TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, July 26, 2016 - After grinding it out to the lead by the opening quarter mile, it was a piece of cake for the trotter Holiday Party, who went on to post his sixth straight victory with an easy romp at the Hippodrome 3R Tuesday. Competing in the third race colt division of the Breeders Cup Series for three-year-olds, Holiday Party was on cruise control once clearing to the lead for driver Pascal Berube, holding the field at bay and then pulling away in the stretch for a three and one-quarter length triumph in 1:58.4. The pocket-sitting KFM Amigo Cool (Stephane Brosseau) was second with Skyflex (Yves Filion) third. Trained by Dany Fontaine for owner Gaetan Bono, Inc. of Montreal, QC, it was the seven win in just eleven starts this year for Holiday Party. The son of Holiday Road was winless at age two in eight starts. He paid just $2.70 to win as the 1/5 betting favorite. This was the fourth and final preliminary round of the Breeders Cup Series that will culminate on Sunday, September 4 with $65,000 finals for both fillies and colts, trotters and pacers. It is then that Holiday Party will try and make it a clean sweep of the series against track record holder Wildwild Men. In the sixth race filly division, Artemis Duharas showed real true grit, making two first-over moves and then coming on at the finish to edge out Y S Suzanne by a head in 2:01.2. Eau Naturelle (Simon Delisle) left quickly out of the starting gate with race favorite Y S Suzanne and trainer/driver Carl Duguay sitting the pocket seat and trainer/driver Pierre Bovay parked out first-over trying for the lead, but there was no passing Eau Naturelle and by the opening quarter mile in :29.2, Bovay had to back off and settle in third place with Artemis Duharas. Then after the half mile marker in 1:00.2, with Eau Naturelle in command, Bovay came back first-over again with Artemis Duharas. They raced that way by the three-quarters in 1:30.4 and around the final turn. Once the three horses straightened out in the stretch, Duguay hit the passing lane with Y S Suzanne and looked to have plenty of trot, but Artemis Duharas dug in some more to win it by a head. Eau Naturelle faded to third. It was the second win this year for Artemis Duharas. The daughter of Andover Hall was bred and is owned by Haras De L Estrie, Inc. of Dunham, QC and paid $7.30 to win. There were two non-wagering divisions of the second round of the Future Stars Series for two-year-old trotters. The fastest of the two were the fillies as Joyce Lavec and driver Pascal Berube stalked pacesetter Taurus P V (Stephane Brosseau) for most of the mile, then with a late charge in the stretch, came on to win by a half-length in 2:06.2. Affirmee (Guy Corbeil) was third. It was the first wagering start for Joyce Lavec, a daughter of Mr Lavec, who is trained by Dany Fontaine and owned and bred by Jean Berthiaume of Sorel-Tracy, QC. In the colt division, Chapitre Duharas and driver Pierre Bovay was able to grind it out to the lead by the half mile marker over Kinnder Dangerous and driver Justin Filion, but then in the stretch, Filion was able to come back with Kinnder Dangerous to win by one length in 2:07.2. Yoan Bayama (Yves Filion) was third. For Kinnder Dangerous, a gelded son of Northern Escort, it was his first win. He is trained, owned and was bred by Denitza Petrova of Les Cedres, QC. TRACK NOTES: 3R's top reinsman, Louis-Philippe Roy, had the hot hands Tuesday, scoring four winners on the program. Live racing resumes at 3R on Sunday with first race post time at 1:30 pm. This will be the last live program for two weeks as another type of horsepower comes to town as 3R becomes part of the Grand Prix auto races that take place throughout the entire town of Trois-Rivieres. After Sunday's program, live racing will return at 3R on Tuesday, August 16. From the Quebec Jockey Club
TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, July 25, 2016 - Harness racing trainer Dany Fontaine certainly has his work cut out for him on Tuesday night at the Hippodrome 3R as he will be starting four horses, nearly half the field, in the Breeders Cup Series for three-year-old trotters. Fontaine, who hails from Lachenaie, Quebec where he has a training facility, will harness his pride and joy this season, Holiday Party, who is going for his sixth straight victory. Holiday Party starts from post nine (in the second tier) in the third race, the fourth and final preliminary round of the Breeders Cup Series for the trotting colts and fillies. After Tuesday's final round, the top eight point earners in both the colt and filly divisions return to 3R on Sunday, September 4 for their respective $65,000 finals and Fontaine feels he has a good chance to not just have three of his four colts in the final, but maybe even finish one-two-three in that race. "There is no question that this season Holiday Party has been the best of my colts in the stable," Fontaine said, "But KFB Amigo Cool has been second or third each week and Andovers Choice has the speed to win it all too. Last week driver Guy Gagnon said he (Andovers Choice) was feeling so good that he would have won the race if not for the horses breaking and interfering with him." Winless at age 2 last season in eight starts, Holiday Party showed promise to Fontaine. The son of Holiday Road, owned by Gaetan Bono, Inc. of Montreal, was coming into his own late in the season. "In the $41,000 Quebec-Bred Series Final last year," Fontaine explained. "Wildwild Men was so strong there was no one catching him, but Holiday Party found his stride and was a strong third in that track record race. Then we raced him at Mohawk and Woodbine and he was trotting in 1:58, 1:57. So I told Gaetan Bono that it was time to turn him out while he was good and he agreed. "After he spent some time in the field we started back with him this winter," Fontaine explained, "And he got better and better. At my training center I would take him out with the pacers to trainer and he would cut the mile and the pacers had trouble staying up with him going in 2:05. I knew then he would be very good this year." Very good is an understatement for Holiday Road. A winner in six of his ten starts, Holiday Road has a record of 1:57 at Georgian Downs and before coming to 3R for the series, won an $18,000 division of the Ontario Grassroots, also at Georgian Downs. "I also put the trotting hobbles on him," Fontaine said, "Just to remind him to stay on the trot as he kept going faster and faster. Last week he showed that even when interfered with and making a break, he still was able to get back into the race and win it. "Pascal Berube does an excellent job driving Holiday Road," Fontaine added. "He knows the horse very well now and that helps a lot. It will be very interesting when he meets up with Wildwild Men in September in the final. "I think we will do very good Tuesday night with all four of my horses in this race," Fontaine explained. "We finally drew inside post positions for all of them. We have the one, two, four and nine post in the second tier." The trotting fillies do battle in the sixth race where the race favorite is last week's return winner, Y S Suzanne, who starts from the rail for trainer/driver Carl Duguay. This daughter of Angus Hall was given a perfect drive last week by Duguay, sitting second the entire mile until the top of the stretch when they came after Eau Naturelle (Simon Delisle) and beat them in the final stride to the wire by a nose in a lifetime best 2:01.2. Eau Naturelle is back in the line and goes from post four along with other competitors Elair Chocolat (post eight) and Labeauceronne (post four). There are two non-wagering divisions of the second round of the Future Stars Series for two-year-old trotting colts and fillies at 6:30 pm. Opening round return winner Capteur De Reve starts from post five for driver Guy Corbeil in the colt division and Taurus P V, last week's filly division winner, returns and starts again from post one. First race post time Tuesday for the pari-mutuel card is 7:00 pm. For a free race program and live video streaming of the 3R races Tuesday, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club
TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, July 19, 2016 - Holiday Party posted his fifth straight victory and was able to overcome an accident marred race, in capturing his division of the Breeders Cup Series for three-year-old trotting colts at the Hippodrome 3R Tuesday. Competing in the 6th race colt division of the Breeders Cup Series, Skyflex and driver Rheo Filion was leading the race after the opening quarter mile in :29. Then, on the second turn, Slyflex went off-stride on the lead and went to the outside, causing interfering that hampered nearly all of the horses in the field of nine. Once the may lay was cleared, KFB Amigo Cool and driver