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Harness racing fillies dropping down from the Ontario Sires Stakes Gold division to the Grassroots level proved successful in several of today’s $18,000 divisions at Clinton Raceway. That moved proved the ticket for Gee Okeeffe in the opening division. She traded the top position with Dewy Take A Selfie through fractions of :31, 1:03, 1:32.2 and was home first with a two length cushion in 2:03. Superbowl Sunshine closed well to take second while Dewy Take A Selfie was third. Chris Beaver trains the winner, a daughter of Holiday Road he co-owns with breeder Wilbur Lang of Ohio. Gee Okeeffe was notching her second win in five tries this year, winning a Gold division on July 23 at Grand River Raceway. That same shift also proved beneficial for Desis Dream who made her first Grassroots appearance after three Gold starts. She went gate to wire for Steve Byron in :30, 1:02.3, 1:32.4 and held off Giona to win by a neck in 2:03.4. Dolce Far Niente was third. John Bax of Peterborough, Ontario, trains the winner, a daughter of Muscle Mass, with breeder Glengate Farm of Campbellville, Ontario. This was Desis Dream’s first lifetime win in five tries. In the third division the field was reduced to five starters with the scratches of Magical Lass and Magic Dancing. Summer Jewel and Mario Baillargeon set the early tempo of :30.4, 1:03 and 2:04.4. Judy The Beauty came up to challenge past the half and kept pressure on the leader the rest of the way but Summers Jewel hung tough to win in 2:04.4. Judy The Beauty had to settle for place while Moon Dance took third. Baillargeon’s brother Ben of Rockwood, Ontario, trains and co-owns the winner, a daughter of Angus Hall who was recording her second straight Grassroots victory and third overall. She came into today’s event sitting third in the Grassroots standings with 124 points behind Stay In Touch and Judy The Beauty who were tied for first with 137. Mario was back on top early in the next split with first time starter Flexyandiknowit who hit the opening quarter in :31.3. Just past that marker Mass Rail was taken out from third to challenge the leader and overtook her just past the half in 1:03. However, she quickly had a challenger in My Mini Snickers by the 1:33.3 third panel. Mass Rail fought back but was hauled down late by My Mini Snickers and James MacDonald who hit the wire first in 2:03. Mass Rail was second with Tymal Fireitup third. It was the second straight Grassroots victory for the Muscle Mass daughter owned by Ron Phillips of Illinois and trained by Ryan Maxwell. It was the same scene in the fifth division as Mario had Zorgwijk Philly on top early and hit the opening panel in :31. Dustin Jones sent Pinky The Intern up to challenge before the half but Zorgwijk Philly maintained the lead and was by the third panel in 1:32. Despite pressure on the outside and inside Zorgwijk Philly was at the wire first in 2:05 over Delcrest Flexyhall and Pinky The Intern. It was the first OSS start and first win for the Southwind Lustre daughter owned and trained by Wayne Langille of Harley, Ontario. Other winners amongst the Grassroots divisions this afternoon were Winem, a daughter of Kadabra trained by Mike Keeling for owner Paula Wellwood of Cambridge, Ontario and driven by Mike Saftic and Wing Flash, also by Kadabra, who went gate to wire for trainer Wayne Henry, who co-owns with Daylon Farms of Komoka, Ontario, to win in 2:04. This group will meet again in Grassroots action on September 9 at Mohawk. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

Last year’s two-year-old trotting filly of the year in Canada, Riveting Rosie, recorded her first 2014 victory in the second of two $105,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold divisions for three-year-old harness racing trotting fillies tonight at Grand River Raceway. A winner of $468,000 last year, the daughter of Muscle Mass had a rough start to her three-year-old season when she cut both of her back legs fairly seriously this spring and it took her awhile to recover from those injuries. Given her impressive effort tonight, she now seems to be fully healed. It was a compact group in her division with just five fillies competing. The simply named Margie and Sylvain Filion controlled the tempo early, hitting the opening panel in :29.2 and the half in :59.1. As the field trotted down the backside Paul MacDonell pulled the right line on Riveting Rose from third and she took over by the three-quarters in 1:29.2. Riveting Rosie opened up to win comfortably in 1:58.1 over Miss Liv and Stormont Kate, both daughters of Kadabra. For Rosie it was her first win in eight tries this year for trainer John Bax of Peterborough who co-owns with J and T Stable of Newmarket, Don Allensen of Wyoming and John Hayes of Sharon, Ontario. Tonight’s efforts put Rosie’s life earnings over $550,000. Bred by Schare Adams of Kentucky, Rosie was a $17,000 yearling at the Lexington Select Sale. In the first division three fillies were determined to control the tempo and were three wide early with White Becomes Her, the furthest wide, gaining the top by the first quarter in :27 for Mario Baillargeon. She had a breather in the next quarter, hitting the half mile marker in :57 and trotted by the three-quarters in 1:27 but was collared midway down the stretch by Sweetie Hearts and Jody Jamieson who hit the wire first in 1:57.4. Mayberry managed to nip White Becomes Her for second. It was the second win in 10 tries this year for the daughter of Angus Hall trained by Ron Parsons for owner/breeder Bob Key of Pennsylvania. The filly hails from one of Key’s top maternal families as her second dam is a sister to American Winner ($1.3 million), Super Pleasure ($827,000), etc. It’s also the immediate family of Ontario-sired Harper Blue Chip who finished third in this year’s Hambletonian. This group now has more than a month off before their next Gold test on September 21 at Flamboro. To view the full results from tonight’s card click here.   Ontario Sire Stakes

