There are some athletes, who are to their sport — like jam is to peanut butter. They come together like eggs to bacon. They blend. They become one, an osmosis in the world of sweat — like Jordan and basketball; a puck and Gretzky, baseball with The Babe. One without the other is intellectually indigestible. So, it is, that harness racing has always had its Filion and a Waples. Or two. Jody Jamieson is a multiple O’Brien Award winner and John Campbell is regarded with a reverence rarely heard this side of a Gordie Howe conversation. Some, such as Sylvain Filion, who leads the drivers’ standings with Canada’s top harness circuit moving to Mohawk Thursday from Woodbine, continue to hold the standard high for the old world order. But, look close enough, and it is evident that standardbred racing is also coming into a new age. The twitter generation is making its move. A younger, perhaps bolder more aggressive, and evidently a talented wave of young drivers has taken a foothold in the industry. Perhaps never before has so much young blood lined up horses behind a starting gate. “I think it has changed quite a bit,” says Doug McNair, who at age 25, sits second in the driver’s standings behind only Filion. “Even if you go back just a few years, most guys had to be in their 30s before they could race (on the Woodbine/Mohawk circuit) full-time. Me, Jon Drury, and a couple others, all came in about the same time and I think it’s good for the sport. “When you have the younger drivers well, they tend to hang out with a younger crowd and I think it might get more younger people ... a new generation of people coming out to the track.” There is certainly a new generation taking over on the track. With the switch-over to Mohawk, three of the five top drivers have yet to see a 30th candle lit on their birthday cake. Drury, from Rockwood, Ont., is fifth with 37 wins. McNair, has 62 wins in 332 starts, just six behind Filion. James MacDonald, who at age 28 recorded his 1,000th lifetime win last season, sits in third spot with 44 wins. “I think I’ve got a lot of good years ahead. Most of the better, older drivers didn’t get to their best until their mid-30s,” said MacDonald, who grew up in a racing family in Prince Edward Island. “A younger group is starting to break through ... a few of us have gotten noticed.” Noticed is a modest way of putting it. McNair surpassed the 2,000-win mark last year and ranked as the top Ontario Sires Stakes driver. In 2008, at age 18, he became the youngest driver in harness-racing history to win a $300,000 purse in the Battle of Waterloo. Horses, he has always realized, would be his life. His father Gregg, one of Canada’s top conditioners with over $31 million in career earnings, got him started in the sport. “I was only five or six years old maybe when it happened, but there’s a picture in my bedroom of me sitting on a bike in the winner’s circle after (Filion) won a race with one of my dad’s horses. Now I’m 25 and I’m getting a chance to go out there every night with some of these guys. How great is that. Sure, I have my bad days sometimes and I’m not happy when I leave the track — but there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing,” said Doug, “lots of four- and five-year-old kids dream of going to the NHL. I always dreamt of going to the track and racing.” Like McNair, Drury and MacDonald both grew up in racing families. Unlike McNair, Drury and MacDonald had to find, or rediscover, their passion for racing after some alternative adolescent diversions. “I played hockey, I played baseball. You name it, I played it,” said MacDonald, who enjoyed his job at the track canteen in Charlottetown, but rarely hung out at the family or track barns. Both his parents worked at the local track, the family was into the breeding business and his brothers Mark and Anthony were already on track to successful careers as drivers. “My brothers were always obsessed with the horses. I wasn’t,” said MacDonald. After graduating Grade 12, he worked a summer in Campbellville for his brother Anthony but, “I didn’t enjoy it that much to be honest” and he returned to college in P.E.I. Everything changed the following summer when he went back to Campbellville and his brother put him on a bike. “I don’t really know what changed. Maybe I was older. Maybe it was just I knew people and had more friends but I loved it.” And, the game, it turned out, loved him back. Last year, he drove Muscle Babe to a stakes-record performance in the $178,287 Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association final for three-year-old filly trotters in an impressive 1:54. His purse earnings this season already top $800,000. “I can’t imagine doing anything else. Even if I’m having a bad night and I go to the gate I still believe I’ve got the best job in the world.” Drury could be building racetracks rather than racing on them. While he also grew up in a racing family — his father Barry worked at Mohawk, still trains horses and once worked for the legendary Ron Waples as an assistant trainer at the old Meadowlands — he toyed with the idea of becoming an architect. “I really enjoyed it, and woodworking in high school. I thought about going to university but I ended up finishing high school and ... well, racing kind of took over. I guess it was just in my blood.” He started at a small track in Woodstock, his father gave him a leg up with a few horses. “Mostly it’s about opportunity. You have to get a chance to drive some decent horses ... when people see you winning at the smaller places they start to be more willing to let you go to the big tracks,” said Drury. A move to Kawartha Downs a few years later and teaming up with top trainers Corey Johnson and Carmen Auciello was the birth of his “Made It” moment. “I was a regular driver there (Kawartha Downs) and they started using me and we developed a relationship and it just snowballed from there,” said Drury, who also raced at Pocono for Auciello. “It was a great experience. I think it really helped me to be to where I am at today. It’s a different style of racing (at the Poconos), it taught me a lot and I think its made me a better driver now.” Since then he has become an integral part in the development of O’Brien Award winner Vegas Vacation, guiding the colt to victory in his first lifetime start at Mohawk Racetrack. Ultimate goals: For MacDonald? “You try not to look at the standings but you do ... It would be to win a drivers title at WEG,” he said. “To me the biggest thrill is still to have a full card against the best drivers that I grew up idolizing. We’re young ... at this age you’re eager to prove (yourself). We want to win and be like the guys who’ve been in this sport a long time.” Thursday, McNair has six races on the opening card at Mohawk in a season in which he is off to his best career start, and one he hopes will culminate with his ultimate dream: The O’Brien Trophy (awarded annually to Canadian harness-racing’s best and brightest) and a driving championship. “I picked up some good horses to start the year and it just seems to have snowballed from there,” said McNair. “In 2013 I got nominated, along with Filion, for driver of the year. He was always one of the guys I idolized when I was a kid. When that happened I felt like I belonged.” They have taken different paths to get to where they belong, but standardbred’s young guns are arriving at the finish line together. Said Drury: “When you’re racing at Woodbine and Mohawk you’re obviously doing something right. Just knowing I’m racing with the best is kind of a special feeling ... In the past, owners have always gone with the experienced guys. It’s nice to see some of the younger guys get a shot, with good horses, because I do think it’s good for the sport. By Bill Lankhof for the Toronto Sun Reprinted with the permission of the Toronto Sun
An action-packed second leg of the harness racing Youthful series was the Doug McNair show Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack. A pair of seven-horse $15,000 divisions took place in the second and final preliminary leg of the Youthful series for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings. The first division of the evening featured a matchup between round one winners Dialamara and Legion Of Boom. The public put their support behind Dialamara, as the Patrick Fletcher trainee was sent off as the 1/2 favourite, while Legion Of Boom was the second-choice at 5/2. Driver Sylvain Filion wasted no time putting Dialamara on the front-end and the pair were able to control the tempo down to the three-quarter pole in 1:25.1. Legion Of Boom and driver Doug McNair were situated second-over around the final turn, but still several lengths off the leader as they turned for home. In the stretch, Legion Of Boom blasted down the centre of the racetrack and would pace by an all-out Dialamara to win by half a length in 1:53.4. Giovanni finished third, while Pantheon Hanover rounded out the Superfecta. A son of Artistic Fella, Legion Of Boom is co-owned by driver Doug McNair and is trained by his father, Gregg. Equus Standardbreds Inc. rounds out the ownership of the gelding pacer. Legion Of Boom now has a record of four wins from seven starts in his first season on the track. The leg two victory pushes his bankroll over $49,000 and his clocking of 1:53.4 knocks a full-second off his previous career-mark. A $2 win ticket on Legion Of Boom returned $7.10 to win. Legion Of Boom The second leg of the Youthful took place five-races later on the card and by that time snowy conditions had taken over the Toronto oval. American Rock and McNair would take the second division at 2/1 to give the reinsman a round two sweep. A son of Rocknroll Hanover, American Rock came first up in the second-quarter and overtook the lead just past the mid-way point from Nobettorplacetobe. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:25.1, American Rock and McNair would hold off their rivals in the lane to score the victory by a length over Nobettorplacetobe in 1:54.1. Team Captain came off second-over cover to finish third, while Vegas Rocks took fourth. American Rock is trained by Ben Wallace for owner Brad Grant and now has four wins from seven starts in 2015. The sophomore pacer was purchased by his connections during the Meadowlands Mixed Sale in January. American Rock, who finished second in last week's opening leg, now has earnings of over $38,000. He paid $6.30 to win. American Rock In order to be eligible to the Youthful Series, the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings had to be non-winners of three races or $15,000 in 2014. The $37,000 Youthful final will take place next Saturday (April 11) at Mohawk Racetrack. Mark McKelvie
