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
Mohawk Racetrack offers a stakes laden harness racing card Saturday evening anchored by the $682,000 Canadian Trotting Classic which has two top Ontario-sired colts taking on five very talented sophomores. The card also features the $385,000 Peaceful Way final with several OSS fillies in contention, the $390,000 William Wellwood Memorial with one lone Ontario-sired colt, and the $409,000 Elegantimage final with four OSS girls vying for their turn in the winner’s circle. In addition to those great trotting races, the program will also headline the top pacing mares in North America in two eliminations for the Milton Stakes which feature three OSS graduates including a Breeders Crown winner. In the showcase event Harper Blue Chip will attempt to duplicate his sire, Majestic Son’s, 2006 Canadian Trotting Classic victory. Mark Steacy of Lansdowne, Ontario, trained Majestic Son, who won the ’06 CTC by more than six lengths over a very talented field, and also conditions Harper Blue Chip. A son of Angus Hall, Majestic Son was a dominant force in the OSS during his sophomore season, winning seven of 10 OSS events. In total, he won $622,000 in the provincial program during his career. Majestic Son now stands at Tara Hills Stud Farm in Port Perry, Ontario, and Harper Blue Chip, with $547,000 in earnings, is his second richest performer to date, behind only Charmed Life ($592,000). So far this year Harper Blue Chip has a summary of 4-2-2 in 10 starts and although he’s won two OSS Gold events and swept the Canadian Breeders, he’s best known for finishing third in the $1,006,125 Hambletonian last month at the Meadowlands. The Hambletonian winner, Trixton, is also slated to start in the CTC final, with post five. Trainer Jimmy Takter will drive the colt who has won eight of 10 starts this year. Tatker’s other talented colt in this division, Father Patrick (also eight for 10) is right alongside in post six. It’s a formidable duo facing Harper Blue Chip whose driver Sylvain Filion is cautiously optimistic, especially given that the colt has finally drawn a decent starting position, post two, compared to post 10 in the Goodtimes final and post nine in the Hambletonian. “He’s been drawing real bad all year and he finally gets a good post,” Filion noted earlier this week. “We’ve got a tough bunch of horses to race against, but he’s very good right now. I’m hoping for a good, close to the front trip and hopefully some top horses won’t be on their game, because we’ll need a lot of luck to beat those horses. It’s a very high quality group.” The other OSS colt joining Harper in the CTC final is Muscle Matters, a son of Muscle Mass who will start beside Harper Blue Chip in post three. Mario Baillargeon will be at the lines for his brother Ben who handles the colt’s training. Yet to win a race this year, Muscle Matters has been close, with five second place finishes in six starts, three of those to Harper Blue Chip. The CTC final goes as race nine on the card. In the third race, the $385,000 Peaceful Way final, there are six OSS fillies in the mix including a pair trained by John Bax, Stubborn Belle (post one, Paul MacDonell) and Juanitas Fury (post nine, Steve Condren). Both fillies have two OSS wins to their credit this season and both finished second in their respective Peaceful Way elims. Stubborn Belle was aptly named according to Bax. “She’s always been a lot like her name, that’s why she was named Stubborn Belle. She’s been a little hard to get to do it the way we want her to.” Despite that the Taurus Dream daughter, owned by Bax of Peterborough and Al Libfeld of Pickering, Ontario, has set two records so far this year – a track record at Rideau Carleton (1:55.4) in an OSS Gold event and a stakes record in a Champlain stake (1:54.2). Bax also starts the Muscle Hill filly Southwind Champagne in the Peaceful Way final. She has post six with Steve Byron at the controls. The other OSS rookies attempting to capture the event named for one of the greatest Ontario-sired trotting mares of all time, $3.2 million winner Peaceful Way, include Daneille Hall (post two, Jody Jamieson), Elegant Serenity (post four, Roger Mayotte), Amoureuse Hanover (post eight, Doug McNair) and Lady Caterina (post 10, Phil Hudon). The dam of Elegant Serenity, Elegantimage, is the namesake for the seventh race on the program. A star of the OSS in the late 1990s, Elegantimage earned just shy of a million dollars during her impressive racing career. A quartet of three-year-old Ontario-sired fillies will attempt to capture the $409,000 event including Bax’s Riveting Rose (post three, Paul MacDonell), Tosca (post two, Per Henriksen), Sweetie Hearts (post eight, Randy Waples) and Muscle Babe (post 10, James MacDonald). The other major trotting stake on the program is named for one of Canada’s most respected horsemen of all time, the late William Wellwood, a member of Canada’s Horse Racing Hall of Fame and a successful participant in the OSS since its inception 40 years ago. The only Ontario-sired rookie colt in contention for this event is a son of Infinitif, Dont Rush who has drawn post four with Chris Christoforou in the bike. The colt captured a division of the first Gold event for this group in early July which surprised his trainer/owner and breeder Dustin Jones of Waterdown, Ontario. “If you had told me in October he was going to win a Gold the first week of July I don’t think I would have believed you,” laughed Jones. “He’s exceeded my expectations since I brought him in the barn.” The OSS graduates competing in the two Milton eliminations are Monkey On My Wheel, a Breeders Crown winner at three and 10-2-6 in 24 starts this year for owner/breeder Mac Nichol of Burlington, Ontario. The winner of $1.5 million to date in her career has post seven in the sixth race which also features the Camluck mare Camille ($1.1 million to date) in post four. Voelz Hanover ($1.5 million lifetime) is the lone Ontario-sired distaffer in the second Milton elim, race 10. In addition to all of the on-track action, Mohawk is also celebrating their fans with Fan Appreciation Night Saturday featuring a first bet on the house, giveaways after each race and a $5 food voucher to the first 1,000 fans. To view the full card please click Mohawk Entries - September 13.