Rideau Carleton’s track record for two-year-old trotting fillies took a beating tonight first by Danielle Hall then Stubborn Belle in two harness racing $105,000 Ontario Sires Stakes divisions, the track’s first OSS events of the year. In the first division Railee Priti grabbed early control for Steve Byron but she was covered up before the :28.2 first quarter by Danielle Hall. That filly trotted by the half in a sedate :58.2 and had company in the form of Muscle Baby Doll at the 1:27.3 third quarter. Danielle Hall was up to the challenge though and held strong through the stretch to win in 1:56.2 over Muscle Baby Doll and Juanitas Fury. It was the third win in four lifetime starts for Danielle Hall, a daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe owned by trainer Carl Jamieson of Rockwood, Ontario along with Winnipeg Racing of Concord, Ontario. “Carl told me she was a nice filly; he was right,” praised Mario Baillargeon who guided the filly to the victory. “We got a little breather from the quarter to the half. She felt pretty good in the last turn, I tried to get away from Dougie (McNair aboard Muscle Baby Doll) and I did just enough to keep him at bay in the lane.” Bred by Walnut Hall Ltd. Of Kentucky, the filly was a $21,000 yearling purchase. Tonight’s win put her over $100,000 in earnings in her young career. She is the third foal from the $247,000 winner Debbie Hall, and a full sister to Danica Hall who earned $108,000 from just six starts last year at two. The time took almost a full second off the previous track standard of 1:57.1 set two years ago by Seeuinthespring but it didn’t last two races as Stubborn Belle reduced it further in the second OSS test. In that division it was Allies Gift and Trevor Henry showing the way past the opening quarter in :27.1 and the half in :57 but up came Stubborn Belle who took over before the 1:26 three-quarters for Paul MacDonell and never looked back to win by more than five lengths in 1:55.4. Bistrobistro Taj was second followed by Youre Majestic. “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. I think Paul let her do her own thing tonight,” noted trainer John Bax who shares ownership of the Taurus Dream daughter with Al Libfeld of Pickering, Ontario. “I set a world record here with Goodtimes many years ago in the Frank Ryan so I always like coming back here,” he added. Goodtimes’ mark of 1:53.3, set in 1999, still stands at the Ottawa track. As for the plans for the filly bred by Hanover Shoe Farms and sold for $85,000 last year at Harrisburg, Bax said: “I think she’ll take on the Grand Circuit back at Mohawk in September and if everything goes well I’m hoping to start her in the Breeders Crown.” The next Gold event for this group is set for August 18 at Mohawk. To view the complete results from tonight’s program at Rideau, please click Rideau Results - August 10. Ontario Sire Stakes

For the next seven days Peterborough, Ontario harness racing horseman John Bax will be spending a lot of time in his second office, behind the wheel of his truck. Starting Friday he has colts and fillies racing in Ontario Sires Stakes events for seven straight days, then there’s a break of one day and then right back at it. “I used to complain that the OSS season was too long when it went into November, so I guess I shouldn’t be complaining now that it’s too short. There’s an upside and downside to the way its structured now (going from late May to mid October),” noted Bax. “If your horse is ready there’s a lot of opportunity but if you have one that’s injured or sick, you can miss a lot just being off a month. Ideally I think it could be spread out just a bit more.” Bax currently sits in third in the trainers’ standings in the OSS program. He’s had 18 starters to date, 11 of which will be going postward over the next four days. Tonight he starts three colts among the six $18,000 Grassroots divisions for two-year-old trotting colts at Mohawk, a two hour trek from his farm south of Peterborough. Among those is Parkhill Lancelot, a homebred son of Muscle Mass he owns along with son Marshall. Bax trained his dam, a daughter of Duke Of York (another of his former top trotters) named Harlequin Seelster. “She had a :55 hind end and a 2:10 front end,” the trainer laughed. “But she had the pedigree so we bred her. I try to have a couple of broodmares around.” Parkhill Lancelot will be making his fourth lifetime start on Friday night where he’s drawn post one in the eighth race. The colt has finished a close second in his previous two efforts, both Grassroots events. The following day Bax’s team will be making another two hour truck, this time to Georgian Downs, for six $18,000 OSS events for rookie trotting fillies where he has a pair of starters. Fiery Eyes, who has a first and second in her last two Grassroots races, has post eight in race four. Flexceptional, who has one Grassroots victory in as many lifetime starts under her harness, leaves from post four in race six. Both will be driven by Steve Byron. On Sunday Bax’s rig will be headed east for a change for the first OSS event of the season at Rideau Carleton Raceway near Ottawa, an approximate six hour round trip from their base. There he starts a pair of fillies in both $105,000 Gold divisions for three-year-old trotting misses. In the fourth race he has Juanitas Fury (post two) and Railee Priti (post four). In the second division it will be Desis Dream (post three) and Stubborn Belle (post five) carrying the Bax colours. Monday finds the Bax brigade in Elora, Ontario, for Grassroots for three-year-old trotting colts where he has a pair of entrants, Illseeuincourt in race two and Kiwi Pres in the sixth and final of the six $18,000 divisions, race nine. “When you see a week like this one coming up you don’t feel so bad about spending a few months of the winter in Florida during the off season,” joked Bax whose barn consists solely of young horses. “I certainly wouldn’t mind another Goodtimes or Define The World,” he said of former stable stars raced well beyond their OSS seasons and earned $2.2 million and $1.7 million respectively. “But for the most part it just makes sense to stay with the young horses. “The Ontario Sires Stakes program is still better than most others, and I think you get the best bang for your buck in Ontario,” he added. Which is a good thing as he’ll be seeing a lot of the province and the OSS Program over the next few days. The entries for the upcoming OSS events at Mohawk, Georgian Downs, Rideau Carleton Raceway and Grand River are available through the links below. Mohawk Entries - August 8. Georgian Downs Entries - August 9. Rideau Carleton Entries - August 10. Grand River Entries - August 11. Ontario Sire Stakes

