Trois-Rivieres, Quebec – The $250,000 Quebec-Bred Series for harness racing three-year-old pacers gets underway at the Hippodrome 3R Sunday with three opening round divisions. This series takes place throughout the month of July and then the top eight point earners return for the $65,000 finals on Sunday, September 6. Headlining the first of two filly divisions in the third race is the seasonable debut of Kinnder Elegane from post six for driver Justin Filion. This lightly raced daughter of Allamerican Native made only three starts last year as a two-year-old, but she won two of those starts that were both in this same series, the fastest a lifetime best 1:57.4. Trained, owned and bred by Denitza Petrova of Les Cedres, QC, Kinnder Elegance prepped for her debut today with a qualifying win at 3R in 2:00.2. Other contenders include HP Rubis Joyce (post 5) and No Panic (post 2). The colts do battle in the fifth race with Sugarsam in post seven the early favorite for driver Denis St Pierre. This gelded son of Sportswriter is the fastest horse in the field, shipping in after competing in stakes action at Mohawk Raceway, winning two starts back in a blazing 1:52 for trainer Helene Filion. Also starting from the outside is Killer Thriller in post eight for driver Sylvain LaCaille, who has been in the money the last four weeks. And there is a three-horse entry of HP Rayan Art Jules (post one), SOS Justified (post two) and HP Black Shadow (post nine). The second filly division is the sixth race and the overwhelming favorite is Voodoo Charm from post seven for driver Mario Charron. This daughter of Ponder just posted her lifetime mark last start at Mohawk Raceway with a three and one-length triumph in 1:53.4 for trainer Maxime Velaye. Voodoo Charm will be put to the test against contenders Miss Bro (post 6) and Big Bertha (post 4). First race post time Sunday is 1:30 pm. For more information visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club
JULY 3, 2015 - With 15 events completed Sylvain Filion currently leads all harness racing drivers in the Ontario Sires Stakes program with 115 Lampman Cup points, and the Milton resident added a few more to his total guiding two sophomore trotters to Grassroots victory at Mohawk Racetrack on Friday evening. Filion's first Grassroots appearance came in the second $18,000 division with Duh Bubbees, who opened his three-year-old campaign with a fifth-place result at the Gold Series level. Starting from Post 2, Filion sent Duh Bubbees straight to the front and the duo controlled the tempo through fractions of :28.1, :57.2 and 1:26.2, holding on at the wire for a half-length victory over former Grassroots division winners Call Me Richard and Kadabrasnewrecruit. Duh Bubbees hit the wire in 1:55.2, the quickest of the five Grassroots divisions and a new personal best for the homebred son of Up Front Ben and Nothing To Justify. Trainer Jamie Wilson of Huron Park, ON bred the gelding and conditions him for Chris Wilson of Huron Park. Through 10 starts this season Duh Bubbees has two wins and one second for earnings of $27,295. Filion was back in the winner's circle after the last race, delivering a confident performance with fan favourite Its Huw You Know from Post 8. After getting away fourth, Filion sent the Holiday Road gelding to the front and Its Huw You Know cruised home a one length winner over P L Intimidator and Delcrest Massy in a personal best 1:56.4. Keith Jones of Midland, ON conditions Its Huw You Know for Douglas McCarthy of Holland Landing, ON. Filion also guided the gelding to a Grassroots win in the June 24 event at Grand River Raceway, and adding his fourth-place result from the June 4 season opener at Mohawk gives Its Huw You Know a total of 108 points and sole ownership of second spot in the standings at the halfway mark in the three-year-old trotting colt and gelding Grassroots schedule. A two-time winner of the Ontario Sires Stakes driving title (2012 and 2013), Filion finished third in his only other Grassroots start on Friday, unable to catch the fourth division favourite New Muscle AS with his mount Buzz. After getting caught at the wire in the Grand River event, Oakville resident Rick Zeron opted to race New Muscle AS from off the pace and the Muscle Mass gelding responded with an impressive 1:56.2 personal best, powering down the stretch to a one and one-quarter length victory over Stormont Wizard and Buzz. Anette Lorentzon trains New Muscle AS, who finished second in both of his early season Grassroots starts, for ACL Stuteri AB of Paris, KY and Kjell Johansson of Sosdala, Sweden. Friday's win bumped the gelding into a tie for third spot in the standings with 100 points and puts him in an excellent position to earn a berth in the lucrative post season. Pilgrims Joy also leapt up the standings with an impressive performance in the third Grassroots division. After getting away near the back of the field from Post 7, driver James MacDonald of Guelph sent Pilgrims Joy up the outside and the colt accelerated past the leaders and opened up a five-length margin heading into the stretch that he maintained all the way to the wire, besting Ontheroad De Vie and Lets Be Honest. The 1:56 performance was a personal best for Pilgrims Joy, who is trained by Johnathan McKinnon of Guelph and owned by breeder Len Kordy of Kingston, ON. The Pilgrims Taj son made a break and finished eighth in his Grassroots outing at Grand River and logged a second-place result in the season opener for a total of 76 points. The other Grassroots trophy awarded at Mohawk Racetrack on Friday evening went home with Namesmuscle, who delivered a two and one-quarter length victory in the first division for driver Doug McNair of Guelph, ON, trainer Pam Forgie of Goderich, ON and owner John Patterson of Bayfield, ON. Parkhill Lancelot and Thoughtful Leader completed the triactor. Like Duh Bubbees, Namesmuscle started his sophomore campaign at the Gold Series level, finishing second in a division of the season opener at Western Fair Raceway on May 27. Friday's 1:56.3 triumph was the Muscle Mass son's first of the season and boosted his lifetime earnings to $49,019. With just 50 points, Namesmuscle and Duh Bubbees will be looking to add to their tally in the fourth Grassroots event on the three-year-old trotting colt and gelding calendar, July 18 at Kawartha Downs. Mohawk Racetrack kicks off the two-year-old Ontario Sires Stakes season on Monday, July 6 with three Gold Series divisions for the pacing fillies. The fillies are featured in Races 3, 6, and 9 on the 7:25 pm program. Ontario Horse Racing