The regular harness racing season for the two-year-old colt and gelding pacers of the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series concluded on Friday (September 12) night at Mohawk Racetrack with five $18,000 divisions, and Moonwards Hanover and Thinkofagameplan both kept their Grassroots win streaks intact. Competing in the opening event, Moonwards Hanover (Paul MacDonell), who came into this race off Grassroots successes on August 24 at Georgian Downs and August 31 at Clinton Raceway, circled from third to first before the :56.3 half. He would go on to post three-quarters in 1:26.1 and then kicked home in :28.4 to win by half a length over a closing Rightinthekisser (Doug McNair). There was a dead-heat for third between Big Moment (Randy Waples) and Ballybunion (James MacDonald). Trainer Jack Darling’s stable of Cambridge, Ontario, owns Moonwards Hanover, a son of Sportswriter. Darling purchased Moonwards Hanover, who is now three-for-six in the win column with a bankroll of $36,000, for $35,000 at last year’s Standardbred Horse Sale. The Hanover Shoe Farms Inc.-bred is the third foal out of the Western Ideal mare Mouse Hanover, a half-sister to the likes of Mt Vernon Hanover (Rustler Hanover, $623,067), a two-time OSS winner. Thinkofagameplan (Randy Waples), the points leader in this group, was behind the gate in the second Grassroots split, and he would pull out of the pocket to take command after the 27 second opening quarter. Thinkofagameplan, who was second in a division of the Grand Circuit Champlain Stakes at Mohawk in his last try, would then click off the half in 57 seconds and the three-quarters in 1:26.2 en route to a 1:54.3 score. He defeated runner-up Mybestolxfriendray (Phil Hudon) by a length and three-quarters with Ace Of Clubs (Doug McNair) back in third. Thinkofagameplan, a Ponder colt who scored his fourth win (all in Grassroots competition) from eight attempts and pushed his earnings to $76.440, is a homebred for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor and Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington, Ontario. The winner is the second foal out of the Camluck mare Noshameinmygame. She was a Grassroots winner at both two and three. While those familiar faces were victorious, the other three Grassroots flights were all won by horses who hadn’t yet tasted a win in the provincial program this season. Mr Carrotts (Phil Hudon) was the first to break through as he won the third section in 1:54.2. He was first at the :27.2 opening quarter and the :56.4 half, but first-over challenger Star Cover (Jody Jamieson) put a head in front at the 1:25.2 three-quarters. Mr Carrotts would battle back on the inside in the lane, and he would go on to beat Star Cover by a length at the finish line with Windsong Lord (Chris Christoforou) in third. Murray Brethour trains Mr Carrotts, a colt by Mach Three, for owner-breeder Melvyn Varcoe of Thornton, Ontario. Mr Carrotts broke his maiden in his fifth trip behind the gate, and he has now put away $10,000. He’s the fourth foal out of the Run The Table mare Cueless ($466,638), who was a three-time winner in OSS competition during her racing career. Robert Hill (James MacDonald) had been picking up minor shares against Gold Series competition, but a drop to the Grassroots level made him a 1:54.1 winner on this night. He left from post eight in the fourth Grassroots test, and he was up to grab the front after the :27.4 opening quarter. Robert Hill would go on to put the :56.3 half and the 1:25.3 three-quarters on the board before a :28.3 final kicker sealed his two and a quarter length triumph. Halton Hurricane (Rick Zeron) was second and Pace Seelster (Jody Jamieson) nabbed third. Tony Alagna trains the winner, a Jeremes Jet colt, for owner Thomas Hill of England. Robert Hill, who was bred by Perretti Farms and sold for $30,000 at the 2013 Canadian Yearling Sale, picked up his first win from six attempts, and he has now pocketed $19,220. He’s the seventh foal out of the Caprock mare Smooth Latin N ($217,884), which makes him a half-brother to two six-figure earners in McApulco ($365,942) and Mcaracas ($170,579) and to three-year-old Shadios, who has won twice in Grassroots competition this year for the Alagna/Hill combination. In the nightcap it was Supersonic Jet (Trevor Henry) who chopped out the :26.4 first quarter, but he would be overtaken by both Pier Ho Temptation (Chris Christoforou) and Shippen Out (Doug McNair) prior to the :56.2 half. Shippen Out then got to three-quarters first in 1:25, fighting off a first-over test by Jeb (Phil Hudon) in the process. Shippen Out put away Jeb for good early in the stretch drive and then held his pursuers at bay late in the mile to win by a length and a quarter in 1:54. Mystical Jet (Jody Jamieson) came in second and Twin B Scandal (Joe Hudon) took third. Blair Burgess trains the victorious Badlands Hanover colt for owner Karin Olsson-Burgess of Milton, Ontario. Shippen Out won for the first time in eight starts, and he has now earned $16,150. Winbak Farm bred Shippen Out, who fetched $9,000 at last year’s Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. He’s the first foal out of the No Pan Intended mare Shipps Bikini ($410,500), who won a Grassroots division herself as a two-year-old. The two-year-old colt and gelding pacers of the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series will return to Mohawk next Friday (September 19) to compete in their Semifinal events. For full results and charts of this Friday’s races at Mohawk, please visit - http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0912mohsn.dat.
Mohawk Racetrack had four $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series contests for rookie pacing fillies on their Thursday (September 11) harness racing program, and Sassafras Girl took the fastest time as she won the third flight in 1:53.3. With Phil Hudon handling the driving chores, Sassafras Girl shot to the lead from her post three starting position, and she would click off fractions of :27, :56, and 1:25. The fillies sprinted for home off that 59 second middle half, and Sassafras Girl kicked out a :28.3 final panel to seal the win by two and a quarter lengths over Twin B Honour (Trevor Henry). Little Miss Artist (Doug McNair) was third. Murray Brethour trains Sassafras Girl, a Badlands Hanover filly, for owner Hutt Racing Stable of Paoli, Pennsylvania. Sassafras Girl, who is now four-for-eight overall and has banked $31,280, was bred by Winbak Farm. She’s out of the Die Laughing mare Tug River Della ($219,395) and a half-sister to the likes of Rub N Tug ($433,999). This was Sassafras Girl’s third Grassroots success of the season, joining her wins on July 10 and August 11 at Mohawk. Back in the Grassroots opener public choice Southwind Luna (Billy Davis Jr.) carved out fractions of :27.2, :56.4, and 1:26.2, and at the eighth pole she was clear by over three lengths. However, she began to falter inside the final sixteenth, and pocket-sitter Marachere (Jonathan Drury) took advantage, getting up in the shadow of the wire to prevail by half a length in 1:54.4. Southwind Luna had to settle for second and OK Hallelujah (Sylvain Filion) finished third. Marachere, a filly by Lis Mara, broke her maiden in her third try and pushed her earnings to $15,660. Trainer Carmen Auciello of Stouffville, Ontario, also co-owns Marachere with partners Robert Watson of London, Armando Cappuccitti of Maple and Mike Bartram of Ingersoll, Ontario. Marachere, who was bred by Ervin Miller Stable Inc., is the second foal out of the Cole Muffler mare Cherry Tree Coco, a full sister to Home Bed Advantage ($574,535). Race favourite Ride Away Shark (Jody Jamieson) had her backers smiling after a 1:54.4 triumph in the second Grassroots flight. She was in the lead at the 27 second opening quarter, the :55.3 half, and the 1:24.4 three-quarters on her way to a three-quarter length decision over Dublin Rose (Paul MacDonell). Amazing Control (Mike Saftic) checked in third. Ride Away Shark, another Winbak Farm-bred filly, has a trio of victories from eight attempts and has put away $28,480 for trainer Scott McNiven and owners Kim McNiven of Putnam and Thomas Brodhurst of London, Ontario. Those connections took Ride Away Shark, a daughter of Classic Card Shark, out of last year’s Forest City Yearling Sale for $7,000. She’s the first foal out of the Dream Away mare Freedom Away. This was Ride Away Shark’s second Grassroots win of the year as she was also victorious on August 11 at Mohawk. The Grassroots nightcap was brought to you by the number three as Ms Mac N Cheese (Sylvain Filion) posted her third consecutive Grassroots win and breeder Winbak Farm won for the third time. Ms Mac N Cheese worked her way around Machin Marley (Billy Davis Jr.) for the lead at the :27.1 opening quarter, and she would go on to post a :56.2 half and a 1:25.4 three-quarters. Ms Mac N Cheese padded her advantage through the stretch and then coasted home late to win by two and a half lengths in 1:54 flat. She was followed across the finish line by Evas Girl (Peter Core) and OK Heavenly (Doug McNair). Richard Moreau trains the victorious Badlands Hanover filly for owner L. David Ratchford of North Sydney, Nova Scotia. She has five wins from seven attempts this season, and she has earned $33,467. The second foal out of the Artiscape mare Mr Delis Filly, Ms Mac N Cheese was sold for $10,000 at last year’s Standardbred Horse Sale. Tonight’s races concluded the Grassroots regular season for two-year-old pacing fillies. They will return to Mohawk on September 19 for their Semifinal events. For full results and charts of Thursday night’s events at Mohawk from the Ontario Sire Stakes
CAMPBELLVILLE, September 9 - The $682,000 Canadian Trotting Classic headlines an outstanding harness racing stakes filled card this Saturday evening at Mohawk Racetrack. Along with this year's 'Trotting Classic', the $409,000 Elegantimage Stakes, the $390,000 William Wellwood Memorial and the $385,000 Peaceful Way Stakes are also carded for Saturday night. In total, over $2 million in purses are up for grabs on the 13-race card. The Canadian Trotting Classic is annually Canada's richest race for trotters. Established in 1976, the 'Trotting Classic' has been won by some of harness racing's greatest trotters, including Armbro Goal ('88), Yankee Paco ('00), Windsongs Legacy ('04), Donato Hanover ('07), Deweycheatumnhowe ('08) and Muscle Hill ('09). Leading the group of seven for this year's 'Trotting Classic' is the Jimmy Takter trained duo of Father Patrick and Trixton. Father Patrick (PP6), last year's Two-year-old Trotter of the Year on both sides of the border, has won 18 of his 21 career starts and is coming into the 'Trotting Classic' off victories in the $340,000 Zweig Memorial and the $260,000 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes Championship. A son of Cantab Hall - Gala Dream, Father Patrick, who will be driven by Yannick Gingras, won last year's William Wellwood Memorial at Mohawk and is undefeated in three starts over the Campbellville oval. Father Patrick enters the $682,000 'Trotting Classic' with career earnings of more than $1.5 million. Trixton (PP5), this year's $1 million Hambletonian winner, is looking to defeat his stablemate once again in a rich stakes event and continue his dominance at Mohawk. Driven by trainer Jimmy Takter, Trixton captured this year's Hambletonian on August 2 at the Meadowlands, but never got the chance to go head-to-head with his stablemate as Father Patrick made a break at the start. A son of Muscle Hill - Emilie Cas El, Trixton has had plenty of success at Mohawk this season. He won the $272,100 Goodtimes Stakes on June 14 and most recently captured the $218,076 Simcoe Stakes on August 30. He also holds the Mohawk Track Record for a three-year-old trotter of 1:51.3. Trixton has won 12 of 18 career starts and is approaching millionaire status with $961,876 in career earnings. Takter is seeking his third Canadian Trotting Classic title as a trainer and second as a driver. He trained and drove Red Xing to victory in 1997 and conditioned the great Kadabra in 2002. While most of the fanfare will surround the Tatker duo, local standout Harper Blue Chip will be looking to steal the spotlight. Trained by Mark Steacy, Harper Blue Chip (PP2) has dominated the Ontario Sires Stakes circuit this season and has held his own against Grand Circuit company. Harper Blue Chip finished third in the Hambletonian, won by Trixton, and fourth in the $500,000 Beal Memorial at Pocono, which was won by Father Patrick. Steacy will be looking for his second 'Trotting Classic' crown after he won the 2006 edition with Harper Blue Chip's sire, Majestic Son. Most recently, Harper Blue Chip made a rare appearance off the board when he finished fourth in the Simcoe Stakes, but driver Sylvain Filion was happy with the way his colt raced. "I thought he raced really well. He had a real bad post (post position ten)," said Filion. "He trotted large down the lane and had lots of trot at the wire." The luck of the draw was on Harper Blue Chip's side in the 'Trotting Classic', as he will start from post two and Filion hopes to build off that luck. "There's a lot of good horses in there, but we drew good and with a lucky trip you never know." As for what kind of trip Harper Blue Chip will need, Filion believes in a small field of seven the closer the better. "I think you've got to try and be close, especially in a short field like that. If you stay back there probably won't be a lot of early speed, so you will need to be close to the front." The son of Majestic Son - Winning Jonlin has won eight of 18 career starts and has a bankroll of $547,749. The other four starters in this year's Canadian Trotting Classic are E L Titan (PP1 - Chris Christoforou), Muscle Matters (PP3 - Mario Baillargeon), Il Sogno Dream (PP4 - Aaron Merriman) and Damfoolrmillionair (PP7 - Randy Waples). The 'Trotting Classic' is carded as Race 9 this Saturday night. The $409,000 Elegantimage Stakes, which has normally been contested in June, will be making it's Canadian Trotting Classic night debut. 11 of the sport's best sophomore trotting fillies will contest the rich final. Just like the 'Trotting Classic', Jimmy Takter sends out the favourite in the Elegantimage. Shake It Cerry (PP7) has won 16 of 21 career starts and banked over $1.2 million in career earnings. A daughter of Donato Hanover - Solveig, Shake It Cerry was a Breeders Crown champion as a two-year-old and this year has won events such as the Del Miller Memorial and Zweig Filly Trot. Takter will also send out Scream And Shout (PP6 - Brett Miller) and has already won the Elegantimage three times with Southwind Allaire ('03), Pampered Princess ('07) and Lantern Kronos ('08). Completing the field are Demanding Sam (PP1 - Paul Macdonell), Tosca (PP2 - Per Henriksen), Riveting Rosie (PP3 - Paul Macdonell), Vanity Matters (PP4 - Scott Zeron), Chivaree Hanover (PP5 - Doug McNair), Sweetie Hearts (PP8 - Randy Waples), Heavens Door (PP9 - Ake Svanstedt), Muscle Babe (PP10 - James MacDonald) and Designed To Be (PP11 - Sylvain Filion). The Elegantimage Stakes is carded as Race 7. The top freshman trotters will also be on display Saturday night. The $385,000 Peaceful Way Stakes, for two-year-old filly trotters, features a World Champion in the group of ten that will line up behind the gate. Mission Brief, a daughter of Muscle Hill, won her elimination last week in a World Record time of 1:52.1. Trained by Ron Burke, Mission Brief had equaled the World Record in the Merrie Annabelle Stakes on August 2 at the Meadowlands, but in her Peaceful Way elimination she took sole possession of the World Record with her 3 Â¾ length victory. Following the elimination, driver Yannick Gingras said she could've gone even faster. "She had plenty left, she is scary scary fast," said Gingras. "When she raced in the Merrie Annabelle I told Ronnie (Burke) after the race I still have another second...believe me she could've won in 1:51 and change tonight." Mission Brief's connections selected post position five as her starting spot on Saturday night. The other elimination was won by Jolene Jolene, a daughter of Muscle Hill