56 before being challenged in the third-quarter by Charmed Life. The two trotting mares slugged it out around the final turn and Rockin With Dewey was forced to trot a :27.3 third-quarter, as she fought off the first up challenge of Charmed Life. In the stretch, Rockin With Dewey continued to powered forward as she put away Charmed Life. Dorsay, who got a two-hole trip, stayed close to the leader in the lane, but ultimately finished second, as Rockin With Dewey held her off to win by three-quarters of a length victory in 1:52. Charmed Life had to settle for third, while Bax Of Life was fourth. A five-year-old daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe, Rockin With Dewey is trained by Ben Baillargeon, who also shares ownership in the mare with Diane Ingham. Monday's victory improves the trotting mare's record to two wins from 10 starts this season. Rockin With Dewey now has 12 career victories and career earnings of over $377,000. The clocking of 1:52 knocked a full two-seconds off her previous career-mark. Rockin With Dewey paid $11 to win. Mark McKelvie
CAMPBELLVILLE, April 25 - The conditions might have been a bit chilly, but Etruscan Hanover was sizzling Saturday night to a Don Mills harness racing stakes record at Mohawk Raceway. A field of eight four- and five-year-old trotters took to the track Saturday evening for the $44,400 final of the Don Mills Trotting Series. The series finale appeared to be a competitive contest on paper, but Etruscan Hanover would turn the final into his own personal showcase. Driven by Mario Baillargeon, Etruscan Hanover sprinted off the gate to the front and posted a speedy opening-quarter of :26.4. The fast first-quarter would be a sign of things to come, as Etruscan Hanover carved out fractions of :55.1 and 1:24 to bring the field into the stretch. Bourbon Bay, the 4/5 favourite, appeared to be getting a nice two-hole trip in behind the leader, but would be not match for Etruscan Hanover in the lane. Etruscan Hanover and Baillargeon trotted home in :28.2 to score a 3 ¼ length victory over Bourbon Bay and established a new Don Mills stakes record of 1:52.2. Exemplar finished third, while Wild And Crazy Guy was fourth. A five-year-old son of Donato Hanover, Etruscan Hanover is trained by Ben Baillargeon, who shares ownership with Santo & Nunzio Vena and Claude Hamel. The gelding trotter has had breaking issues throughout his career, but continually posts successful results when he minds his manners. Etruscan Hanover now has a record of three wins from nine starts this season. The Don Mills final triumph is the tenth career victory for the Baillargeon trainee and increases his bankroll to over $87,000. The stakes record clocking of 1:52.2 knocks more than three-seconds off Etruscan Hanover's previous career-mark. A $2 win ticket on Etruscan Hanover returned $6.80. In order to be eligible to the Don Mills series, the four- and five-year-old trotters had to be non-winners of $150,000 lifetime as of December 31, 2014. Etruscan Hanover J Js Delivery on time in Diplomat opener J Js Delivery shot up the rail late to pull off a 23/1 upset in the first leg of The Diplomat Saturday night at Mohawk. A field of nine three-year-old pacing colts and geldings lined up Saturday for the first round of The Diplomat series. J Js Delivery and driver James MacDonald were the quickest off the gate and posted a solid opening-quarter of :26.1. American Rock, the Youthful series winner and 9/5 second-choice, was parked around the first turn and would overtake the lead as the field rolled into the backstretch. The Wayfaring Man, the 3/2 favourite, came charging first up from fourth around the final turn to tango with the leader down to the three-quarter pole in 1:25.1. In the stretch, Good Friday Three came off the cover of The Wayfaring Man to pace by the leaders and appeared to be on his way to victory. However, MacDonald would find room up the rail in deep stretch to allow J Js Delivery to charge through and score a length victory over Good Friday Three in 1:52.2. Star Cover come on late to finish third, while The Wayfaring Man and American Rock had to settle for fourth and fifth, respectively. A son of Jeremes Jet, J Js Delivery was making his second start for new trainer Dave Menary Saturday night. The three-year-old gelding is now two-for-two out of the Menary barn and has a record of three wins from five starts in 2015. J Js Delivery, who is owned by Robert Hamather, now has five career victories and earnings of $66,686. The clocking of 1:52.2 drops more than a full-second off of the gelding's previous career-mark. J Js Delivery paid $49.50 to win. J Js Delivery In order to be eligible to The Diplomat, the sophomore pacing colts and geldings had to be non-winners of $100,000 in 2014. The second leg of The Diplomat will take place next Saturday (May 2). Mark McKelvie
Six Bax, who has proved to be one of the most dominant claiming trotters in recent weeks, racked up yet another victory during Monday’s evening’s 10-race card at Woodbine Racetrack. The five-year-old son of Kadabra-Bax Machine had won three of his last four assignments for Team Baillargeon, and he tacked on another triumph thanks to his 1:55.1 score in Monday’s lid lifter. Mario Baillargeon powered to the lead with the Ben Baillargeon-trained gelding, and together they led the group past the quarter pole in :26.4. A charged up Meadowview Arny muscled to the lead in the backstretch, however, and he went on to supply the field with middle panels of :55.1 and 1:24.1. Those big fractions took their toll on the leader, who made a break in the lane and wound up finishing up the track. To view the rest of this story click here.