CAMPBELLVILLE, July 3 - A determined Riveting Rosie turned in a career-best effort for an upset harness racing victory Friday night in the $40,000 Miss Versatility second leg at Mohawk Racetrack. A talented field of seven older trotting mares contested the second round of the Miss Versatility under perfect conditions at the Campbellville oval. The public placed the bulk of their support behind Indiana invader Allie Labrook, who was sent off as the 4/5 favourite, and the Dave Menary trainee Charmed Life, who was the second choice at 8/5. However, Riveting Rosie at odds of 23/1 played the role of spoiler in Friday's second leg. Driven by Paul MacDonell, Riveting Rosie sprinted to the lead and posted an opening-quarter of :27.4. Allie Labrook got away in second, while Charmed Life followed her in third. The two favourites followed along through the middle-half, as Riveting Rosie posted fractions of :56.4 and 1:25. In the stretch, Allie Labrook tipped to the outside and Charmed Life swung out to the far outside to take their best shot at the leader, but Riveting Rosie showed her grit and dug in to fight off the favourites and win by a neck in 1:52.4. Charmed Life edged ahead of Allie Labrook in the final strides to finish second. A star graduate of the Ontario Sires Stakes program, Riveting Rosie has now won two of six starts in her four-year-old season for trainer John Bax. She is owned by Bax's Parkhill Stud Farm, Don Allensen, J And T Stable and John Hayes. A daughter of Muscle Mass, Riveting Rosie now has career earnings of $943,153 and 13 career victories. The clocking of 1:52.4 established a new career-mark for Riveting Rosie. She paid $49.30 to win. Riveting Rosie The Miss Versatility Series will now shift to The Meadowlands for the third leg on July 18. The series will also make a stop at Tioga Downs on September 7, before wrapping up with the final at the Delaware County Fairgrounds on Little Brown Jug day. Caviart Scarlett delivers 105-1 shocker in Town Pro Series The Canada Day fireworks may have been Wednesday, but Caviart Scarlett put on her own fireworks show Friday night at Mohawk with a 105-1 upset victory in the second leg of the Town Pro. A field of ten three-year-old pacing fillies battled it out Friday in the $18,000 second leg division. The Frank Antonacci trainees Lindys Old Lady and Imagine Dragon captured the first leg divisions, but just a single division was a necessary Friday night. Lindys Old Lady was sent off as the 8/5 favourite and made a second-quarter move to the front. The favourite posted middle fractions of :55.1 and 1:23.3 with Southwind Geisha pressing at her first over and Fan Hanover elimination winner Moonlit Dance placed second over. Meanwhile, Caviart Scarlett paced along in seventh for the majority of the mile, but was angled to the far outside for the stretch drive. In the stretch, Moonlit Dance did not fire off her cover and it appeared Lindys Old Lady was going to go all the way, but in the late stages of the mile Caviart Scarlett came charging from the back to pick off the public's choice and deliver a stunning upset in 1:52. Lindys Old Lady had to settle for second, while Moonlit Dance was third. A daughter of Sportswriter, Caviart Scarlett is trained by Richard 'Nifty' Norman for owner Caviart Farms. The sophomore pacing filly was unraced at age two and was coming into her fifth career start Friday off a maiden breaking win on June 23 at Mohawk. The second leg victory established a new career-mark for Caviart Scarlett and doubled her earnings to $18,640. A $2 win ticket on Caviart Scarlett paid an incredible $211.20. Caviart Scarlett The $48,600 final of the Town Pro Series will take place next Saturday (July 11) at Mohawk, along with the $50,400 Summertime Final for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Mark McKelvie
Will it be the "Camme" before the storm or could it be "Surf's Up" at Red Shores on Saturday night. A harness racing rivalry in the making begins in the Saturday night Preferred 1 pace when D Gs Camme and Big Surf line up behind the Metro Building Supplies starting gate side by side. The 2015 Cecil Ladner Memorial winner Big Surf has drawn post 2 for the Burkie By The Bay Stable and Perry Burke. The four-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding has taken P.E.I by storm winning three of his four starts this year, including two clockings in 1:53 and change. Red Shores Charlottetown's top reinsmen Marc Campbell will handle the driving duties for trainer Trevor Hicken. The rivalry will be born when D Gs Camme makes his third start of 2015 on Saturday night fresh off a 1:54 victory just one week ago, the defending Governor's Plate Champ is owned by Quentin and Hal Bevan, Tom Clark and Ron Matheson. The five-year-old son of Blissfull Hall is trained by Charlottetown's best Jackie Matheson, and will reunite with the Mainland invader the "Maritime Magicman" Gilles Barrieau from post 1. Si Semalu, newcomer Fortune Playboy and All Turain complete the compact field of five. Rambling Lily will look to make it three-in-a-row to start the 2015 season when she lines up against seven other rivals in the Race 11 Open Mares. 'Lily' has drawn into post 6 for owners Allan Jones and Norm Leger, Jones does the training and Walter Cheverie will do the driving. Other contenders include For All We Know, Dirt Track Momma and Willow Warrior. The Open Trot goes in Race 3 with the Queen of the Trot Pleasure Girls absent this week it leaves the door open for a new winner this week. Three-entry Holy Molie Magie makes her third start on red soil and after back-to-back second place finishes to Pleaure Girls she will look to return to the winners enclosure for owner trainer Jeff Holmes and driver Cheverie. The field includes Parkhill Jugernaut, Frill Seeker and Caliban Hanover. The 12-dash card gets underway at 6 p.m. Machinthesand searches for three-peat Five pacers will line up behind the Sherry's Heating Service starting gate in the Race 10 feature on Sunday afternoon at Red Shores Summerside. The morning line choice will be Machinthesand as he looks to pick up his third victory in seven days when he scores from Post 5. Owned by Noonan Holdings LTD, Russell and Karen Noonan, the Hughie Murphy trainee comes off a Canada Day victory in 1:55. On Sunday he will reunite with driver Norris Rogers. The compact field of five includes Eagle Jolt, fresh off a 1:57 score in Charlottetown, Oh To Be Me, Carrera Angel and Outside The Wire. Machinthesand winning on the 28th June The Race 11 'Go Home Pace' will see the veteran 10-year-old gelding Life Savior put his three race win streak on the line as he makes the jump from the $4000 claimer into the $5000 ranks. Owned by Darla MacEachern and trained by father Duane the winner of 55 races lifetime has back-to-back victories in 1:58.1, he will get the services of Red Shores Summerside's leading driver Corey MacPherson. The 11-dash card is set for a 1 p.m. post. Don't miss a second of the action with the live racing broadcast at redshores.ca By Bo Ford