trained by Jonas Czernyson, in a career best equaling 1:55.1. Driven by David Miller, Jolene Jolene has won three consecutive starts and finished second to Mission Brief in the Merrie Annabelle. She will start from post position three on Saturday evening. Completing the field for the Peaceful Way Stakes are Stubborn Belle (PP1 - Paul Macdonell), Danielle Hall (PP2 - Jody Jamieson), Elegant Serenity (PP4 - Roger Mayotte), Southwind Champane (PP6 - Steve Byron), Dynamite Dame (PP7 - Sylvain Filion), Amoureuse Hanover (PP8 - Doug McNair), Juanitas Fury (PP9 - Steve Condren) and Lady Caterina (PP10 - Phil Hudon). The Peaceful Way is carded as Race 3. Two eliminations were contested last Saturday to decide which ten two-year-old colts and geldings would advance to the final of the $390,000 William Wellwood Memorial. Uncle Lasse, a full brother to Shake It Cerry, won the first elimination in a career best time of 1:54.4. Trained by Takter, Uncle Lasse has won three of six career starts and has never been worse than third. He will start from post position three with driver Ron Pierce. The second elimination went to Lookslikeachpndale, a son of Muscle Hill trained by Luc Blais, in a career best 1:56.2. The 'elim' victory broke the maiden of Lookslikeachpndale and allowed his connections to select their post for the final. Lookslikeachpndale will start from post position two with driver Sylvain Filion. Completing the field for the William Wellwood Memorial are Gifted Way (PP1 - Scott Zeron), Dont Rush (PP4 - Chris Christoforou), Aldebaran Eagle (PP5 - Doug McNair), Habitat (PP6 - Yannick Gingras), Jetpedia (PP7 - Mike Saftic), Southwind Stryker (PP8 - Steve Condren), Wheels Ah Smoking (PP9 - Ake Svanstedt) and Big Rich (PP10 - Steve Condren). The William Wellwood Memorial is carded as Race 5. Also on Saturday, two $35,000 eliminations for the Milton Stakes will be contested. 16 of the sport's finest pacing mares have been split into two eight horse eliminations (Races 6 and 10). The first elimination features millionaire pacing mares Drop The Ball (PP2 - Corey Callahan), Camille (PP4 - Yannick Gingras), Krispy Apple (PP6 - Tim Tetrick) and Monkey On My Wheel (PP7 - Chris Christoforou). Completing the field are Aunt Caroline (PP1 - Scott Zeron), Mattie Terror Girl (PP3 - Scott Zeron), Summertime Lea (PP5 - Yannick Gingras) and Jerseylicious (PP8 - Brett Miller). In the second elimination, Rocklamation (PP8 - Yannick Gingras), last year's Milton Stakes winner, is back to defend her title. Trained by Ron Burke, the six-year-old daughter of Rocknroll Hanover has earned over $2 million in her career. However, Rocklamation is not the richest mare in the field as that honour is held by Anndrovette (PP7 - Tim Tetrick). Trained by PJ Fraley, Anndrovette, who won the Roses Are Red Stakes back in June for the third consecutive year, has career earnings of more than $3 million. The other seven mares in the field are Charisma Hanover (PP1 - Yannick Gingras), Radar Contact (PP2 - Jack Moiseyev), Voelz Hanover (PP3 - Randy Waples), Ferrari Sena (PP4 - Sylvain Filion), Yagonnakissmeornot (PP5 - Jody Jamieson) and Shelliscape (PP6 - Tim Tetrick). The top five finishers from both eliminations will advance to the $286,000 final on Saturday, September 20. This Saturday night, Mohawk will also be holding 'Fan Appreciation Night' The first 1,000 fans on-track will receive a $5 food voucher and prizes will be given away after every race. More details are available at www.MohawkRacetrack.com Post time this Saturday is 7:25 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
CAMPBELLVILLE, September 5 - Hot off the heels of a successful Canadian Pacing Derby night, Mohawk Racetrack will play host to another stakes filled card tomorrow night. Grand Circuit week will wrap up with the Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old pacers and the Champlain Stakes for the two-year-old pacers of both sexes. Lyons Levi Lewis (PP4), the runner-up in last Saturday's $667,000 Metro Pace, headlines the first $123,120 Champlain Stakes division for two-year-old pacers. Trained by Ron Burke, Lyons Levi Lewis finished 3 Â½ lengths behind Artspeak in the Metro, but paced his final quarter in a solid :26.3. A son of Well Said - Tongue In Cheek, Lyons Levi Lewis has one win in seven starts, but has finished second on four of those occasions. Owned by Geoffrey Lyons Mound, Lyons Levi Lewis will team up with driver Sylvain Filion for the first time tomorrow night and is listed as the 5/2 morning line favourite. Also in the field of eight is Freedomformysoul (PP2) for trainer Nancy Johansson and driver Marcus Johansson. A son of If I Can Dream - Hello Grin, Freedomformysoul has shown a lot of promise with two victories in the New York Sires Stakes, but has not been able to find consistency in his performances. "He is wicked fast that one, but he is kind of green," said Marcus Johansson, "You don't know what side he wakes up on, but if he wake up on the right side he can go as fast as any horse I've ever sat behind." Freedomformysoul sold for $12,000 at last fall's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale and has earned more than $35,000 in six career starts. In the second $123,120 division, another Ron Burke trainee is the 5/2 morning line choice. Lyons Again (PP1) races for the same connections as Lyons Levi Lewis and just like his stablemate took home a big chunk of the Metro Pace purse when he finished third in last Saturday's final. A son of Dragon Again - A Filly To Fear, Lyons Again has yet to win in six career starts, but has finished second three times, along with two third place finishes. A consistent performer, Lyons Again has the highest earnings ($130,821) in the field of nine despite having never won a race. Starting beside Lyons Again is Nassagaweya Stakes division winner Traceur Hanover (PP2). Trained by Normand Bardier Jr, Traceur Hanover finished fourth in the Metro Pace final and has won three times in six career starts. Randy Waples will drive the son of Western Ideal. Two divisions of the Simcoe Stakes will also take place for the three-year-old pacers. The first $106,038 division will feature a small, but talented group of six lining up behind the gate. Western Vintage (PP1) has been installed as the 7/5 morning line favourite for trainer Nancy Johansson and driver Marcus Johansson. After a successful two-year-old campaign, Western Vintage's three-year-old season hasn't gone exactly as planned with only one win in seven starts, but he is coming off a good second place effort in last week's three-year-old open. Marcus Johansson noted the son of Western Ideal had a bit of a health issue earlier in the season that was holding him back. "We had a little trouble with his blood in the beginning of the year," said Johansson. "But he seems like he is getting better now and hopefully he can put a good effort in." Western Vintage was just a $7,000 yearling purchase and has earned more than $412,000 in his career. Also in the field of six is the Tony Alagna trainee, Dancin Hill (PP4). Dancin Hill won two starts back in a conditioned event at Mohawk and last week finished third in the three-year-old open. The son of Rocknroll Hanover has picked up a cheque in all eleven starts this season and will once again team up with driver Scott Zeron. Starting from post six in the opening division is On Golden Ponder for trainer Bob McIntosh and driver Randy Waples. On Golden Ponder most recently won the $175,000 Kentucky Sires Stakes final last Sunday night at The Red Mile. Rounding out the field is Winds Of Change (PP2), Carracci Hanover (PP3) and Major Deagan (PP5). Seven three-year-old pacers will contest the second division for a purse of $107,538. Ontario Sires Stakes star Jet Airway (PP2) is the 7/5 morning line favourite. Before finishing fourth in last week's three-year-old open, Jet Airway had won three starts in a row, including a seven length blowout victory in an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold leg on August 4 at Grand River. Trained by Tony Alagna, regular pilot Randy Waples will be at the controls. Looking to build off his victory in last week's three-year-old open is Melmerby Beach (PP5). Last week's victory earned a new career mark for Melmerby Beach of 1:50. Melmerby Beach races for the same duo that raced his sire, Somebeachsomewhere, trainer Brent MacGrath and driver Paul Macdonell. The other five starters in the second division are Three Of Clubs (PP1), Victor Bayama (PP3), Somewhere Fancy (PP4), Play It Again Sam (PP6) and Surprise Hanover (PP7). 