TORONTO, March 28 - Sophomore pacing colts took centre-stage Saturday night at Woodbine for the first leg of the Youthful series. A solid harness racing group of 21 three-year-old pacing colts and geldings were split into two $15,000 divisions for the opening round of the three-week series event. Fresh off his win in the WEGZ series last Saturday, Dialamara kept the momentum rolling with a 1:52.3 victory in the first division. Driven by Sylvain Filion, Dialamara got away early in fifth and would jump into the outer flow down the backstretch. American Rock, the 9/5 favourite, took control of the lead in the second-quarter. Around the final turn, Dialamara got right up along side the favourite to set up a stretch battle. In the lane, Dialamara was able to forge past American Rock in deep stretch to win by a head. Team Captain finished third, while Vegas Rocks took fourth. A three-year-old son of Lis Mara, Dialamara now has four wins from seven starts this season for trainer Patrick Fletcher. The first leg triumph increases the sophomore's career bankroll to over $92,000 for owner John Lamers. The 1:52.3 clocking lowers Dialamara's career-mark by more than a second. He returned $8.40 to win. In the second division, Legion Of Boom dug deep in the stretch to hold off his rivals and score a 1:55.1 victory. Driven and co-owned by Doug McNair, Legion Of Boom was put right on the front immediately by McNair. After cutting out fractions of :28.1 and :57.1, Legion Of Boom was confronted first up by Pantheon Hanover. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:25.3, Legion Of Boom squared off with Pantheon Hanover in the stretch and would show plenty of grit to hold off his rival and get the job done. Giovanni took the place spot, while fourth went to Nobettorplacetobe. A three-year-old son of Artistic Fella, Legion Of Boom is trained by Gregg McNair for his son Doug, who co-owns with Equus Standardbreds Inc. The sophomore pacer now has three wins from six starts in his first season of racing. The winner's share of the purse increases his bankroll to over $41,000. Legion Of Boom's victory was one of four winning steers for driver Doug McNair on the card. The McNair trainee returned $4.80 to win. In order to be eligible to the Youthful, the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings had to be non-winners of three races or $15,000 in 2014. The second round of the Youthful series will take place next Saturday (April 4). For full results from tonight's card click here. Mark McKelvie
TORONTO, February 20 - Legion Of Boom pulled off a mild harness racing upset to win The Count B series final Friday night at Woodbine. A field of ten three-year-old pacing colts and geldings squared off in the $43,800 finale of the three-week series event. Legion Of Boom and driver Doug McNair left from the rail at 9/1 and got away fifth entering the first turn. As the field neared the half, McNair sent Legion Of Boom first up, allowing the 4/5 favourite Conversation Boy to pick up second-over cover. Legion Of Boom wasted no time charging first up and cleared to the front before the final turn. Conversation Boy, who was left without cover first up, made a break around the final turn spoiling his chances. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:25.2, Legion Of Boom had to dig deep in the stretch to hold off several rivals and score a half-length victory in 1:54.4. Dialamara finished second, while Nobettorplacetobe and His Boy Elroy finished third and fourth respectively. A gelding son of Artistic Fella, Legion Of Boom is trained by Gregg McNair and now has two wins in the first five starts of his career. The victory is extra sweet for driver Doug McNair, as he shares ownership of the gelding with Equus Standardbreds Inc. Legion Of Boom now has career earnings of $34,830. The clocking of 1:54.4 knocked close to two-seconds off his previous career mark. Legion Of Boom returned $20.20 to win. In order to be eligible to The Count B series, the three-year-old colts and geldings had to be non-winners of three races or $40,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2014. Legion Of Boom Mark McKelvie
TORONTO, February 13 - The frigid temperatures continued Friday night at Woodbine, but the harness racing action was hot in the second legs of The Count B and Ontario Girls series. Round two of The Count B for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings drew 13 horses split into two $17,000 divisions, while the Ontario Girls for four-year-old pacing mares second leg featured a field of ten in a lone $18,000 division. In the first division of The Count B, the talk of the tote-board was the undefeated Camvicted, but a final turn and stretch battle took just enough out of him to suffer his first career defeat. Driven by Trevor Henry, Camvicted got away second early, but was quickly right lined to the front around the first turn. It appeared the favourite was going to get to call all the shots, but Legion Of Boom and driver Doug McNair came first up around the final turn to confront the leader. After a third-quarter of :28.1, Camvicted came into the stretch with Legion Of Boom breathing down his neck. The two geldings went toe-to-toe down the lane, but would be picked off late by the hard-charging His Boy Elroy and Jody Jamieson. Situated fifth and more than five-lengths off the front at the three-quarter pole, His Boy Elroy unleashed a late rally of :27.4 down the centre of the track to score the victory by a length in a career best 1:55.1. Camvicted had to settle for third, as Legion Of Boom edged by him late to finish second. A three-year-old son of Jeremes Jet, His Boy Elroy finished fourth in an opening leg division. He is trained by Jean Guy Belliveau for owner Dan Mac Rae. Friday's second leg victory was His Boy Elroy's first win of 2015 and his second career tally. He now has over $31,000 banked from 15 career starts. His Boy Elroy returned $13 to win. His Boy Elroy The second division of The Count B saw plenty of action down the backstretch, but once Conversation Boy and Sylvain Filion found the front it was game over. Conversation Boy got away in fourth, as Newbie sprinted out to the lead. The lead was short lived, as immediately down the backstretch Nobettorplacetobe moved from second to first. However, leg one winner Dialamara followed from third and circled around to become the third leader by the mid-way point. Filion kept the chain going and rushed Coversation Boy from fourth to first before the final turn and that would be the winning move. Conversation Boy reached the three-quarter pole in 1:26.1 and then paced comfortably down the lane holding off Dialamara to win by three-quarters of a length in a career best 1:54.1. Nobettorplacetobe finished third, while Newbie took fourth. A son of Tell All, Conversation Boy was able to turn the tables on Dialamara, as he had finished second to his counterpart in a first leg division. Conversation Boy is trained by Richard Moreau for owner Robert Key and now has two wins from six starts this season. The second leg victory now gives him four career wins and pushes his career earnings over $47,000. A $2 win ticket on Conversation Boy returned $4.70. Conversation Boy Later on in the evening, it was the ladies turn to shine in the Ontario Girls series. Bet Ya and trainer-driver Jack Moiseyev got to the wire just in time to score the leg two victory. A four-year-old daughter of Jeremes Jet, Bet Ya got away in fifth and made a first-over move down the backstretch. She would eventually clear by the favourite Regally Ready before the final turn and reached the three-quarter pole in 1:25.1. In the stretch, Bet Ya and Moiseyev were able to create some separation on their rivals and appeared to be on their way to victory, but Artistic Fusion made a late rally to make things very tight at the wire and put the photo-finish camera to use. In the photo, Bet Ya prevailed by a nose over Artistic Fusion in 1:54 for her first win in two starts this year and seventh of her career. Jakardez got up to finish third. Bet Ya is owned by Joanne Colville and Nancy Macnevin. Friday night's victory pushes her bankroll over the $100,000 mark to $108,430. The clocking of 1:54 is also a new lifetime best for the Ontario sired mare. Bet Ya paid $7.30 to win. Bet Ya Both series will conclude next week with their respective fianls. The $43,800 final of The Count B will take place next Friday (February 20). The $44,600 Ontario Girls final will take place the next evening (Febraury 21) to go along with the $45,000 Ontario Boys final. The second leg of the Ontario Boys is scheduled for Saturday night. Post time is 7:25 p.m. Mark McKelvie - WEG Communications
The biggest day of harness racing on British Columbia's calendar, B.C. Breeders Classic Day is in the books at Fraser Downs, and it was a day dominated by a pair of Ontario-based reinsman. Millbanks Writer was sent off as the favourite in the $50,000 Betty Millbank Memorial Breeders Stake Final for two-year-old pacing fillies, and she got everything her way on the front end. With Serge Masse at the controls, Millbanks Writer forged her way to the lead off the gate with a swift :27 opener. Kevin Anderson settled second choice Fast Lane Elektra on her back, with longshots Fast Lane Firebolt (Clint Warrington, Jr.) and Kootenay Mystic (Bill Davis) comprising the top four. Those fillies remained unchanged and unhurried through a wind-stiffened 1:00.3 half and wind-aided 1:30.4 third panel. To view the rest of this story click here.
