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 firstname.lastname@example.org (519) 782-7178 Please visit: www.ontariohorseracing.ca
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
JUNE 24, 2015 - Lets Be Honest battled in the Gold Series as a two-year-old, but Rockwood, ON resident Benoit Baillargeon decided to start the trotter in the Grassroots this season and the decision proved a wise one as the harness racing gelding captured his first Ontario Sires Stakes trophy at Grand River Raceway on Wednesday. Lets Be Honest and driver Mario Baillargeon of Milton, ON benefitted from Post 1 in the fifth Grassroots division and were able to sit behind pacesetter A Little More Love through fractions of :29.3, :59.4 and 1:29.4 before sneaking up the passing lane to a narrow victory. A Little More Love settled for second in the 2:00.2 mile, with Jayport All Muscle completing the top three. "He's coming along real nice," said trainer Baillargeon after the race. "He's got a little bit of talent, let's put it that way. I don't know if he'll be able to step back up to the Gold, we'll see as we go." The horseman conditions Lets Be Honest for Claude Gendreau Stb. Inc. of Buffalo Grove, IL. Through eight starts this year Lets Be Honest has tallied two wins, two seconds and two thirds for earnings of $20,318. Since finishing sixth in the Grassroots season opener on June 4, the Deweycheatumnhowe son has two wins and a third, all over Mohawk Racetrack. "So far he's done what we ask him to do," noted Baillargeon. "He's getting better every start." Baillargeon also picked up a runner-up cheque with Numbers Game in the fourth $18,000 division, while Century Behemoth made a break and finished sixth in the sixth heat. "I've got three or four (3-year-old trotting colts), they're mostly all Grassroots right now," added the trainer. "Hopefully one will step up to the Gold, but right now it's still too early." Unlike Lets Be Honest, Its Huw You Know was a regular on the Grassroots scene last year and the Holiday Road gelding picked up his second ever Grassroots trophy in the first division on Wednesday. Fan favourites Its Huw You Know and driver Sylvain Filion of Milton, ON led from start to finish, sailing under the wire three and three-quarter lengths ahead of P L Intimidator and Mandeville. The 2:00.2 clocking shaved one-fifth of a second off the gelding's personal best. Conditioned by Keith Jones of Midland, ON for Douglas McCarthy of Holland Landing, ON, Its Huw You Know had been winless through eight starts prior to Wednesday's outing. The second Grassroots division also featured a tight finish as favourite Call Me Richard stuck a neck in front of pacesetter New Muscle AS at the wire. South Star finished third in the 1:58.2 mile. Guelph, ON resident Paul MacDonell engineered Call Me Richard's first sophomore victory for trainer Clare Bradshaw of Simcoe, ON and owner Andrea Arthur of Scotland, ON. At two the Muscle Mass colt was a three-time winner in the Grassroots program. Buzz scored his first ever victory in the third division, trotting home three and one-quarter lengths ahead of Easton Road and Innkeeper in 2:01.3. Sylvain Filion made his second appearance in the Grassroots winner's circle, guiding the Kadabra gelding home for trainer Luc Blais of Lochaber Ouest, QC and owner Determination of Montreal, QC. Top Dollar earned his second straight Grassroots victory with an impressive come-from-behind effort in the fourth split. Another son of Deweycheatumnhowe, Top Dollar sprinted from fifth at the top of the stretch to a three length victory over Baillargeon starter Numbers Game and Molon Lave, halting the teletimer at 2:00.1. Guelph, ON reinsman James MacDonald piloted Top Dollar to his third lifetime victory for trainer Ann Karin Larsen of Norwood, ON and her partners Steve Organ of Aurora, ON and Stig Westrum and Tor Jan Larsen of Norwood. Arthur, ON horseman Trevor Henry captured the sixth Grassroots trophy with lightly rated Delcrest Massy. The pair powered down the stretch to a 1:58.2 win over Tswalu and Irish Scotch. Henry was in the race bike on behalf of trainer Victor Puddy of Mountain, ON and owner Keith Cassell of Smiths Falls, ON. The evening's final trophy went home with Windsor, ON resident Bob McIntosh, who will add it to the hardware Kadabrasnewrecruit earned in the Grassroots season opener. Driver Randy Waples of Milton, ON fired the Kadabra gelding straight to the front and the heavy favourites led through all stations on their way to a 1:59 victory. Ontheroad De Vie and Rebel Rebel rounded out the top three. McIntosh owns and trains Kadabrasnewrecruit, who boasts a record of two wins and two seconds in four sophomore starts for earnings of $27,250. After their second Grassroots victories, Top Dollar and Kadabrasnewrecruit share top spot in the standings with 100 points and will have an opportunity to add to their tally at Mohawk Racetrack on July 3. Rather than head to Mohawk, some of the three-year-old trotting colts may choose to return to Grand River Raceway when the Elora oval hosts the third Gold Series leg for the division on Wednesday, July 15. Ontario Horse Racing