14 freshman pacing fillies have been split into two Champlain Stakes divisions. Despite having three starters from last week's $480,000 Shes A Great Lady Stakes final, the first $117,557 division could be the breakout party for a filly making her Grand Circuit debut. Shes A Hot Mess (PP3) broke her maiden last Friday at Mohawk in a dazzling 1:52.1. Trained by Tony Alagna, Shes A Hot Mess struggled in her first two starts, but after a few weeks off those issues appear to be put to rest as she won by seven lengths last week. Scott Zeron will sit behind the daughter of American Ideal - Sure Fun Tryin, who is the second choice on the morning line at 3-1. Shakai Hanover (PP7) is the morning line favourite at 2-1 and is coming into the Champlain off a third place finish in the Shes A Great Lady. Trained by Carl Jamieson and driven by Jody Jamieson, Shakai Hanover won a division of the Eternal Camnation Stakes at Mohawk on August 16. The daughter of Well Said - Shes A Fan has two victories in six career starts and earnings of over $139,000. The second $117,557 division appears to be a wide open affair. Sports Chic, the 5/2 morning line choice, has been having a ton of success racing on the Ontario Sires Stakes circuit. A daughter of Sportswriter - Vesta Blue Chip, Sports Chic is trained by Blake Macintosh and has won four times in six starts, while never finishing worse than second. Jody Jamieson will sit behind Sports Chic who has earned more than $139,000 in her young career. Looking to build off her victory in the Shes A Great Lady consolation is The Show Returns (PP6). A daughter of Rocknroll Hanover - Stienams Place, The Show Returns broke her maiden in a leg of the Whenuwishuponastar Series on July 24, but was never better than fourth in her next three starts. Last Saturday night, The Show Returns got back on track with a career best victory of 1:52. This week, the filly moves into the Tony O'Sullivan barn and will be driven by Scott Zeron. Originally scheduled for tomorrow night, eliminations were not needed for the Canadian Trotting Classic as the field of seven trotters will head straight to the rich final on Saturday, September 13. Post time for tomorrow night's stakes filled card is 7:25 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
Local Summerside horsemen Blaine Mckenna has followed through with a promise he made to a familiar face around Red Shores Summerside. Las year, McKenna made a promise to youngster Logan Costain that if he graduated high school he would find him a helmet. Costain held up his end of the deal and graduated from Three Oaks Senior High School in June, now a few months may have passed but on August 31, with the help of Jody Jamieson, McKenna presented Costain with the helmet Jamieson wore during the National Driving Championship in Charlottetown. Always around Red Shores Summerside with his silks, waiting to try and pick up a 'catch-mount' or two, He has been looking for his own helmet for some time now. Jamieson wore the helmet during his five-win performance on August 26 at Red Shores, the same night he was crowned Mr. Canada and won the right to represent Canada at the World Driving Championship. The autographed helmet was presented by McKenna and Red Shores racing manager Adam Walsh in the winner circle at Red Shores' Summerside. by Bo Ford, for Red Shores
CHARMED LIFE UPSETS IN MISS VERSATILITY
Vernon, NY --- Labor Day weekend harness racing began with a bang at Vernon Downs on Friday (Aug. 29) night as the opening leg of the Tioga-Vernon All-Star Drivers' Championship shared the spotlight with the Zweig Memorial, the Jack Bailey Memorial and the Crawford Farms Trot. All drivers advance to Tioga today (Sept. 1) for round two and the Cane Pace. Following the first four legs of round one of the drivers 'race for the cup' the lead is shared by Yannick Gingras and Ron Pierce with 20 points each. But it was not solely the lure of a $10,000 first prize that drew the top reinsmen to Vernon. With over three-quarters of a million dollars of purse money on the card, and some of the best racehorses in the country, the big guns were happy to be in town. For trainers, the day began with a noon check-in at the detention barn for the top stakes horses. Many horsemen made the most of the opportunity to attend the inaugural Open House at Crawford Farms in Durhamville, just 10 minutes north on route 31 near Verona. With plenty of yearlings to inspect, several trainers like Ron Burke, Linda Toscano, Charlie Norris, Homer Hochstetler and Gates Brunet got a head start on their evaluation rounds. Al and Michelle Crawford put out an elaborate spread of barbecue and refreshments and most attendees spent the sunny afternoon socializing and looking at colts. The crew at Vernon also had a fun-filled evening planned at the Downs, which started with an autograph session with the top drivers and included a T-shirt giveaway as well as the Jim Marohn Jr.bobblehead. Fans lined up along the apron to get the T-shirts and Marohn dolls which were individually emblazoned with the nine different drivers competing. Even the boss himself, Jeff Gural, was on-hand to greet the drivers and fans, and could be seen along the outside fence chatting with the Green Hornet before the card began. Following the third race was the ever popular Racing Under Saddle series $5,700 final. The race was won by Heather Reese who opened up a city block on the rest of the field by the time they rounded the final turn. Team Crawford packed the winner's circle to help celebrate with their colleague and farm manager who was the winning rider in 2:04 with Tymal Oh So Nice. Both Zweig finals went to Takter stable all-stars. Filly Shake It Cerry rallied in 1:53.4 with Ron Pierce driving and improved her seasonal stats to 8 wins in 10 starts and $395,036. Colt Father Patrick got back to his winning ways and eclipsed $700,000 for the season with regular pilot Yannick Gingras in 1:52.2. Despite all the 3-year-old trotting talent on tap, the elixir that the crowd was truly thirsty for was Sebastian K and the rest of the field in the $236,000 Crawford Farms Trot. The number one horse in North America went off the prohibitive 1-9 favorite and did not disappoint, winning strategically for Svanstedt USA in 1:53, equaling the track record. The Crawford-sponsored purse put the collective earnings of the talented field just over the $15 million mark, and included Archangel (2nd), Market Share (3rd), and 2013 Dan Patch Horse of the Year Bee A Magician (4th). Gingras and Pierce will be reunited today (Sept. 1) at Tioga along with Corey Callahan, Tim Tetrick, Matt Kakaley, Scott Zeron, Jody Jamieson, Jim Marohn Jr. and Chris Lems for the final round. Along with the drivers challenge, the Miss Versatility and the Shady Daisy fill-up the Southern Tier's holiday menu. Highlighted by the $437,325 Cane Pace, first leg of the pacing triple crown, the historic event features glamour boys He's Watching and JK Endofanera. Labor Day in central New York will assuredly go out with a bang as well. by Chris Tully