Top local harness racing horseman Bruce Richardson was at Grand River Raceway on Friday night. Bruce was the winner of two races. He was able to steer Richlyn Ombretta (rich-lin om-bretta) to an upset victory in the 6th race and was aboard Distinctive Rusty in the 10th race. Bruce is a career winner of over 3100 races. Bruce is a native of Arthur and is one of the top drivers at Grand River Raceway year in and year out. Grand River Raceway features live harness racing on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights all summer. Complete schedule info at www.grandriverraceway.com . Kelly Spencer
JULY 2, 2015 - Solar Sister took command of the three-year-old pacing filly division with a 1:50.3 victory in her harness racing Ontario Sire Stakes Gold division at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday evening. Starting from Post 2 in the second $105,000 Gold split, fan favourite Solar Sister landed on the rail behind number two choice Ms Mac N Cheese and watched contentedly from the pocket as the pacesetter zipped to fractions of :26.1 and :54.4. Rolling toward the 1:23.2 three-quarters, driver Doug McNair tipped Solar Sister into the outer lane and the filly reeled in her Ontario Sires Stakes rival, earning a half-length victory in a personal best 1:50.3. Ms Mac N Cheese and driver Sylvain Filion settled for a hard fought second, with Capela and driver James MacDonald well behind the duelling leaders in third. "I figured Sylvain (Filion) would be pointing her (Ms Mac N Cheese) out of there and trying to either cut it out or sit on my back," said McNair after the race. "We went out of there pretty fast; his filly was rolling right along to the half. I could have come back around, but I was pretty content to where I was at. It looked to me like a two horse race when the draw came out, so I was happy to be following her. I knew she'd get me to where we had to go." Guelph resident McNair engineered Solar Sister's second Gold Series victory for his father, trainer Gregg McNair of Guelph, and owner-breeders David Willmot of King City and Clay Harland Horner of Toronto. The win bumped the daughter of Mach Three and $1.4 million winner Cabrini Hanover to lifetime earnings of $485,690 and gives her a sophomore record of five wins, one third and one fourth in seven starts. "She's just getting to be a really nice mare. You can race her any way, on the front or from the back or in the middle," added the reinsman. "Them type of mares are horses that make it a lot easier for me, you can kind of judge the speed and make up your mind as you go, and she's happy to race any way. "She's a big filly, good gaited, a nice bred filly, I'm glad we got her." Solar Sister With wins in the first two Gold Legs, Solar Sister sits alone atop the three-year-old pacing filly division standings with 100 points. Ms Mac N Cheese, also a winner in the June 6 season opener at Mohawk Racetrack, falls to second spot which she shares with the winner of the first division, Wrangler Magic. Fan Hanover champions Wrangler Magic and Sylvain Filion went off as the heavy favourites from Post 4 in the first Gold Series contest and, as he would later do with Ms Mac N Cheese, the Milton reinsman opted to take command of the race. Wrangler Magic rolled easily to a :27 quarter, fended off a challenge from Delightful Hill heading by the :55.1 half, and was comfortably in charge at the 1:23.1 three-quarters. Turning for home, however, things got decidedly less comfortable for the pacesetter. Facing pressure from all sides, Wrangler Magic had to battle all the way to the wire, securing a 1:51 victory by a scant nose over Cast No Shadow. Delightful Hill sprinted into third, three-quarters of a length behind the leaders. Owners Thomas Kyron of Toronto, ON, Dr. Maurice Stewart of Leduc, AB, Brian Paquet of Quebec, QC and Bayama Farms Inc. of Saint-Andre-D'Argenteuil, QC now have a Gold Series trophy to display alongside the Fan Hanover trophy Wrangler Magic earned at Mohawk on June 20. Through six sophomore starts the Mach Three daughter has tallied two wins, two seconds and two thirds and Thursday's win boosted her lifetime earnings to $513,894. Stephane Larocque conditions the talented young pacer, who was also a Gold Series winner at two. Wrangler Magic Solar Sister, Wrangler Magic and their peers will now enjoy a brief break in their provincial stakes schedule before it resumes at Grand River Raceway on August 3. Mohawk Racetrack fans have a much shorter interlude before the next Ontario Sires Stakes event at the Campbellville oval. On Monday, July 6 the two-year-old stakes season gets under way with three Gold Series divisions for the freshman pacing fillies. The fillies will be featured in Races 3, 6 and 9 on the 7:25 pm program. Ontario Horse Racing
Charlottetown, PE - Waterside Light and harness racing driver Kenny Arsenault made a three-high charge down the backstretch on route to the three-quarter pole and went on to claim the Thursday feature at Red Shores Racetrack & Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park. The time of the mile was 1:56.1. The four-year-old Lis Mara gelding is owned by Larry Chappell, Marshfield and Hilliard Graves, Charlottetown, PE. Tempo Seelster (Vince Poulton) was second with Cabo Pan Lucas (Danny MacDonald) closing hard to complete the triactor. The 5-4-6 combination returned $113.20. C L La Rousse (Lincoln Parke), with Jason Hughes in the bike, earned his fourth victory in a row taking the seventh race for trainer Reg Ferguson and his co-owner Paula MacPhee, Charlottetown, PE. Majian Chester and Jim Ripley won the trot division in 2:01.3. Hughes had a driving triple while Mark Bradley connected for a driving double on the night. Racing returns Saturday in Charlottetown at 6pm and Sunday afternoon at 1pm in Summerside. By Lee Drake