CAMPBELLVILLE, October 10 - Harness racing trainer Ben Baillargeon will send out a quartet of starters in this Saturday's $250,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Super Finals at Mohawk and will be looking for a little bit of luck along the way. The post position gods weren't kind to Baillargeon as his two best chances Saturday evening drew posts nine and ten, while his other two starters drew post position seven. However, bad post positions or not, Baillargeon's starters all appear to have a chance to be a factor on Saturday evening. The first horse Baillargeon will send forward Saturday is the three-year-old colt trotter Muscle Matters, who will start from post position nine. Despite having not recorded a victory in eight starts this season, the son of Muscle Mass has finished second six times and banked over $165,000. "He's very shy of the winner's circle this year," said Baillargeon. "He had bad luck early in the spring and it's been a tough year." Baillargeon is hopeful that Muscle Matters, who won last year's Super Final as a two-year-old, can finally get the job done on Saturday. "A race is a race, like he's been there, but he doesn't win, but hopefully that might change and this Saturday would be the time." In order to defend his title, Muscle Matters will have to defeat the divisional standout Harper Blue Chip, who has yet to lose a Sires Stakes event this season in three starts. Baillargeon's second starter on Saturday evening won't have to deal with a powerhouse like Harper Blue Chip, but instead will meet a very even group of two-year-old colt and gelding trotters. Lets Be Honest (PP7), a son of Deweycheatumnhowe, will be looking to break his maiden in style on Saturday evening. In his most recent start on September 30, Lets Be Honest finished fourth after being off since August 5. "Last week was his first start in six or seven weeks and I sent him back to the owners in between," said Baillargeon. "I know he hurt himself and he didn't do too much in between." Baillargeon believes the son of Deweycheatumnhowe will be better in his second start off the shelf. "He should be tighter, he should race well and he trained real well on Wednesday." Baillargeon's final two starters on Saturday evening will lineup in the three-year-old filly trot Super Final. White Becomes Her (PP10), a daughter of Angus Hall, was an early season standout in this division and has banked over $244,000 this year. Meanwhile, Miss Liv, a daughter of Kadabra, has yet to win this year, but has quietly earned over $122,000. Both fillies have put together solid seasons, but Baillargeon knows they will have their hands full with another filly in the race. "They've been two nice mares, but they need luck. Riveting Rosie is razor sharp right now and I got lucky at the beginning of the year she wasn't that great and mine (White Becomes Her) was real good back then, but it's a race." White Becomes Her captured a division of the first two Gold legs of the season, while Riveting Rosie won a division of the final three legs. Ben's brother Mario will handle the driving duties behind Muscle Matters, Lets Be Honest and White Becomes Her, while Steven Condren will drive Miss Liv. The veteran conditioner has his quartet set for Saturday evening and will now just need a little bit of help. "Everybody's healthy and everything looks okay, so we just need luck." Mark McKelvie - WEG Communications
The best performers in the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots this year, pacers and trotters, colts and fillies, will be on display at Mohawk Racetrack Friday and Saturday night. Two $20,000 Semi-Finals will be raced for each division to determine the starters for next week’s $50,000 Grassroots finals. The horses earned their way into the Semi-Finals through their performances in the Grassroots races in their divisions throughout the course of the OSS season. The top 20 point earners entered into the Semi-Finals are eligible to compete. The two-year-olds are in the spotlight on Friday night with the trotting fillies kicking things off in races one and two. Leading point earner Summers Jewel, who has yet to finish worse than third in her young career, has drawn post two for breeder/owner/trainer Ben Baillargeon of Rockwood, Ontario, whose brother Mario will be in the sulky. The Angus Hall miss has started in all six Grassroots events this year with three wins, a second and two thirds. The rookie pacing colts are next up in the third and fifth races. The top two colts in the division, Thinkofagameplan and Jeb will square off in the third race from posts six and eight respectively. Trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor, Ontario and his cousin Al McIntosh of Leamington, Ontario, bred and own Thinkofagameplan, a son of Ponder who has captured four of six Grassroots events this year. A horse