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 7 - Jetpedia drew first blood in the opening leg of the Define The World Series for two-year-old trotters on Thursday night at Mohawk. Formerly known as the Bridger, the series was renamed this year in honour of the John Bax trainee, Define The World, who earned more than $1.7 million dollars during his seven-year racing career. The opening leg saw a group of eight battle for a purse of $12,000. Jetpedia, the 6/5 favourite, turned in a dominating gate-to-wire victory to break his maiden in 1:59. Driven by co-owner Mike Saftic, Jetpedia left hard off the gate for a comfortable lead at the opening quarter in :28.2. Saftic slowed things down in the middle half leading through a half of 1:00. and a three-quarter time of 1:30.1. In the stretch, Jetpedia cruised away from rivals with a last quarter of :28.4, under a Saftic hand drive, to win by 3 ½ lengths. Homen Dry, who was second over on the final turn, took second, while Monopoly Blue Chip was third. Jetpedia is a son of Muscle Hill - Baker Black Jet and is trained by Gregg McNair, who shares ownership with Saftic. The maiden breaking score came in the two-year-old gelding's second start of his career. Jetpedia's clocking of 1:59. was a second slower than his career mark of 1:57.4, which was taken in a qualifier on July 22. The second leg of the Define The World Series takes place next Thursday (August 14) at Mohawk. Mark McKelvie

The Wayfaring Man and harness racing driver Jack Moiseyev turned in a big 1:52.2 mile to capture the $43,200 Dream Maker Series Final Monday night ( August 4th) at Mohawk. A compact group of six two-year-old pacers contested the final leg of the three-week series. Read The Proposal left hard off the gate to take the early lead, but was overtaken on the way to half by leg one winner Pierce Hanover and driver Paul Macdonell at a solid half-mile time of :55.3. On the way to the three-quarter pole, Amora Beach was sent first up from third by driver James MacDonald providing cover for Moiseyev and The Wayfaring Man on MacDonald's back. In the stretch, The Wayfaring Man capitalized off his second over trip pacing by the top two in the final eighth of the mile to win by a length and a quarter, with a last quarter of :27.4. The clocking of 1:52.2 is the fastest mile by a two-year-old pacer this year in Canada. Amora Beach edged by Pierce Hanover to take the place spot. Late Night and driver Doug McNair finished fourth. A son of Dragon Again - Armbro Wichita, The Wayfaring Man finished second in a dead-heat in the opening leg before breaking his maiden in the second leg. The series finale victory was the second win in a row and a new lifetime best for The Wayfaring Man. The Wayfaring Man is owned by Bruno Comenga and trained by his son Nicky. The son of Dragon Again was a $62,000 yearling purchase at last fall's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale and has now earned $29,820 in three career starts. He returned $3.70 to win. The Wayfaring Man is eligible to the Nassagaweya Stakes on August 16, which is one week before the eliminations for the Metro Pace, the top stake race for two-year-old pacers. This year's edition of the Dream Maker Series was dedicated to the memory of Antonio Chiaravalle. Chiaravalle, who passed away in June, owned many great standardbreds including the series namesake, Dream Maker. The Wayfaring Man Also on Monday night, the opening leg of the Pure Ivory Series for two-year-old trotting fillies was contested. Southwind Champane defeated six other rivals in a sparkling 1:56.3 for driver Steve Byron and trainer John Bax. A daughter of Muscle Hill - Caerphilly, Southwind Champane got away in second and was quickly right lined to the front in the second quarter. Around the final turn, Spirit To Win, the 1/2 favourite, came first up to confront Southwind Champane and was a length off the lead at the three-quarter pole. After a :28.3 third-quarter, Southwind Champane continued to trot strong down the lane holding off Spirit To Win by a quarter of a length to win with a final panel of :28.2. Allies Gift took the show spot, while Drinksonthehouse finished fourth. The 1:56.3 clocking is the fastest mile by a two-year-old trotter this season in Canada. Southwind Champane is owned by Parkhill Stud Farm, Glengate Farms and Gordon Wright. She cost $32,000 at last year's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. Southwind Champane's first leg victory improves her record to two for two in her young career. She paid $11.90 to win. Southwind Champane The second leg of the Pure Ivory Series takes place next Monday night (August 11) at Mohawk. This Thursday night, series action continues with the $37,800 final of the Whenuwishuponastar Series for two-year-old pacing fillies at Mohawk. Mark McKelvie WEG Communications - Standardbred

Some things change, and some things stay the same. That was the case when two-year-old trotting fillies made their way to Mohawk Racetrack for Thursday’s septet of OSS Grassroots divisions. The duo of trainer John Bax and driver Paul MacDonell has been lethal with young trotters since Lassie was a pup, and they proved it once again during Thursday’s 12-race card. Flexceptional had a shaky start in her assignment, but she had a perfect finish for the tandem of MacDonell and Bax. The filly was stacked up third-over going into the final turn, but when MacDonell tipped her off cover turning for her she used a :29.2 closing quarter to win by three-quarters of a length over Dewy Take A Selfie in 2:01. Third prize went to Its A Hotty. Sent off at odds of 16-1, the daughter of Federal Flex-Maurel Hanover won at first asking for owner Dave Hudson of Dallas, Texas. The youngster was purchased for $10,000 from last year’s Lexington Select Yearling Sale.   To view the rest of the story click here.

Seven $18,000 divisions of the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series for two-year-old colt and gelding trotters took place on Wednesday (July 30) at Grand River Raceway, and Hemi Seelster padded his lead atop the group with a 2:02 victory in the sixth split. With Steve Byron in the bike, Hemi Seelster was well clear of his rivals through opening-half fractions of :29.1 and 1:00.4. Pocket-sitter Tarot (Riina Rekila) made up ground in the third quarter, but Hemi Seelster was still on the point at the 1:31.4 three-quarters. In the stretch, Tarot looked to get around the tempo-setter, but Hemi Seelster proved too tough for Tarot, drawing off to win by two and a quarter lengths. Olympic Son (Anthony MacDonald) finished third. Hemi Seelster is trained by John Bax for his Parkhill Stud Farm, Matthew Bax, and Goin To The Show Stable of Peterborough, Ont., along with John Houston of Cobourg, Ont. He is now a perfect three-for-three in Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series action and has won three of his four starts overall, earning $27,000 in the process. Sired by Holiday Road, Hemi Seelster was bred by Seelster Farms Inc. of Lucan, Ont. and sold for $19,000 at last year’s Forest City Yearling Sale. His dam is Hollywood Beauty, who is by Angus Hall. Hollywood Beauty scored a victory in an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series elimination as a two-year-old. To view the rest of the story click here.