The Canadian harness racing breeding industry had a stellar day yesterday at Mohawk with several of the day's features captured by stock sired by Canadian based stallions. Leading the way was the evergreen Mach Three who had a day to remember. His three year old daughter Wrangler Magic took out the $479,000 Fan Hanover in 1:50.2 and another daughter in Solar Sister flashed home late for an unlucky third in the same race. Physicallyinclined, a son of Mach Three who missed the North American Cup Final after having no luck in his division last week, showed he wouldn't have been out of it in the big dance when he easily won the $75,000 North American Cup consolation in a sharp 1:49 after starting from barrier eight. Mach Three progeny also won two other races on the undercard in a timely reminder to breeders of what a great stallion he is. The great trotting mare Bee A Magician was her old self once again, completely dominating the $272,000 Armbro Flight, clearing out for an easy victory in a smart 1:51.4. It was the daughter of Kadabra's 37th lifetime victory and took her earnings to $3,174,386 and it looks like there is plenty more to come. Another Canadian based sire to taste victory on the day was Shadow Play. His outstanding daughter Lady Shadow franked her good form this season with a dominant win in the $350,000 Roses Are Red in a very sharp 1:48.3 It was Lady Shadow's 14th career victory and took her earning to $692,679. The other highlight on the day for Canadian breeders was the victory by Hemi Seelster in the $233,000 Goodtimes Final for three year old trotters. A son of the first crop of the Ontario based sire Holiday Road 1:52.4 ($426,200), Hemi Seelster was aided by a couple of the favourites galloping but he still got the job done in 1:54 Those results yesterday at Mohawk were a timely to North American breeders that the Canadian based stallions can more than hold their own against all comers. Harnesslink Media
Campbellville, ON --- Hemi Seelster lit up the toteboard, upsetting at 76-1 odds after the heavily favored Canepa Hanover and French Laundry broke stride during this year’s edition of the C$233,000 Goodtimes final on Saturday evening (June 20) at Mohawk Raceway, part of the Pepsi North America Cup harness racing undercard. With the victory, it was an extra special night for the winning trainer John Bax. He not only conditions Hemi Seelster, but he was the trainer of the great trotter Goodtimes. Bax was already in the winner’s circle waiting to present the trophy to the winning connections, who happened to be him. “I am a little numb,” admitted Bax. “I always dreamed that I’d be able to give the trophy to myself and that was a little bit of a pipe dream. Yeah, this was quite a shock.” Hemi Seelster and driver Steve Byron’s trip to the winner’s circle started by getting away fifth as Rubber Duck bolted to the front in the early going. The 1-5 favorite Canepa Hanover made a bid for the lead as Rubber Duck posted the opening panel in :27. Jimmy Takter trainee Canepa Hanover broke stride just as he made the front so Rubber Duck was able to retain the lead. Covert Operative then vacated the pocket on the backstretch, passing his rival after a :57.3 half. The 5-2 second choice French Laundry, also trained by Takter, then took his turn for command, putting pressure on Covert Operative through the far turn. But French Laundry faltered as they passed the three-quarter marker in 1:25.4. Staying just off the constant action at the front, Hemi Seelster was fourth at the top of the stretch, surging past the pack with a :27.1 final quarter to score by 1-1/4 lengths over a late-closing The Bank in 1:54. Rubber Duck faded to third. "When (Canepa Hanover) made a break that sure helped, but I was just hoping to get a good trip and get away close and hopefully see what happens at the end of the mile and it worked out perfect," said Byron. "He's getting more manageable. He is a big strong horse and he showed he could compete tonight." The 3-year-old son of Holiday Road and Hollywood Beauty captured his first win in six starts this year, and his fourth career win in 16 outings. By winning the lion’s share of the purse, the brown gelding lifts his lifetime earnings to C$175,025 for Parkhill Stud Farm, Matthew Bax, John Houston, and Goin To The Show Stable. Hemi Seelster returned $155.10 and $110; there was no show wagering. from WEG Communications
WILKES-BARRE PA - JL Cruze was once again on "cruze"-control Tuesday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, winning his $15,000 division of the fourth and preliminary leg of the Bobby Weiss Series for male trotters in 1:52.4. JL and "JC" - Hall of Fame driver John Campbell - moved rapidly from fourth nearing the quarter to take over the lead from main challenger Opulent Yankee under the wire the first time, and the triumphant Crazed gelding was not threatened from there, sprinting home in 55.4 - 27.2 to keep the game Opulent Yankee 1¼ lengths at bay at the finish. JL Cruze, a winner of over $140,000 already this season, is now perfect in two Weiss starts for trainer Eric Ell and owners Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar Jr., and Steve Iaquinta, and already has 10 wins in but 12 seasonal starts. With no show wagering, JL Cruze attracted $8329 in a $9658 place pool, but the real value may have been the JL Cruze-Opulent Yankee exacta, which was a big overlay at $3.20. In the other Weiss section for this class, the Holiday Road colt Holiday My Way not only recorded his first Weiss score, but he also broke his maiden, and in fine fashion with a 1:56.2 personal mark. Trained by Shawn Simons and driven by his dad, "The Trot Man" Mike Simons, Holiday My Way made an early move to the lead and went on to win for Rick and Regina Beinhauer and the T L P Stable. Tuesday's Pocono card also featured