Three months after moving to Campbellville after nearly 40 years in Peterborough, the veteran Ontario trainer’s Ontario-sired trotter Hemi Seelster pulled off a stunning 76-1 upset in the Goodtimes Stakes on the Pepsi North America Cup harness racing undercard. Pepsi North America Cup Night was surreal for John Bax of Campbellville on a number of fronts. Not only did his Ontario-sired pupil Hemi Seelster pull off a stunning 76-1 upset in the $233,000 final of the Goodtimes Stakes against top Grand Circuit horses, the veteran Ontario trainer then presented the trophy to himself. The Goodtimes, for sophomore trotting males, is named for Bax’s former trotting great, a longtime warrior in the open trot at Mohawk and Woodbine Racetracks who was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2004 after earning more than $2 million on the track. Bax, 60, said he was numb as he headed for the winner’s circle on June 20 after the Goodtimes. “I just handed (the trophy) to my wife, Vicky. I was there to give it, so I certainly had no trouble standing on the other side and taking it,” Bax said, laughing. Adding to the surreal nature of the night, it took just five minutes for Bax to make the trip home after the races, rather than the usual two- or three-hour trek. In April, Bax moved to the site of the famed standardbred breeding outfit Glengate Farms in Campbellville that ceased breeding operations in 2005. Until April, Bax had been based in Peterborough for his entire 38-year training career — a stint in which he trained the winners of well more than $17 million (trainer records weren’t kept for the first 16 years of his career) and earned a berth in the Peterborough and District Sports Hall of Fame in 2008. “I drove a lot down the road, wore out a lot of trucks,” Bax said. “There were nights when I was heading home at midnight and they’ve got the 401 shut down in the middle of Toronto and you’re sitting there until 1:30 or 2 in the morning trying to get through and back home.” Needing to be up at the crack of dawn to train his stable compounded the wear and tear on the trainer. “I figured it out that if I was coming (to Mohawk) five days a week in the summer, that’s 20 hours plus (on the road),” Bax said. Bax said the move to the west side of Toronto, and closer to Ontario’s most lucrative tracks, only made sense because his 25-year-old son, Matt, is also a trainer. John also credits Matt for Hemi Seelster being in the Goodtimes in the first place. “To tell you the truth, I didn’t even realize at first that (Hemi Seelster) was in the Goodtimes. Matt slipped one by me. He was always high on him,” John said. “It’s his baby and he sometimes, in his youth, gets a little over-stimulated or high on a horse, whereas I’ve been down that road before.” Hemi Seelster, a son of Holiday Road out of Hollywood Beauty bred by Seelster Farms in Lucan, ON, was a $19,000 yearling purchase from the Forest City Yearling Sale in London — the exact same price John paid for Goodtimes as a yearling in 1992. Hemi Seelster is owned by John, Matt, John Houston of Cobourg, ON and the Goin To The Show Stable of Peterborough. John Bax pegged the gelding as more of an Ontario Sires Stakes horse than a top stakes horses. In against 1-5 favourite Canepa Hanover and 3-1 second choice French Laundry — both from the powerful Jimmy Takter stable — John said he was hoping for a fifth-place cheque with Hemi Seelster in the Goodtimes. But when Canepa Hanover and later French Laundry broke stride, John said he began counting horses in front of Hemi Seelster. “I really wasn’t paying so much attention to who was in front of us so much as the number there were… I don’t know if I breathed down the stretch,” John said. It was the first victory for Hemi Seelster in seven starts this year. All of this comes on the heels of one of John’s best years in the business. In 2014, John trained the winners of some $1.6 million. Two of John’s trainees — two-year-old trotting filly Stubborn Belle and three-year-old trotting filly Riveting Rosie — earned O’Brien Awards as the top horses in their division in Canada. Only 2001, when John earned some $1.85 million, won a Breeders Crown with Duke Of York at Woodbine and earned the O’Brien Award as Canada’s Trainer of the Year, was better, statistically, than last year. Beyond Goodtimes and Duke Of York ($900,000 lifetime), John has trained a long string of Ontario-sired trotting stars over his career, including: Define The World ($1.65 million), Charmed Life ($830,000), Northern Bailey ($775,000), Pepi Lavec ($650,000), Summer Indian ($435,000), Oaklea Odessa ($410,000), Oaklea Omega ($400,000), Elegant Supreme ($380,000) and Aimees Image ($230,000) Though Hemi Seelster is bound mostly for the Ontario Sires Stakes program this summer — of which John Bax is both a huge proponent and, historically, one of its most successful trainers — he said he might take a shot at the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks with Ontario-sired Stubborn Belle (Taurus Dream—Musetta Hanover) in August at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey. He said he hopes Ontario-sired Riveting Rosie (Muscle Mass—Rose De Vie Stena) can overcome allergy issues in time to race in the Breeders Crown at Woodbine in October. For now, the trainer is happy to enjoy an easier commute, easy access to Mohawk Racetrack to train horses and Hemi Seelster’s surprising Goodtimes victory. “I suppose at the end of the day it makes that $1,000 or $2,000 entry fee a little more bearable. It gives you a little hope,” he said. Dave Briggs Standardbred Communications Ontario Horse Racing email@example.com (519) 782-7178 Please visit: www.ontariohorseracing.ca