The temperature was just above the freezing mark for an eight-pack of qualifiers Friday morning at Mohawk Racetrack. The track was listed as fast Friday, but the judges did allow a one second variant on the chilly and windy morning. Many eyes were on the seventh qualifier, as World champion Hes Watching and Milton Stakes winner Voelz Hanover lined up behind the gate. Leaving from post six in a field of six, Voelz Hanover and Randy Waples sprinted off the gate to grab the early, while Hes Watching and Jody Jamieson dropped in the two-hole. After an opening-quarter of :28, Volez Hanover kept the tempo hot with a :27.3 second-quarter to lead Hes Watching by half a dozen lengths. Voelz Hanover reached the three-quarter pole in 1:24, but Hes Watching, who was five lengths back, started to hit his best stride as they rounded the far turn. In the stretch, Hes Watching would track down Voelz Hanover, but came up half a length short at the wire in 1:53.4. Hes Watching paced his last quarter in :28.4, while Voelz Hanover's final panel was in :29.4. Hes Watching was making his second qualifying appearance in as many weeks in preparation for the Breeders Crown eliminations next weekend at the Meadowlands. The son of American Ideal is trained by Dave Menary, who shares ownership with Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero and Muscara Racing Trust. Hes Watching has won five of 12 starts this season for earnings of over $837,000. His career bankroll currently sits at over $1.1 million. Voelz Hanover was making her first appearance since finishing fourth in the Fillies & Mares Preferred at Mohawk on October 10. She was entered to race the following week at Woodbine, but was a vet scratch sick. A nine-year-old daughter of Astreos, Voelz Hanover recorded the biggest victory of her career back in September when she won the $286,000 Milton Stakes at Mohawk. She is trained by Corey Johnson for owner Richard Berthiaume and has won six of 16 starts this season for earnings of over $262,000. Voelz Hanover's career record currently sits at 44 wins from 168 starts for earnings of over $1.7 million. Also making an appearance Friday morning was Valley Victory elimination winner Whataworkout. The Frank Antonacci trainee turned in a 25 length victory in 1:58. Driven by Domenico Cecere, Whataworkout was making his first appearance since making a break in the stretch of the $521,000 Valley Victory on October 25 at Woodbine. A two-year-old son of Muscle Hill, Whataworkout has won twice in his first five starts for earnings of over $32,000. He is owned by Lindy Farms of Connecticut. Ontario Sires Stakes standout Sports Chic was also a winner Friday morning. A two-year-old daughter of Sportswriter, Sports Chic won her qualifier by 13 lengths in 1:56.4. Driven by Jody Jamieson, this was Sports Chic's first charted line since finishing fourth in the $250,000 OSS Super Final on October 11 at Mohawk. Trained by Blake Macintosh, Sports Chic has won five times from 10 starts for earnings of over $241,000. Macintosh is also a co-owner of the filly along with Hutt Racing Stable. The full list of Friday morning's winners can be found below. Mohawk Qualifiers - Friday, November 7 Race 1 - Whataworkout (Domenico Cecere) - 1:58 Race 2 - Sports Chic (Jody Jamieson) - 1:56.4 Race 3 - Sas Warkentin (Scott Young) - 2:00 Race 4 - Century Angeldust (Mike Saftic) - 1:58.2 Race 5 - Barefoot Beauty (Doug McNair) - 1:59.1 Race 6 - Hldontghttoyurdrms (Jonathan Drury) - 2:00.2 Race 7 - Voelz Hanover (Randy Waples) - 1:53.4 Race 8 - Screen The Call (Jody Jamieson) - 1:58 Mark McKelvie WEG Communications - Standardbred
Sayitall BB captured the first $37,600 Cinderella Stake division for 3-year-old pacing fillies handily in 1:52.2 with Tim Tetrick at the lines for harness racing trainer Ronnie Burke. "When she cleared and made the top, the rest was easy," Tetrick said. "She's a very nice mare with a lot of talent and she did everything right. I never even pulled the plugs either. She'll go with all of the better mares I'm sure, and if I'm not driving her in the future, I'll sure be watching out for her." Sayitall BB accomplished this latest triumph impressively in wire-to-wire fashion, through splits of :27.2, :56.1 and 1:24.4, with Mamas Fallen Angel (Doug McNair) second and Somethinincredible (Dave Magee) third. Sayitall BB is owned by Burke Racing and Weaver Bruscemi, and now has $186,660 in seasonal earnings from seven wins in 12 starts. She has $208,310 in career earnings from 12 wins in 17 lifetime trips postward. The daughter of Tell All is the 11th foal out of the Nobleland Sam mare Challo BB. Sayitall BB Lady Shadow (Gregg McNair) held on to win the second $37,600 Cinderella Division in 1:53.2 over rival Major Dancer (Brett Miller). McNair also conditions the daughter of Shadow Play-Lady Camella-Camluck for owners Lindsey & Connie L Rankin of Lexington, MI. Lady Shadow grabbed the lead easily and never looked back through a very soft opening first quarter and half in :27.3 and :57. "I knew there was another horse getting close to me at the wire and so did she," said McNair. "This is her last race of the season and she deserves a break now as she's raced tough all season." Lady Shadow continued to have an easy lead over her six rivals, clocked in 1:25.3 at the three-quarter marker with Kayla Grace (Todd Warren) and Rocknroll Meg (Tim Tetrick) both throwing late challenges at her, but to no avail. At the last moment, Major Dancer, who had been riding the rail in the two-hole, snuck up the rail and narrowly missed besting the winner. Rocknroll Meg held on for third, with Kayla Grace grabbing fourth. Lady Shadow now has $259,635 in seasonal earnings from six wins in 13 starts, and $449,527 in career earnings from 11 wins in 21 starts. She is the ninth foal out of her dam and was a $19,000 yearling purchase at the 2012 Forest City Sale. Lady Shadow By Kimberly Rinker, for Maywood Park
Trainer Gregg Mc Nair is making the long 500 mile trek from Ontario, Canada to Melrose Park, Illinois for Windy City Night with a pair of 3-year-olds pacers with the credentials to be a force in their respective stakes. Both horses will be handled by Gregg’s 25-year-old son Doug who in less than eight years of driving has over 2,000 career victories and is closing in on $30 million in money won. Mc Nair’s two Maywood Park bound pacers—the Cinderella filly Lady Shadow and the Windy City Pace starter Three Of Clubs—have chalked up close to a half-million dollars in purse earnings between them this year and figure to substantially add to their totals Friday night. Lady Shadow has been a terror on the Ontario circuit this year, chalking up wins in 5 of her 12 starts and banking $240,835 with 24-year-old Doug in the bike. However the Shadow Play filly ended up a far back eighth as one of the favorites in the $225,500 Ontario Sire Stake Final at Mohawk last week after being parked out to sizzling fractions of :26.1 and :54.1. “Lady Shadow just didn’t get off the gate really good,” said the younger McNair. “I should have tried to put her in the 3-hole right away but sometimes she’s tough to back off and we ended-up outside to some fast fractions. “She can be a tricky horse off the gate and was making breaks earlier but she is good on a half. Last year as a 2-year-old she went some big trips at Grand River (a half-mile track).” Lady Shadow went 5-for-8 as a 2-year-old and was 4-for-4 with Doug, including three Ontario Stake victories at Grand River Raceway. On paper Lady Shadow looks like a stick-out in the eighth race first $37,600 Cinderella division. I told Doug: ‘I’m putting pressure on you because I made her 4-5 in my line and the best bet of the night.’ “I like that kind of pressure,” he answered. The morning line has Lady Shadow at 2-1, closely followed by Major Dancer (Brett Miller) at 5-2. Stable-mate Three Of Clubs (programmed 6-1), is in a much more difficult situation in the Windy City with the morning lines favorites Let’s Drink On It (5-2, Travis Seekman) Somewhere In L A (2-1, Brett Miller) and Big Boy Dreams (4-1, Tim Tetrick) starting inside of her with posts 1, 2 and 3, while the Mach Three Colt has slot four. Three Of Clubs dropped his first 10 decisions as a sophomore before posting back-to-back triumphs in his last two starts, both Ontario Sire Stakes. He appears to be sharp at the right time for the $180,000 Windy City. “He’s been sharp all year but he has been bad-gaited,” replied Doug. “It’s not that he’s been breaking but sometimes in a mile he can get rough. But the horse has got a lot of power. He’s been a lot better in his last couple of starts and his confidence right now has gone through the roof. “The horse does get around a half real well. Last year he was just super-fast and dominated at Grand River.” King Of Clubs won all four of his Ontario Sire Stake starts on Grand River half-miler as a freshman with Doug. The colt later was second in his Breeders Crown elimination and took the fifth place check in the $500,000 championship. The Windy City Pace will go as the ninth race with a scheduled post of 9:50 pm (Chicago Time) It will be preceded by the $57,100 Abe Lincoln 2-year-old colt pace, the $92,300 Galt Trot for 3-year-old males, and two $37,600 Cinderella divisions for sophomore filly pacers. The $25,000 Associates-McKeever stake, the third leg of the Maywood Pacing Series, was also scheduled but became a “no-go” because of insufficient entries. No word yet from the track’s Race Office if the ICF stake will be re-scheduled or cancelled. by Mike Paradise, for IHHA