Stephane Brosseau took command of the race, but driver Pascal Berube was able to get Holiday Party, the 1-4 wagering favorite, back in gear and he closed with a burst of speed to win by one length in 2:02.3. KFB Amigo Cool was second with Holiday Gift (Sylvain Fontaine) third. It was the sixth win in ten starts this year for Holiday Party. The gelded son of Holiday Road is trained by Dany Fontaine for the Gaetan Bono Stable, Inc. of Montreal and paid $2.70 to win. In the fourth race division for fillies, the 1-2 favorite Y A Jailhouse Judy and driver Stephane Gendron made an uncharacteristic break behind the starting gate and never was able to rebound, finishing last. That enabled Eau Naturelle and trainer/driver Simon Delisle to scoot right out to the lead from the rail with Y S Suzanne (Carl Duguay) following in second place. Eau Naturelle led the field through the three-quarters when Duguay pulled to the outside for a final challenge. Down the stretch they raced, neck and neck to the wire where Y S Suzanne just got up at the wire to win by a nose in 2:01.3. Clair Chocolat (Guy Gorbeil) was third. It was a lifetime mark and the first win in six starts this year for Y S Suanne. The daughter of Angus Hall is trained by Carl Duguay and is owned by Duguay's Elevage Baie De Chaleurs of Port-Daniel, QC, and paid $7.90 to win. The opening round of the Future Stars Series for two-year-old trotters took place Tuesday evening with one division for colt and for fillies. The third race colt division saw Capteur De Reve began his career on a winning note, leading from start to finish with a three-quarter length triumph over a late closing Kinnder Dangerous (Justin Filion) in 2:07.4. Yoan Bayam (Yves Filion) was third. Bred, owned and driven to victory by Guy Corbeil of Ecurie Provoquante of Montreal, Capteur De Reve paid $5.60 to win. He is sired by Muscle Mass and is a nephew of the great Quebec-bred trotter, Maximuscle. In the filly division for two-year-olds, all it took for Taurus P V and driver Stephane Brosseau to win the race was to stay on stride. The daughter of Val Taurus, trained by Serge Nadeau and bred and owned by Marcel Brouillard of St-Marcel-De-Richelieu, QC, was the only horse in the field to stay on gait during the non-wagering race. She was able to wire the field, winning by two and one-quarter lengths in 2:08.1. Affirmee (Guy Corbeil) was second with Muscle Do (Gaetan Lamy) third. TRACK NOTES: Jimbelina, the winningest horse at 3R this season and unbeaten in five starts for driver Roland Trudel, saw her winning ways come to an end in the 5th race pace. Pressured first-over from after the opening quarter mile by Shedonthepyschic (Louis-Philippe Roy), Jimbelina held game on the lead until mid-stretch, when the pocket-sitting Mr Sunshine Boy (Stephane Brosseau) came up the passing lane to nip Jimbelina at the wire by a head in a lifetime best time of 1:58.1. At odds of 17-1, Mr Sunshine Boy paid $36.40 to win. Live racing resumes at the Hippodrome 3R on Sunday, first race post time 1:30 pm. From the Quebec Jockey Club
TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, July 4, 2016 - The trotters claim the stage at the Hippodrome 3R Tuesday night with the opening round of the Breeders Cup for three-year-old colts and fillies. There are four weeks of preliminary round competition with the top eight point earners from each division returning on Sunday, September 4 for their respective $65,000 finals. The colts start off the stakes action in the third race where track record hold and last year's two-year-old champion, Wildwild Men, returns to 3R for trainer Isabelle Darveau and driver Robert Shepherd. Last year Wildwild Men tore up the 3R half mile oval, sweeping the series and setting a track record 1:58.2 in the Quebec-Bred series finale. He ended 2015 with five wins and one second place finish in nine starts and will start from post six Tuesday. Co-owned by Catheline Pelletier of Mirabel with breeder Chantal Gravel of St-Cyrille-De-Wendover, QC, this son of Muscle Mass is not off to the greatest of starts this year. He is winless in four tries, even won in 2:00.1 at Grand River Raceway, only to be placed sixth by the judges. He will be put to the test on Tuesday, having to face some stiff competition in KFB Amigo Cool (post five), who ships in from Ontario Sire Stakes action at Georgian Downs where he was second for $18,000, timed in 1:59.2. Skyflex (post 4), invades from Rideau