"The Making Of A Champion" Before they break records, before they stun the world with their speed and grace, and before they even know the game; all foals share the same destiny. All foals are born to become champions, all foals are born to become the best. People spend hours sifting through online pedigree research or perhaps even sire and dam books, trying to find the perfect match to create the next great champion. Eleven months and one week later when that foal is born, everyone is filled with hope, and wonder if this will be the next great champion, if this will be the next record breaker. From the moment a foal first stands up, even if a little wobbly at first, a future star has been born. For the next two years and far beyond that, many people and countless hours of hard work filled with patience and practice will go into making hopeful youngsters into racehorses filled with heart and the will to win. These may be the people who first put the foal’s halters on, the first ones to show them how to walk with a lead, the first ones to pick up their feet, the people who helped wean, or who help break the foal to the harness when they are a yearling. Whatever role they may play, they have just begun the training of a champion and they will forever be a part of who that horse is. I had the opportunity to go and visit two major breeding farms in Ontario, Seelster Farms and Winbak Farms. When I was at Seelster Farms, I got to see Sydney Seelster’s (Pinky) sire Camluck! I noticed similarities between Pinky and Camluck right away. Camluck has a big appetite; he too loves carrots and apples, and hay and so does Pinky. His personality and Pinky’s were a lot alike too, both of them are gentle and playful. She looked like him as well! Camluck had white socks on both of his back feet and a little bit on his front right. Pinky got his white on her back right foot. She also got his white star on her forehead. I also got to see the foals up close. The foals all had their own personalities. Some just lay in a pile of straw having a nice nap, and there were some were running around their stalls, pestering their moms and getting in their way. The foals were all so cute, they made my heart melt, even them being mischievous was cute. After seeing these sweet, cute buddle's of joy each with their own personality I wondered what Pinky was like as a foal. She was born here, in one of these stalls, I guess I never thought of Pinky once being a wobbly foal and at one point spending a lot of time learning how to become the great racehorse she is. Some mares were wearing collars. I inquired as to what they were to Ann; the lady giving us the tour. She explained that the mares wearing the collars belonged to Bob McIntosh. I had just seen Bob McIntosh’s band of future stars. I got to meet Big Jim at Seelster Farms too! He too was handsome. I was interested to learn that he had just returned to Canada after standing stud in Australia. He is one busy boy when it comes to breeding. I was happy I got see and spend some time with Big Jim, because when Jim Carr was alive he always wanted me to see Big Jim and even though he was not there that day, he was in my heart. The other sires I saw at Seelster Farms were; Sunshine Beach, Justice Hall, Windsong Espoir, and Holiday Road. All of them were amazing to see up close and better looking than I imagined. It was nice to see Sunshine Beach again. I remember him being at First Line Training Centre, and going over and seeing him. I remember sitting at the rail and cheering him on as well. We discovered Pinky has a full brother who races at Grand River and The Raceway at Western Fair, his name is Savage Seelster. I could see Camluck both in Pinky and in Savage. Camluck, Pinky, and Savage all have a nice disposition. I know this because I have been able to watch Savage race and see him in the paddock. Whenever I go and see him the paddock on race night he always snuggles into me and gives me kisses, as did Pinky. It was remarkable to see such striking similarities in brothers and sisters of the same sire or dam. When I visited Winbak Farms I got to see something very unique! I got to see how they collect the semen, the first process of creating a foal. I got to look through the microscope, and see the semen swimming. That was something I never thought I would see! Seeing that did not compare to anything I had seen in science class! They also showed me all the mathematics that went into breeding. There were lots of numbers, ratios and percentages. I never knew there was so much math involved in breeding. When the studs entered the rectangular room to give their gift, some were excited; others were very professional and calm when they came in, they knew they had a job to do! Some didn’t even have to go near the tease mare! There were a couple of studs who just had to smell the mare’s urine on a sponge, others just walked into the room and were ready to do their job. I watched as the studs mounted a fake mare and as they collected the semen. I watched in curiosity. In a way I felt like I was invading their privacy but it was too interesting and I could not look away, it was just so intriguing to me. I got to meet Badlands Hanover, Betterthancheddar, Bettor’s Delight, Classic Card Shark, Royal Mattjesty, Shadow Play, Vintage Master, Angus Hall, Archangel, and Glidemaster. They all looked outstanding and they all had nice shiny coats. There were boxes being labeled, packed with semen, and getting ready to be shipped all over. Some were staying local, some going a different part of Canada, and there were others that needed to get to the airport to go somewhere else. This put a new perspective on the breeding industry for me. I never realized how a small amount of semen could bring so much hope to so many people. It would be a lot of work to have a breeding farm, to clean out those stalls that have twice the mess because they are two horses to clean up after in some stalls. But I think it would be a special job, being there when the mares have their foals, seeing the foals running and playing with each other in the afternoon sun, this would make all the late nights when night foaling all worth it. I am now more interested in breeding then I ever was before. We made the decision to breed Pinky! I am looking so forward to having my own foal to watch grow up and race! I am counting down the months until that very special day when Pinky’s foal is born, when Camluck will have another grandchild, Savage will become an uncle. And I too can dream of having the next champion! Sydney Weaver is 15 years old and resides in Acton, Ontario, Canada. She has been involved with harness racing for years, grooms horses, jogs them on the track, owns a racehorse and has already won major youth writing awards. Sydney also has Cerebral Palsy and spends most of her time in a wheelchair, but has never let her disability hold her back from achieving her goals.