Three trotters from the sophomore class of 2010 have come online with their initial crops this year; Muscle Massive is standing at Hanover, Lucky Chucky at Winbak in New York and Holiday Road in Ontario. Pilgrim’s Taj is a fourth, but he only spent one year in Canada, after which he was relocated to Ohio and ultimately exported to Finland. That being the case, we’ll look at the first three. To this point restricted races have provided the only basis for judging them, but the open portion of the season commences this week with elimination rounds for the Peter Haughton and Merrie Annabelle at the Meadowlands as well as several splits of the Arden at The Meadows. Much of the focus has been on Muscle Massive and Lucky Chucky, beneficiaries of generous state bred programs who finished one-two in the Hambletonion. The former was a $450,000 yearling who was lightly raced at two but managed to win the Hambletonion as well as the Dancer at three, while Chucky was a precocious freshman, showing wins in the Valley Victory, Matron, ISS and Bluegrass. He was the 3/2 favorite in the Hambletonion and appeared on his way to victory when 6/1 Muscle Massive, piloted by Ron Pierce, ruined his day. Regardless, Chucky did win the Canadian Trotting Classic and Colonial at three, and he earned more money than Muscle Massive both years. Both sold close to seventy yearlings last year, with Chucky’s brood averaging quite a bit more. Both have seen their stud fees fluctuate before their first crops hit the track. Muscle Massive started at $10,000, only to have his fee cut to $7,500 and $6,000 in successive years. Cantab Hall, Donato Hanover, Andover Hall and Explosive Matter all command higher fees than their younger stablemate at Hanover. Chucky, on the other hand, started at $7,500 in New York, was dropped to $5,000 during a year spent in Pennsylvania, and came back up to $7,500 when he returned to Winbak, where nineteen-year-old Muscles Yankee stands for $2,500 more. Muscle Massive has benefited from the success of his older brother, Muscle Mass, sire of O’Brien winner Riveting Rosie and the successful OSS colt Muscle Matters. Thus far Muscle Massive has given us some outstanding fillies. Gatka Hanover, a big rugged gal out of the Conway Hall mare Girlie Tough, from the Ron Burke barn, has left many wondering where her ceiling is. Gatka rolled through a couple of baby races and has now chalked up three wins in the PA Sire Stakes, one each at The Meadows, Pocono and Harrah’s. Matt Kakaley steered her to an effortless four length win in 1:57 in her latest. She leaves from the five for Matt K in Friday’s first Merrie Annabelle elimination. Gatka takes on Lucky Chucky’s daughter, Lock Down Lindy, who drew plenty of attention with a very strong first over win in a Merrie Annabelle Prep at the Meadowlands Friday for Scott Zeron and Tony Alagna. Another Muscle Massive star in the making is Jimmy Takter’s Speak To Me, an $80,000 Harness Breeders purchase by Myron Bell. She is also three-for three in the PA Sire Stakes and has trotted in 1:55. Last time out, in a $57,000 sire stakes division at Harrah’s, Speak To Me gapped the field by ten on her way to an easy win at a stingy 1/5 price. Unfortunately this filly was not staked to the Merrie Annabelle and will be missing from the fray on Friday night. Blessings Counted is another talented filly by Muscle Massive. She was second to Speak To Me in a PASS race at The Meadows a couple of weeks ago and won a $57,000 race at Harrah’s in her latest start. She is not eligible to the Merrie Annabelle but is entered in a split of the Arden at The Meadows on Friday. Missive and Youth Gone Wild, both winners in the Stallion Series, will also race in the Arden. Jersey Strong, a talented filly with a win in the PA All Stars and a second in the PASS, isn’t entered at The Meadowlands or The Meadows on Friday. The top colt by Muscle Massive is Ake Svanstedt’s Lima Pride, who beat Jimmy Takter’s 1/9 favorite The Bank in a split of the Hickory Pride when The Bank went on a run at the three-quarters. Lima Pride, a $25,000 yearling purchase, was not nominated to the Peter Haughton. The priciest freshman trotter by any first crop stallion is Mr Lucky Luke, a $450,000 Lucky Chucky half- brother to Muscle Massive, Muscle Mass and 2010 Merrie Annabelle winner, Thatsnotmyname. The Cancelliere brothers, of Detour Hanover fame, purchased him at Lexington in the fall. He has yet to make a pari-mutuel start; let’s hope he generates a better ROI than Detour has. As for the Lucky Chucky colts and fillies that have raced, there is no eye popping Gatka Hanover out there, but there are plenty of good ones. I already mentioned Merrie Annabelle candidate Lock Down Lindy, who possesses the same rugged demeanor as Gatka. She is a half-sister to 2006 HOY in Canada, Majestic Son. He has sired Harper Blue Chip, Murmur Hanover and Charmed Life. Ray Schnittker has Gabe The Bear Dean, a $105,000 Harness Breeders buy, who has an impressive wire-to wire five length win in the NYSS at Buffalo. Jonas Czernyson has a few Lucky Chucky youngsters in his barn and he’s high on all of them. At the end of June Hot Start, a half-sister to Religulous, won a $27,000 NYSS split at Vernon Downs for Corey Callahan. Next time out, at Tioga, she cut most of the mile from the outside post only to lose to paternal sister My Twisted Sister, from the Paul Kelley barn. Hot Start is entered in the second Merrie Annabelle elimination on Friday. Nunkeri is another very promising Lucky Chucky filly from the Czernyson barn. She finished second to the Muscle Hill filly Josie’s Joy at the Meadowlands the other night, race timed in 1:57.2 as the second choice. Nunkeri won her start previous to that one, a $28,000 NYSS division at Tioga. George Ducharme’s sharp looking Conway Hall filly, Concentration, pressured her all the way home in a 1:59.3 mile. On the male side Mal and Janet Burroughs’ Mambo Blue Chip, a $40,000 Harness Breeders buy, won a $28,000 split of the NYSS in 1:57.2 at Tioga last time out. Holiday Road, a $115,000 yearling who is a full brother to Ken Warkentin, was lightly raced, making only ten lifetime stars. While staying on the track was an issue, speed wasn’t; he won the Peter Haughton at two and a split of the Dancer at three. He opened his stallion career for $4,500 at Seelster Farms and now stands for $3,500. This week the Holiday Roads started to turn heads and earn respect at Mohawk as they performed admirably on the various OSS platforms. John Bax’s Hemi Seelster was long and tough winning a Grassroots division in 1:58.4 at 2/1. It was noteworthy that the gelding engaged in a head to head battle the length of the stretch with Pilgrim’s Joy, a son of first crop stallion Pilgrim’s Taj. Tony Alagna’s filly Gee O’Keeffe logged a very strong second in a $53,000 OSS Gold leg at Mohawk for Jody Jamieson, losing a length to the highly regarded Kadabra filly Juanita’s Fury. And Keith Jones’ gelding, It’s Huw You Know, was an upset Grassroots winner in 2:00.3 on Monday at 75/1, paying $159.60. And Ontheroad De Vie made a very impressive brush on the back as he came from the 10 post to finish second for Rick Zeron in a Grassroots leg. The Holiday Roads are looking good. Rock N Roll Heaven and Sportswriter are lighting it up in the freshman pacing division, but it’s expected that the trotters will take a little longer to get their bearings and hit their stride. Muscle Massive, Lucky Chucky and Holiday Road will all be prospering when they do. by Joe FitzGerald, for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/