Carlton where he has been first or second in seven of his eleven starts this year, the fastest a 2:00.1 triumph. Between the fifth and sixth race is a non-wagering second division for the colts. The race was taken off the betting card due to the entry from the Dany Fontaine Stable of Andovers Choice and Holiday Party. Holiday Party starts from post four for driver Pascal Berube and ships in from Georgian Downs where last week he won an $18,000 division of the Ontario Sire Stakes in 1:58. The start before the gelded son of Holiday Road took his lifetime mark with a 1:57 triumph. Andovers Choice will start from post two for driver Guy Gagnon and comes to 3R from Mohawk Raceway where he has been facing older rivals and has two second place finishes in both his starts this year, the fastest timed in 1:57.1. The fillies do battle in the sixth race where last year's series champion, Y S Suzanne starts from post four for trainer/driver Carl Duguay. This daughter of Angus Hall was winless last year until her final start of the season when she won the $55,000 final. She is winless in three starts this year but has been racetimed in 2:00.2-2:01 recently. Other contenders in the field include Y A Jailhouse Jodi from post two, who has won her last two starts for trainer Michel Allard, Eau Naturelle (post 5) and Ã‰clair Chocolat (post 6). Post time Tuesday evening is 7:00 pm. For a free race program and live video feeds of the race card visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club
Stakes-placed Gural Hanover ($2.80, part of entry) made his return to the races a triumphant one in the $25,000 Open Handicap Trot, and all-sources handle topped $3 million for the eighth consecutive harness racing card on Friday (February 26) evening at The Meadowlands. Having drawn the outside post in the field of eight, Gural Hanover took no part in the early pace, retreating to seventh as last week's Open winner Crosbys Clam Bake (Scott Zeron) sprinted to a :27.2 initial quarter before ceding the lead to Can Do (Anthony Napolitano). Midway on the backstretch, Yannick Gingras floated the 5-year-old Crazed gelding off the pegs, latching onto the live cover of B Yoyo (Joe Bongiorno) through a :55.2 half and slipstreaming a pressured third quarter before swinging three-wide off a stalled B Yoyo a quarter from home. Gural Hanover kicked clear in upper stretch as the pacesetters faded, holding sway in the end by a driven half-length in 1:54.4 over entrymates Bourbon Bay (Corey Callahan), who charged willingly down the grandstand side after being shuffled to last, and Opulent Yankee (Andy Miller), who negotiated traffic to stay on. Ron Burke trains Gural Hanover for the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Little E, LLC, and the Panhellenic Stable. Burke and Gingras teamed up as well in the sub-featured $15,500 upper-level trot, as Its Huw You Know turned in a 19-1 upset in 1:54.2, kicking third-over cover to pass even-money favorite Dewycolorintheline and chase down pacesetter Hot Type in the final yards. The Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi co-own the 4-year-old Holiday Road gelding. The evening's top distaff event--a $15,000 top-level conditioned pace--went to Clear View Hanover ($7.80), a pillar-to-post winner in 1:51.4 who battled gamely to stave off a vicious first-over press from Gweneeee J. Tim Tetrick drove the 7-year-old Western Ideal mare for trainer Henrik Lundell and owners Joie de Vie Farm and Guidetti Racing. Anthony Napolitano led all drivers with four wins on the card, while Tetrick and Corey Callahan took three races apiece. Punters combined to wager $3,245,266 on the 14-race card, carrying the streak of Meadowlands programs exceeding $3 million in turnover to eight. Live racing returns to The Meadowlands on Saturday (February 27) evening, with over $113,300 in combined Jackpot High 5 carryovers and $105,000 in guaranteed Pick 4 and Pick 5 pools. Additionally, four seats for the World Harness Handicapping Championship are up for grabs in a live-bankroll qualifier on-track tomorrow (the entry fee is $400, including a $200 contest bankroll). Post time for the 14-race program is 6:35 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite, Meadowlands Media Relations