to watch in the fifth race is Moonwards Hanover, who comes into the contest riding a three race winning streak, all in Grassroots events. From the red hot first crop of Sportswriter, Moonwards Hanover is owned and trained by Jack Darling of Cambridge, Ontario, who also trained her dam, Mouse Hanover. He’s drawn post four with Paul MacDonell aboard. MacDonell will also be up behind Call Me Richard, the leading point earner among the rookie trotting colts, in the next race. Trained by Clare Bradshaw for owner Andrea Arthur of Scotland, Ontario, the Muscle Mass son has won his last two races, both OSS events. The two-year-old pacing fillies are featured in races seven and 10 on Friday’s program with top point earner Ms Mac N Cheese departing from post four in the first split. The Badlands Hanover daughter owned by David Ratchford of Nova Scotia has been on a real roll lately with three straight victories on her scorecard. Sylvain Filion will drive from post four. On Saturday’s card it’s the three-year-old trotting fillies getting the Semi-Finals underway. Torches Star tops the point standings in this group and has post five in race five with regular pilot Steve Condren in the race bike for trainer Ben Wallace and owner Brad Grand of Milton, Ontario. The Angus Hall filly is the second foal from former OSS star Torch, a winner of $357,000 in her career. Their colt counterparts get things rolling in race two and come right back in race three for their two Semi-Finals. Aventure, the leader in this bunch, drew post nine in the third race with Trevor Henry up for trainer Bill Budd. Owned by Orville Rursch of Illinois, Aventure is 4-1-0 in five OSS starts this year. The glamour boy division, the three-year-old pacing colts, are featured in races six and nine on Saturday evening. Top point earner Shadow Place has post three in race six with Henry at the lines for trainer Richard Moreau. Regal Babe, who is less than 10 points behind in second in this division, has post five in race nine. The pacing fillies close out the card in races eight and 10. The latter finds Her Own Land in post five with James MacDonald at the helm for trainer Dave Menary. The leading point getter in this category, the Blissfull Hall filly has three wins and a second in her most recent starts, all Grassroots events. Saturday’s card also features the $286,000 Milton final for pacing mares with three Ontario-sired performers, Monkey On My Wheel, Camille and Voelz Hanover, taking part. To view the entries for Friday and Saturday night at Mohawk, please use these links Mohawk Entries - September 19. Mohawk Entries - September 20. From the Ontario Sire Stakes
If you like trotters then Mohawk Racetrack was the place to be Tuesday evening, as the Campbellville, Ontario oval hosted five OSS Grassroots divisions for three-year-old fillies of the square-gaited variety. Quadrophenia prevailed in the first division, though things didn’t look pretty for the Dave Menary trainee at the head of the lane. James MacDonald treated the even-money favourite to a two-hole trip behind Diamonds For Life who threw down panels of :28, :57.2 and 1:27.1 before coughing up the lead to Suegrabbitnrun. Quadrophenia was double up in the two-hole looking for room, and she was fortune to get it in deep stretch. She then used a :29.4 closing quarter to win by a length over Suegrabbitnrun, with Northern Secret a well-beaten third. Kjell Magne Andersen of Slependen, Norway owns the youngster who improved her 2014 record to 4-2-0 from nine starts with the win. Despite being unraced as a rookie, the filly has stashed away $37,900 to date. Mystical Wishes had a rough trip at Rideau Carleton Raceway in her latest, but she bounced back and won as she pleased in the second division. Doug McNair rallied the 1-5 favourite to the three-length score over Flexible Woman in 1:57.1. Taking home the show dough was Carefulwhatyouwish. Tony Alagna trains the homebred daughter of Muscle Mass for Indiana partners, Mystical Marker Farms LLC of Dyer and Peggy Hood of Valparaiso. The filly was winless in four starts last season, but she’s now 6-for-11 this year. She’s managed to bank over $48,000 to date. Dream Act destroyed the field she faced in the third division. Mario Baillargeon powered to the lead with the daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe-Dream Of Becca, and she successfully whacked out panels of :28, :56.4 and 1:25.2 en route to the eight-length triumph over Aphrodity in 1:55.2. Missys Ga Ga rounded out the top three finishers. Andy Miller Stable Inc, Nick Surick and Hannah Miller share ownership on the Ben Baillargeon trainee who won for the first time in six starts this season. The $9,000 payday lifted her lifetime loot to $34,320. Serendipitious forced a recall in the fourth division when she broke behind the gate and had her overcheck pop off, but she had