Three Of Clubs fought off challenges early and late on his way to an authoritative 1:51.1 harness racing triumph in the $250,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final for sophomore colt and gelding pacers on Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack. Driver Doug McNair shot Three Of Clubs to the front from post position six, and he would chop out the opening quarter in 27 seconds flat. Silverhill Shadow (Chris Christoforou), who started from post ten, was unable to find an inside position, and he was forced to press on. McNair wasn’t about to let him clear, though, and left him on the outside through the 55 second half. Victor Bayama (Sylvain Filion) elected to tip three-wide on the far turn to try and get around Silverhill Shadow, and public choice Jet Airway (Randy Waples) tracked that move. However, they were both still very wide and still clearly behind Three Of Clubs as he cruised through three-quarters in 1:23.1. Pocket-sitter Play It Again Sam and a wide Jet Airway had clear aim at Three Of Clubs the entire length of the stretch, but they didn’t have the pace to track him down, and Three Of Clubs went on to win by two lengths in 1:51.1. Play It Again Sam was the runner-up and Jet Airway had to settle for third. Prince Clyde (Trevor Henry) was the fourth-place finisher and Victor Bayama wound up fifth. “He had great gate speed last year, but we’ve had trouble with him all year,” McNair said of Three Of Clubs, who is headed to the Windy City Pace at Maywood Park in suburban Chicago. “He was getting bad gaited near the end of the mile. Kudos to the guys who work for dad, Dad (winning trainer Gregg McNair), and all the vets, they got this horse ready for the end of the year and they did a great job. I thought he had a good shot as long as he was good gaited. He can get off the wings good. It’s too bad he’s had trouble all year because he should have twice amount the money on his card he’s got.” Gregg McNair of Guelph, Ontario, also co-owns Three Of Clubs, a colt by Mach Three, with Hall of Famer Keith Waples of Durham and Tony Lawrence of Hanover, Ontario. Three Of Clubs got his second win from 12 efforts this year, and he now has six career victories. He has earned $255,480 on the campaign and $462,097 lifetime. The full results from tonight’s race card at Mohawk may be viewed Mohawk Results – October 11. By OSS News
The top harness racing performers in this year’s Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots program faced off in eight $50,000 Finals tonight at Mohawk Raceway Saturday. The competitiveness of each division was evident in the exciting races which saw both favourites and longshots victorious. The following are recaps of each final. Two Year Old Trotting Fillies – Second Sister “I pulled on the right line at the head of stretch and she did the rest.” That’s how Doug McNair described his trip with Second Sister in the two-year-old trotting filly final. McNair and Second Sister sat back in fourth during the early going while Wing Flash, who left from post 10, grabbed control for Trevor Henry and reeled off fractions of :27.4, :57.3 and 1:27.1. McNair had his filly three wide and driving down the lane and she managed to haul down the leader in the final few feet to win in 1:56.3, a new life mark. Wing Flash held for second while Tymal Illbthere got up for third. “She’s been good all year, I’ve had road trouble with her two or three times when we raced her here. She didn’t surprise me at all tonight. I figured if I had no road trouble she’d be good and she was,” explained Doug McNair afterwards. “She trotted :27.2 at the end, that’s a big last quarter for a two-year-old trotting filly in the Grassroots. I just let her coast to the end, I was easy on her at the end of the mile.” Trained by Gregg McNair for Jarold Hawks of Michigan, Second Sister was recording her third win in eight tries this year and upped her earnings to $55,000 on the year. Bred by Diamond Creek Farm of Kentucky, the Deweycheatumnhowe daughter, a half-sister to Unshakeable ($210,000), sold as a yearling for $32,000. Hawks noted that while the filly is eligible to the Breeders Crown, he’s fairly certain this will be her final race of the season. “She’s had a good season, we’ll turn her out and let her mature,” he noted. Two Year Old Pacing Fillies – Stonebridge Quest Longshot Stonebridge Quest dueled with leader and favourite Ms Mac N Cheese in the late going in the two-year-old pacing filly final and prevailed for Trevor Henry. Ms Mac N Cheese with Sylvain Filion at the controls showed her rivals the way getting the girls by the fractions in :26.2, :55.3 and 1:24. Out from the pocket popped Stonebridge Quest who managed to get by the leader and hit the wire first in 1:53.1. Ms Mac N Cheese fought gamely to the wire and was a very close second followed by Show Some Leg. Henry was impressed by the performances of both fillies. “I was sure (he had won) at the wire, but I was a little worried (mid stretch). She was half way by pretty easy and then Sylvain’s horse come back on. His horse fought back well. “She’s a nice filly, when I drove her in Clinton, she didn’t know a lot, it was just her second lifetime start. She overcame it and won that day and raced well,” he said of Stonebridge Quest’s only other win this year back in July. A daughter of Camluck owned by breeder Angie Stiller of Arva, and Glenview Livestock Ltd., of Guelph, Ontario, Stonebridge Quest is a full sister to $774,000 winner Stonebridge Tonic and $528,000 winner Stonebridge On Ice. Two Year Old Trotting Colts - Mandeville In the two-year-old trotting colt final three of the rookies broke stride before the first turn which saw El Diablo Hall on top for Keith Oliver by the opening panel in :28.2. He went past the half in :59.1 and three-quarters in 1:28.1. For the last half of the race he had pressure from Mandeville and Steve Condren who went on to win in 1:57.2. El Diablo Hall, who has not finished worse than second in 10 starts this year, held for second while Olympic Son was third. Trainer Wayne Langille of Harley, Ontario, co-owns the winner, a son of Majestic Son, with Brett Burleigh of Paris, Ontario. This was the fourth win in eight starts this year for Mandeville who was bred by Dr. John Brown of Granton, Ontario and sold for $10,000 as a yearling. After his third place finish in last week’s Semi-Finals Langille was concerned the horse wasn’t himself – “he didn’t cool out like he should” - and treated him with ulcer medication which seemed to help. “I’m going to turn him out tomorrow,” Langille said. “The big track suits him, his mistakes this year have all been on the smaller tracks.” Two Year Old Pacing Colts – Star Cover Star Cover played giant slayer in the rookie pacing colt final as he hauled down heavy favourite Thinkofagameplan to win in 1:53. Jody Jamieson had Star Cover on top early and he hit the first quarter in :26.4. Randy Waples and Thinkofagameplan passed the leader well before the :55.3 half but he was overtaken by Twin B Scandal before the 1:24.4 third panel. Jamieson had Star Choice back on top as the field swung into the stretch and opened up to win by three lengths. Thinkofagameplan took second while Twin B Scandal was third. Star Cover was notching his third win in 10 tries this year. Trainer Blake MacIntosh of Waterdown, Ontario, who co-owns with Stuart McIntosh of Essex and Brett Authier of Wheatley, Ontario, said that this will be the colt’s final start of the year. “We’ll