TORONTO, November 21 – Ontario three-year-old harness racing colts and geldings kicked off their Autumn Series with four divisions Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack. A total of 18 pacers and 20 trotters made up four $18,000 round one divisions. Mach On The Beach kicked off the night with a 1:52.2 victory in the first pacing division. Driven by Sylvain Filion, Mach On The Beach flashed early speed aiming for the front, while Twin B Sportsman was pacing hard early looking for the lead. Mach On The Beach got to the pylons first and Filion opted to stretch Twin B Sportsman out by the opening-quarter in :26.2. Filion eventually released the challenger at the top of the backstretch. After a half of :55.1, Mach On The Beach came to the outside and surged by Twin B Sportsman to take the field by the three-quarter pole in 1:24.1. In the stretch, Mach On The Beach left his rivals in his dust and paced away to an easy-looking four-length victory. The Rock finished up with a strong final-quarter to come from eighth to finish second. Sports Lightning finished third, while Windsong Lightning was fourth. A son of Mach Three, Mach On The Beach is trained by Richard Moreau for owner Ecurie Gaetan Bono Inc. The sophomore gelding now has seven wins from 24 starts in his first season of racing. Mach On The Beach pushed his earnings to over $60,000 with the victory Saturday, while also lowering his career-mark by more than two-seconds. The Moreau trainee paid $3.90 to win. Mach On The Beach In the second division, Cajon Lightning came first up to win in 1:52.4. Driven by Mike Saftic, Cajon Lightning got away fifth in the early stages, while Doctor Royal and Major Dan took turns on the lead through panels of :26.1 and :56.1. Saftic sent Cajon Lightning first up around the final turn and the even-money favourite was second and less than two-lengths from the front at the three-quarter pole. In the stretch, Cajon Lightning powered by Doctor Royal and paced home strong in :27.2 for a length and a half victory. Jack Reacher finished second, while Naturescape finished third just ahead of Doctor Royal. Another son of Mach Three, Cajon Lightning is trained by Scott Bell for owner John Taylor. Saturday’s victory was the third from 16 starts this season for the gelding. Cajon Lightning has now earned over $48,000 in his first season of racing. The clocking of 1:52.4 matched his career-mark taken October 12 at Woodbine. Cajon Lightning paid $4.10 to win. Cajon Lightning On the trotting side, Stormont Wizard took the first division in 1:56.1 at odds of 3/5. Driven by James MacDonald, Stormont Wizard trotted out strongly to grab command at the opening-quarter in :28. Down the backstretch, Win The Day came first up from fifth at the half to challenge the leader. MacDonald kept his trotter moving well and turned aside the first-over challenger to lead the field by the three-quarter pole in 1:26.1. In the stretch, Stormont Wizard sealed the deal with a :30 final-quarter to score a two and a quarter length victory. P L Icabod finished second, while Lmc Mass Oak was third. Win The Day rounded out the Superfecta in fourth. A son of Kadabra, Stormont Wizard is trained by Kevin Benn for Stormont Meadows. The sophomore gelding now has two wins in 12 starts this season. Last year, Stormont Wizard scored a single victory in seven starts, while hitting the board five-times. The Benn trainee has banked over $48,000 this season and $74,000 lifetime. Stormont Wizard paid $3.40 to win. Stormont Wizard Love Hunter turned a two-hole trip into a victory in the second trotting division. The Nick Gallucci trainee left quickly for driver Trevor Henry to challenge for the lead, however Gronk, the even-money favourite, pushed forward for the lead and forced Henry into the pocket. After setting fractions of :26.4, :57.3 and 1:27.1, Gronk carried the lead into the lane with Love Hunter on his back. In the stretch, Love Hunter came to the outside and waged war with Gronk, eventually edging by in deep stretch to win by half a length in 1:57. Freddie closed with good speed for third, while Thoughtful Leader was fourth. A son of Holiday Road, Love Hunter entered Saturday’s contest with one win in 10 starts this season. The Autumn Series division victory pushes the gelding’s earnings in 2015 to over $34,000. Love Hunter paid $12.20 to win. Love Hunter In order to be eligible to the Autumn Series, the Ontario sired three-year-olds had to be non-winners of $50,000 lifetime or $30,000 in 2015 as of September 30, 2015. The second round of the Autumn Series for the colts and geldings will take place next Saturday (November 28).