a flawless start the second go around and went on to post a victory for driver Chris Christoforou. The Daughter of Majestic Son-Royal B G survived a first-over trip en route to posting the 1:58.2 win over Doweypuffandhow and Capturethememory. Guy Polillo of Brantford, Ontario owns the filly who is now 2-for-2 since relocating to the stable of trainer John Mungillo. The three-time winner bumped her lifetime bankroll to $28,772 with the win. Torches Star extended her OSS winning streak to three-in-a-row thanks to a career-best clocking of 1:57.2 in the final division. Steve Condren brushed the Ben Wallace trainee to the lead in the backstretch, and after doling out middle splits of :58 and 1:28 she was able to generate a :29.2 closing quarter which was good enough to earn her the score by three-quarters of a length over Chelseas Chance. Taking home the show dough was K D Bella. Brad Grant of Milton, Ontario owns the filly who improved this year’s record to 4-0-2 from 11 starts with the win. She’s banked in excess of $40,000 this year and more than $88,000 to date. Before the pari-mutuel card got underway at Mohawk tonight, the $18,000 Grassroots final division for 3yo filly trotters that was rained out last night was held as a non-wagering event prior to Tuesday evening’s 12-race card. Jack Litten shot to the top from Post 8 for driver Doug McNair, and after slicing out splits of :27.4, :57.2 and 1:26.4 he fired home in :29.4 to win by 2-3/4 lengths over Class Me Nice in 1:56.3. Taking home third prize was Massive Pockets. Gregg McNair trains the son of Muscle Mass-PJ Naomi for Jarold Hawks of Jeddo, Michigan, and together they watched the gelding improve this year’s record to 2-1-3 from 11 starts with the win. The $9,000 payday bumped his overall earnings to $38,962. From the Ontario Sire Stakes
Eight $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots contests for two-year-old colt and gelding pacers were staged on Sunday night (August 24) at Georgian Downs, and the last of those eight splits saw a new track record of 1:52.2 turned in by Seaforth. Driven by Mike Saftic, Seaforth was up to grab the lead away from Pan Street USA (Randy Waples) after the :27.2 opening quarter. From there, Seaforth hit the half in :56 and the three-quarters in 1:23.4 before he paced a final quarter in :28.3 to seal the win and the record. Pan Street USA held second, beaten just over a length by the winner, and Rightinthekisser (Doug McNair) finished third. The clocking lowered the previous rookie gelding pace record of 1:53.1 set earlier this year by Southwind Indy, and also is better than Sportskeeper’s colt record of 1:52.3 by a fifth of a second. Eric Adams trains Seaforth, a No Pan Intended gelding, for owner/breeder Millar Farms of Newmarket, Ont. This was Seaforth’s second win from six starts and he has now earned $38,260. He’s the first foal out of the Western Hanover mare Chocolate Truffle, a half-sister to five six-figure earners, including multi-time Grassroots winner Rare Copy (Grinfromeartoear, $158,213). Driver Paul MacDonell also enjoyed a fine trip to Georgian Downs as he racked up three Grassroots wins, including a pair for trainer Jack Darling. Darling and MacDonell connected for the first time in the sixth flight withMoonwards Hanover (1:54) and then came right back in the next dash with York Seelster (1:54). MacDonell also prevailed in the fifth division with Pair Of Deuces (1:54.1). Darling’s stable of Cambridge, Ont. owns both Moonwards Hanover, a son of Sportswriter, and York Seelster, a Mach Three gelding. Darling purchased Moonwards Hanover, who broke his maiden in his fourth try and pushed his bankroll to $21,500, for $35,000 at last year’s Standardbred Horse Sale. The Hanover Shoe Farms Inc.-bred is the third foal out of the Western Ideal mare Mouse Hanover, a half-sister to the likes of Mt Vernon Hanover (Rustler Hanover, $623,067), a two-time OSS winner. York Seelster, bred by Seelster Farms Inc. and sold for $55,000 at the 2013 Forest City Yearling Sale, is now one-for-five in the win column to go with earnings of $24,900. The fourth foal out of the Artsplace mare Yankee Athena, York Seelster is a half-brother to Yoselin Seelster (Shadow Play, $109,432), an OSS Gold winner last season for two-year-old pacing fillies. Richard “Nifty” Norman trains Pair Of Deuces, MacDonell’s other winner, for owner/breeder Pinske Stables of Plato, Minnesota. The Badlands Hanover colt is now a two-time winner from five trips behind the gate and he has stashed away $19,500. He’s the first foal out of the Pinske’s Dragon Again mare Pacific Dragonette, a sister to horses like Doubleshotascotch ($683,773). In other action Jeb (Phil Hudon, 1:54.3) and Thinkofagameplan (Randy Waples, 1:54.2) both posted their second victories in Grassroots competition this season. Jeb, a colt by Camluck, is trained by