The 2014 racing season at Clinton Raceway came to a close on Sunday afternoon (August 31), and six $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots divisions were contested on the program. The star of those races was Thinkofagameplan, who moved into sole possession of the top spot in the Grassroots point standings with a 1:57 track record performance in the third split. With Randy Waples handling the driving assignment, Thinkofagameplan overtook leader Pan Street USA (Doug McNair) from first-over past three-quarters and then drew away in the stretch to win by four lengths in the new track record clocking. Pan Street USA wound up second with Pair Of Deuces (Paul MacDonell) back in third. The 1:57 effort dropped the track record for a two-year-old pacing colt by a fifth of a second. It had belonged to Front Row since he won a Grassroots division in 1:57.1 on September 21, 2003. Thinkofagameplan, a Ponder colt who scored his third win (all in Grassroots competition) from six attempts and pushed his bankroll to $36,660, is a homebred for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor and Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington, Ontario. The winner is the second foal out of the Camluck mare Noshameinmygame. She was a Grassroots winner at both two and three. In other action three horses picked up their second Grassroots wins of the season. The first to do it was Moonwards Hanover (Paul MacDonell), who backed up his victory last Sunday at Georgian Downs with a 1:59.2 tally in the Grassroots opener. He was followed up by Twin B Scandal (Joe Hudon), who bagged the fourth section in 1:58 after a two-hole trip, and The Fire Within (Jody Jamieson) was the last to double up as he snagged the fifth flight in 1:58.4. Trainer Jack Darling’s stable of Cambridge, Ontario, owns Moonwards Hanover, a son of Sportswriter. Darling purchased Moonwards Hanover, who is now two-for-five in the win column with a bankroll of $30,500, for $35,000 at last year’s Standardbred Horse Sale. The Hanover Shoe Farms Inc.-bred is the third foal out of the Western Ideal mare Mouse Hanover, a half-sister to the likes of Mt Vernon Hanover (Rustler Hanover, $623,067), a two-time OSS winner. Joe Hudon, who resides in Acton, Ontario, also co-owns Twin B Scandal, a gelded son of Mach Three-Twin B Intrigue (McArdle), with partner R A W Equine Inc. of Burlington, Ontario. Twin B Scandal now has a pair of triumphs from seven efforts, and he has banked $28,440. The dam of Twin B Scandal is out of Daylon Magic, who won 18 times in Ontario Sires Stakes competition between her two- and three-year-old seasons. Twin B Scandal, who brought $32,000 at last year’s Canadian Yearling Sale, was bred by Twinbrook Limited and James Kirk. The Fire Within is a gelding by Whosurboy and out of the Big Towner mare Mollie Hanover ($311,480). The half-brother to millionaire Illusionist picked up his third win from six attempts and ran his rookie season earnings to $23,620 for breeder, owner, trainer Fred Drouillard of Dutton, Ontario. Also winning in Grassroots competition today were: --Star Cover (Jody Jamieson, 1:57.3). This son of Royal Mattjesty is owned and trained by Blake MacIntosh of Waterdown, Ontario. Star Cover has won twice from seven trips behind the gate, and he has put away $14,060. He was bred by Winbak Farm and fetched $4,500 at the 2013 Forest City Yearling Sale. Star Cover’s dam is the Dexter Nukes mare Armbro Rosebud ($721,057), an Ontario Sires Stakes superstar who won 11 times from 14 attempts during her OSS career. --Charlottes Colony (Trevor Henry, 1:58). An Art Colony colt, Charlottes Colony broke his maiden in his fifth try and boosted his output to $16,800. Charlottes Colony is trained by Richard Moreau for owners Thomas McGuffog of Hanwell and Geoffrey Macneish of Douglas, New Brunswick. Charlottes Colony, whose dam is the Mohican Pride mare OGs Starlett ($536,647), was bred by Dan Belliveau and was hammered down for $4,200 at last year’s Atlantic Classic Yearling Sale. The next Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots event for rookie pacing males will take place on September 12 at Mohawk Racetrack. From the Ontario Sire Stakes and Clinton Raceway
The 2014 harness racing season at Clinton Raceway came to a close on Sunday afternoon (August 31), and six $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots divisions were contested on the program. The star of those races was Thinkofagameplan, who moved into sole possession of the top spot in the Grassroots point standings with a 1:57 track record performance in the third split. With Randy Waples handling the driving assignment, Thinkofagameplan overtook leader Pan Street USA (Doug McNair) from first-over past three-quarters and then drew away in the stretch to win by four lengths in the new track record clocking. Pan Street USA wound up second with Pair Of Deuces (Paul MacDonell) back in third. The 1:57 effort dropped the track record for a two-year-old pacing colt by a fifth of a second. It had belonged to Front Row since he won a Grassroots division in 1:57.1 on September 21, 2003. Thinkofagameplan, a Ponder colt who scored his third win (all in Grassroots competition) from six attempts and pushed his bankroll to $36,660, is a homebred for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor and Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington, Ontario. The winner is the second foal out of the Camluck mare Noshameinmygame. She was a Grassroots winner at both two and three. In other action three horses picked up their second Grassroots wins of the season. The first to do it was Moonwards Hanover (Paul MacDonell), who backed up his victory last Sunday at Georgian Downs with a 1:59.2 tally in the Grassroots opener. He was followed up by Twin B Scandal (Joe Hudon), who bagged the fourth section in 1:58 after a two-hole trip, and The Fire Within (Jody Jamieson) was the last to double up as he snagged the fifth flight in 1:58.4. Trainer Jack Darling’s stable of Cambridge, Ontario, owns Moonwards Hanover, a son of Sportswriter. Darling purchased Moonwards Hanover, who is now two-for-five in the win column with a bankroll of $30,500, for $35,000 at last year’s Standardbred Horse Sale. The Hanover Shoe Farms Inc.-bred is the third foal out of the Western Ideal mare Mouse Hanover, a half-sister to the likes of Mt Vernon Hanover (Rustler Hanover, $623,067), a two-time OSS winner. Joe Hudon, who resides in Acton, Ontario, also co-owns Twin B Scandal, a gelded son of Mach Three-Twin B Intrigue (McArdle), with partner R A W Equine Inc. of Burlington, Ontario. Twin B Scandal now has a pair of triumphs from seven efforts, and he has banked $28,440. The dam of Twin B Scandal is out of Daylon Magic, who won 18 times in Ontario Sires Stakes competition between her two- and three-year-old seasons. Twin B Scandal, who brought $32,000 at last year’s Canadian Yearling Sale, was bred by Twinbrook Limited and James Kirk. The Fire Within is a gelding by Whosurboy and out of the Big Towner mare Mollie Hanover ($311,480). The half-brother to millionaire Illusionist picked up his third win from six attempts and ran his rookie season earnings to $23,620 for breeder, owner, trainer Fred Drouillard of Dutton, Ontario. Also winning in Grassroots competition today were: --Star Cover (Jody Jamieson, 1:57.3). This son of Royal Mattjesty is owned and trained by Blake MacIntosh of Waterdown, Ontario. Star Cover has won twice from seven trips behind the gate, and he has put away $14,060. He was bred by Winbak Farm and fetched $4,500 at the 2013 Forest City Yearling Sale. Star Cover’s dam is the Dexter Nukes mare Armbro Rosebud ($721,057), an Ontario Sires Stakes superstar who won 11 times from 14 attempts during her OSS career. --Charlottes Colony (Trevor Henry, 1:58). An Art Colony colt, Charlottes Colony broke his maiden in his fifth try and boosted his output to $16,800. Charlottes Colony is trained by Richard Moreau for owners Thomas McGuffog of Hanwell and Geoffrey Macneish of Douglas, New Brunswick. Charlottes Colony, whose dam is the Mohican Pride mare OGs Starlett ($536,647), was bred by Dan Belliveau and was hammered down for $4,200 at last year’s Atlantic Classic Yearling Sale. The next Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots event for rookie pacing males will take place on September 12 at Mohawk Racetrack. For full results and charts click here. Ontario Sire Stakes