the last prelim round for pacing females (both of these $30,000 Championships will be next Tuesday). The first section saw The Beach Nextdoor win her third straight in Weiss competition, with the Somebeachsomewhere mare shading 27.3 in the final panel to equal her lifetime mark of 1:53 as a "pocket rocket." Jim Morrill Jr. was again in the sulky for trainer Brewer Adams and owners Adams Racing LLC and Brian Clark. Like The Beach Nextdoor, Donttellruss used rallying tactics from the two-hole in the other cut, gaining into the 27.3 kicker to win in 1:53.3 over her stablemate in the Ron Burke barn, Allthatjazz De Vie, marking the second straight week that that pair has finished 1-2. The victorious mare by Panspacificflight was driven by Andrew McCarthy for the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Lawrence Kerr, and Frank Baldachino. ****************** The field has been drawn for the first of the Weiss Series Finals, this Saturday's $30,000 event for pacing males, and while two major contenders benefited from the draw, one suffered the unkindest luck of all. Getting the rail was YS Lotus, who responded to getting a full week off last Saturday by pacing to a lifetime best of 1:50.2 for driver Simon and trainer/brother Rene Allard (who teamed for seven victories on the Pocono card last Saturday). Prior to that win, "YS" had started 6 times in 18 days, competing in both the Weiss and the Sagamore Hill Series at Yonkers, but the extra racing seems to have only honed the gelding to a career edge. The other Weiss winner last week is Major Uptrend, making him 2 for 2 in the series, and he seems quite likely to be the betting favorite for trainer Ron Burke and driver Matt Kakaley. The Major won in "only" 1:51.3 last week, but it was from the difficult post eight, and he has been very versatile and consistent on the bigger-sized tracks in 2015. The "unlucky" Weiss finalist is Victory At Last, who had posted victories in each of the first three prelims, but had to settle for second behind Major Uptrend last week. Also a member of the Burke stable, Victory For Last is "stuck behind the 8-ball" for Saturday's Championship. PHHA / Pocono
Three $70,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series events for two-year-old male trotters were staged on Tuesday night (September 30) at Mohawk Racetrack. Heavy fog rolled in throughout the harness racing card, leaving those watching with a clear view of only the first division. That opening split was won by 6-1 shot Rise Up Rise Up (Mike Saftic), who came out of the pocket inside the final eighth and wore down leader and public choice Infiniti As (Billy Davis Jr.) to win by half a length in 1:57.1. Gronk (Jody Jamieson) came on in the lane to collect third. This was the first win in five tries for Rise Up Rise Up, a gelded son of Holiday Road. Now an earner of $46,900, Rise Up Rise Up is trained by Sue Marie Gangell for the ownership group of Tony Di Matteo of Stoney Creek, Mark Searles of Caledonia, and 648885 Ontario Limited of Caledonia, Ontario. Rise Up Rise Up, who was bred by Dr. Robert Boyce and Joan Boyce, is the 11th foal out of the Super Pleasure mare Dixieland Jazz, making him a half-brother to half a dozen six-figure earners, including former OSS Grassroots Championship winner Lexus Lulu. By the time the second Gold Series flight went behind the gate visibility was limited. A Little More Love (Randy Waples) led the field into the first turn and to the :28.3 opening quarter, but when the field emerged out of the fog inside the final eighth, 11-1 shot Alacrity (Eddie Green) was on the lead, and he would go on to win by just over a length in 1:57.4. A Little More Love was second and Caulfield (Chris Christoforou) came in third. Green also trains Alacrity, a gelding by Pilgrims Taj, for owner Kristine Green of Ohsweken, Ontario. Alacrity, a Gold Series winner on August 5 at Mohawk, scored his second win from six attempts, and he has now pocketed $136,850. Alacrity, who was bred by Wilbur Lang and sold for $30,000 at the 2013 Canadian Yearling Sale, is the fifth foal out of the San Pellegrino mare Elena ($414,731). Elena won three times during her OSS career, including two Gold Finals. Fractions of :28.2, :57.4, and 1:27 went on the board in the last Gold Series dash, and when the two-year-old male trotters came out of the soup in deep stretch, public choice Dont Rush (Chris Christoforou) was open lengths in front of his nearest rival in a 1:57.3 performance. Luck O The Irish (Tom Durand) was the runner-up and Nightontheroad (Jody Jamieson) nabbed third. Trainer Dustin Jones of Waterdown, Ontario, also bred and now co-owns Dont Rush, an Infinitif colt, with partner Greg Judson of Athens, Ontario. Dont Rush, who also won in Gold Series action on July 13 at Georgian Downs and on September 30 at Flamboro Downs, is now three-for-10 in the win column with earnings of $171,985. He’s the sixth foal out of the Muscles Yankee mare Color Me Pretty, a half-sister to the likes of Best Image (Balanced Image, $104,110), who was three-for-three during her OSS career. This concluded the Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series regular season for two-year-old colt and gelding trotters. They do have one provincial event remaining on their calendar – the Super Final on October 11 at Mohawk Racetrack. Full charts and results from the foggy Tuesday night at Mohawk will be available here - http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0930mohsn.dat.