James “Friday” Dean for owners Wilma and James MacKenzie of Ennismore, Ont. Jeb, who has banked $26,160 to go with his pair of wins, was bred by Seawind Amg Stbs 2005 Inc. and was taken out of the 2013 Standardbred Horse Sale for $22,000. He’s the second foal out of the Western Hanover mare Keystone Treasure, a half-sister to a pair of former OSS standouts in Invitro (Camluck, $2,383,597) and Bigtime Ball (Camluck, $1,625,073). Thinkofagameplan, a Ponder colt who scored his second win from five attempts and pushed his bankroll to $27,660, is a homebred for trainer Bob McIntosh and Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington, Ont. The winner is the second foal out of the Camluck mare Noshameinmygame. She was a Grassroots winner at both two and three. The other Grassroots winners on Sunday night were: --Midnight Play (Shadow Play), a 1:54.2 maiden-breaking winner for driver Jonathan Drury, trainer Bill Cass, and owner John Craig of North York, Ont. Bred by Winbak Farm, he was sold for $72,000 at last year’s Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. Midnight Play’s dam Midnight Art (Artsplace) is a half-sister to the likes of Manchine ($257,361). --Fightmaster (Art Colony, 1:55). He also won for the first time in his career with James MacDonald at the controls for trainer Ben Baillargeon and owners Jack Quinn and Michael McGuigan of Charlottetown, P.E.I. Fightmaster was bred by Charlotte Ranch and Caneast Standards Inc. and fetched $24,000 at the 2013 Atlantic Classic Yearling Sale. His dam is the Bo Knows Jate mare Ardor Chymes ($497,707), a multiple-time OSS winner in her racing career. The two-year-old male pacers of the OSS Grassroots will be back in action next Sunday afternoon (August 31) at Clinton Raceway. From the Ontario Sire Stakes
CAMPBELLVILLE, August 1 - All eyes in harness racing will be on the Meadowlands this Saturday for the Hambletonian and local standout Harper Blue Chip will be one of eleven trotters vying for harness racing's highest profile trotting title. Trained by local conditioner Mark Steacy, Harper Blue Chip will start from post position nine with driver Brian Sears in the $1,006,125 Hambletonaian, which is carded as Race 13 on Saturday afternoon. Harper Blue Chip races for owners Landmark 6 Racing Stable of Kingston, David McDonald of Cornwall, David Reid of Glenburnie and George Judson of Athens, Ontario. The son of Majestic Son - Winning Jonlin is coming off a 3 ¾ length victory in the Canadian Breeders Championship at Mohawk on July 19. In six starts this season, Harper Blue Chip has visited the winner's circle twice and has only missed the board once when he finished fourth to the Father Patrick in the $500,000 Earl Beal Memorial at Pocono Downs on June 28. Just like the Beal Memorial, Harper Blue Chip and the rest of the field will be gunning for Father Patrick, who enters the Hambletonian on a 15 race win streak. Father Patrick is just one of three starters (Nuncio and Trixton) sent out by trainer Jimmy Takter. Takter's trio are the top three choices on the morning line. Harper Blue Chip is the fourth choice in the early odds of 12-1. Steacy admits that it will be a tough task defeating Takter's trio, but that his horse is on top of his game. "We've got our work cut out for us," said Steacy. "I was quite disappointed drawing the nine, it kind of made things a lot more difficult, but our horse is going into the race really good and healthy, so I expect a good effort from him as long as we have some race luck." Since the fourth place effort in the Beal, Harper Blue Chip has dominated locally and Steacy believes Harper Blue Chip is a better horse than the last time he faced the continent's very best. "I think with the trio of Jimmy Takter's it's a big step up, but he's raced against these horses before, never been able to beat them, but he's gone against them and he's been respectable," said Steacy. "I think my horse is better than the last time he raced against these horses and I think he's improved with every start and again a lot of racing luck and you never what might happen." Steacy has an idea of the trip he would like for his charge, but will leave the strategy up to defending and two-time Hambletonian winning driver Brian Sears. "It's going to be up to Brian Sears, but I'm hoping he will try to charge off the gate...obviously you want to be as close to Father Patrick or Trixton or one of those horses that you can be." Defeating Takter's trio will be a tough task for the Mark Steacy trainee, but Steacy knows what it takes to win a million dollar race with a three-year-old trotter. In 2006, Steacy captured the million dollar Canadian Trotting Classic with Majestic Son, the sire of Harper Blue Chip, overcoming favourites Chocolatier and Trotting Triple Crown winner Glidemaster. On Saturday afternoon, Steacy will be looking to recreate