Local filly Hape earned her second Grassroots trophy at the harness racing meeting at Mohawk Racetrack on Tuesday evening, making up for the aggravation she caused trainer-driver Jack Moiseyev prior to the race. "She's not fun to be around all week and warming up - she kicks and pulls and grabs on - but you get in a race, she's pretty nice to drive in a race," said the Moffat resident. "Once you get her warmed up she forgets about kicking and thinks about racing." Starting from the outside Post 8 in the fifth $18,000 division, Moiseyev eased Hape away from the starting gate and the pair was sitting in the outer lane in sixth when Pointe Of Inquiry reached the :28.2 opening quarter. Fan favourite Renegade Magic took command before the :57.1 half while Moiseyev and Hape continued to watch from sixth, but heading by the 1:26.3 three-quarters Moiseyev sent the filly out three-wide and started to reel in the leaders. At the top of the stretch Hape had advanced to within two lengths of Renegade Magic, but when she straightened out Moiseyev was able to find an even bigger gear and the filly rocketed down the stretch to a two and one-half length win in 1:56.4. Division point leader Renegade Magic had to settle for second, with Pointe Of Inquiry third. "She raced real good last week too. She's very finicky, you've got to let her do what she wants and at the end she knows what to do, she takes off at the end there," said Moiseyev, who conditions the Pilgrims Taj daughter for Joanne Colville of Moffat and Nancy MacNevin of Essex, ON. "Once she straightens up she kind of takes off." In an overnight event at Mohawk on Aug. 18, the top three fillies from Tuesday's fifth Grassroots division finished in reverse order, with Pointe Of Inquiry getting the win, Renegade Magic second and Hape third. Through 14 starts this season Hape has tallied five wins, two seconds, one third and $55,750. Tuesday's win bumped the filly's Grassroots point tally to 126, virtually assuring her of a berth in the Sept. 18 Semi-final. Hape The top 20 point earners after six regular season events qualify for the Semi-final, with the top five finishers from each Semi-final returning to Mohawk to compete in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship on Sept. 26. The other four division winners also made considerable leaps up the point standings. Meadow Seelster captured the first division with a gate-to-wire effort that saw her cruise home one and three-quarter lengths ahead of Mass Rail and Oh My Magic in 1:56.2. Sylvain Filion of Milton, ON engineered the win for trainer Bill Budd of Waterdown, ON and owner William Dixon of Caledon, ON. The Holiday Road daughter was also a Grassroots winner at Georgian Downs on July 14 and currently has 112 points in the race toward a Semi-final berth. Giona scored her first Grassroots win in the second division, also controlling the tempo from start to finish. The Angus Hall miss and trainer-driver Wayne MacLean of Chelmsford, ON crossed the wire one and three-quarter lengths ahead of favourite Railee Priti and Roses In The Rain in 1:57.2 Jocelyne Menard of Chelmsford owns Giona, who jumped from 50 to 100 points with the win. In the third division, Allerage Star earned her first win of the season with a front-end effort that saw her sail under the wire three and one-half lengths ahead of Desis Dream and Summers Jewel in 1:56.1. The Angus Hall daughter was driven to the win by Guelph, ON resident Paul MacDonell. Howard Okukso Jr. of Vernon, NY conditions Allerage Star for Little E LLC of New York, NY, Arthur Geiger of Livingston, NJ, David Stolz of Columbus, OH and Jason Settlemoir of Cream Ridge, NJ. World Class Izzy and Mario Baillargeon of Milton, ON claimed the remaining Grassroots trophy with a come-from-behind effort that saw them sweep home to a three length win in 1:56.2 Flexceptional and Hope Rises completed the top three. The win was the first ever for World Class Izzy, who is trained by Rockwood, ON resident Benoit Baillargeon for owner-breeders Thomas and Elizabeth Rankin. The victory boosted the Muscle Mass daughter's Grassroots point total to 86. The three-year-old trotting fillies will wrap up their regular season at Hanover Raceway on Sept. 5. Ontario Sires Stakes excitement continues at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday with a pair of $105,000 Gold divisions for the three-year-old pacing fillies. Ontario Horse Racing