Two-year-old trotting colt Caulfield recorded his third straight harness racing victory in the third and final $70,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold division tonight at Flamboro Downs. In that division Wilbur Eden was very quick at the start, hitting the opening marker in :29.3 for Trevor Henry. As they reached the half in 1:00.3 he had company from Holiday My Way and three wide came Alacrity as they reached the third panel in 1:30.1. Holiday My Way broke stride in the final turn and down the stretch Caulfield and Chris Christoforou closed a ton to win in 1:59.3. Wilbur Eden held for second while Winning Wizard was third. A son of Kadabra owned by Synereco Ventures Inc. of Toronto, Ontario, and trained by Chris Beaver, Caulfield was notching his fourth win in six career starts and third in a row. Bred by Jeff Ruch of Innisfil and Ted MacDonnell of Allenford, Ontario, Caulfield sold for $20,000 at last year’s Harrisburg sale. Christoforou was also victorious in the first division where the two outside horses left quickest. Boli (post six) and Infiniti AS (post seven) got away first and second as the gate left with Boli leading the group by the first quarter in :30.3 and the half in 1:02.1. Luck O The Irish took over well before the 1:31.2 third panel as Boli went offstride. He soon had company in the form of Dont Rush and that pair battled down the lane with Dont Rush narrowly winning in 2:00.3. Luck O The Irish had to be content with the bridesmaid spot while Amityville Lindy survived an inquiry to take third. Christoforou was up behind the winner, a son of Infinitif owned and trained by breeder Dustin Jones of Waterdown, Ontario who recently sold a share in the talented colt to Greg Judson of Athens, Ontario. This was the second lifetime win for Dont Rush who improved his summary to 2-3-1 in nine lifetime starts for $136,000 in earnings. Three colts broke early in the second split which saw Namesmuscle by the first panel in :28.1. Just past the :59.2 half A Little More Love was neck and neck with the leader and managed to get a head in front by the 1:29.1 three-quarters. Three wide came Platoon Seelster and those three were close at the finish with Platoon Seelster prevailing, despite an early break in stride, in 1:59.4 for Ryan Holliday. A Little More Love, the leading point earner in this division coming into tonight’s contest, was a close second with Namesmuscle third. A lightly raced son of Holiday Road, Platoon Seelster was making just his fourth career start for trainer David Holliday and owners Caroline Holliday of Mount Forest and Dennis Hannath of Harriston, Ontario. Bred by Seelster Farms of Lucan, Ontario, the colt has yet to finish worse than second with two wins and two seconds in his young career. This group has one more Gold event to contest before the October 11 Super Final. That will take place one week from tonight, September 30, at Mohawk Racetrack. To view the complete results from tonight’s program, please click Flamboro Results - September 23. OSS News
Not many 12-year-olds own stakes winning horses, but given Emma Christoforou’s family tree, it would be rather surprising if she didn’t have an interest in horses having been around them from birth. The grade seven student from Moffat, Ontario, owns a number of Standardbreds, including Cowgirl Tough, a starter in Monday night’s Ontario Sires Stakes Gold event for two-year-old pacing fillies at Mohawk. She bred and co-owns the daughter of Ponder with her mother, Joanne Colville, the administrator of the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society, owner of High Stakes Farm, director of Standardbred Canada and the Central Ontario Standardbred Association and outrider at the Woodbine Entertainment racetracks. Emma has the luxury of having two of the best drivers in North America available to drive her horses in her father, Chris Christoforou and her step-father Jack Moiseyev. The latter also handles the training for Cowgirl Tough who was victorious in her first OSS contest on August 10 at Georgian Downs, scoring by two lengths in 1:54.1. But Emma notes it was her second place finish in the Eternal Camnation Stake a week later that is her favourite to date. “I was on the sidelines watching the race and I couldn’t find her and then all of a sudden I spotted her pink browband and she was just zooming up to get second. Jack was really pleased with her and everyone was so happy,” recalled Emma who was on hand when Cowgirl Tough was born at their farm in April of 2012. “That was amazing how everything happened so quickly,” noted Emma who added that she sensed early that the filly might be something special. “She was really nice to be around but she had a look in her eye as if to say ‘game on.’ And when she was a yearling she was the biggest one in the paddock and the leader.” When it came time to name the filly with personality to spare, they decided to honour Joanne’s sister, Annemarie. “She’s had cancer a couple of times and she’s been so strong. There’s a group called Cowgirls Kicking Cancer’s Butt and Lope For Hope and that’s gave us the idea for her name. Their motto is ‘tough enough to wear pink.’” Cowgirl Tough demonstrates that sentiment through her equipment. “She wears a lot of pink,” explains Emma. “We’re now trying to find a pink harness for her.” Cowgirl Tough’s pink and Moiseyev’s familiar black, white and yellow colours, will line up behind the gate in post three in the second of two $105,000 OSS Gold divisions Monday night at Mohawk. Emma’s dad Chris is aboard the five horse in the same race, Business As Usual while next door in post six is Sports Chic, the leading point earner in this division to date. That filly will be driven by Jody Jamieson, father of Emma’s good friend, Hailey Jamieson, whose step-dad, Tony O’Sullivan, trains Capela, who has post 10 in the same race. Cowgirl Tough’s dam is Almost A Lady, who was trained throughout her career, during which she won $185,000, by Emma’s grandfather Frank Colville. Almost A Lady is sired by Astreos, the million dollar Little Brown Jug winner who was trained by Emma’s paternal grandfather Charalambos Christoforou. In fact Emma and her brother Niklas Christoforou bred and co-own a two-year-old trotting filly by Holiday Road trained by the senior Christoforou, Emmas Misty Angel who made two starts in the OSS Grassroots. “She’s taking some time to mature now,” Emma notes. In addition going to school, helping with chores and watching her horses race, Emma is also an accomplished equestrienne, competing in numerous horse shows around the province with her horse Kash, noting her favourite event is jumping. Her career aspirations aren’t surprising. “When I’m older I plan on being a vet, having a farm and working with harness horses.” Given her experience to date, she’s certainly well on her way. To view the complete card for Mohawk’s Monday card, please click Mohawk Entries - September 15. From the Ontario Sire Stakes
The sky’s were threatening but the showers held off for the $70,600 final of the Balanced Image trot Saturday night at Hanover Raceway. Three fillies and five boys took part in the final after finishing in the top 2 positions in their eliminations on August 23rd. Gee Okeeffe owned by Chris Beaver and Wilbur Lang of Ohio went off as the favorite after the 2 year old filly won her elimination the week before in 2:01.1, and has put up impressive numbers in the Gold and Grassroots Ontario Sires Stakes program this season. The 2-year-old daughter of Holiday Road got off to a quick start leading the field through the first quarter in 29.2 and the half in 1:00.2. Desis Dream owned by Glengate Farms and the Parkhill stud farms got away 2nd and stayed in the pocket forcing Caulfield, driven by Trevor Henry to come first over at the half. The son of Kadabra stayed on the outside and moved to within a head of Gee Okeeffe past the 3 quarters in 1:30.3. Despite the outside trip Trevor Henry got the most out of his gelding and slipped past the front running filly in the stretch. The hometown favorite Platoon Seelster owned by Caroline Holiday of Mt Forest and Dennis Hannath of Harriston managed to close strongly nipping Gee Okeeffe for 2nd place at the wire. Caulfield, who is trained by Chris Beaver and owned by the Synerco Ventures company of Toronto finished the mile in 2:01, less than a second off the track record. Afterwards Trevor Henry said his colt showed a lot of guts spending most of his mile on the outside trying to catch Gee Okeeffe. The perseverance paid off. In other racing notes, Ryan Holiday won the Earl Ash Memorial Trot with CR Amigo for owner Ron Corbett of St Jacobs in 2:04.4. The Ontario Sires Stakes are back at Hanover next Saturday as 2 year old Colt Trotters hit the track. Post time at Hanover Raceway on September 6th is 7:15pm. From the press box at
The final preliminary round for the $300,000 Quebec-Bred Series for two-year-old trotters and pacers takes place Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R with four $7,500 divisions. After Sunday the top eight point earnings in the series will return to 3R on Sunday, September 7 for the $55,000 finals. Also on that day will be the $65,000 finals in the series for three-year-olds, making for eight championship finals on the race program. The first race features two-year-old trotting fillies and one colt in the field. Because an insufficient number of colts were entered, they have been split and will race against the fillies this week. The 5/2 morning line favorite is a filly, C L Magic Road, who starts from post five for driver Marie Auger. A winner in two of her four starts, the daughter of Holiday Road was a game second last week when National Trace set the track record at 3R. Other contenders in the field include SOS Harddrive (post 3), Chamane (post 2) and D Espoir (post six). The second division for trotters is