that million dollar magic with Harper Blue Chip. No horse has been hotter on the WEG circuit this season than State Treasurer and the Dr. Ian Moore trainee will take his talents south to the Meadowlands to battle with the sport's top free-for-all pacers on Saturday. State Treasurer will start from post two with driver David Miller in a field of nine for the $257,700 US Pacing Championship. The five-year-old son of Real Desire - Ideal Tresurer has won seven times in ten starts this season, including a victory last Saturday night in the Preferred at Mohawk in 1:48.3. State Treasurer has started in the WEG Preferred seven times this season and is currently riding a six race win streak in the circuit's top class. All six of those wins have been sub-1:50 miles. His biggest victory of the season was on May 30 in the $150,000 Molson Pace at Western Fair. State Treasurer's rivals on Saturday include Sweet Lou, who is currently on a seven race win streak, and Captaintreacherous, the 2013 Pepsi North America Cup winner. Two starts back, State Treasurer tackled this group in the $463,000 William Haughton Memorial at the Meadowlands and finished fourth, while only beaten 2 Â½ lengths. This Saturday, State Treasurer will need to bring his top game and the speed he has been putting on display. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
CAMPBELLVILLE, July 19 - A quartet of Canadian Breeders Championships for the nation's finest three-year-old pacers and trotters highlighted the undercard for Maple Leaf Trot night at Mohawk. Harper Blue Chip, with Sylvain Filion at the controls, turned in another top notch performance to win the $121,958 Canadian Breeders Championship for three-year-old colts and geldings trotters. After getting away in third, the son of Majestic Son - Winning Jonlin was sent to the lead approaching the half and never looked back winning by 3 Â¾ lengths in 1:55.2. Muscle Matters, the early leader, finished second, while Jitterbug finished third by a nose over Entranced. Harper Blue Chip is trained by Mark Steacy for owners Landmark 6 Racing Stable, David McDonald, David Reid and George Judson. Following the race, Howard Pearce, a member of the Landmark 6 Racing Sable, said it was a sweet victory. "It's a tough year to have a really nice horse like 'Harper' because of those three nice horses down south," said Pearce. "But he's proven that he is one of the best in Canada, so that's wonderful." Pearce also mentioned that it appears Harper Blue Chip will now head south to the Meadowlands to compete in the Hambletonian. The Breeders Championship victory was the second win in five starts this season for Harper Blue Chip and the fifth win of his career. His career earnings now jump more than $350,000. He paid $2.70 to win. White Becomes Her extended her win streak to four in winning the $118,090 Canadian Breeders Championship for the three-year-old filly trotters. Mario Baillargeon moved the daughter of Angus Hall - Pursuing Keagan from the two-hole to the lead in the second quarter. After posting a three-quarter time of 1:28.1, White Becomes Her trotted away from her rivals with a :28.3 last quarter to win by 2 ¾ lengths in 1:56.4. Margie finished in the place spot, while Mayberry trotted into third. White Becomes Her is trained by Ben Baillargeon for owner Vince Mastrangelon. The Breeders Championship was the fifth win in eight starts this season for White Becomes Her. Following the race, Mario Baillargeon said we haven't seen the best of her yet. "I don't think so, I can't wait to race her with the American fillies and get a trip," said Baillargeon. "She loves to follow a lot more than racing on the front, so I would like to get her on a helmet behind Shake It Cerry and see what happens in the lane." White Becomes Her now has six wins and earnings of over $210,000 in her career. She returned $3.30. Silverhill Shadow repelled all comers with a smart front-end pace to win the $122,028 Canadian Breeders Championship for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Chris Christoforou blasted off the gate to demand the lead from pocket-sitting Shadowbriand marking a quarter in :27 and a half in :56.2 through a persistent drizzle over a sloppy track. Sylain Filion made a menacing move first over into the turn with Victor Bayama, but Silverhill Shadow had another gear and stepped away to a dominant win in 1:51.2. A ground saving Shadowbriand, efficiently steered by Paul MacDonnell, stayed on determinedly to earn the place photo over Victory Bayama. Trained by Dr. Ian Moore, the Shadow Play colt earned his fourth win of the campaign from six starts. The conditioner noted a very important similarity to his champion sire. "Heart and desire for sure," said Moore. "He's a big strong colt and he gives you all he's got every time out." A front-end trip was always in the cards for the quick