Two-year-old colt and gelding trotters were in the spotlight on Saturday night at Georgian Downs as five $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series divisions for freshman colt and gelding trotters went behind the starting gate. Hemi Seelster (Steve Byron) was the fastest of the five winners as he trotted a :29.1 final quarter to rally from sixth at three-quarters to a 2:00.4 decision in the third division. He defeated Win The Day (Trevor Henry) by three-quarters of a length with Tarot (Riina Rekila) back in third. It was the first win in two starts for Hemi Seelster, who is trained by John Bax for his Parkhill Stud Farm, Matthew Bax, and Goin To The Show Stable of Peterborough along with John Houston of Cobourg, Ontario. Sired by Holiday Road, Hemi Seelster was bred by Seelster Farms Inc. of Lucan, Ontario, and sold for $19,000 at last year’s Forest City Yearling Sale. His dam is Hollywood Beauty, who is by Angus Hall. To view the rest of this story click here.

Campbellville, ON --- The Van Camp family of Port Perry, Ontario, is well known both in Hollywood and in harness racing and the two shall meet on Monday night (June 9) at Mohawk Racetrack when the 3-year-old trotting colts contest their first Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots event of the season. Robert Van Camp is the co-owner and breeder of Windsun Revenge. He shares ownership of the horse’s dam, Oaklea Polly, with Harley Harkness of Uxbridge, Ontario, who operates Windsun Farm which explains the gelding’s first name. The Revenge part is in honor of the hit television show Revenge which stars Van Camp’s daughter, Emily, who is also known for her roles on Everwood and Brothers And Sisters. Robert Van Camp and Harley Harkness purchased Oaklea Polly, a daughter of Balanced Image, at the end of her racing career where she earned just under $20,000 for trainer John Bax. “She’s a full sister to Oaklea Omega (a winner of $396,217, also for Bax),” explained Van Camp who also owns another sister, Oaklea Uppity, in partnership with Bax. “Oaklea Omega sold for a lot of money to Europe and I thought Oaklea Polly was her spitting image. She had some bad luck and an injury so Harley and I bought her when her racing career was over.” Windsun Revenge is her second foal. “Her first one sold at Harrisburg for $22,000 and this colt came along the year of the crash (when the slots at racetracks program was cancelled in Ontario). I liked him very much so I bought him back for $9,700,” said Van Camp who owns and operates Brooks Feed Company in Port Perry, which services a multitude of equine owners. “I contacted Jeff Durham who is one of our dealers and also trains horses. He’s a hard working young man and I asked him to break this colt for me. He liked him and asked me if he could buy in so now he owns a share. I’m hoping for his sake the horse does well.” Windsun Revenge showed promise last year as a 2-year-old, finishing third in an OSS Gold event at Grand River Raceway in just his second lifetime start. However, a bone chip limited his season to just four starts. This year at three the son of Kadabra has made five starts to date including a recent win at Mohawk in a life best of 1:57.4. Chris Christoforou was in the sulky for that win and will be back at the lines for Monday’s start where Windsun Revenge has drawn post one in the fifth of six C$18,000 divisions of the Grassroots event. This will mark Windsun Revenge’s first appearance at the Grassroots level and his performance on Monday will determine if he continues there or moves up to the Gold. “We’ll let him prove himself, he’s got some talent. There is major competition in the Gold as well as the Grassroots, there are a lot of really good colts out there. The quality of horses competing in the OSS is unbelievable.” Van Camp isn’t the only member of his immediate family with an interest in trotters. His father Glenn bred and co-owned one of the greatest trotters ever bred in the province, the $3 million winner San Pail. His brother Paul has owned a myriad of top performers over the years including last year’s Hambletonian starter Your So Vain. “I actually got involved in owning horses before they did, they’ve just had better ones,” laughed Robert. “I’m always trying to raise a good trotter. I think it’s important in my business to be involved in the industry. That way I can understand exactly what my customers are going through and relate to it as I’m in it myself.” Post time for Monday night’s races at Mohawk is 7:25 p.m. The OSS sophomore trotting colts will be spotlighted in races one, two, three, five, eight and nine. The full card may be viewed through this link.