the third race and featured is 3R’s newest track record holders, Meganou and National Trace. Both fillies set erased a 21-year-old record with their identical 2:03.2 victories last week. Meganou starts from post two and she was most impressive for driver Jocelyn Gendron last week, wiring the field and scoring a romp by eight and one-half lengths. It was her second win this year and a lifetime mark. National Trace goes from post four for diver Denis St Pierre and last week she also wired the field, winning by three-quarters of a length. It was her first pari-mutuel win but not her lifetime mark. She won a baby race earlier this season at Mohawk Racing in 2:01. There are three male rivals in the field who all may be contenders in Champagne Panic, Intouchable and Promesses Imperial along with the filly Sunrise Linda, making for quite a strong field. The two-year-old pacing colts get underway in the second race with return winner Sugarsam heading the field from post three for driver Denis St Pierre. Last week the son of Sportswriter upset the field at odds of 16-1, winning from post eight in a lifetime best clocking of 1:56.4. He will be challenged by recent winners Half A Billion, Clinton Panic and Western Bayama. The pacing fillies see action in the fourth race with a full field of nine starters featuring Anna Santanna. Last week in a classic match-up and dramatic finish, Anna Santanna lost by just a neck to Kinnder Elegance in a track record time of 1:57.4. The erased a 25-year-old track record at 3R. Sired by Santanna Blue Chip, Anna Santanna starts from post four for driver Marie Auger and in her five starts this year she has yet to finish worse than third. Other contenders in the field include Miss Bro, My Fleet Time and First Girl. From the Quebec Jockey Club
Youre Majestic, Danielle Hall and Juanitas Fury were victorious in the three $70,000 Gold divisions of the Ontario Sires Stakes for two-year-old trotting fillies tonight at Mohawk. Youre Majestic was sent off as the favourite in the first division and she didn’t disappoint her backers, winning in 1:57.1. The daughter of Majestic Son, driven by Doug McNair, got away in fourth as Sheguindah hit the opening quarter in :28.2. Just past that point Amoureuse Hanover took over the lead but that didn’t last long as McNair had Youre Majestic moving quickly to take command before the :59.3 half. She remained on top by the 1:28.2 three-quarters and opened up down the stretch to win comfortably over Amoureuse Hanover (Pilgrims Taj) and Railee Priti (Muscle Mass). Owned by Frank Bellino and Sons LLC of New York and trained by Tony Sullivan, Youre Majestic has yet to finish off the board in her young career. Her summary now is 3-1-1 in five lifetime starts for $92,000 in earnings. This marked her second Gold victory. In the second division it was The Grand Filly showing the girls the way and hitting the opening quarter in:27.4. She was quickly covered up by Muscle Baby Doll but Danielle Hall and Jody Jamieson took over before the :57 half. At that point favourite Stubborn Belle made a break. At the three-quarters it was Danielle Hall in 1:26.2 and she could not be caught down the stretch, winning in 1:56 over The Grand Filly and Muscle Baby Doll, both by Muscle Mass. Stubborn Belle recovered from her miscue to take fourth. It was the fourth win in five lifetime starts, and third Gold win, for Danielle Hall (she was second in the other start), a daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe owned by trainer Carl Jamieson and Winnipeg Racing of Concord, Ontario. Juanitas Fury was back in the Gold winner’s circle following the third division. Paul MacDonell was up behind the daughter of Kadabra who got away third in the early going as Mystical Brat took the field by the quarter pole in :28.1. MacDonell then right lined Juanitas Fury who was on top by the half in :58.1. She passed the three-quarters in 1:28 and held off several rivals to hit the wire in 1:57.1. Tymal Illbethere (Deweycheatumnhowe) was right there for second with Nordic Holiday (Holiday Road) a close third. It was the third win, and second OSS Gold victory, in five starts this year for Juanitas Fury co-owned by trainer John Bax with Glengate Farms of Campbellville, Don Allensn of Wyoming and Gaelic Stable of Sharon, Ontario. The next Gold test for this division is set for September 25 back at Mohawk. To view the complete results from tonight’s card please click Mohawk Results - August 18. From the Ontario Sire Stakes