The top local harness racing horseman was Paul Mackenzie on Canada's 148th birthday Wednesday at Grand River Raceway. Mackenzie won two races Wednesday night. His first winner was Windsong Lassie out of the Larocque barn (trainer), his second was with three year old filly, Beach Sunset. Paul Mackenzie is a native of Puslinch, ON. He has been able to steer over 8000 winners around the oval during his long career which puts him among the top drivers in Canadian history. Grand River Raceway features live harness racing on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights all summer. Complete schedule info at www.grandriverraceway.com . Kelly Spencer Mgr. Marketing & Communications Grand River Raceway
Trois-Rivieres, Quebec – Harness racing driver Denis St Pierre wasted no time in scoring his 4,000th career victory at the Hippodrome 3R Wednesday evening. He started off the night needed just two wins so he won both ends of the daily double to reach the milestone victory. “I really wanted to achieve this goal tonight,” Denis St Pierre said. “Because my sister Caroline is here visiting me from New Zealand and it has made for a very special achievement to share with her. I wanted her to go back home with something special.” St Pierre, 54, hails from Montreal. He has been driving professionally since 1981. His milestone victory came in the second race with D G’s Laurie ($4.50) as they led from start to finish, winning by three-quarters of a length over Thebestofme (Mario Charron) in 1:58.1 over a sloppy, rain soaked track with a three second variant. “After I won the first race I knew I had to do it in the second,” St Pierre said. “These were my two best drives of the night. You can say I was very determined to win the second race. The first race was very easy. “I am so happy to have achieved this special mark here in Quebec and at the Hippodrome 3R,” St Pierre said. “I wanted to do it here in front of my family and friends. This is home to me.” Win number 3,999 for Denis St Pierre came in the first race, an opening round division of the $200,000 Quebec-Bred Series for three-year-old trotting colts and fillies. Driving National Trace, St. Pierre sent the daughter of Taurus Dream right to the lead from post five and never looked back. They held the field at bay until after the three-quarters, opening up by three lengths by the top of the stretch and then pulling away for a seven and one-quarter length romp in 2:03.2. The pocket-sitting SOS hardrive (Francis Morressette) was second with Double Chance (Sylvain LaCaille) third. It was the first win in six starts this year for National Trace, who paid $4.50 to win. She is trained by Dany Fontaine and is owned and was bred by Ecurie Gaeton Bono, Inc. of Montreal, QC. In the third race second division of the Quebec-Bred Series it was Intouchable and driver Mario Charron’s turn to lead from start to finish. Intouchable is a full brother to Quebec-Bred champion, Maximuscle, and despite being winless as a two-year-old, Intouchable is making up for lost time at age three, wiring the field in 2:02.2. Overtaking the lead from Notrouble Dechafra (Stephane Brosseau) before the opening quarter mile, Intouchable was challenged in the backstretch by a determined Seeyou Men and driver Robert Shepherd. But they could not collar the race leader, but did make Intouchable kick in another gear as he came home in :29.1 over the sloppy track to win by one and three-quarter lengths. Seeyou Men was second with Notrouble Dechafra third. Unbeaten in two starts this year, Intouchable is trained by Maxme Velaye for owner/breeder Ecurie Provoquante of Mirabel, QC. He paid $3.30 to win. Driver Denis St Pierre was not finished after the first two races. He also won the sixth race with Imjustalittleguy ($4.10) and the tenth race with Our Star ($3.00) in 2:03.1 for his fifth driving quadruple this season. Live racing resumes Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R. First race post time is 1:30 pm and featured will be the $200,000 opening round of the Quebec-Bred Series for three-year-old pacing colts and fillies. For more information visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club
Doug McIntosh missed out on a piece of the eight-foot long cake, but the Wheatley resident still left the harness racing meeting at Dresden Raceway on Canada Day in a celebratory mood after Cincinnati Miss delivered an impressive victory in her $18,000 Grassroots division. "It's now one race at a time, but she kind of made us believers, and I'm very, very happy," said McIntosh. "It worked out great." Sent off as the narrow favourites over Allies Gift and Luc Ouellette, Cincinnati Miss and driver Trevor Henry sprinted away from Post 4 and took early control of the race. As the pair rolled through fractions of :29, :57.3 and 1:28 with Allies Gift tucked in behind them, McIntosh worried the tempo might be too quick, but Cincinnati Miss found another gear in the stretch and pulled away to a two and one-quarter length victory in 1:58.2. "I was a little concerned that the fractions were pretty heavy," admitted McIntosh, who shares ownership of Cincinnati Miss with Ivey Pharm Stable of Cincinnati, Ohio. "But you know what, she made us proud in the stretch, she just dug in and got the job done, and within two-fifths (of a second) of the track record." The win improved the Kadabra daughter's sophomore record to two wins, two seconds and one third in five starts and boosted her season earnings to $25,160. The consistent young trotter will make her next start in the July 14 Grassroots event at Georgian Downs. "I can't say enough for Bob's team, they've done a great job," said McIntosh, who retired from training horses in the spring and handed care of Cincinnati Miss off to his brother Bob McIntosh of Windsor, ON. "Daryl (Wayne) that looks after her is a very, very efficient groom, she's had a lot of experience and she knows what to do. She's very, very proud." McIntosh was also pleased to see the enthusiastic crowd gathered at Dresden Raceway to celebrate Canada Day and the Grassroots trotting fillies. In addition to Cincinnati Miss, the fans greeted six other fillies as they returned triumphant to the Dresden winner's circle. The aptly named Summers Jewel kicked things off with a 1:59.2 score in the first Grassroots division, circling out three-wide to claim a two length victory over Pointe Of Inquiry and JLs Too Hot Taj. Mario Baillargeon piloted the fan favourite to her first win of the season for his brother, trainer Benoit Baillargeon of Rockwood, ON, who also owns the daughter of Angus Hall. In the second division Hope Rises tracked down pacesetter Misslarissa heading for the three-quarters and accelerated away to a three and one-half length victory in 2:01. Fan favourite Lady Caterina settled for second, with Misslarissa hanging on for third. Sylvain Filion drove the Windsong Espoir daughter to her first win of the season for trainer Kelly Goodwin and owner-breeders Deborah Spike-Pierce of Lexington, KY and Madelon Spike of Jerome, MI. Local filly Judy The Beauty, owned by Randy Zhok of Dover Centre, had fans on their feet in the stretch of the third division, but finished one-quarter length behind winner Flexceptional in the 2:01 mile. Dave Tyrrell trains Flexceptional for Michael Casalino Jr. of