TORONTO, May 2 - Undefeated world champion and Dan Patch Award winner, He's Watching, a top contender for this year's $1 million North America Cup on June 14 at Mohawk, made his harness racing seasonal debut Friday morning at Mohawk Racetrack in a qualifying session. With regular pilot Jim Morrill, Jr. in the bike, He's Watching was a wrapped-up winner in 1:53.2. Morrill Jr, and the speedy pacer laid parked on the outside at the opening quarter in :29.1, before reaching for command. He's Watching then paced past the half in :57.2 and three-quarters in 1:25, before kicking home in :27.2 to seal the win. "I was very happy with him this morning," trainer and co-owner David Menary said following the qualifier. "That's right about where we wanted to go. I'm going to give him a week off, qualify him once more then make a decision to race in either the (Art) Rooney or Somebeachsomewhere as his first race." The son of American Ideal went undefeated last season in eight starts and set two world records and six track records along with $291,722 in earnings. Just a mere $3,000 yearling purchase, He's Watching is also owned by Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero and Muscara Racing Trust. He recorded his 1:50 speed badge last season at Vernon Downs. Two more Cup eligibles showcased their talents on Friday morning as Major Trick and Melmerby Beach qualified in race three. Major Trick finished second, timed in 1:54.3, while Melmerby Beach finished fourth, timed in 1:55. Last year's O'Brien Award winner Flanagan Memory returned this morning at the helm of driver Chris Christoforou. The four-year-old son of Kadabra picked up right where he left off last season with an impressive winning effort in 1:57.3. The winner of $447,998 lifetime is owned by trainer Rene Dion and Liette Flanagan. O'Brien Award winner Riveting Rosie made her second qualifying attempt this morning at the Campbellville oval. After making a miscue last week, driver Paul Macdonell had Riveting Rosie on her game this morning as she stopped the timer in 1:59.1 for trainer John Bax. The winner of $468,613 last season is owned by Parkhill Stud Farm, Don Allensen, J And T Stable and John Hayes. Casie Coleman sent Lucan Hanover postcard for the first time this season as the winner of over $500,000 last season was a wrapped-up winner in 1:53.2 for driver Jonathan Drury. The son of Western Ideal is owned by West Wins Stable and Christine Calhoun. by Greg Gangle, for WEG

TORONTO, April 24 - After making a miscue as the heavy-favourite in last week's opening round of the Celias Counsel Series, Flexible Woman regained her form as she took the faster of two divisions Thursday evening at Woodbine. Sent off as the 4/5 favourite, Flexible Woman and driver Steve Byron stopped the clock in 1:56.4, a new career best. Byron and Flexible Woman led gate-to-wire through panels of :27.1, :56.3 and 1:27.1, before edging away from her eight rivals to win by half a length. K D Bella (Mike Saftic) came on to finish second, with Serendipitious (Jody Jamieson) third. Trained by John Bax for Parkhill Stud Farm and breeder Glengate Farms, Flexible Woman increased her bankroll to $49,986. The daughter of Federal Flex-Womanlee now has a 2-1-0 record from four starts this season. In the other division, Magic Feeling and Mike Saftic stunned their rivals at 50-1. Sent off as the second choice, Wings Of Ballykeel (Sylvain Filion) was first to the front, but elected to allow a parked-out Domedomedome (Jack Moiseyev) to the position of command at the opening quarter in :28. Heading towards the half, Magic Feeling was still on the outside and crossed over to make the front, but Wings Of Ballykeel quickly regained control before the mid-way point in :58.1. Wings of Ballykeel continued to lead her seven rivals past three-quarters in 1:28.3. Down the stretch, Wings Of Ballykeel was still on the lead, but Magic Feeling would get the best of her rival in deep stretch to complete the upset. Post time favourite Just Call Me Lady (Trevor Ritchie) rallied off cover to finish third. Trained and co-owned by Frank O'Reilly along with John Fielding and Isidoro Russo, Magic Feeling made her first start of the season a winning one as her bankroll sits at $7,500. The daughter of Kadabra paid $103.00 to win. by Greg Gangle, for WEG

TORONTO, April 16 - After a commanding five and half length victory in her latest outing, Flexible Woman certainly appears to be on her game when she begins in Thursday's opening round of the Celias Counsel Series at Woodbine. The John Bax trainee didn't disappoint her backers last start as Flexible Woman trotted to a 1:59.3 mile over a sloppy track for driver Steve Byron. "She's come back really well this season," Bax said. "That's the type of effort you want to see from a filly early in the season. Her first start was impressive also despite finishing second." The homebred daughter of Federal Flex didn't go though the auction ring as a yearling as Bax bought into the lass from breeder Jim Bullock's Glengate Farm. Last season, the bay earned $29,736 from 10 starts, but the veteran conditioner wasn't satisfied with her campaign. "I was pretty high on her as a baby but there was something bothering her last year," he said. "She would fall apart at the end of a mile. Either something was pinching her or she needed to mature. We couldn't put a finger on it so we gave her time." Bax along with a team of six wintered in Florida, while his son, Matt, prepared Flexible Woman for her three-year-old season at their Peterborough farm. "Matt trained her back this winter and did a fine job and the filly did it the right way," said the veteran conditioner. "So far it's all systems go and we'll play it week by week with her. That's a nice series that she fits into (Celias Counsel) and that should get her well prepared for the summer." Bax remains hopeful that Flexible Woman can compete at the highest level in the provincial program against stablemate and O'Brien Award winner, Riveting Rosie. "It wouldn't surprise me if she turned out to be a Gold filly. I'm optimistic about that," Bax said. "She's got that attitude and fight in her. It's a fine line between ignorance and the will and fight to win. She's on the right side of the line." Bax also provided an update on Riveting Rosie, who captured the Peaceful Way final last year at Mohawk en route to racking up $468,613 in earnings. "She's right where I want her to be," he said. "I trained her in 2:06 in Florida before we shipped her home. I'll likely qualify her a few times and get her ready for the SBOA (Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association). That will be her first stake of the year." Two divisions of the Celias Councel Series will take place on Thursday evening in races two and three. First post time is set for 7:25 p.m. The divisions will line up as follows: Race 2 1. K D Bella 2. Kadabra Lavictoire 3. Serendipitious 4. Tosca 5. Wings Of Ballykeel 6. Jamandra 7. Flexible Woman 8. Windsong Kissntell 9. Wheely Quick Race 3 1. Just Call Me Lady 2. Chippentail 3. Emerald Bling 4. Miss Everything 5. Do The Wheelhouse 6. Movintothecountry 7. Northern Secret 8. Fashion Goddess 9. Amico Love Song 10. Domedomedome The Celias Counsel Series is for three-year-old trotting fillies, who non-winners of $30,000 in 2013. by Greg Gangle, for WEG