Silverhill Shadow. "Chris was asking him to get the front going the first quarter, and I thought I had him warmed up pretty good, but he was great the last half-mile and that's where it counted," said Moore. He paid $5.80 to win. Brescia Seelster pulled off a 60-1 upset in the $122,343 Canadian Breeders Championship final for three-year-old pacing fillies. Sudoku brushed to the lead under urging from Jody Jamieson down the backstretch in :56.1, but it was an amped up My Secret Belle, piloted by Joe Hudon, who took over into the turn. My Secret Belle and Sudoku battled to mid-stretch before a closing cavalry of filly pacers converged with the outside rally of Brescia Seelster the winning move for Mario Baillargeon. Performing Art, a 40-1 long shot, stormed up the rail to earn place money keying boxcar payoffs. It was the fourth win in eight starts this season for Brescia Seelster, improving on a 1-4-1 record from 10 starts a year ago. "She was a little slow in maturing and Mario has been telling us all along as this horse gets older it'll be better," said co-owner Norman Keyes. Co-owned and trained by David Keyes, Brescia Seelster paid $138.70 to win. by Mark McKelvie and Keith McCalmont, for WEG
The Canadian Breeders Championship eliminations for the three-year-old trotters are currently underway at Mohawk Racetrack. Fresh off a pair of Ontario Sires Stakes Gold victories, White Becomes Her ($3.50) kicked off the CBC eliminations for filly trotters with a 1:54.2 triumph as the 3-5 favourite for the driver and trainer team of Mario and Ben Baillargeon. O'Brien Award winner Riveting Rosie was scratched. After getting away third through a :27-second opening panel, Baillargeon made his move with White Becomes Her as they neared the half-mile mark in :57. White Becomes Her swept past early leavers Tosca (Chris Christoforou) and Muscle Babe (James MacDonald) down the backstretch and led the way to three-quarters in 1:25. Miss Aultsville (Jack Moiseyev) attempted a first over bid from fourth, but broke stride as she began to advance. Down the stretch, White Becomes Her drew away from her rivals to win by four lengths. Tosca followed in second with Chelseas Chance (Steve Condren) coming on for third. Muscle Babe finished fourth and Belgravia (Ake Svanstedt) was fifth. To view the rest of the story click here.
A tripped-out Turbo Donato put the pedal to the metal in the late stages of Saturday’s $11,000 Preferred 2 for trotters at Georgian Downs, and he held on to win by three-quarters of a length for Team Baillargeon. With Mario Baillargeon at the helm, Turbo Donato worked into the two-hole early and tracked Cimeronken through fractions of :27.3, :56.4 and 1:26.2 before going on the offensive. Baillargeon right lined the Ben Baillargeon trainee in the final quarter of the contest and the four-year-old son of Donato Hanover-Sun Sentinel fired home in :29.4 and posted the1:56.2 victory by three-quarters of a length over Cimeronken. Aisling was a lapped-on third. Sent off as the 3-2 favourite, Turbo Donato prevailed for the partnership of Ben Baillargeon, Craig Turner, Santo Vena and Nunzio Vena. Together they watched the trotter improve this year’s record to 3-2-2 from 17 trips to the track with the win. The lion’s share of the purse bumped his earnings to $74,670. To read the rest of the story click here.
TORONTO, May 5 - The timing couldn't have been more perfect for So Not Cool on Monday evening at Woodbine. The trotting son of Muscles Yankee posted the minor 6-1 upset in this year's $35,800 Tie Silk final, and in doing so the youngster celebrated his first career win. At the hands of driver Mario Baillargeon, So Not Cool laid off the speed in the early stages as The Muscler (Dustin Jones) took command past the quarter in :26.4. Entranced (Mike Saftic), the 1/5 favourite, made a quick brush to the lead before the half in :56.4 and continued to lead at three-quarters in 1:25.4. Turning for home, first-over attacker Justcallmeronald (Jody Jamieson) was stalking on the outside and continued to battle down the stretch with So Not Cool on his helmet. In deep stretch, Entranced was collared by Justcallmeronald, but So Not Cool had the most momentum as he found the wire first in 1:55.3. Justcallmeronald finished second over Entranced. Trained by Ben Baillargeon for owner Awesome Acres Stbds, So Not Cool celebrated his biggest payday as is bankroll now sits at $23,650. He paid $15.60 to win. by Greg Gangle, for WEG