turn him out now. Jody gave him a great trip,” he praised. Jamieson noted that it wasn’t the trip he’d planned but it worked out anyway. “I was hoping to be able to follow Randy but there were a few horses between us. This colt’s been improving all the time. I knew if I had room he’d come home well, he has a good closing kick.” Bred by Winbak Farm of Maryland, the Royal Mattjesty son sold for $4,500 at the Forest City Sale. His dam is the former OSS standout Armbro Rosebud who earned $721,000 in her career. Three Year Old Pacing Fillies – Dana Dearest Throughout the OSS season Dana Dearest has shown an explosive rally from off-the-pace that carried her to four wins from five starts in the provincial program. She came through again with those tactics in tonight’s $50,000 Grassroots Championship for three-year-old pacing fillies, rallying into hot fractions and winning in 1:51.3. Her Own Land (James MacDonald) led the field of ten fillies to the opening quarter in :26.1 but Born To Dream (Jody Jamieson) was parked and pressing at that point, and she would clear to command in the backstretch. Born To Dream would get to the half in :54.4, but Shadows Wonder (Trevor Henry) was out and moving out of third at that point, and she would become the new leader as they raced into the far turn. Shadows Wonder reached the three-quarters in 1:22.3, giving the cold shoulder to Her Own Land, who was now first over. Meantime, Dana Dearest and Chris Christoforou were trying to get involved, tracking three-wide cover and then moving four-deep into the stretch. In the lane Shadows Wonder had kicked away from the field and looked to get to the wire first, but Dana Dearest was in top gear on the far outside, and she would come with that unrelenting brush all the way to the wire, which she found a length to the good over fellow closer Bet Ya (Jack Moiseyev). Shadows Wonder would finish third. “It was very hot speed up front, which suits my filly exactly,” said Christoforou. “She loves to come into strong fractions and come home good. She raced really well. Everybody was leaving. I looked over to my right and everybody was leaving; I looked to my inside and everybody was leaving, so I was just trying to keep up as much as I could with her. She’s not that quick leaving. Luckily, we were just close enough to get the jump on them late. “There’s no pressure driving for my dad (owner/breeder Charalambos Christoforou of Campbellville, Ontario), especially when he’s out of the country (in Greece)." Trained by Casie Coleman, Dana Dearest was winless in four starts last year, but she’s turned it around in her sophomore campaign, going nine for 16. She has season’s earnings of $102,820 and a career bankroll of $107,048. “She’ll be turned out now,” said assistant trainer Tony Beaton. “We were happy with the race. I expected the speed up front and that works for us as she’s a good closer.” Three Year Old Trotting Fillies - Quadrophenia A 13-1 upset was triggered by Quadrophenia and driver James MacDonald in their finale. Leaving from post position three, Quadrophenia was fast off the wings of the gate, and she was first at the :27.4 opening quarter. Public choice Mystical Wishes (Doug McNair) was fourth at that point, but she would move to the outside in the backstretch, and Mystical Wishes took over the top spot just past the 57 second half-mile marker. Mystical Wishes opened up a gap on the field to the 1:25.3 three-quarters and still had the lead for much of the stretch. However, she got soft inside the final sixteenth and Quadrophenia re-rallied out of the two-hole, passing Mystical Wishes and winning by a head in 1:55.1. Mystical Wishes had to settle for the runner-up position and Missys Ga Ga (Rick Zeron) circled from eighth to third in the final quarter. "I don't think she deserved to go off at 13-1,” said MacDonald. “She was caught in last week. She's a nice filly from a good family." Dave Menary trains the victorious Kadabra filly for owner Kjell Magne Andersen of Norway. Quadrophenia, who was unraced as a freshman, has five wins from 12 attempts this year to go with a bankroll of $65,300. Quadrophenia won twice in Grassroots competition during the regular season at Mohawk – on June 17 and September 2. Three Year Old Trotting Colts - Kremlin Kremlin wriggled free off the rail early in the stretch and then passed the leaders late to claim victory in the final for three-year-old trotting colts. The final time was 1:55.2, a new lifetime mark for the winner. Warrawee Promesse and Wayne Henry showed stout speed early in the proceedings, and they would work around Jack Litten and Doug McNair for the lead before the :27.3 opening quarter. Warrawee Promesse would then be unchallenged in the second quarter, and he got to the half in :56.4. Around the far turn Warrawee Promesse opened a bit of a gap on his foes, but then first-over challenger Tyrone Haji (Randy Waples) began to chip into the margin before the 1:25.4 three-quarters. Jack Litten was still locked up in the pocket and Kremlin, with Sylvain Filion at the lines, moved up to sit right behind Jack Litten on the inside. In the stretch Warrawee Promesse drifted out off the rail and Jack Litten was able to slip through and grab the lead. However, Kremlin had gotten to the outside and was taking the overland route. McNair urged Jack Litten to try and get him home, but Kremlin got up late to win by half a length. Jack Litten finished second and Ramas Last Son was up to collect third. Richard Moreau trains Kremlin, a Kadabra gelding, for owner Mike Wassilyn of Rockwood, Ontario. Kremlin, a winner in Grassroots competition on June 9 at Mohawk and in last week’s Grassroots Semi Final, scored his sixth triumph from 16 efforts this season and his eighth career victory. Bred by Overseas Farms Ltd., Kremlin has put away $70,472 on the campaign and $80,352 lifetime. "I'm not sure if we'll keep racing him or give him a break,” stated Wassilyn. “That will be up to Richard, who has done a tremendous job with him. Sylvain deserves a lot of credit as well; he's driven him great. We bought him from Riina Rekila in June, and she was quite helpful when we first got him. Sylvain said his gait's improved a lot." Three Year Old Pacing Colts - Atomic Million AM The fractions were hot and the action was heavy, but when the dust settled, public choice Atomic Million AM emerged with a 1:50.3 victoy in the final OSS Grassroots Championship of the night, for three-year-old colt and gelding pacers. Regal Babe (Doug McNair) blasted full bore from the outside post 10, and he would clear his rivals for the lead. However, the first quarter was hot, :25.4 hot, and High Flier (J. Harris) was left on the outside and forced to drive on despite the swift tempo. Up the backstretch Regal Babe and High Flier hooked up in a duel, but High Flier finally got the top spot at the :53.3 half. While High Flier was clearing Regal Babe for the lead Atomic Million AM (Rick Zeron) commenced a first-over bid out of the fifth position. Regal Babe began to fall back on the far turn, so Zeron was able to get Atomic Million AM down to the rail for a couple strides. However, he came right back to the outside and closed more ground on High Flier at the 1:21.4 three-quarters. High Flier held Atomic Million AM off early in the stretch, but Atomic Million AM forged his way past for good just before the eighth pole. From there Atomic Million AM persevered to the wire, which he reached two lengths to the good over a closing Nirvana Seelster (Phil Hudon). High Flier held third despite the testy tempo. "I told the owner last week that we'd win tonight,” Zeron said. “I was very confident. We got locked in last week. I didn't get the trip I'd hoped for tonight, but he was strong and brave and got the job done." Alain Martin of Gatineau, Quebec, bred, owns, and trains Atomic Million AM, a gelded son of Million Dollar Cam-Lady Hustler (Daylon Hustler). This was his 11th win from 17 efforts this year and his 14th career victory. He has earned $110,382 in 2014 and $122,902 lifetime. "He'll get turned out now. He's been good to me all year and deserves a rest," offered Martin. Tonight’s finals also celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Ontario Sires Stakes. There will be more celebrating when the Super Finals, for the top performers in the Gold division, are contested on October 11 back at Mohawk. To view the full results from tonight’s program, please click Mohawk Results - September 27. From the Ontario Sire Stakes
FULL PHOTO ESSAY TOO!