The 3 Brothers Stable of New York and trainer Nancy Johansson have plenty to cheer about as their unbeaten harness racing homebred filly, JK Shesalady scored a romp in capturing the $480,000 final of the She’s A Great Lady Stakes final at Mohawk Raceway Saturday. Driven by Yannick Gingras, JK Shesalady’s time for the one mile race of 1:50.1 tied the world record for two-year-old fillies and rewrote the stakes record. The race started off with Happy Becky (David Miller) shooting to the early lead with Band Of Angels (Ron Pierce) sitting on their back and Bettor Be Steppin (Corey Callahan) trapped first-over. To the opening quarter mile in :26.4, Callahan went on with Bettor Be Steppin and took over the lead from Happy Becky. Right away Pierce pulled with Band Of Angels and they took the lead away from Bettor Be Steppin. They went to the half mile in :55 and John Campbell coming first-over with Divine Caroline were able to flush Yannick Gingras with race favorite JK Shesalady, who not only started up first-over but kept right on going and blew by Band Of Angels to take command before the three-quarters in 1:22.1. Campbell was able to continue to gain ground first-over with Divine Caroline but once the field reached the top of the stretch Gingras and JK Shesalady were up by two lengths and then never stopped going to the wire to win by four and one-half lengths. Bedroomconfessions (Scott Zeron) was able to close for second place with Shakai Hanover (Jody Jamieson) grabbing third place. Her time of 1:50.1 tied the world record that is now co-held with I Luv The Nitelife (2013) and Precocious Beauty (2013). Sired by Art Major, JK Shesalady is a full sister to the top three-year-old colt and million dollar winner, JK Endofanera. She is undefeated in six career starts and paid $2.90 to win. “When I baby raced this filly I liked her,” Gingras said. “I didn’t think at that time she was this kind of filly but every start she just got better and better. Last week she really impressed me. It was a big mile last week and that’s when she really stamped herself as the best. She has a great move for 3/8th of a mile and puts me in a good position. I didn’t think the front was that good tonight but you have to close at all times. I didn’t want to get myself caught second or third over. I wanted to be first up. I then thought that Ronnie’s horse was not that strong so I made my move. “Selecting which horse I would drive in this race,” Gingras said, “Was the toughest decision I have ever had to make in harness racing. I drive for Ronnie Burke and I drive Maven for Mr. Donovan. Filly wise I knew JK is the better of the two but both Ron Burke and Mr. Donovan has been so great to me. It was so tough to pick as far as connections go. I am sorry but I had to pick one and I went for the win. But I am sure I will pay it back to Ronnie real soon.” By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
Clinton Raceway will end their 2014 harness racing season this Sunday with a jammed packed card which includes Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots action for two-year-old pacing colts, the track’s 34th annual Charity Drivers’ Challenge and a fundraiser for Childcan. The eight drivers participating in the drivers’ challenge, Trevor Henry, Bruce Richardson, Ryan Holliday, Chris Christoforou, Jody Jamieson, Doug McNair, Phil Hudon and James MacDonald, have all generously donated their driving fees from the competition to Childcan. “We’ve had a great season in 2014 and I’d like to thank all of our horse people, fans and staff who have contributed to its success. We’re very appreciative of the drivers who have donated their fees from Sunday’s card to our fundraiser. We’re looking forward to another great season next year,” noted Clinton’s General Manager Ian Fleming. In addition to participating in the driving challenge, all of the drivers will also be piloting colts in the six OSS divisions. Jamieson, MacDonald and Henry have drives in all six splits. McNair has five OSS steers, Christoforou is listed on four colts, Hudon has three OSS mounts while Holiday and Richardson will each guide one. The first OSS division, race four, features two colts who won a Grassroots event in their most recent outing. The simply named Jeb was a winner at Georgian on August 24 and will leave from the rail with Hudon driving for trainer James ‘Friday’ Dean and owners Wilma and Jim MacKenzie of Ennismore, Ontario. The Camluck son is looking for his third OSS victory this year having also won the first event for this group at Mohawk in early July. Jeb is tied as the leading point earner in this division with 137 points. Big Moment, who also has 137 points, has drawn post three in the second division, race five. Randy Waples will be at the lines as usual for trainer Bob McIntosh behind the son of Camluck who has won three Grassroots to date and was second in another. Moonwards Hanover will also look for his second straight Grassroots win in the first split. He won at Georgian in a life best 1:54. Paul MacDonell will be up behind the son of Sportswriter owned and trained by Jack Darling of Cambridge, Ontario. The third division, race six, finds two colts vying for their third straight Grassroots win. Thinkofagameplan, who has won his last two events, will leave from post two with Waples up for trainer McIntosh. The son of Ponder, owned by McIntosh of Windsor, Ontario and his cousin Al McIntosh of Leamington, Ontario, has yet to finish off the board in five starts to date. Pair Of Deuces has also captured his last two Grassroots outings, at Georgian and Mohawk, for trainer Nifty Norman and owner/breeder Pinske Stables. The son of Badlands Hanover will depart from post six with MacDonell at the lines. The two-year-old pacing colts are featured in races four, five, six, nine, 11 and 12 on Sunday’s card. To view the full program, please click Clinton Entries - August 31. Ontario Sire Stakes
ELORA, ON - There's a reason Trevor Henry is the leading harness driver in Canada by more than 100 wins over the next closest driver. He almost never misses a day driving at Ontario's smaller tracks. "You go every day, pretty much," Henry said. "You get used to it, but you sure appreciate when you get a day off." Henry isn't just leading Canada in wins, he's the leading driver at four different tracks - Grand River, Clinton, Western Fair and Georgian Downs - sits second and third in the standings at two others and is third in the driver standings on the Ontario Sires Stakes circuit. He is particularly dominant at Grand River Raceway where he has double the number of wins (75) than second-ranked driver Scott Coulter (37). Henry's $400,000 in Grand River earnings is almost $100,000 more than the next closest driver, Jody Jamieson. "(At Grand River) the front-end speed holds up pretty good. I like being close to the front and it seems to hold up well there," Henry said. It is a bonus that Grand River Raceway is just 20 minutes from Henry's house in Arthur, ON. "It's awesome when they race there. I wish they raced there year-round," Henry said. Henry is up at dawn seven days a week to help train the five horses he owns with his wife. He doesn't hit the bed most nights until midnight. The 43-year-old said he's had success on smaller tracks because he's been driving on them most of his adult life. "Experience has a lot to do with it. I've been doing it a long time. It helps," he said. "Guys see you do good, so they put you down to drive their horses. Horses are a big part of it." Though Henry has long been the king of Ontario's smaller tracks - putting some 80,000 kilometers on his truck every year in the process - he said he might take a shot at driving regularly at the top Woodbine Entertainment Group circuit in the fall. "I might give it a try and just do that and take a little break." For the time being, though, Henry will continue to plug away every night of the week at any track he can. "You can drive every night of the week. Before, I used to have, maybe, a couple days off a week ... Right now it's so busy. They put the stakes schedule closer together. It's not as spread out. There's stakes pretty well every other night of the week somewhere. So, you've got to go to them." To hear our conversation with Trevor Henry - including what horse changed his life and what is on his bucket list - check out our weekly podcast, the Harness Racing Report, produced for Grand River Raceway by award-winning journalist Dave Briggs, at https://soundcloud.com/grandriverraceway by Dave Briggs, for Grand River Raceway