Freehold, NJ and Anthony MacDonald piloted the Federal Flex daughter to the win. Tymal Fireitup rounded out the top three. La Bella Rosa's late sprint in the fourth division paid dividends, as she hit the wire one-quarter length ahead of Giona and fan favourite Kaddy. The Holiday Road filly gave driver Sylvain Filion his second win of the afternoon. Filion engineered the 1:59.4 win for trainer Reaume Bouvier and owners Bella Fortuna Stable of Laval, QC and Patricia McGuirl of Guelph, ON. Kadabra daughter Wing Flash displayed an impressive turn of foot in the fifth division, sailing along on the front end to a seven and one-half length victory in 1:58.2. Sheguindah and Stay In Touch completed the top three. Trainer-driver Wayne Henry of Arthur, ON shares ownership of Wing Flash with Daylon Farms of Komoka, ON. The final Grassroots division saw Trevor Henry make his second appearance in the Dresden winner's circle, guiding Muscle Mass daughter Sumthintotalkabout to a three and one-quarter length win for trainer Stephen Bossence of London, ON and his partner Stephen Palermo of Brampton, ON. Ill Stay Here and fan favourite Oh My Magic finished second and third in the 1:59.3 mile. The three-year-old trotting fillies will make their third Grassroots start at Georgian Downs on July 14, with each of the Canada Day winners hoping to add a few more points to their total in pursuit of a berth in the post season. Ontario Horse Racing
Summerside, PE - Machinthesand, under the command of harness racing driver Norris Rogers, burst off the starting gate to wire the field and claim the Canada Day Pace Wednesday at Red Shores Summerside. It's the second win in a row for this duo after they raced to victory in the Sunday feature. The son of Mach Three, owned by Noonan Holdings Ltd- Russell and Karen Noonan, Summerside, rolled through fractions of 28, 57.1, and 1:26.4 before firing off a closing panel of 28.1 to win by fourth lengths over Outside The Wire (Marc Campbell) and Oh To Be Me (Gary Chappell). The 3-6-2 triactor paid $68.40. The time of the mile was 1:55 flat. In other action, two veteran pacers, Life Savior, owned by Darla MacEachern, Kensington and Blu Meadow Willie from the Robert and Brenda MacInnis stable, celebrated Canada Day with career victory number 55. Tobins Beauty won the Woodmere Rose memorial in 1:59.3. The four-year-old mare is co-owned by Robert Henderson, Ellerslie and trainer Clair Sweet, O'Leary. Walter Cheverie was in the bike for the score. Cheverie recorded a driving triple on the program. For complete results go to www.redshores.ca By Lee Drake
Few names ring more familiar on the harness racing circuit in Nova Scotia than that of Dave Ratchford. For decades the Northside native has been thrilling harness racing enthusiasts with his incredible instinct, unique style and genuine love of the sport. For Ratchford, it has been very much a family affair. Harness racing goes back a long way, as far back as a century or more. “My father and his father had horses and as kids we spent a lot of time together in or near the horse barn,” he explains. “We took care of the horses, spent time jogging them and made sure everything was OK in the stables.” Ratchford received his first horse when he was 16 years old and now, 150 to 200 horses later, he has lost count. His love of the sport and taking care of the animals is as strong as it was from the beginning. “Training and racing horses is just a way of life for me. I still spend a lot of time on the track or in the barn and it is just what I do.” At any given time Ratchford can have a number of top bred horses in his stables. Over the years his interest evolved from racing and tending to the horses to training them. He travels out of province and into the United States to purchase yearlings, he raises them and trains them and sometimes he sells them, sometimes he races them or has someone else race them for him. For Ratchford, training and racing horses has its ups and downs. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, but the one thing that always remains the same is the passion he has for all of his horses. “Sometimes when we raise and train a horse we know we should sell it, but we often get attached and decide to keep it. At one point just recently we were up to eight horses in the stables.” At age 71, Ratchford has enjoyed a long and memorable career in harness racing. Recently he was inducted into the Cape Breton Sports Hall of Fame, something he said he is very grateful for. “It is quite an honour to be chosen for the Cape Breton Sports Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony was wonderful, I had a lot of family and friends there to see me be inducted and it was very rewarding.” Ratchford said despite the fact that he is not much for the limelight, he was proud to be inducted and says the ceremony was one of the high points of his career. Harness racing has always been a family affair — with four daughters growing up in North Sydney there was always someone who wanted to tag along to the barn. “I like having the kids around. It is great that they all share an interest in the sport.” He loves that he was able to have his children with him at the track and now a new generation has evolved as several of his grandchildren spend time with him at the stable as well. Though his daughters’ support for racing is important to him, he admits he wouldn’t have been able to do it without the full support of his wife Marg. For as long as they have been a couple, Marg has supported his desire to spend time with his horses. “It has been very important to me to have Marg’s support all of these years. Before I retired it took up a lot of my time. I had to go to the stables in the nights and on the weekend. I guess she thought if she was going to see me she would have to come to the barn.” Ratchford said Marg has done her share of work around the horse barn and even after all of these years she is still helps tend to the horses regularly. For Ratchford, being inducted into the Cape Breton Sports Hall of Fame is the icing on the cake of a career in harness racing that spans more than five decades. It has been something he has enjoyed for a long time. “I have been very fortunate to still be a part of something that I love. Racing is important to me and even now that I am getting older I still race on a weekly basis.” Ratchford said harness racing is an experience unlike any other and one that he has been privileged to enjoy for longer than most people in the sport. As a well-decorated harness racer, Ratchford has raced all over Nova Scotia as well as out of province. He has won more races than the average person and continues to win still today. While most in his position would attribute their success to a lot of hard work and dedication to their sport, Ratchford says his success comes more from simply being lucky. “I have had a lot of success over the years and there is no doubt that the sport requires a lot of discipline as well as commitment. I have put a lot of work into it but I think much of what I have accomplished is because of luck.” These days Ratchford can be found at the Northside Downs race track every Saturday and on holidays, giving it his all. Now that he is a little older he has to be a little more cautious he said, but he still wins consistently, even going up against guys that are half his age. “There are some really talented harness racers on the track these days. The competition is tough. Winning is a big part of why I still do what I do, but it is not everything. Being able to still have the experience means more than anything.” By Sherry Mulley Macdonald Reprinted with permission of the Cape Breton Star