Throughout his career Luck O The Irish has been a consistent player on the Ontario Sires Stakes circuit, but the three-year-old trotting colt has recently found a new gear, posting his third straight victory and his first Gold Series win of the season at the harness racing meeting at Mohawk Racetrack on Monday. "I'll tell you what it is, he's a big-strided colt and he's finally developed power to drive his stride," said trainer Tom Durand of the colt's win streak. "He always had the big stride, but he just couldn't power it, and it's just like all of a sudden it kind of clicked." "The combination of that and starting to race him a little more aggressively, once he saw the front end there a few starts ago he kind of woke up," added the Puslinch, ON resident, who trains the colt for his wife June Durand. Luck O The Irish found the winner's circle for the first time this season off a front-end effort in a July 28 non-winners of two races contest at Mohawk, stopping the teletimer at 1:55.2. Two weeks later he lowered his personal best to 1:54.4, winning a three-year-old conditioned event crowded with his Gold Series peers. On Monday, starting from Post 5 in the second $70,000 Gold division, driver Sylvain Filion powered the colt off the gate and landed in third on the rail. Rubber Duck rang up the :27 opening quarter, but he was not in charge for long as Milton, ON resident Filion moved Luck O The Irish to the front. The fan favourites led the field to a :55.4 half and a 1:25.4 three-quarters and then Luck O The Irish demonstrated some grit, holding off the pocket-sitting Rubber Duck to record a quarter length victory in a personal best 1:53.3. Boli finished well behind the leaders in third. "His form's coming really good, a new lifetime mark three weeks in a row now, so it probably won't happen again," said Durand with a chuckle. In 11 starts this season Luck O The Irish has tallied three wins, four seconds and one third for earnings of $80,040. At two the colt captured one Gold Leg, finished second three times and third once in nine starts, for earnings of $141,210. A homebred by Holiday Road and out of Kavita, the consistent youngster has become one of the Durand's favourites. "He was a very shy boy as a yearling, very shy." I wouldn't say nervous, but very shy." And I think for that reason I didn't have people begging to be partners on him." He didn't strike you as a brave horse that would be such a good racehorse," recalled the trainer. "Other than that he's been pretty straightforward." "He's kind of a dream horse in many ways, we kind of love him." Monday's win, added to the second, sixth and ninth Luck O The Irish posted in the first three Gold Legs, give the colt a total of 78 points and put him among the top 10 point earners with one regular season event remaining. Last year's division champion Dont Rush earned his second Gold trophy of the sophomore campaign with a three and one-half length triumph in Monday's first Gold division. The Infinitif colt lowered his personal best to 1:53.2 with the victory over Madman Hall and Olympic Son. Trainer-driver Dustin Jones of Waterdown, ON shares ownership of Dont Rush with Greg Judson of Athens, ON. Through six starts this season the colt now has three wins and one third for earnings of $104,160, boosting his lifetime earnings to $401,145. With two wins and one fifth in Gold Series action, Dont Rush sits in second spot in the standings with 105 points. Eternal Quest leapt to top spot in the division standings with a 1:53.4 score in the final division. Sylvain Filion picked up his second Gold Series win, and fourth of the evening, steering Eternal Quest through deep stretch traffic to nab the neck victory over Covert Operative and Platoon Seelster. Guelph, ON resident Chad Milner conditions Eternal Quest for Murray Ferguson Jr. of Sutton West. In eight starts the Pilgrims Taj son has three wins, three seconds and one third for earnings of $114,440. In four Ontario Sires Stakes appearances Eternal Quest has one Grassroots win, two Gold Series wins and one runner-up result in the Gold Series. He currently leads the division with 125 points. The three-year-old trotting colts wrap up their regular season at Mohawk Racetrack on September 28. The top 10 point earners from the regular season will return to the Campbellville oval for their $250,000 Super Final on October 10. Ontario Horse Racing
After having his early season derailed by allergies, two-year-old trotting colt Willyorwonthe finally found his way to the Ontario Sires Stakes winner's circle at the harness racing meeting at Mohawk Racetrack on Tuesday evening. The colt and driver Mike Saftic of Campbellville, ON fired away from Post 8 in the last $18,000 Grassroots division and reeled off fractions of :28.2, :59 and 1:30.1 before fending off a late challenge from The Land Shark and sailing under the wire a three-quarter length winner in 1:58.4. Sass was well behind the leaders in third. It was Willyorwonthe's first win since he turned heads with a 1:56.3 triumph in a two-year-old conditioned event at Mohawk on July 2, and the effort caused owner-trainer Bill Megens of Puslinch, ON to breathe a small sigh of relief. "He raced very good the first start," said Megens of the colt's July 2 debut. "He