CAMPBELLVILLE, August 28 - Grand Circuit week got underway with the Champlain Stakes for two-year-old trotting fillies Thursday night at Mohawk. 26 freshman fillies were split into three divisions worth more than $83,000. Stubborn Belle captured the first division in style with a 1:54.2 stakes record performance. A daughter of Taurus Dream - Musetta Hanover, Paul Macdonell sent the filly to the lead and posted an opening quarter of :27.3 and a half mile time of :57.1. As the field made their way to the half, Speak To Me, the second choice at odds of 7/5, made a break while racing along in fifth. In the third quarter, Spirit To Win, the even money favourite, was sent first up to challenge Stubborn Belle and the fillies went toe-to-toe as they reached the three-quarter pole in 1:26.2. In the stretch, Stubborn Belle turned aside the favourite and trotted away by two lengths to win the first division in a stakes and career best 1:54.2. Spirit To Win held on for second, while Summer Jewel took the show spot. Speak To Me recovered to finish up her mile strong and pick up a fourth place cheque. Trained by John Bax for owners Al Libfeld and Parkhill Stud Farm, Stubborn Belle was bought as a yearling at Harrisburg for $85,000. Stubborn Belle has had success on the Ontario Sires Stakes circuit this season and has now won three times in six career starts for earnings of over $108,000. She paid $9.70 to win. Stubborn Belle In the second division, Danielle Hall cut the mile and showed a lot of heart to win in 1:55.1. A daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe - Debbie Hall, Danielle Hall was sent to the lead by driver Jody Jamieson, while Lock Down Lindy, the 1/2 favourite, got away in seventh. As the field reached the half, Southwind Champane was brought off the pylons from fourth allowing Lock Down Lindy to pick up cover second over. In the third-quarter, Southwind Champane challenged Danielle Hall, while Smexi sat in the two-hole and Lock Down Lindy gapped her cover a bit. In the stretch, Danielle Hall put away Southwind Champane, allowing Smexi to come out of the two-hole to take a challenge at the leader. Lock Down Lindy made a bid on the far outside, while Smokinmombo came up the rail to make it a close four horse finish. At the wire, Danielle Hall held off Smexi by a neck in 1:55.1, while Lock Down Lindy and Smokinmombo finished third and fourth respectively by three-quarters of a length. Carl Jamieson trains and co-owns Danielle Hall with Winnipeg Racing. Danielle Hall sold for $21,000 at last fall's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale and has now won five times in six career starts. Three of her five victories have been in Ontario Sires Stakes Gold events. The winner's share of the $84,871 purse increases Danielle Hall's earnings to over $179,000. The clocking of 1:55.1 was also a new career mark. She paid $9.80 to win. Danielle Hall The final division went to Jolene Jolene and David Miller. A daughter of Muscle Hill - Celebrity Speedie, Jolene Jolene, the 1/2 favourite, got away third and made a quick move to the lead in the second quarter. After posting a half-mile time of :58.1 and a three-quarter time of 1:27., the two-year-old filly trotted strong down the lane under a hand drive from Miller to win by three lengths in 1:55.1. Juanitas Fury finished second, while Dynamite Dame was third. Trained by Jonas Czernyson for owner William Joseph Donovan, Jolene Jolene was entering the Champlain Stakes off a victory in the Tompkins Stakes at Tioga. Jolene Jolene was purchased for $87,000 last fall at Harrisburg and has now won two times in five career starts. She has never finished off the board and has earnings of over $151,000. She paid $3.10 to win. Jolene Jolene Grand Circuit action continues tomorrow night at Mohawk with two divisions of the Champlain Stakes for two-year-old trotters and two divisions of the Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old trotting fillies. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
CAMPBELLVILLE, August 27 - Harness racing's finest is taking over Mohawk Racetrack. The annual Grand Circuit week begins tomorrow evening (August 28) with the Champlain Stakes for two-year-old trotting fillies and wraps up next Saturday (September 6). The Champlain Stakes for two-year-olds and Simcoe Stakes for three-year-olds are staples on the Grand Circuit schedule every year. "Having North America's top two and three-year-olds come to Mohawk is exciting and something we all look forward to," said Scott McKelvie, WEG's Racing Secretary and Director of Racing. "The Grand Circuit's annual visit is always a highlight of the racing season." Thursday night three Champlain divisions for more than $83,000 will take place for the freshman trotting fillies. Spirit To Win (PP3), the winner of this year's Pure Ivory Series, leads the group of eight in the first division. A daughter of Cantab Hall - Celebrity Spirit, Spirit To Win has won three times in four career starts for trainer Dustin Jones. The second division features Ontario Sires Stakes standout Danielle Hall (PP6) for the trainer/driver duo of Carl and Jody Jamieson. A daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe - Debbie Hall, Danielle Hall has won four of her five career starts for earnings of over $137,000. Jolene Jolene (PP1) is the 4-5 morning line favourite in the third and final division. Trained by Jonas Czernyson, Jolene Jolene is a daughter of Muscle Hill - Celebrity Speedie and has one win in four career starts. She was the runner-up in the $352,050 Merrie Annabelle at the Meadowlands on August 2. The stakes action will continue on Friday night with two divisions of more than $103,000 of the Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old trotting fillies and two $124,621 divisions of the Champlain Stakes for two-year-old trotters. World champion Lifetime Pursuit, the winner of this year's Hambletonian Oaks, headlines the group of 13 three-year-old trotting fillies. Trained by Jimmy Takter, Lifetime Pursuit will start from post six in the second Simcoe Stakes division (Race 9) with driver Brett Miller. She is coming off a stakes record victory of 1:52.1 in the Casual Breeze Stakes last Friday at Mohawk. Miller and Takter will also team up in the second Champlain Stakes division with freshmen trotting colt French Laundry. A son of Muscles Yankee - Creamy Mimi, French Laundry has won three of his five career starts and will start from post three. On Saturday evening, the $207,689 Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies and the $218,076 Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old trotters will take place as part of the massive Canadian Pacing Derby card. Precocious Beauty leads a group of nine three-year-old pacing fillies in the Simcoe Stakes. Last year's She's A Great Lady Stakes winner, Precocious Beauty will start from post four for the trainer/driver team of Gregg and Doug McNair. A large field of 12 three-year-old trotters starring this year's Hambletonian winner Trixton will meet in their Simcoe Stakes division. Trixton, who has drawn post eleven in the second tier, will be making his first start since capturing the $1 million Hambletonian at the Meadowlands on August 2. Trixton will also be making his first start at Mohawk since he set the track record of 1:51.3 in the $272,100 Goodtimes Stakes on June 14. Trainer Jimmy Takter will take his usual position in the bike behind Trixton on Saturday evening. After a busy weekend, the Champlain and Simcoe Stakes action will resume next Saturday (September 6) with the $260,000 Champlain Stakes for two-year-old pacers, the $240,000 Champlain Stakes for the two-year-old pacing fillies and the $240,000 Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old pacers. Racing fans can stay up to date with the Grand Circuit by visiting their Facebook page www.Facebook.com/TheGrandCircuit and all of Mohawk's racing action at www.MohawkRacetrack.com by Mark McKelvie, for WEG