For a small breeder, having one foal make the Breeders Crown final is exciting.   Paul “Pete” Spears’ Windsong Stables came to prominence in 2004 when Windsongs Legacy captured the Triple Crown of trotting for trainer Trond Smedshammer.   The Windsong name will be in focus on Saturday night with two foals from the late Bax Machine figuring prominently in both the $250,000 Crown Mare Trot and the $500,000 Crown 3-year-old filly trot.   “I recall we purchased Bax Machine in 2001 at the Harrisburg Sale,” said Spears. “She was in foal to Muscles Yankee and I think we paid either $18,000 or $19,000.”   While the daughter of Earl seemed to have a nondescript pedigree, Spears actually favors that approach.   “I especially like to purchase hard-hitting mares that race in Canada,” Spears said. “It really doesn’t matter to me what the sires name is.”   Diversity has been the watchword at Windsong and it has helped cultivate a brand that continues to perform at a high level.   Bax Machine has been a model of consistency no matter what cross Spears chose for her. With 10 foals on the racetrack, Bax Machine was the proverbial sure thing in the breeding shed.   “It doesn’t show up on the USTA site, but her 2005 foal by S Js Caviar (Bring Me Back) was a top colt in Sweden,” said Spears.   What does show up under her pedigree is an extraordinary array of talented trotters from diverse stallion pairings.   Her first colt by Muscles Yankee, named Q Forty Five, was exported and raced well overseas. She was then bred to Angus Hall, Dream Vacation, S Js Caviar, Broadway Hall, Cantab Hall, Windsongs Legacy, Kadabra and Credit Winner.   On Saturday night Bax Of Life, the true Windsong-bred mare—being a daughter of Windsongs Legacy and Bax Machine—appears to have the best chance of success.   The 5-year-old mare, trained by Jerry Duford and driven by John Campbell landed post three fresh off an impressive 1:52.4 victory in last week’s Crown elimination. The gritty mare has improved with age, earning more than $300,000 over the last two years, a far cry from the just under $90,000 she banked as a 2- and 3-year-old combined.   Trainer Jim Raymer entered Bouncing Bax in the Crown because he believed the daughter of Credit Winner deserved a chance. She entered last week’s Crown eliminations on the strength of a five-race winning streak that included the $225,000 New York Sire Stakes final at Yonkers. Though that streak ended with a fifth place finish in her Breeders Crown elimination, driver Howard Parker seemed undeterred.   “I thought she raced very well,” said Parker. “She got a little fumbly on the final turn and I had to steady her. She’ll race better next week.”   The New York Sire Stakes program has helped Bouncing Bax earn $367,713 in her first two years of racing.   “She’s very good gaited and she’s very comfortable on the half-mile track,” said Raymer. “I think she’ll be a little better next year.”   While Bax Machine has yet to produce a world champion, she’s given more to the sport in the longevity her foals have had on the racetrack. Just look at Never Bax Down, her second foal by Ontario-sire Angus Hall who raced 180 times between 2007 and 2011.   Baximum, Bax Machine’s 2007 foal by Cantab Hall, was a Grand Circuit winner as a 2- and 3-year-old and is approaching $400,000 in career earnings.   The saga for owner Spears came to an end last year when Bax Machine was injured prior to foaling her Muscle Massive-sired colt.   “She foaled on three legs,” said Spears. “Mares generally don’t get better after that.”   Bax Machine did her motherly duty and nursed her foal until the youngster was weaned some three months later.   “We could have done a procedure on her,” said Spears, “But it was risky with no guarantee of success.”   Bax Machine ultimately was humanely put down and her final foal—Fighting Bax—goes on the auction block Nov. 4 at the Standardbred Horse Sale at Harrisburg.   Spears says he’s had fun naming the foals of Bax Machine, who was named as a tribute to Ontario horseman John Bax, who trained the $2.1 millionaire Goodtimes.   Spears is grateful for the success of Windsong Stable mares, having had the good fortune to do well with mares others cast aside. He’s bred a diverse group to a wide range of stallions and come up with solid stakes trotters. Triple Crown winner Windsongs Legacy’s dam Yankee Windsong died prematurely after her champion was born. Bax Machine’s greatest accomplishment, producing two exceptional Breeders Crown finalists, comes a year after her passing.   On the positive side, the bloodlines of Windsongs Legacy and Bax Machine will be around for some time, especially if two of Windsongs Legacy’s more famous sons —Chapter Seven and Lucky Chucky—turn out to be successful in the breeding shed. Win, lose or draw, Windsong Stables has carved out quite a niche on the trotting breed.   By Jay Bergman for the Breeders Crown  