JUNE 30, 2015 - Twelve days ago harness racing trainer Dustin Jones made an unanticipated return to the race bike behind his top trotting colt Dont Rush, a return that had a direct impact on Tuesday evening's Gold Series event at Mohawk Racetrack. "Chris (Christoforou) had got hurt that night in the parade, and I wasn't really prepared to drive him," said Jones of his last minute return to the race bike in the June 18 overnight. "Chris wanted me to leave with him and I said, you know what, if I leave with him and I get parked I'm going to be mad at myself. I said, I'll just put him in the back." Jones eased Dont Rush off the gate from Post 6 in the three-year-old conditioned event and the pair raced along well behind the leaders before closing hard to finish two and one-half lengths back in third. The mile may not have been the one Christoforou would have crafted, but it did cause Jones to firm up a decision he had been toying with since the start of Dont Rush's sophomore season. "He did trot his last half in :56.1, but I thought he was working too hard, his legs were going fast and he wasn't grabbing the track good enough, so I changed his shoes," said the Waterdown, ON resident. "I've been debating about that all year because I knew he was going to have to gain a few seconds, because he's not a very big horse." Jones switched Dont Rush's front footwear from steel to aluminum, which lowered the colt's gait a little bit, and the result was immediately apparent to Christoforou as he rolled in behind the gate for Tuesday evening's $105,000 Gold Series division. Lining up at Post 9 the Campbellville, ON resident opted to send Dont Rush to the front and the trotter looked every inch a division champion as he cruised home to a four length victory in a personal best 1:54.3. "Dustin made a great change and lightened his front shoes, and the colt's gait was much more efficient," said Christoforou after the race. "I have never raced him that way before, but with 11 horses in the field, and having the 9 hole, I was reluctant to risk getting him caught in traffic. He responded well and showed his class tonight." The win gives Dont Rush one Gold trophy, one Grassroots trophy, and one third-place result in overnight action through three sophomore starts and boosts his season earnings to $63,900. Jones, who shares ownership of the homebred son of Infinitif and Color Me Pretty with Greg Judson of Athens, ON, says last year's division champion will now begin preparations for the July 15 Gold Leg at Grand River Raceway. Dont Rush One race after guiding Dont Rush into the Mohawk winner's circle, Christoforou paraded onto the racetrack with another trotter benefitting from a recent equipment change. Like Dont Rush, Muscle Up The Goal captured his Grassroots division at Mohawk on June 4, but when the colt made a break in his Goodtimes elimination at the Campbellville oval on June 12 trainer Rob Fellows decided to add trotting hopples to his equipment bag. Christoforou and Muscle Up The Goal gave the hopples a test run in a June 23 qualifier at Mohawk, posting a two and one-half length win in 1:57.2, which had fans sending the duo off as their fourth choice in Tuesday's second Gold division. Starting from Post 1, Christoforou allowed the trotter to coast away from the starting gate and the pair was sitting fifth at the :27.2 opening quarter clocked by Raising Richard. With Olympic Son and Rubber Duck serving as a wind break, Muscle Up The Goal stepped into the outer lane heading for the :57.3 half and maintained that position through the 1:27.2 three-quarters. When Christoforou asked the Muscle Mass son for an additional gear, Muscle Up The Goal kicked home to a one and one-quarter length win in a personal best 1:55.4. "Muscle Up The Goal showed a lot of ability early last year then got hurt. It's been a long road back for him, but the addition of trotting hopples has seemed to help him tremendously," said Christoforou. "He got a nice trip tonight and raced very good." Rockwood, ON resident Fellows conditions Muscle Up The Goal for Synerco Ventures Inc. of Toronto, ON. Before being injured early in his freshman campaign the trotter scored two Gold Series victories. In just seven lifetime starts Muscle Up The Goal now has four wins and earnings of $150,600. Muscle Up The Goal Like Dont Rush, Muscle Up The Goal will now turn his attention toward the third Gold Series event of the three-year-old trotting colt calendar on July 15 at Grand River Raceway. After a break for Canada Day, Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday, July 2 with two Gold Series divisions for the three-year-old pacing fillies. Ontario Horse Racing
CHARLOTTETOWN, PE - The Thursday night harness racing feature is anyone's race to win at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park. First race post time is 7 pm for the 12-dash card. Tempo Seelster is pegged as the morning line favorite in the $2,100 race 11 feature with owner-trainer-driver Vincent Poulton from post 4. The five-year-old son of Santanna Blue Chip has been knocking on the door every week but hasn't hit the winner's circle since May 9. He was a sharp second in his last start in 1:56.3 to Forever Paradise, but with that rival gone to race in New Brunswick this week the way is clear to the Charlottetown winner's circle with a bit of a fight. First Art Down (Ken Murphy) has the rail in the seven-horse contest with Say It Again Sam (Jason Hughes) looking for redemption from post 7 after his first finish off the board last week. Race analyst Les MacIsaac looks to post 2 starter Perfect Escape to replicate his 1:55.4 victory from his last start. "He has won three of his last four with his latest matching his seasonal mark from 2014," MacIsaac said of Perfect Escape. "If he's able to set up shop on the front end, and it appears he has a good chance of doing that, it could be all over." Other entries include PC Shockwace (Wade Sorrie), Waterside Light (Kenny Arsenault) and Cabo Pan Lucas (Daniel MacDonald). The card also includes seven mares going head-to-head in race 9 for a $1,800 purse. Howmac Missy is the classifier's choice from post 2 for driver Marc Campbell, trainer Earl Watts and owners Howmac Farms of North Wiltshire and Wade Peconi of Stanchel. Her main morning line opponents are General Luckypercy (Matheson) and Lucksgottachange (Hughes) from posts 5 and 6, respectively. The field also includes Briannas Angel (Travis Wilkie), A Fiesty Xample (Mark Bradley), Veronicavermillion (Neil Bambrick) and Bettim Jenny (Jeff Lilley). Race secretary Gerard Smith has carded two trot classes on the program with maiden trotters competing for $1,100 in race 1. Windemere Tribe (Darrell Neill) is the favorite from post 2. Race 4 has eight conditioned trotters fighting for the lion's share of the $1,200 pot. JK Blaze is the morning line choice for driver Walter Cheverie and owner-trainer Joe Smallwood of Stratford.