Trois-Rivieres, Quebec - Harness driver Yannick Gingras put on a driving clinic at his home track at the Hippodrome 3R Sunday, winning four of the ten races including the revival of the prestigious Prix D’Ete Pace with Sunfire Blue Chip for a purse of $200,000. The Prix D’Ete is part of the national Grand Circuit and was restricted to only four-year-olds who had made prior nomination payments. Saddled with starting from the far outside on 3R’s speedy half mile oval, Gingras left with Sunfire Blue Chip but ended up having to float on the outside as Si Semalu (Denis St Pierre) was first on the lead. That lead was short lived as Mach It So and driver Scott Zeron wanted the front and took it by the opening quarter mile in a speedy :26 despite the rain that began in the post parade. At the opening quarter it was Gingras and Sunfire Blue Chip pressing on the outside and they were able to go against Mach It So and take command after the opening quarter mile and they led the field to the half mile marker in :54.1. Sunshine Beach and Doug McNair then came first-over and following their outside flow was Lucan Hanover and driver David Miller. Then at the three-quarters in 1:22.1, Miller sent Lucan Hanover three-wide to trip and loop the field but to no avail. By the top of the stretch, Yannick had the lead for good with Sunfire Blue Chip and they went on to win by two and one-half open lengths in 1:50.3. Local favorite Due D’Orleans (Daniel Dube) closed well to be second with Apprentice Hanover (Jody Jamieson) third. The time of the race shattered the all-age track record of 1:52.4 set by Duc D’Orleans back in 2013. “When I scored him down before the race he felt unbelievable,” Gringras said about Sunfire Blue Chip. “He was really sharp, sometimes he’s not, but today he definitely was at his best. “I knew I had to get into the race,”” Gingras explained, “It cost me a little more than I hoped to get to the front. I was a little worried but he got the job done. He was just scary sharp today. “If I had rolled him a little more in the backstretch,” Gringras said, “I had to respect the other horses in the race. It was such a quality field. So I did not turn him loose until the top of the stretch. If I had turned him loose a little sooner we would have gone in 1:49.3, maybe 1:49.1. I wasn’t really looking at setting the track record, I just wanted to win the purse.” It was the fifth straight win for Sunfire Blue Chip. The four-year-old son of American Ideal is trained by Jimmy Takter and is owned by Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Brixton Medical Ab and R A W Equine, Inc. Sent off as the 3/2 wagering favorite, Sunfire Blue Chip paid $5.00 to win. Yannick Gingras started off the day winning the 4th race trot with Somoli E in 2:01.3, then won the 5th race pace with Icare De Chapra in 1:56 and also the tenth race with Enduring Grin in 1:56.3 to cap his four win afternoon. “How great is it to come back to Quebec and the Prix D’Ete,” Gringas said. “I have so many family members and friends here supporting me, I had to do well. And what a great day for harness racing in Quebec and at the Hippodrome 3R.” Gingras will be back at the Hippodrome 3R, along with Ontario’s Jody Jamieson, on Sunday, October 12 for the first Tournament of Drivers at 3R. Featured will be the top six leading drivers at 3R through the October 5 race program along with Gingras and Jamieson. The eight drivers will be in competition for a prize of $3,000. From the Quebec Jockey Club
If omens mean anything, then Corey Johnson is the trainer to watch Sunday in the Prix D’Ete. Saturday night at Mohawk Raceway his top mare, Voelz Hanover, pulled off a stunning upset in the $286,000 Milton Final at odds of 33-1. Corey is the trainer of Si Semalu, who drew post two in the Prix D’Ete, is a four-year-old gelded son of Modern Art who has won on a half mile in the past and figures to be a long shot in the race, just like Voelz Hanover. Sunshine Beach is, in fact, the only horse in the Prix D’Ete field that has never raced on a half mile track. He is also the richest money earner in the field and can surpass the million dollar mark in career earnings with a victory. Duc D’Orleans, in post five for local owners Geston Levesque, Les Euries D’Orleans, Inc. and Helen Dupont, holds the all-age track record at the Hippodrome 3R of 1:52.4 that he set in 2013. Meet and Greet with the drivers, trainers and owners of the Prix D”Ete horses will take place in the big tent by the first turn at 11:00 am Sunday morning until 11:45 am. The 9th race featured Prix D’Ete will go off at approximately 4:00 pm. This is the first time that David Miller, Jody Jamieson, James MacDonald, Scott Zeron and Doug McNair have ever driven at the Hippodrome 3R. The Hippodrome 3R oval continues to have a banner season when it comes to its racing oval. Saturday night saw the 17th time in 2014 that a track record has been set or tied. Saturday night it was Out Of The Hat and trainer/driver Stephane Pouliot who earned the spotlight as they wired the field in the ninth race $6,000 feature trot, scoring by one and three-quarter lengths in 1:57. The pocket-sitting Rocky Boy was second with track record holder Decret Justiciale third. It was the 8th win this year for Out Of The Hat. The five-year-old mare by Kadabra is owned by Meadowgem Farm and Stehane Pouliot and her time of 1:57 surpassed the prior record of 1:57.2 set earlier this season by Margarita Bi. From the Quebec Jockey Club
Harness racing three-year-olds of both sexes and gaits set the fields for their $50,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series Finals with eight $20,000 Semifinals Saturday (September 20) at Mohawk Racetrack. The top five horses in each Semifinal moved on to next week’s Finals. Pacing Males High Flier (J. Harris) left out fast from his post nine starting spot in the first Semifinal, and he had the lead at the :26.1 opening quarter. Shadow Place (Trevor Henry) was in second at that point, but he moved to the outside and took control before the :55.1 half. Regal Son (Randy Waples) then rolled the dice first-over out of fourth, and he would match strides with Shadow Place at the 1:23.2 three-quarters. Regal Son forged his way around Shadow Place in the lane, but High Flier got a lane up the inside, and he took advantage, getting up to win by a head in 1:52.1. Shadowbriand (Mike Saftic) turned a second-over trip into the runner-up spot and Regal Son finished third. Some Major Beach (Doug McNair) came in fourth, followed by V I P Bayama (Sylvain Filion). Trainer David Taff of Waterdown, Ontario, shares ownership of High Flier, a Shadow Play colt, with Christopher Nicol of West Yorkshire, England. High Flier, who won at the Grassroots level on June 13 at Mohawk, has won five times from 11 attempts in 2014, and he has six career tallies. He has earned $43,436 this year and $47,386 in his life. Atomic Million AM (Rick Zeron) shot through from the pole position to take the field of ten to the :27.1 first quarter in the second Semifinal, but favoured Titus Seelster (Sylvain Filion) vacated the pocket past that marker, and he became the new front-stepper before the :56.3 half. Titus Seelster still had command at the 1:24.4 three-quarters while he felt some first-over pressure from Regal Babe (Doug McNair). Titus Seelster continued to hold Regal Babe off as they raced through the lane, but a number of horses began to close in on the leaders inside the final sixteenth, and it would be 50-1 shot Nirvana Seelster (Phil Hudon) charging up on the far outside to win the race in 1:53.4. Atomic Million AM, who lacked room for much of the stretch drive, was the runner-up and Regal Babe checked in third. Titus Seelster faded to fourth and Little Ben (Luc Ouellette) rallied to get fifth. Nirvana Seelster is a Camluck gelding trained by Bill Budd for owner Bruce Davy of Brockville, Ont. Nirvana Seelster, who was unraced at two, now has a trio of wins from 19 efforts and has put away $52,296. He was bred by Seelster Farms. Trotting Males Warrawee Promesse (Wayne Henry), who was starting from post ten and gunning for his eighth consecutive victory, took the lead away from 80-1 shot Hetties Commander (Paul MacKenzie) just after the :27.4 first quarter in the Semifinal opener for this bunch. Warrawee Promesse would go on to reach the half in :57.2 and the three-quarters in 1:27, never