CAMPBELLVILLE, ON — Super Final Night 2013 kicked off with a pair of trotting filly showdowns and Ontario harness racing fans witnessed impressive performances by two-year-old prodigy Riveting Rosie and three-year-old megastar Bee A Magician. Starting from Post 7 in the first $200,000 Super Final, driver Paul MacDonell sent Riveting Rosie straight to the front and controlled the tempo through fractions of :28.1, :58.4 and 1:28.1. The fan favourites cruised home two and one-half lengths ahead of Miss Aultsville and Luck Is All Ineed in 1:56. “She’s just so dominant, she’s big, she’s strong, I think we haven’t seen the best of her yet. I think next year when she grows up and fills out she’ll be something else,” said MacDonell from the winner’s circle. “There’s no effort to her gait, she’s smooth, and got a nice mouth on her, she’s got all the attributes to a good one.” The Guelph resident piloted Riveting Rosie to her sixth lifetime win for trainer John Bax of Peterborough and his partners Don Allensen of Wyoming, J And T Stable Newmarket and John Hayes of Sharon. In addition to her Gold Series successes, the Muscle Mass daughter was also victorious in the Peaceful Way Final and Champlain Stakes at Mohawk and rounds out her freshman campaign with $468,613 in earnings. Bee A Magician captured the two-year-old trotting filly Super Final last November, kicking off a win streak that stood at 13 races heading into Saturday night’s showdown. With an impressive 1:52.2 triumph from Post 6 the filly became just the eighth horse to repeat as the Super Final champion and she extended her streak to 14 races. “She’s all business. She gets on the track, she just wants to go, and she wants to do it. She’s a dream,” said Ottawa resident Melvin Hartman, who shares ownership of Kadabra daughter Bee A Magician with Herb Liverman of Miami Beach, FL and David McDuffee of Delray Beach. FL. “I will challenge anyone that Kadabra is as good, if not the best stallion in the world,” Hartman continued. “He has thrown some tremendous horses, they’ve raced in Ontario and they’ve gone on to race in North America, and it’s great for the Sires Stakes program.” Among Bee A Magician’s sophomore triumphs are the Hambletonian Oaks, Casual Breeze, Elegantimage, Del Miller Memorial and Simcoe Stakes, giving her a two season bank roll of $1,876,617. The Richard “Nifty” Norman trainee will make her fourteenth sophomore start in the Breeders Crown Eliminations at Pocono Downs on Oct. 12. Anaffairtoremember and Charmed Life, with Paul MacDonell aboard for John Bax, completed the top three. MacDonell was back in the winner’s circle following the third Super Final battle, guiding three-year-old pacing filly Regil Elektra to a 1:50.4 personal best for trainer Shawn Robinson and owner Fred Monteleone Stable LLC of Pompano Beach, FL. The win was the Mach Three daughter’s eleventh of the season and her second in Ontario Sires Stakes action. “Her form obviously shows that she’s been coming up to a good race, and they said that she was as sharp as she’s been,” said MacDonell, who had driven the filly earlier in the season. “You get a good feeling when you get on the bike and the connections say that to you.” MacDonell and Regil Elektra swept up the outside to grab the one and one-half length win over fan favourite Love Canal and Best Impressions. Muscle Matters delivered a commanding victory in the two-year-old trotting colt event, cruising home three lengths ahead of Massive Muscles and Valorscross. The 1:55.4 clocking was a personal best for the son of Muscle Mass trained by Rockwood resident Benoit Baillargeon for his partners Nunzio Vena of Bolton, Santo Vena of Brampton and Richard Thompson of London. “The other thing is my son (Johnny) just got engaged today, so this is sweet, icing on the cake. It’s perfect, a perfect day,” said Santo Vena from a winner’s circle packed with family and friends. Liette Flanagan of Repentigny, QC was also celebrating perfection following the three-year-old trotting colt final. Flanagan Memory, named in honour of her late father and the colt’s breeder Michel Flanagan, trotted to his fifth win in five Ontario Sires Stakes starts. The Kadabra son and driver Chris Christoforou of Campbellville controlled the race from start to finish, sailing home one and one-quarter lengths ahead of Creampuff Macdaddy and Thankyoukessel in a personal best 1:53. Flanagan shares ownership of the colt with trainer Rene Dion of Saint-Lazare, QC. Two-year-old pacing colt favourite Bugger Bruiser also earned a Super Final crown off a front end effort that featured a sizzling :25.4 opening quarter. The Believeinbruiser son and driver Anthony MacDonald of Guelph hung on for a neck victory over Crafty Master and Three of Clubs, both trained by Guelph resident Gregg McNair, in a sharp 1:50.3 clocking. Carmen Auciello of Stouffville trains Bugger Bruiser for his father Rocco Auciello of Stouffville and Denarben Stables of Thornhill. The partners purchased the gelding at the beginning of September and have banked $196,000 in four starts. “Nobody expected this,” said trainer Auciello with the Super Final trophy in his arms. “The horse has a heart bigger than this trophy here, and that’s a big trophy, the biggest one I’ve ever got in this business anyway. I’m just happy, I’ve got my family here, there’s tons of us here, and it’s just a thrill. I’ve been waiting for this my whole life.” The two-year-old pacing filly division was also decided by a neck as Performing Art, Lady Shadow and favourite Sudoku emerged from the rapidly gathering fog and battled to a 1:52 finish. Shadow Play daughter Performing Art’s personal best equaled the Ontario Sires Stakes record first set by Chancey Lady in 2007 and matched in 2011 by Apogee Hanover. Cambridge resident Billy Davis Jr. engineered the win on behalf of trainer Otis Hall of Ayr and his father Larry Hall’s Sauble Hill Farms of Tara, ON. The last Super Final trophy was awarded to Les Ecuries Dorleans Inc. of Repentigny, QC and Gestion C. Levesque 2005 Inc. of Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, QC, who bred and own three-year-old pacing gelding Duc Dorleans. The Shanghai Phil son and driver Sylvain Filion of Milton roared out of the fog and down the stretch to a 1:49.2 triumph over Tarpon Hanover and Brocks Fortune. Trained by Jacques Dupont, Duc Dorleans scored his fourth win of the season, and his first in Ontario Sires Stakes action, with the personal best effort. Ontario Sires Stakes fans will have one last opportunity to see the provincial stars in action as Grand River Raceway and Western Fair Raceway host Gold and Grassroots Consolation events on October 13, 14 and 15. For complete results Sandra Snyder

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