Harness racing fillies dropping down from the Ontario Sires Stakes Gold division to the Grassroots level proved successful in several of today’s $18,000 divisions at Clinton Raceway. That moved proved the ticket for Gee Okeeffe in the opening division. She traded the top position with Dewy Take A Selfie through fractions of :31, 1:03, 1:32.2 and was home first with a two length cushion in 2:03. Superbowl Sunshine closed well to take second while Dewy Take A Selfie was third. Chris Beaver trains the winner, a daughter of Holiday Road he co-owns with breeder Wilbur Lang of Ohio. Gee Okeeffe was notching her second win in five tries this year, winning a Gold division on July 23 at Grand River Raceway. That same shift also proved beneficial for Desis Dream who made her first Grassroots appearance after three Gold starts. She went gate to wire for Steve Byron in :30, 1:02.3, 1:32.4 and held off Giona to win by a neck in 2:03.4. Dolce Far Niente was third. John Bax of Peterborough, Ontario, trains the winner, a daughter of Muscle Mass, with breeder Glengate Farm of Campbellville, Ontario. This was Desis Dream’s first lifetime win in five tries. In the third division the field was reduced to five starters with the scratches of Magical Lass and Magic Dancing. Summer Jewel and Mario Baillargeon set the early tempo of :30.4, 1:03 and 2:04.4. Judy The Beauty came up to challenge past the half and kept pressure on the leader the rest of the way but Summers Jewel hung tough to win in 2:04.4. Judy The Beauty had to settle for place while Moon Dance took third. Baillargeon’s brother Ben of Rockwood, Ontario, trains and co-owns the winner, a daughter of Angus Hall who was recording her second straight Grassroots victory and third overall. She came into today’s event sitting third in the Grassroots standings with 124 points behind Stay In Touch and Judy The Beauty who were tied for first with 137. Mario was back on top early in the next split with first time starter Flexyandiknowit who hit the opening quarter in :31.3. Just past that marker Mass Rail was taken out from third to challenge the leader and overtook her just past the half in 1:03. However, she quickly had a challenger in My Mini Snickers by the 1:33.3 third panel. Mass Rail fought back but was hauled down late by My Mini Snickers and James MacDonald who hit the wire first in 2:03. Mass Rail was second with Tymal Fireitup third. It was the second straight Grassroots victory for the Muscle Mass daughter owned by Ron Phillips of Illinois and trained by Ryan Maxwell. It was the same scene in the fifth division as Mario had Zorgwijk Philly on top early and hit the opening panel in :31. Dustin Jones sent Pinky The Intern up to challenge before the half but Zorgwijk Philly maintained the lead and was by the third panel in 1:32. Despite pressure on the outside and inside Zorgwijk Philly was at the wire first in 2:05 over Delcrest Flexyhall and Pinky The Intern. It was the first OSS start and first win for the Southwind Lustre daughter owned and trained by Wayne Langille of Harley, Ontario. Other winners amongst the Grassroots divisions this afternoon were Winem, a daughter of Kadabra trained by Mike Keeling for owner Paula Wellwood of Cambridge, Ontario and driven by Mike Saftic and Wing Flash, also by Kadabra, who went gate to wire for trainer Wayne Henry, who co-owns with Daylon Farms of Komoka, Ontario, to win in 2:04. This group will meet again in Grassroots action on September 9 at Mohawk. From the Ontario Sire Stakes
Alacrity and Luck O The Irish each picked an opportune time to score their first lifetime win as they both captured an $105,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold division for two-year-old trotting colts tonight at Mohawk. In the first and fastest division it was Win The Day hitting the first quarter in :28.2. Eddie Green sent favourite Alacrity up to grab control by the :59.1 half. As the field hit the three-quarters in 1:29.1 Trevor Henry had Win The Day on the move again and that colt was neck and neck with Alacrity down the stretch. Alacrity held tough to narrowly win in 1:58. Win The Day and Lets Be Honest, both by Deweycheatumnhowe, completed the ticket. Kristine Green of Ohsweken, Ontario owns the winner, a son of Pilgrims Taj, trained by Eddie Green. This marked the first lifetime win for the colt who finished second in his first two starts, also Gold divisions. Bred by Wilbur Lang of Ohio, Alacrity is the fifth foal of the former OSS champion Elena, a winner of $414,000 in her career. The colt was a $30,000 yearling purchase at the 2013 Canadian Yearling Sale. The complexion of the second division changed dramatically with the late scratch of Muscle Up The Gold, a winner in both of the previous Gold divisions to date. As the race got underway Hemi Seelster, a winner of three straight Grassroots tests, broke stride and took himself out of contention. It was A Little More Love in control at the quarter in :28.2. Luck O The Irish came up to challenge and was kept parked by the :59 half. Coming up three wide at the 1:29 third panel was Up The Alley but Luck O The Irish came back on and fought back and held off Up The Alley (Muscle Mass) to win in 1:59.1. Boli (Kadabra), who broke stride in the first turn, recovered to finish third. For Luck O The Irish it was his first lifetime victory in four attempts for owner/breeder June Durand of Puslinch, Ontario whose husband Tom trains and drives the son of Holiday Road. The colt is the second foal from the Kadabra daughter Kavita. The next Gold event for this group is slated for September 23 at Flamboro Downs. Fro the Ontario Sire Stakes