had a few problems with food allergies so the vet, after the first race, suggested I treat him for the allergies and it kind of back-fired, he was allergic to the treatment." Willyorwonthe broke out in a rash, his throat was inflamed and he developed a cough in response to the allergy treatment. In his first two Ontario Sires Stakes appearances, at the Gold Series level on July 13 and 21, he finished seventh and fourth without the finishing kick he had shown Megens all winter. "He'd been good all along and I couldn't figure out what the heck went wrong with him," said Megens, who learned that 30 per cent of horses have an adverse reaction to the allergy treatment. "Hopefully we've got that under control now. He's not allergic to dust or nothing, it's just some foods." Following Willyorwonthe's reaction to the allergy treatment, Megens reverted to the simple diet he had been feeding the son of Angus Hall and Mikestory since he was a foal. "No more sweet feed or any of the mixed feeds." "He's allergic to corn and soy beans both, so it makes it hard to get a feed that don't contain them, so I put him on straight oats," said the horseman, who bred both Willyorwonthe and his dam, $246,254 winner Mikestory. "When I trained him down he was on straight oats and he always was good, and then I tried to get him a little better feed and it didn't work." If Willyorwonthe continues to regain his health Megens will send him to Georgian Downs for the fourth Grassroots event on August 4, and a positive result there may see the young trotter take another run at the Gold Series colts. "Hopefully he'll stay healthy for a while," said the horseman. "We'll see after the next race, if he races well next time we'll probably try him in the Gold again." Local trotter Holiday Bro also captured his first Ontario Sires Stakes trophy on Tuesday. The son of Holiday Road and Armbro Xanadu circled out wide in the final quarter and sprinted down the stretch to a two length victory over favourite United BI and Muscle Time in 2:00.3 in the second division. "They were all hanging in the last turn, so I whipped out like 10-wide and let him trot," quipped Phil Hudon, who piloted Holiday Bro to the win for owner-trainer Ivan Gallant of Rockwood, ON. "I helped Ivan train him down and he's coming along nicely," added the Guelph, ON resident. "He's getting better every start and he's a quick learner." In his Grassroots debut, at Clinton Raceway on July 19, Holiday Bro finished second, so Tuesday's victory bumped his point tally to 75 and put him in fifth spot in the standings with three regular season events left on the two-year-old trotting colt calendar. Milton, ON resident Randy Waples won two Grassroots events, with Thee Desperado and Frankly Speaking. Starting from Post 5 in the first division, Thee Desperado recovered quickly from an early break in stride and then reeled in the leaders through the stretch to post a victory in his first lifetime start. Waples and the Manofmanymissions son hit the wire one-half length ahead of favourite Recreate and Romeo, stopping the teletimer at 1:58.3. Waples engineered the win for trainer Brent Belore of Embro, ON and owners Karen and Daniel MacIntyre of London, ON, Joshua McKibbin of Tillsonburg, ON and Nancy Newport of Ingersoll, ON. Lightly rated Frankly Speaking also used a come-from-behind move to post his first victory in the fifth division. The Angus Hall son bested Asterix and Clone The Tone by three-quarters of a length in 1:59.2. Waples piloted the colt for trainer Mark Steacy of Lansdowne, ON and owners Frank Spagnolo of Potsdam, NY and Frank Schimizzi of Ottawa, ON. Georgies Pockets kept a neck in front of UF Musclemass Star to record his second straight Grassroots victory in the fourth split. The Muscle Mass son and driver Steve Condren hit the wire in 1:58.3. Cool Creek Victory rounded out the top three. Milton, ON resident Condren piloted the colt to his second win for trainer Melvin Turcotte of Coconut Creek, FL and owners M T Pockets Stables of Pompano Beach, FL. Georgies Pockets now shares top spot in the division standings with United BI. Windsun Missile captured the other Grassroots division with a 2:00 clocking for trainer-driver Per Henriksen . The duo bested JLs Bad Moon Risin and Welland Seelster. Henriksen trains the Kadabra colt for Steve Organ of Aurora, ON, Asa Farm of Norwood, ON and Darryl Drain of Tweed, ON. The two-year-old trotting colts make their fourth Grassroots start at Georgian Downs on August. 4, while their feminine peers arrive at Mohawk on Thursday evening for seven Grassroots divisions. The two-year-old trotting fillies are featured in Races 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 9, and 11 on the Thursday program, which gets under way at 7:25 pm. Ontario Horse Racing
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.