facing a serious challenge along the way. At the top of the lane Henry asked Warrawee Promesse to kick away, but inside the final sixteenth he was overhauled by several challengers, including Kremlin (Sylvain Filion), who rallied from next-to-last at three-quarters to the win by a quarter of a length in 1:57.1. Hetties Commander shook loose from the pocket and wound up second with Tyrone Haji (Randy Waples) nabbed third. Warrawee Promesse had to settle for fourth and Massive Pockets (Jody Jamieson) survived a tough outside journey to finish fifth. Richard Moreau trains Kremlin, a Kadabra gelding, for owner Mike Wassilyn of Rockwood, Ontario. Kremlin, a winner in Grassroots competition on June 9 at Mohawk, scored his fifth triumph from 15 efforts this season and his seventh career victory. Bred by Overseas Farms Ltd., Kremlin has put away $45,472 on the campaign and $55,352 lifetime. It looked like Totally Ripped (Steve Byron) was going to the lead in the other Semifinal, but then he went off-stride, leaving Jack Litten (Doug McNair) in first at the :27.3 opening quarter. Justcallmeronald (Jody Jamieson) then popped out of the pocket, and he would take the lead before the 58 second half-mile marker. Justcallmeronald would go on to click off three-quarters in 1:27.4, but McNair angled Jack Litten back out of the two-hole in the lane, and he would out-trot Justcallmeronald late in the mile to prevail by just over a length in 1:57.4. Justcallmeronald, Ramas Last Son (Steve Condren), Crowningcrest (James MacDonald) and Taurus Seelster (Randy Waples) rounded out the top-five finishers. Jack Litten is a Muscle Mass gelding trained by Gregg McNair for owner Jarold Hawks of Jeddo, Michigan. Jack Litten, who did not compete as a two-year-old, has three wins from 12 starts in 2014, and he has put away $48,962. Jack Litten, who was bred by Tony Holmes and Walter Zent, also won in Grassroots competition on June 26 and September 2 at Mohawk. Pacing Fillies 70-1 shot Stellllllla (Jody Jamieson) held the lead at the :27.2 first quarter in the Semifinal opener, but Murrayfield (Sylvain Filion) would take over the front prior to the :56.1 half. Murrayfield then came under siege from first-over challenger Regally Ready (Doug McNair), and Murrayfield and Regally Ready were head-and-head at the 1:25.2 three-quarters. In the stretch Regally Ready put away Murrayfield, but then Bet Ya (Paul MacDonell) came from off cover to duel with the new leader. Meanwhile, 3-5 favourite Dana Dearest (Chris Christoforou), who had been fourth-over at three-quarters, began to close in as well. Regally Ready managed to fight off Bet Ya, but Dana Dearest was unrelenting with her brush, and she got up to win by about a neck in 1:53.3. Regally Ready came in second and Bet Ya was third. Mea Lilley Mark (Mike Saftic) checked in fourth and Double Joy (Mario Baillargeon) finished fifth. Dana Dearest, a daughter of Jeremes Jet, is trained by Casie Coleman for owner/breeder Charalambos Christoforou of Campbellville, Ontario. Dana Dearest was winless in four starts last year, but she’s turned it around in her sophomore campaign, going eight-for-15. She has season’s earnings of $77,820 and a career bankroll of $82,048. Dana Dearest has only been defeated once in five Grassroots starts in 2014. Her Own Land (James MacDonald), the public’s 4-5 choice, led through fractions of :26.4, :56.1, and 1:24 on her way to a 1:54 decision in the second Semifinal. She beat runner-up Shadows Wonder (Chris Christoforou) by about two lengths with Artful Impulse (Randy Waples) back in third. Fourth went to Born To Dream and Royal Mama (Steve Condren) collected fifth. Dave Menary trains Her Own Land, a filly by Blissfull Hall, for owner Hutt Racing Stable of Paoli, Pennsylvania. Her Own Land now has five wins in Grassroots company and six wins from 14 starts overall this year. Now a seven-time winner in her career, Her Own Land has earned $77,490 in 2014 and $87,050 lifetime. Trotting Fillies In the first Semifinal for this group it would be Serendipitious (Chris Christoforou) who took the field of ten through fractions of :27.4, :58.3, and 1:28. Flexible Woman (Steve Byron) attacked the pace-setter from first-over on the final bend, and that gave a second-over tow to public choice Mystical Wishes (Doug McNair). Serendiptious put away Flexible Woman turning for home, but Mystical Wishes was sent into three-wide territory for McNair, and she would trot past the pace-setter on her way to a 1:56.4 victory. Serendiptious held second, beaten a length by the winner, and Diamonds For Life (Sylvain Filion) took third. Also securing positions in next week’s final were fourth-place finisher Missys Ga Ga (John Campbell) and fifth-place filly Chelseas Chance (Randy Waples). Tony Alagna trains the winner, a daughter of Muscle Mass, for co-owner/breeder Mystical Marker Farms LLC. of Dyer and co-owner Peggy Hood of Valparaiso, Indiana. Mystical Wishes is eight-for-13 in the win column this year after going winless in four tries as a rookie. Mystical Wishes has earned $63,990 in 2014 and $67,740 lifetime. This was Mystical Wishes’s fourth OSS win of the year, joining her successes on August 12 at Mohawk, September 2 at Mohawk, and September 11 at Flamboro Downs. Quadrophenia (James MacDonald) blasted out from post ten to take the second Semifinal field to the opening quarter in 28 seconds, but 3-5 favourite and point standings leader Torches Star (Steve Condren) trotted her way to the top before the :57.1 half. Torches Star was still the boss at the 1:27.2 three-quarters, but she didn’t have her best game on this night, and she was overtaken by first-over challenger Doweypuffandhow (Steve Byron) with an eighth of a mile to go. A host of closers were coming after the new leader, though, and trotting fastest of all was Lenny Mac (Randy Waples), who surged from third-over at the top of the lane to win in 1:57.3. Wonderland Snow (Trevor Henry) split horses to get second and Quadrophenia was third. Nickange Two (Mike Saftic) got fourth at 60-1 and Northern Secret (Mario Baillargeon) nailed down the last spot in the final. Trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor, Ontario, also co-owns Lenny Mac, a filly by Kadabra, with partner Earl Hill Jr. of Ohsweken, Ontario. McIntosh also bred Lenny Mac with C S X Stables and Michael Kohler. Lenny Mac has four triumphs from 14 trips behind the gate this year, and this was her seventh career trip to the winner’s circle. She has banked $57,759 this season and $97,099 in her life. This was Lenny Mac’s third Grassroots win of the season, matching her total from her freshman campaign. Mohawk Racetrack will roll out the red carpet again next Saturday night with eight $50,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Finals for two- and three-year-olds. For full results of this Saturday night’s races at Mohawk, please visit - http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0920mohsn.dat. OSS News
Rookie pacers and trotters of both sexes competed in eight $20,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Semifinals on Friday night at Mohawk Racetrack. The top five finishers from each Semifinal will return for the $50,000 Grassroots finals next Saturday night at Mohawk. Pacing Males The first Semifinal for this group saw Star Cover (Jody Jamieson) in front of a parked-out Thinkofagameplan (Randy Waples) by half a length at the 27 second opening quarter. Thinkofagameplan surged into the lead after that, and he would go on to click off the half in :57.1 and the three-quarters in 1:25.3. Through the stretch Thinkofagameplan, who led the Grassroots regular season point standings for the two-year-old colt and gelding pacers, remained in charge, and he would go on to defeat Star Cover by a length and a quarter in 1:53.4. Single White Sock (James MacDonald) was third, followed by Mybestolxfriendray (Billy Davis Jr.) and Pair Of Deuces (Paul MacDonell). Thinkofagameplan, a Ponder colt who scored his fifth win (all in Grassroots competition) from nine attempts and pushed his earnings to $86,440, is a homebred for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor and Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington, Ontario. The winner is the second foal out of the Camluck mare Noshameinmygame. She was a Grassroots winner at both two and three. Thinkofagameplan has also raced against Grand Circuit two-year-old male pacers this year, finishing second in a division of the Champlain Stakes at Mohawk. In the other Semifinal post nine starter Supersonic Jet (Trevor Henry) blasted out for command, and he got around favourite Moonwards Hanover (Paul MacDonell) at the :26.2 opening quarter. Moonwards Hanover then moved to the top, and he got to the half in :55.2 and to the three-quarters in 1:26.1. MacDonell asked the public choice to pick it up at the top of the stretch, but he didn’t have it on this night, and that set up a wild scramble to the finish line that resulted in Rightinthekisser (Doug McNair), who had drawn into the race following the scratch of Bridge Of Stone, rallying from off –the-pace and splitting horses inside the final sixteenth to beat far outside challenger Big Moment (Randy Waples) by a head in 1:56. Twin B Scandal (Joe Hudon Jr.) nabbed third, The Fire Within (Jody Jamieson) got fourth and Half A Billion (Mike Saftic) snagged fifth. Rightinthekisser, a colt by Major In Art, is trained by Mark Steacy for owners Annmari Daley of Lake Worth, Florida, James Crawford of Manilus, New York, and Michael White of Royal Palm Beach, Florida. Rightinthekisser, who was bred by Martinez Equine and was purchased for $12,000 at the 2013 Standardbred Horse Sale, broke his maiden in his eighth start, and he has put away $24,160. Rightinthekisser is the tenth foal out of the Pacific Fella mare Pacific Kiss, which makes him a half-brother to the likes of Pacific Mariner (Astreos, $375,166), a one-time Grassroots winner in his racing career. Trotting Males El Diablo Hall (Keith Oliver) went all the way on the lead in the first Semifinal, hitting the opening quarter in :27.1, the half in :57, and the three-quarters in 1:26.4 on his way to a two length win over Call Me Richard (Paul MacDonell). The final time was 1:57.4. Numbers Game (Mario Baillargeon) got third ahead of Olympic Son (Trevor Henry) and Grandprix Seelster (Sylvain Filion). Tony Montini trains the winner, a Windsong Espoir gelding, for owners Albina Montini of Acton, Paul Giammichele of Burlington, and Rick Podolinsky of Alvinston, Ontario. Dale Hunter of London, Ontario, who played for several years in the National Hockey League and was also head coach of the Washington Capitals, also co-owns El Diablo Hall, who has now won seven times (including a Grassroots success on August 16 at Georgian Downs) from nine tries and banked $40,500. He’s the third foal out of the Andover Image mare EL Mistress Chesea, meaning he’s a half-brother to multi-time Grassroots winner Erin Hall. Snapshot Springs (Trevor Henry) showed the way through stations of :28, :59, and 1:29.1 in the other Semifinal, but first-over challenger and favourite Freddie (Randy Waples) wore him down in the stretch to score by half a length in 1:58. Mandeville (Steve Condren) finished in third while Pilgrims Joy (James MacDonald) got fourth and Ontheroad De Vie (Rick Zeron) took fifth. Corey Johnson trains Freddie, a gelding by Majestic Son, for owners Debbie Element of Rockwood and Fred Brayford of Alliston, Ontario. Freddie, who was bred by Rossridge Stables, is three-for-seven in the win column with earnings of $36,000. Freddie, a Grassroots winner on July 30 at Grand River Raceway and on August 8 at Mohawk, is the second foal out of the Muscles Yankee mare Circe Hanover. She’s a half-sister to the likes of Capriccio Hanover ($254,073). Pacing Fillies Race favourite Ms Mac N Cheese won the first Semifinal by a pair of lengths in 1:53.2 after she led the way through splits of :26.3, :56, and 1:24.3. Ride Away Shark (Jody Jamieson), who was stuck on non-advancing cover around the far turn, rallied to get second and Shes A Pansation (Steve Condren) collected third. Amazing Control (Mike Saftic) and OK Heavenly (Doug McNair) also secured spots in the final by finishing fourth and fifth, respectively. Richard Moreau trains the victorious Badlands Hanover filly for owner L. David Ratchford of North Sydney, Nova Scotia. She has six wins from eight attempts this season, and she has earned $43,467. The second foal out of the Artiscape mare Mr Delis Filly, Ms Mac N Cheese was sold for $10,000 at last year’s Standardbred Horse Sale. This was Ms Mac N Cheese’s fourth consecutive victory in Grassroots competition. In the second Semifinal 40-1 longshot Bella Santanna (Tyler Moore) gave the cold shoulder to 99-1 shot Machin Marley (Billy Davis Jr.) through panels of :26.3, :56.2, and 1:27. Even-money favourite Twin B Honour (Trevor Henry) was in behind Bella Santanna in the pocket but then she made a break when doubled up before three-quarters. At the top of the stretch Stonebridge Quest (Jody Jamieson) swept around the battling longshot leaders after a third-over trip, but driver Doug McNair cut Little Miss Artist loose on the far outside, and she would hit the wire first in 1:56.2. OK Hallelujah (Sylvain Filion) was second, beaten half a length by the winner, and Stonebridge Quest held third. Show Some Leg (Steve Condren) came in fourth and Lady Jen (Paul MacDonell) grabbed fifth. Mike Weller trains Little Miss Artist, a daughter of Artistic Fella, for breeder/co-owner DM Stables LLC. of Naples, Florida, and co-owners William Webb of Defiance, Ohio, and Denny Miller of Archbold, Ohio. Little Miss Artist posted her second victory from eight tries, and she has now pocketed $28,420. She’s the fourth foal out of the Noble Ability mare Parapanalia ($130,319), making her a half-sister to horses such as Panongahela (No Pan Intended, $224,324). He won eight times and earned over $108,000 in his OSS career. Trotting Fillies In the first Semifinal Wing Flash (Wayne Henry) popped out of the pocket past the :28.4 opening quarter, and then she went on to hit the half in 1:00.4 and the three-quarters in 1:29.3. The fillies sprinted for home off those internal fractions, and Wing Flash kicked out a :28.4 final panel to win by three-parts of a length in 1:58.2. The Murmuring Pan (Steve Condren), Tymal Illbthere (Chris Christoforou), Second Sister (Doug McNair) and Delcrest Flexyhall (Anthony MacDonald) also moved on to the final. Henry Stable of Arthur and Daylon Farms Ltd. of Komoka, Ontario, own Wing Flash, a daughter of Kadabra who was bred by Steve Stewart, Black Creek Farm, and Donald Robinson and sold for $30,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale. Wing Flash, who is also trained by Wayne Henry, has a trio of victories from eight attempts, and she has now put away $40,725. A winner in Grassroots action on September 9 at Mohawk and on August 17 at Clinton Raceway, Wing Flash is the fourth foal out of the Andover Hall mare Armbro Everlasting. The dam is a half-sister to the likes of millionaire Armbro Keepsake. Summers Jewel (Mario Baillargeon) was in the lead at the :27.4 front quarter in the other Semifinal, but she would give way to public choice Bistrobistro Taj (Rick Zeron) prior to the :58.1 half. Bistrobistro Taj continued to have the lead at the 1:29 three-quarters, but Summers Jewel had already moved to the outside, leaving the pocket spot open to Railee Priti (Steve Byron). In the stretch Summers Jewel forged her way past Bistrobistro Taj, but inside the final sixteenth Railee Priti, who was sent off at odds of 26-1, came up on the outside of Summers Jewel, and Railee Priti would get up to prevail by a quarter of a length in 1:58.4. Summers Jewel had to settle for second and Bistrobistro Taj wound up third. Also moving on to the final for this group were Hope Rises (Steve Condren) and Pinky The Intern (Chris Christoforou), who overcame an early break in stride. John Bax trains Railee Priti, a filly by Muscle Mass, for owner-breeder Ron Mersky of Paris, Kentucky. Railee Priti, who also won in Grassroots action back on July 22 at Georgian Downs, has two victories from eight trips behind the gate, and she has pocketed $31,720. She’s the first foal out of the Broadway Hall mare Railee Beautiful, a half-sister to horses such as Railee Possible ($386,807). Grassroots Semifinal action continues on Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack when three-year-old of both sexes and gaits go behind the starting gate in eight $20,000 events. For full results and charts of Friday night's races at Mohawk, please visit - http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0919mohsn.dat. From the Ontario Sire Stakes