Seven $18,000 divisions of the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series for two-year-old colt and gelding trotters took place on Wednesday (July 30) at Grand River Raceway, and Hemi Seelster padded his lead atop the group with a 2:02 victory in the sixth split. With Steve Byron in the bike, Hemi Seelster was well clear of his rivals through opening-half fractions of :29.1 and 1:00.4. Pocket-sitter Tarot (Riina Rekila) made up ground in the third quarter, but Hemi Seelster was still on the point at the 1:31.4 three-quarters. In the stretch, Tarot looked to get around the tempo-setter, but Hemi Seelster proved too tough for Tarot, drawing off to win by two and a quarter lengths. Olympic Son (Anthony MacDonald) finished third. Hemi Seelster is trained by John Bax for his Parkhill Stud Farm, Matthew Bax, and Goin To The Show Stable of Peterborough, Ont., along with John Houston of Cobourg, Ont. He is now a perfect three-for-three in Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series action and has won three of his four starts overall, earning $27,000 in the process. Sired by Holiday Road, Hemi Seelster was bred by Seelster Farms Inc. of Lucan, Ont. and sold for $19,000 at last year’s Forest City Yearling Sale. His dam is Hollywood Beauty, who is by Angus Hall. Hollywood Beauty scored a victory in an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series elimination as a two-year-old. To view the rest of the story click here.
Three of the two-year-old trotting fillies competing in tonight’s third $70,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold division at Grand River Raceway came into the contest riding two race winning streaks. Danielle Hall and Juanitas Fury had both won a division of the first Gold event for this group of the 2014 season while newcomer Muscle Baby Doll was making her first appearance in Ontario after starting her career on the Indiana Fair circuit. In their division Muscle Baby Doll left sharply from post five for Doug McNair and easily obtained the lead. Jody Jamieson sent Danielle Hall up to take over just past the :30.1 opening quarter. She continued on top by the 1:01.1 half but just past that point Bistrobistro Taj came to call and had a head in front by the 1:31 three-quarters. Those two fillies battled it out around the final turn while McNair tipped his filly three wide and cruised on by to win in 2:00, the fastest of the three divisions tonight. Danielle Hall (Deweycheatumnhowe) was second with Bistrobistro Taj (Pilgrims Taj) taking third. This was the first start for Muscle Baby Doll under her new ownership of Frank Bellino and Sons Stable of New York and trainer Tony O’Sullivan. The Bellinos purchased the daughter of Muscle Mass–Have You Ever last week. Another recent acquisition for the Bellinos and O’Sullivan is Youre Majestic who won her first outing for her new connections in the first OSS Gold test last week at Mohawk. She raced very well tonight but had to settle for the bridesmaid spot. That division saw Amoureuse Hanover and Randy Waples gain early control to head the fillies by the opening marker in :29.2. Just past that point she was overtaken by Ditcherquicknhide and Jack Moiseyev who trotted by the half in :59.4. Waples pulled his filly back out from second and she hit the three-quarters first in 1:30.2. Three wide and driving on through the final turn was Youre Majestic but she could not catch the leader who tripped the timer in 2:00.3. Youre Majestic (Majestic Son) was second followed by Sumthintotalkabout (Muscle Mass). It was the first win in three lifetime starts for Amoureuse Hanover, who finished second and third in her previous outings. Trained by John Smith for Brian Peterson of Port Hope, Ontario, the daughter of Pilgrims Taj was bred by Hanover Shoe Farms. The second split saw favourite The Grand Filly make a break just before the opening quarter while trying to overtake Desis Dream who hit that point in :30.3 and the half in 1:00.3. She had pressure at that point from Magical Gem but that filly miscued, taking herself out of contention. Just past the 1:30.3 three-quarters Gee Okeeffe came out from second for James MacDonald and flew by Desis Dream to win by more than six lengths in 2:00.3. The Grand Filly (Muscle Mass) recovered to take second while Mischief Smile (Majestic Son) was third. It was the first lifetime win in three starts for Gee Okeeffe who finished second in her first two tries. From the first crop of Holiday Road, the filly is trained by Chris Beaver who co-owns with breeder Wilbur Lang, both of Ohio. The rookie trotting fillies will next meet for Gold action on August 10 at Rideau Carleton Raceway in Ottawa. From the Ontario Sire Stakes