TORONTO , April 7 - Thirteen trotting mares made their way to Woodbine Racetrack Monday evening to kick off the opening round of the Lifetime Dream Series. Rockin With Dewey looked every bit the part of a 1/5 favourite as she captured the first $18,000 division in 1:56.1. Driven by Mario Baillargeon, Rockin With Dewey scored by a commanding five and a quarter lengths to celebrate her tenth career tally. Baillargeon was first to the front in the early stages, but allowed Justasmalltowngirl (Paul Macdonell) to the lead at the opening quarter in :26.4. Rockin With Dewey quickly regained the front and led her six rivals past the half in :56.4 and three-quarters in 1:27.1, before dashing away from her rivals en route to victory. Frisky Magic (Randy Waples) came on for second, over Bop Too The Top (James MacDonald). Trained and co-owned by Ben Baillargeon along with breeder Diane Ingham, Rockin With Dewey increased her bankroll to $219,300. She paid $2.50 to win. In the other split, 3/5 favourite Rose Run Oriana and James MacDonald got under the wire first in 1:57.2. Over a track rated as 'Good,' MacDonald elected to sit in the two-hole behind Be Winnin (Jody Jamieson) before the opening quarter in :26.3. Marabou (Jonathan Drury) angled out of third and was quickly on the move as they took over command before the :57.1 half. Rose Run Oriana quickly engaged the tempo-setter and was the new leader heading toward the three-quarter pole. MacDonald and Rose Run Oriana led their six rivals past three-quarters in 1:27.2 and fended off all comers down the lane en route to the victory. Standing My Ground (Sylvain Filion) finished second, with Her Name Is Lola (Phil Hudon) third. Trained by Joe Cirasuola for owner Shirley Halas, Rose Run Oriana enjoyed her 14th career victory as her bankroll now sits at $125,717. She paid $3.40 to win. The Lifetime Dream series is for four and five-year-old trotting mares, who are non-winners of $200,000 lifetime as of December 31, 2013. by Greg Gangle, for WEG
Ideal Shadow was bet off the board in Monday’s debut effort at Woodbine under the guidance of trainer/co-owner Ben Baillargeon, and the betting public was bang on in its assessment of the lightly-raced youngster. Purchased by Baillargeon and partners Nunzio & Santo Vena for $45,000 from the 2014 January Select Mixed Sale at The Meadowlands, Ideal Shadow appeared to barely break a sweat in what was just his second lifetime start. After making a break and failing to crack the top three in his first lifetime start on January 18 for former trainer Erv Miller, the three-year-old son of American Ideal-Shadow Baby cruised to an easy win by lengths in 1:54.3. Mario Baillargeon got away third with the new recruit, and the pacer maintained that position to the quarter pole before brushing his way to the lead in the backstretch. He cleared to the top without a tussle and successfully chopped out panels of :57.4 and 1:26.2 before using a :28.1 closing quarter to win by a pair of lengths in 1:54.3. Monday’s 11-race card also saw pacer All Chrome extend his personal winning streak to six thanks to a 1:54.4 score in come-from-behind fashion for the tandem of driver Sylvain Filion and trainer Corey Johnson. Filion got away fifth with the five-year-old son of Tell All-Ever Western before advancing the gelding on the rim in the middle stages of the mile. The 4-5 favourite then used a :28.4 final frame to prevail by a half-length margin over Canbec Kingkazimir, with third prize going to Rock N Go. Brian Paquet of Quebec owns the photogenic pacer who is now three-for-three this season after having gone 4-for-12 last year. The 10-time winner pushed his lifetime earnings over $50,000 with the victory. To view results for Monday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Monday Results – Woodbine Racetrack. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca
Sophomore trotting colt Turbo Donato continued his perfect record on the WEG circuit for the Baillargeon brothers on Friday night with a front-stepping score in Woodbine Racetrack's ninth race. Turbo Donato has now won five races in a row, with his last four at Woodbine for his new ownership group. The Donato Hanover colt was purchased for $32,000 at the Harrisburg Sale in November by Rockwood, Ont. trainer Ben Baillargeon and partners Santo Vena of Brampton, Ont., Nunzio Vena of Bolton, Ont. and Craig Turner of Ingersoll, Ont. Driven by Mario Baillargeon in Friday's $18,000 conditioned trot, 3-5 favourite Turbo Donato ($3.30) worked his way to the lead from post seven during the :27.4 opening quarter and proceeded to lead his nine rivals through middle splits of :57.4 and 1:28. As he entered the homestretch, first over Whata Donato and Per Henriksen offered up a serious challenge nearly matching strides with the tempo-setter, but Turbo Donato fought back to prevail by three-quarters of a length in 1:57 flat. Flight Of The Kiwi and Luc Ouellette edged out pocket-sitter Margarita Bi and Sylvain Filion for third nearly three lengths behind. Turbo Donato is now five-for-six in his career with earnings totalling $39,000. To view Friday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Friday Results - Woodbine Racetrack. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca.