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TORONTO, October 1 - Two-year-old trotter Moonlight Cocktail crossed the wire first in Thursday night's opening race at Woodbine Racetrack to kick off the Fall-Winter harness racing meet. Trained by John Bax, Moonlight Cocktail and driver Steve Byron stopped the timer in 2:00 to capture the $14,000 two-year-old trotting event. The first race Thursday was not only the opening race of the meet, but also the first leg of the brand new Pick-5 wager. A new addition to the Woodbine Standardbred wagering menu, the Pick-5 starts each evening in the first race and requires horseplayers to select the winner of the evening's first five races. The wager features a $0.20 minimum and a 15 per cent takeout. The inaugural Pick-5 Thursday generated a pool of $16,950 and a five out of five ticket returned $125.83 for a $0.20 wager. Live harness racing will take place every Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday during the Woodbine Fall-Winter meet. Post time is 7:25 p.m. Mark McKelvie

There were some new faces in the Ontario Sires Stakes winner's circle at the harness racing meeting at Mohawk Racetrack on Tuesday evening as the two-year-old trotting colts and three-year-old trotting fillies closed out their Gold Series regular season. After finishing second in three Gold Legs and third in the other, Will Take Charge finally found his way to the winner's circle in the second of three $70,000 trotting colt divisions. The Kadabra gelding and driver Paul MacDonell took command of the race past the half-way marker and cruised home four length winners in 1:57.2. Mass Balance was second and Midnight Toker finished third. "He just had second-itis," said trainer John Bax wryly. "He's been pretty good all along, just an easy on himself kind of horse, I can't really complain about him," continued the Campbellville, ON resident. "He kind of just does whatever you want and does it right." Bax shares ownership of the trotter with Gordon Wright of Charlotte, MI, Don Allensen of Wyoming, ON and John Hayes of Sharon, ON. In 10 starts Will Take Charge has tallied one win, four seconds, one third and $123,590. Tuesday's Gold win puts him in a tie for third in the division standings with 137 points. Will Take Charge will make his next start in the Oct. 10 Super Final at Mohawk Racetrack, and Bax is hoping the gelding's consistency carries on through the $250,000 post-season showdown. "One more start," said the trainer. "Hope it keeps going." In the first division, Tony Soprano moved to the top of the point standing with his third Gold Series win, touring the Mohawk oval in a personal best 1:56.2. Hall of Fame driver John Campbell guided the Kadabra son to the win for Hall of Fame trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor, ON and his partners Mardon Stables of Loretto, ON, Paradox Farm Inc. of Caledon East, ON and Dave Boyle of Bowmanville, ON. Dreamliner and Willyorwonthe rounded out the top three, more than 10 lengths behind Tony Soprano. The victory improved Tony Soprano's freshman record to three wins, one second and two thirds in nine starts and boosted his earnings to $161,430. He leads the parade of freshman trotting colts into the $250,000 Super Final with 187 points. The third trotting colt division saw Dunvegan Don earn his second Gold trophy, sailing along on the front end to a five and one-half length win in 1:58.1. Nofear Blue Chip and Dia Monde trotted into second and third. Doug McNair of Guelph, ON engineered the win for trainer Herbert Holland of Milton, ON and his partners Jim Fielding of Toronto, ON, Guy Polillo of Brantford, ON and Kevin McKinley of Holland Landing, ON. In seven starts Dunvegan Don has accumulated three wins and one third for earnings of $85,900. The Cornaro Dasolo son wrapped up the regular season in fifth spot with 115 points. In the first three-year-old trotting filly division, 2014 Grassroots Champion Second Sister garnered her first-ever Gold Series trophy with a 1:55.4 effort. Starting from Post 1, the Deweycheatumnhowe daughter and driver Rick Zeron of Oakville, ON tucked in behind fan favourite Muscle Baby Doll and stayed on that filly's heels as she moved into the outer lane heading for the halfway marker. After using Muscle Baby Doll as a wind break, Second Sister was able to power past the favourite in the stretch to a one and three-quarter length win. Muscle Baby Doll settled for second and pacesetter All That Sparkles was third. "She's been pretty consistent all year, but it was nice to win one," said trainer Gregg McNair of Guelph, ON. Much like Will Take Charge, Second Sister had been close in the first four Gold Legs, posting two seconds, one third and one sixth-place result. Tuesday's win boosted her from sixth to third in the division standings with 115 points. Through all 13 of her sophomore starts the filly has two wins, four seconds, three thirds and earnings of $146,660. "She's just been a nice solid mare, doesn't do much wrong," said McNair, who conditions the filly for Jarold Hawks of Jeddo, MI . "Hope she draws kind of decent over at Woodbine, and go from there I guess." In spite of suffering her first defeat in Gold Series company Muscle Baby Doll remained atop the division standings with 175 points, followed by Elegant Serenity, who picked up her second Gold trophy with a 1:55 effort in the second division. The Kadabra daughter took command of the race heading for the half-way marker and stayed game to the wire, holding off Youre Majestic and Danielle Hall by one-half length. Roger Mayotte of Mississauga, ON trains and drives Elegant Serenity for owner-breeder Doug Millard of Woodstock. In 10 sophomore starts the daughter of former Ontario Sires Stakes star Elegantimage has tallied six wins, one second and two thirds for earnings of $356,665. In four Gold Series starts the filly posted two wins, one second and one fifth-place result for a total of 130 points. The top 10 point earners in all eight trotting and pacing divisions will now begin preparing their battle plans for the Oct. 10 Super Finals at Woodbine Racetrack, where a total of $2 million will be on the line. Ontario Horse Racing

After a two and a half month absence, three-year-old trotting filly Stubborn Belle returned to the winner's circle on Wednesday evening, capturing her $105,000 Gold Series division at the harness racing meeting at Grand River Raceway and causing trainer John Bax to hope history is about to repeat itself. "If she can stay healthy I'm hoping that she can kind of do what Riveting Rosie did last year, come on good at the end of the year," said Bax, who watched Riveting Rosie bank $409,180 in the last four months of her sophomore season. "I'm hoping this is deja vu because last year I had a lot of trouble with Riveting Rosie and she turned it around at Grand River, that was her first good race back, so I'm hoping the path is mapped out for her and she follows that." Stubborn Belle and driver Paul MacDonell followed a come-from-behind path on their way to Wednesday's victory. Starting from Post 6, Guelph, ON resident MacDonell eased the filly off the gate and had her settled on the rail in seventh when fan favourite All That Sparkles trotted by the opening quarter in :28. The pair remained at the rear of the main pack through the :57.3 half and then moved into the outer lane behind Amoureuse Hanover and Aspen California heading around the paddock turn. After following along in the outer lane through the 1:27.4 three-quarters, MacDonell sent Stubborn Belle out three wide and took aim on the leaders. The filly advanced steadily around the final turn and in the stretch she reeled in All That Sparkles, posting a neck victory in 1:58. All That Sparkles settled for second and Second Sister completed the top three. The win was Stubborn Belle's first since she swept the elimination and final of the WEG-SBOA Stake at Mohawk Racetrack in late May and Bax says the main obstacle in the Taurus Dream daughter's path back to the winner's circle has been her temperament, which matches her name. "If we turn her out with another horse she'll kick through the fence or get in a fight." "We try to be nice to her and pair her up with a horse, but if the mood strikes, the other horse has to watch out," explained the trainer. "She's always the one that kicks through the fence or kicks a board, kicks another horse." "My son Marshall named her." "We changed her name, and that's the name he figured she needed, and she's lived up to it," added the Campbellville resident. "It's a good thing she's a very good filly." Wednesday's victory improved Stubborn Belle's 2015 record to three wins and one third in seven starts and boosted her earnings to $167,430. At two, Stubborn Belle captured one Grassroots division and two Gold Series divisions, the Peaceful Way Final, and a division of the Champlain Stakes for earnings of $524,686. Bax, through his Parkhill Stud Farm, shares ownership of the filly with Al Libfeld of Pickering, ON. "Touch wood, she doesn't damage herself anymore this year, and it's onward and upward," said Bax, who is hoping the filly stays healthy for the Casual Breeze and Elegantimage Stakes at Mohawk in the coming weeks. The other division saw Tymal Illbthere earn her first Gold Series trophy with driver Mario Baillargeon opting for a strategy similar to the one used by MacDonell. Starting from Post 5, the Milton, ON resident settled Tymal Illbethere into seventh spot, watching as Gee Okeefe rang up a :28.2 opening quarter. Heading by the :59.1 half Baillargeon shifted Tymal Illbethere into the outer lane and soon after the 1:29.1 three-quarters he moved her three-wide. Once she hit open racetrack Tymal Illbethere accelerated away to a four length victory in 1:58.3, besting Bax trainee Juanitas Fury and pacesetter Gee Okeefe. The win was Tymal Illbethere's first in Gold Series competition and her third of the season, boosting her sophomore earnings to $92,309. At two the Deweycheatumnhowe daughter was a Grassroots winner, earning $86,968 for breeder Tymal Farms of Oldcastle, ON and Shawn Dixon of London, ON. Ervin Abdulov of London, ON conditions the filly. Their victories moved both Stubborn Belle and Tymal Illbethere into the top 10 in the Gold Series point standings, putting them into contention for a Super Final berth with one regular season event remaining, on Sept. 29 at Mohawk Racetrack. The $250,000 Super Final goes postward Oct. 10 at Woodbine Racetrack. Next up on Grand River Raceway's Ontario Sires Stakes schedule is the last regular season Grassroots contest for the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings on Wednesday, Sept. 2. Photo attached: Three-year-old trotting filly Stubborn Belle (6) edges out All That Sparkles (2) to earn her first Gold Series win of 2015 for driver Paul MacDonell of Guelph, ON. (Iron Horse Photo) Ontario Horse Racing

A John Bax trained filly can never be overlooked and once again Monday night at the harness racing meeting at Mohawk Racetrack that statement rang true in the final of the Pure Ivory series. A field of ten rookie trotting fillies contested the $35,400 final of the Pure Ivory series. Fresh off her victory in last week's second leg, Pennies From Above was sent off as the 3/5 choice for trainer/driver Dustin Jones. Thisladysdynamite, the first leg winner, shot out to the lead from post ten and posted an opening panel of :28.2. Sound Of Music circled around the leader in the second-quarter from the two-hole to take the field by the half in :58.4. Pennies From Above, who was situated fifth through the opening half, was able to catch the cover of Safekeeping to be second-over at the three-quarter pole. Bax trainee Hills Angel and driver Paul MacDonell got into the outer flow and sat third-over turning for home at odds of 25-1. In the stretch, Pennies From Above flipped off her cover and charged to the lead, but Hills Angel stuck right with the favourite for the stretch drive and eventually overtook the lead in the final sixteenth to score the upset by a length in 1:58.4. Rose Run Reanna got up for third, while Thisladysdynamite took fourth. The upset victory was the first career score for Hills Angel in her fourth start. The daughter of Muscle Hill is owned by Bax Stable - Glengate Farms and was a $40,000 yearling purchase at last year's Lexington Selected Sale. The series finale victory boosts Hills Angel's earnings to $21,300 and the Bax trainee is eligible to the Champlain and Peaceful Way Stakes later this season at Mohawk. A $2 win ticket on Hills Angel returned $55.60. Mark McKelvie

Ontario's two-year-old trotting colts kicked off the second half of their Grassroots season at the harness racing meeting at Georgian Downs on Tuesday evening with six impressive performances. "There were some good miles out there," said Thornton, ON resident Steve Byron. "They're getting their second or third start and they're starting to figure it out, a lot of them, and they're getting a lot better for sure." Byron piloted Manofmanyimages to a win in the fifth $18,000 Grassroots division, going gate-to-wire from Post 4. The duo rolled through fractions of :30.1, 1:01 and 1:30.4 without facing a challenge, cruising home two length winners in 2:00.4. Dynamic Edge and Cooper finished second and third. "He's a big strong colt, but he doesn't pay attention all the time," noted the reinsman. "He seems to be getting a little better." "He's a fast enough horse I think." Tuesday evening was the second time Byron has piloted the Manofmanymissions son for trainer John Bax of Campbellville, ON and owners Richard Gutnick of Blue Bell, PA, T L P Stable of Kearny, NJ and Joseph Lozito Jr. of Wayne, NJ. In their first Ontario Sires Stakes outing, at Mohawk Racetrack on July 28, Manofmanyimages made a late break as Byron sent him up the outside after the lead and the pair had to settle for fourth. "They had some issues just rigging him up properly and they were trying some things on him, but he's (Bax) got him pretty much sorted out now I think," said Byron. "Like I said, if he minds his manners and pays attention to everything he can trot." A $70,000 purchase from the Harrisburg Yearling Sale, Manofmanyimages moved into Bax's barn in early July after being qualified twice by New York-based trainer Ed Hart. With one fourth and one win in his first two Grassroots starts the colt has accumulated 58 points toward a berth in the post season. In addition to his win with Manofmanyimages, Byron recorded a runner-up finish with Rose Run Rudi, finishing in a dead-heat for second with Grego. Byron steers Rose Run Rudi for his brother David Byron of Thornton, James Cantelon of Thornton, David Cantelon of Bolton, ON and Craig Wallwin of Barrie, ON. The colts hit the wire four and one-half lengths behind Willyorwonthe, who recorded his second straight Grassroots victory for driver Mike Saftic of Campbellville and trainer, owner and breeder Bill Megens of Puslinch, ON. The heavy favourites took control heading for the :59.2 half and cruised home unchallenged in 1:58.4. The win was the Angus Hall son's third in five starts. Saftic also scored a win in the first Grassroots division, sprinting down the stretch with Money Mission to claim a one-half length victory over favourite Georgies Pockets in 1:59.2. Cool Creek Victory was two and three-quarter lengths back in third. Oakville, ON resident Rick Zeron conditions Money Mission for his partners Cool Cat Racing Inc. of Bryn Mawr, PA and Paul Marion of Marionville, ON. The Manofmanymissions son also has a second and a fifth to his credit through three Grassroots appearances. Thee Desperado picked up his second Grassroots trophy in the second division, squeezing up the inside to a neck victory over JLs Bad Moon Risin. Windsun Missile was one and one-half lengths behind the duelling leaders in third. Milton, ON resident Steve Condren engineered Thee Desperado's 2:00.2 victory for trainer Brent Belore of Embro, ON and owners Karen and Daniel MacIntyre of London, ON, Joshua McKibbin of Tillsonburg, ON and Nancy Newport of Ingersoll, ON. Another son of Manofmanymissions, Thee Desperado has a perfect 100 points through two Grassroots starts. Muscle Time added another win to his resume in the third division, leading the field by as many as nine lengths before sailing under the wire two lengths on top in 2:00.1. Fan favourite United BI settled for second, with Defi Normand rounding out the top three. Darryl Laver of Petrolia, ON bred, owns, trains and drives Muscle Time, who is a Muscle Mass son from his former race mare Spare Time Rozie. The last Grassroots trophy of the evening was captured by Wildwild Men, who jumped to the top of the division standings with a 2:00.3 score over Magic Missions and Sass. Robert Shepherd of Cambridge, ON crafted the gate-to-wire victory for trainer Isabelle Darveau of Cambridge, ON and owners Catheline Pelletier of Mirabel, OC and Chantal Gravel of St-Cyrille-de-Wendover, QC. Through the first four Grassroots events the Muscle Mass son has tallied two wins, one second and one fifth for a point total of 130. Wildwild Men will attempt to hold onto top spot when the two-year-old trotting colts and geldings make their fifth Grassroots start at Mohawk Racetrack next Tuesday, August 11. Ontario Sires Stakes excitement returns to Georgian Downs on Saturday, August 8 in the shape of the two-year-old trotting fillies, who will battle in their fourth Grassroots event. Ontario Horse Racing

CAMPBELLVILLE, July 3 - A determined Riveting Rosie turned in a career-best effort for an upset harness racing victory Friday night in the $40,000 Miss Versatility second leg at Mohawk Racetrack. A talented field of seven older trotting mares contested the second round of the Miss Versatility under perfect conditions at the Campbellville oval. The public placed the bulk of their support behind Indiana invader Allie Labrook, who was sent off as the 4/5 favourite, and the Dave Menary trainee Charmed Life, who was the second choice at 8/5. However, Riveting Rosie at odds of 23/1 played the role of spoiler in Friday's second leg. Driven by Paul MacDonell, Riveting Rosie sprinted to the lead and posted an opening-quarter of :27.4. Allie Labrook got away in second, while Charmed Life followed her in third. The two favourites followed along through the middle-half, as Riveting Rosie posted fractions of :56.4 and 1:25. In the stretch, Allie Labrook tipped to the outside and Charmed Life swung out to the far outside to take their best shot at the leader, but Riveting Rosie showed her grit and dug in to fight off the favourites and win by a neck in 1:52.4. Charmed Life edged ahead of Allie Labrook in the final strides to finish second. A star graduate of the Ontario Sires Stakes program, Riveting Rosie has now won two of six starts in her four-year-old season for trainer John Bax. She is owned by Bax's Parkhill Stud Farm, Don Allensen, J And T Stable and John Hayes. A daughter of Muscle Mass, Riveting Rosie now has career earnings of $943,153 and 13 career victories. The clocking of 1:52.4 established a new career-mark for Riveting Rosie. She paid $49.30 to win. Riveting Rosie The Miss Versatility Series will now shift to The Meadowlands for the third leg on July 18. The series will also make a stop at Tioga Downs on September 7, before wrapping up with the final at the Delaware County Fairgrounds on Little Brown Jug day. Caviart Scarlett delivers 105-1 shocker in Town Pro Series The Canada Day fireworks may have been Wednesday, but Caviart Scarlett put on her own fireworks show Friday night at Mohawk with a 105-1 upset victory in the second leg of the Town Pro. A field of ten three-year-old pacing fillies battled it out Friday in the $18,000 second leg division. The Frank Antonacci trainees Lindys Old Lady and Imagine Dragon captured the first leg divisions, but just a single division was a necessary Friday night. Lindys Old Lady was sent off as the 8/5 favourite and made a second-quarter move to the front. The favourite posted middle fractions of :55.1 and 1:23.3 with Southwind Geisha pressing at her first over and Fan Hanover elimination winner Moonlit Dance placed second over. Meanwhile, Caviart Scarlett paced along in seventh for the majority of the mile, but was angled to the far outside for the stretch drive. In the stretch, Moonlit Dance did not fire off her cover and it appeared Lindys Old Lady was going to go all the way, but in the late stages of the mile Caviart Scarlett came charging from the back to pick off the public's choice and deliver a stunning upset in 1:52. Lindys Old Lady had to settle for second, while Moonlit Dance was third. A daughter of Sportswriter, Caviart Scarlett is trained by Richard 'Nifty' Norman for owner Caviart Farms. The sophomore pacing filly was unraced at age two and was coming into her fifth career start Friday off a maiden breaking win on June 23 at Mohawk. The second leg victory established a new career-mark for Caviart Scarlett and doubled her earnings to $18,640. A $2 win ticket on Caviart Scarlett paid an incredible $211.20. Caviart Scarlett The $48,600 final of the Town Pro Series will take place next Saturday (July 11) at Mohawk, along with the $50,400 Summertime Final for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Mark McKelvie

Three months after moving to Campbellville after nearly 40 years in Peterborough, the veteran Ontario trainer’s Ontario-sired trotter Hemi Seelster pulled off a stunning 76-1 upset in the Goodtimes Stakes on the Pepsi North America Cup harness racing undercard.   Pepsi North America Cup Night was surreal for John Bax of Campbellville on a number of fronts. Not only did his Ontario-sired pupil Hemi Seelster pull off a stunning 76-1 upset in the $233,000 final of the Goodtimes Stakes against top Grand Circuit horses, the veteran Ontario trainer then presented the trophy to himself. The Goodtimes, for sophomore trotting males, is named for Bax’s former trotting great, a longtime warrior in the open trot at Mohawk and Woodbine Racetracks who was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2004 after earning more than $2 million on the track. Bax, 60, said he was numb as he headed for the winner’s circle on June 20 after the Goodtimes. “I just handed (the trophy) to my wife, Vicky. I was there to give it, so I certainly had no trouble standing on the other side and taking it,” Bax said, laughing. Adding to the surreal nature of the night, it took just five minutes for Bax to make the trip home after the races, rather than the usual two- or three-hour trek. In April, Bax moved to the site of the famed standardbred breeding outfit Glengate Farms in Campbellville that ceased breeding operations in 2005. Until April, Bax had been based in Peterborough for his entire 38-year training career — a stint in which he trained the winners of well more than $17 million (trainer records weren’t kept for the first 16 years of his career) and earned a berth in the Peterborough and District Sports Hall of Fame in 2008. “I drove a lot down the road, wore out a lot of trucks,” Bax said. “There were nights when I was heading home at midnight and they’ve got the 401 shut down in the middle of Toronto and you’re sitting there until 1:30 or 2 in the morning trying to get through and back home.” Needing to be up at the crack of dawn to train his stable compounded the wear and tear on the trainer. “I figured it out that if I was coming (to Mohawk) five days a week in the summer, that’s 20 hours plus (on the road),” Bax said. Bax said the move to the west side of Toronto, and closer to Ontario’s most lucrative tracks, only made sense because his 25-year-old son, Matt, is also a trainer. John also credits Matt for Hemi Seelster being in the Goodtimes in the first place. “To tell you the truth, I didn’t even realize at first that (Hemi Seelster) was in the Goodtimes. Matt slipped one by me. He was always high on him,” John said. “It’s his baby and he sometimes, in his youth, gets a little over-stimulated or high on a horse, whereas I’ve been down that road before.” Hemi Seelster, a son of Holiday Road out of Hollywood Beauty bred by Seelster Farms in Lucan, ON, was a $19,000 yearling purchase from the Forest City Yearling Sale in London — the exact same price John paid for Goodtimes as a yearling in 1992. Hemi Seelster is owned by John, Matt, John Houston of Cobourg, ON and the Goin To The Show Stable of Peterborough. John Bax pegged the gelding as more of an Ontario Sires Stakes horse than a top stakes horses. In against 1-5 favourite Canepa Hanover and 3-1 second choice French Laundry — both from the powerful Jimmy Takter stable — John said he was hoping for a fifth-place cheque with Hemi Seelster in the Goodtimes. But when Canepa Hanover and later French Laundry broke stride, John said he began counting horses in front of Hemi Seelster. “I really wasn’t paying so much attention to who was in front of us so much as the number there were… I don’t know if I breathed down the stretch,” John said. It was the first victory for Hemi Seelster in seven starts this year. All of this comes on the heels of one of John’s best years in the business. In 2014, John trained the winners of some $1.6 million. Two of John’s trainees — two-year-old trotting filly Stubborn Belle and three-year-old trotting filly Riveting Rosie — earned O’Brien Awards as the top horses in their division in Canada. Only 2001, when John earned some $1.85 million, won a Breeders Crown with Duke Of York at Woodbine and earned the O’Brien Award as Canada’s Trainer of the Year, was better, statistically, than last year. Beyond Goodtimes and Duke Of York ($900,000 lifetime), John has trained a long string of Ontario-sired trotting stars over his career, including: Define The World ($1.65 million), Charmed Life ($830,000), Northern Bailey ($775,000), Pepi Lavec ($650,000), Summer Indian ($435,000), Oaklea Odessa ($410,000), Oaklea Omega ($400,000), Elegant Supreme ($380,000) and Aimees Image ($230,000) Though Hemi Seelster is bound mostly for the Ontario Sires Stakes program this summer — of which John Bax is both a huge proponent and, historically, one of its most successful trainers — he said he might take a shot at the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks with Ontario-sired Stubborn Belle (Taurus Dream—Musetta Hanover) in August at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey. He said he hopes Ontario-sired Riveting Rosie (Muscle Mass—Rose De Vie Stena) can overcome allergy issues in time to race in the Breeders Crown at Woodbine in October. For now, the trainer is happy to enjoy an easier commute, easy access to Mohawk Racetrack to train horses and Hemi Seelster’s surprising Goodtimes victory. “I suppose at the end of the day it makes that $1,000 or $2,000 entry fee a little more bearable. It gives you a little hope,” he said. Dave Briggs Standardbred Communications Ontario Horse Racing (519) 782-7178   Please visit:

Campbellville, ON --- Hemi Seelster lit up the toteboard, upsetting at 76-1 odds after the heavily favored Canepa Hanover and French Laundry broke stride during this year’s edition of the C$233,000 Goodtimes final on Saturday evening (June 20) at Mohawk Raceway, part of the Pepsi North America Cup harness racing undercard. With the victory, it was an extra special night for the winning trainer John Bax. He not only conditions Hemi Seelster, but he was the trainer of the great trotter Goodtimes. Bax was already in the winner’s circle waiting to present the trophy to the winning connections, who happened to be him. “I am a little numb,” admitted Bax. “I always dreamed that I’d be able to give the trophy to myself and that was a little bit of a pipe dream. Yeah, this was quite a shock.” Hemi Seelster and driver Steve Byron’s trip to the winner’s circle started by getting away fifth as Rubber Duck bolted to the front in the early going. The 1-5 favorite Canepa Hanover made a bid for the lead as Rubber Duck posted the opening panel in :27. Jimmy Takter trainee Canepa Hanover broke stride just as he made the front so Rubber Duck was able to retain the lead. Covert Operative then vacated the pocket on the backstretch, passing his rival after a :57.3 half. The 5-2 second choice French Laundry, also trained by Takter, then took his turn for command, putting pressure on Covert Operative through the far turn. But French Laundry faltered as they passed the three-quarter marker in 1:25.4. Staying just off the constant action at the front, Hemi Seelster was fourth at the top of the stretch, surging past the pack with a :27.1 final quarter to score by 1-1/4 lengths over a late-closing The Bank in 1:54. Rubber Duck faded to third. "When (Canepa Hanover) made a break that sure helped, but I was just hoping to get a good trip and get away close and hopefully see what happens at the end of the mile and it worked out perfect," said Byron. "He's getting more manageable. He is a big strong horse and he showed he could compete tonight." The 3-year-old son of Holiday Road and Hollywood Beauty captured his first win in six starts this year, and his fourth career win in 16 outings. By winning the lion’s share of the purse, the brown gelding lifts his lifetime earnings to C$175,025 for Parkhill Stud Farm, Matthew Bax, John Houston, and Goin To The Show Stable. Hemi Seelster returned $155.10 and $110; there was no show wagering. from WEG Communications

CAMPBELLVILLE, May 30 - Ontario sired sophomore fillies were in the harness racing spotlight Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack for the finals of the WEG-SBOA Stakes. A group of ten fillies lined up on both the trot and the pace to contest the rich finals. The three-year-old filly trot final carried a purse of $179,661, while the pacing fillies battled for a purse of $177,661. The sophomore trotting fillies squared off in the first final of the night and O'Brien Award winner Stubborn Belle added to her trophy collection with a 1:55 victory. Driven by Paul MacDonell, Stubborn Belle, the 4/5 favourite, showed early speed to win the battle to the front ahead of a trio of fillies and posted an opening-quarter of :27.1. Battle Mage, who was parked around the first turn, was able to clear to the front as they began the journey down the backstretch, but MacDonell wasted no time circling back around to put Stubborn Belle once again on the lead at the half in :56.2. Stubborn Belle was then able to turn aside the challenge of Meadow Seelster around the final turn and opened up several lengths on the field. The public's choice trotted home in :29.2 to score a three-length victory. Meadow Seelster finished second, while Tymal Illbethere got up for third. Following the race, MacDonell said his filly showed improvements from her elimination victory a week prior. "She just seems to be getting better every week as we go," said MacDonell. "She's actually come a long way. She had a little incident early in the year (and) got behind a bit, but anyways she's back on schedule now." A daughter of Taurus Dream, Stubborn Belle is trained by John Bax and owned by Bax's Parkhill Stud Farm and Al Libfeld. She is now two for two to start the season and has visited the winner's circle seven-times in her career. Stubborn Belle is staked to several of the major Grand Circuit events this season and MacDonell thinks her conditioning will improve as the season progress to allow her to battle with the best fillies in the sport. "She's got the power and strength, it's just a matter of her conditioning kicking in and mid-season John's (Bax) horses usually get better and better, so I can see her doing that." The WEG-SBOA victory pushes Stubborn Belle's career earnings over $614,000. A $2 win ticket on the Bax trainee returned $3.70. Following the filly trot final, the sky opened up and downpour of rain soaked the Campbellville oval. In the final for three-year-old pacing fillies, Solar Sister prevailed in a stretch duel over Ms Mac N Cheese. Driven by Doug McNair, Solar Sister, who won her elimination last week, was able to get away in fourth, while Code One Hanover grabbed the early lead. In the second-quarter, Ms Mac N Cheese, the other elimination winner, moved from third to first and took the field by the half in :54.2. Solar Sister had to come first up around the final turn and engaged in a battle with the leader by the three-quarter pole in 1:23.1. In the stretch, the two elimination winners went toe-to-toe with Solar Sister edging ahead part way down the lane, but Ms Mac N Cheese battled back on the inside. The fillies slugged it out right to the wire and it was Solar Sister prevailing by a neck in 1:51.2. "I thought I had her (Ms Mac N Cheese) put away half way down the lane and she still came back right down to the wire, so it was a good race," said McNair post-race. "My filly raced tough first over. To win on a night like this she raced good." Wrangler Magic finished third and Delightful Hill finished fourth to round out the Superfecta. A daughter of Mach Three, Solar Sister is trained by Gregg McNair for owners David Willmot and Clay Horner. Saturday's victory improves Solar Sister's record to three for three this season and now gives her five career-victories. Last season, Solar Sister banked over $214,000 and wrapped up her season with a second-place finish in the Three Diamonds Stakes. "She got good at the end of last year and she's got good pedigree on her," said McNair. "She seems obviously a hundred percent, she's three for three and hopefully she keeps getting stronger." Solar Sister now has career earnings of over $326,000 and established a new career best with her 1:51.2 score. A $2 win ticket on the McNair trainee returned $4.20 to win. Mark McKelvie

CAMPBELLVILLE, May 28 - Harness racing trainer John Bax is no stranger to success, having collected nearly $20 million in lifetime earnings. On Saturday evening, the veteran conditioner will be looking to add another win to his collection with Stubborn Belle in the $129,661 WEG-S.B.O.A Final for three-year-old filly trotters at Mohawk Racetrack. Her first start of the season came in the eliminations a week prior, with an impressive win in 1:55.2. "I was real happy with her," said Bax. "I think it was a good tightener for her, we've got the inside (in the S.B.O.A. final) so I'm hoping she'll be just one race better. Touch wood, hopefully she stays healthy." The daughter of Taurus Dream spent her winter across the border before returning to the track, fresh and ready for her sophomore campaign. "She enjoyed Florida as much as I did! She's come back pretty good, a few hiccups here and there. She can be a bit hard on herself so we've got the odd bump and bruise. Despite that, I think she's getting back to where she needs to be." According to Bax, his trainee can certainly put the "stubborn" in "Stubborn Belle" and though somewhat calmer as a three-year-old, she still considers herself to be the boss. Heading into the final, she'll be looking to prove it to a strong field. "I think she's got as good a chance as any. Obviously I'm hoping for a win but I think she looks good in there. There's a couple new horses coming out of the woodwork and I'm sure they're going to be heard from." Bill Budd's Meadow Seelster certainly made herself known last week, finishing a strong second to Stubborn Belle after making a break at the start. Since returning to the track in 2015, she's continued to trot faster with each start. Another one to watch will be Second Sister as she looks to build upon her gate-to-wire 1:55 win in the second WEG-S.B.O.A elimination for Team McNair. "The three-year-old year, you always have to step up," said Bax. "It's a long year so I won't read too much into one race, but I'm looking forward to a good three-year-old season with her." In 2014, Stubborn Belle picked up another win off the track, capturing the O'Brien Award for Two-Year-Old Trotting Filly to cap off a season with earnings in excess of $500,000. She edged out fellow nominee Danielle Hall, who broke stride early in her elimination, rallying for sixth and the also eligible position in Saturday's event. "I felt disappointed for Carl (Jamieson)," said Bax. "It would have been nice if he could have gotten a good start in her somewhere. That's the problem with making all that money as a two-year-old, it's hard to put a horse in for their first start back and get a race where they don't get beat up by older horses. "I'm sure it's just a blip, (Danielle Hall) is a nice mare. She always liked to beat the good ones." Stubborn Belle will be headed next to Ontario Sires Stakes action and Bax has Grand Circuit events such as the Casual Breeze and Elegantimage stakes also on her radar. "I'm hopeful she'll be good enough for the Hambletonian Oaks in August. There's lots of racing for her, it's a long season so you don't want to stretch them out too much too early. It's going to be a good year." Saturday night's card at Mohawk will be highlighted by the WEG-S.B.O.A finals for both three-year-old filly trotters and pacers. The $129,661 final for trotting fillies is carded as Race 3, while the $127,661 final for sophomore pacing fillies will take place as Race 6. Post time is 7:25 p.m. Hannah Beckett for WEG Communications  

CAMPBELLVILLE, May 23 - Ontario sired three-year-old fillies were out in full force for the harness racing eliminations of the WEG-SBOA Stakes Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack. A pair of $25,000 eliminations were contested for both pacing and trotting divisions to determine the fields for next Saturday's finals. A group of 22 sophomore trotting fillies were split into two 11-horse divisions. In the first elimination, Stubborn Belle, last year's O'Brien Award winner, made her 2015 debut a winning effort in 1:55.2. Driven by Paul MacDonell, Stubborn Belle made a move from third to first in the second-quarter to take control at the half in :57.1. After posting a third-quarter of :28.2, Stubborn Belle trotted home under minimal urging to win by 2 ¼ lengths. Meadow Seelster, who made a break after the start, made a huge comeback to finish second. Summers Jewel, Battle Mage and Tymal Illbthere rounded out the top-five to secure spots in the final. A daughter of Taurus Dream, Stubborn Belle is trained by John Bax and owned by Al Libfeld and Bax's Parkhill Stud Farm. The sophomore trotting filly won five of 14 starts last season and compiled earnings of over $524,000. Stubborn Belle returned $2.90 to win. Stubborn Belle The second elimination saw Danielle Hall, last year's Ontario Sires Stakes champion, sent-off as the heavy favourite in her season debut, but an early break from the star filly tossed the division up in the air. Second Sister and driver Doug McNair showed early speed to grab the lead. Once on the front, McNair got to call all the shots and set fractions of :29, :58.1 and 1:26.4. In the stretch, Second Sister cruised home in :28.1 to win by three-lengths over first-up challenger Kaddy in 1:55. Yanks Ball Girl, Magic Shelley and Sumthintotalkabout picked up the remaining cheques to earn a spot in the final. Following her break, Danielle Hall caught the field and was able to finish sixth. A daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe, Second Sister is trained by Gregg McNair for owner Jarold Hawks. The trotting filly finished third last week in her season debut. Last season, Second Sister won three of eight starts and earned $55,760. Her clocking of 1:55 Saturday night established a new career mark. Second Sister paid $26.70 to win. Second Sister On the pacing side, a total of 20 three-year-old fillies were split evenly into two ten-horse eliminations. In the first elimination, Ms Mac N Cheese was able to overcome post-ten to win in 1:52.4. Driven by Sylvain Filion, Ms Mac N Cheese, the 2/1 favourite, sprinted off the gate and was able to make the front from the far outside. The public's choice set fractions of :26.4 and :55.4 before being challenged around the final turn. Ms Mac N Cheese reached the three-quarter pole in 1:24.1 with a first-over challenger at her wheel. In the stretch, the favourite turned aside all rivals to create some separation and paced home in :28.3 to win in 1:52.4. Code One Hanover, who got a two-hole trip, was able to close in on the leader in late stretch to finish second and narrow the margin of victory down to a length. Wrangler Magic, Capela and Southwind Ginger finished in the money to earn the final three spots in next week's final. A daughter of Badlands Hanover, Ms Mac N Cheese is trained by Richard Moreau for owner David Ratchford. The sophomore pacing filly is now two for two this season and nine for 12 in her career with over $84,000 in earnings. Ms Mac N Cheese lowered her career-mark by a fifth of a second with Saturday night's victory. She returned $6.10 to win. Ms Mac N Cheese In the second elimination, Solar Sister, the even-money choice, made it a sweep of the pacing eliminations by post-ten starters with a 1:53 victory. Driven by Doug McNair, Solar Sister sprinted to the front from post-ten and was able to reach the pylons at the opening-quarter in :26.2. The public's was then able to call the shots and posted fractions of :56 and 1:24.4. In the stretch, Solar Sister kept her momentum going and held off her rivals with a :28.1 final-quarter to win by a length. Delightful Hill came charging from the back to finish second. Win The Gold, Much Adoo and Twin B Honour rounded out the top-five. A daughter of Mach Three, Solar Sister is trained by Gregg McNair for owners David Willmot and Clay Horner. Her elimination victory improves her 2015 record to a perfect two for two and was the fourth win of her career. Last season, Solar Sister won two of 12 starts and banked over $214,000. Saturday's clocking of 1:53 established a new career mark for the McNair trainee. A $2 win ticket on Solar Sister paid $4.30. Solar Sister The post position draw for both finals was conducted following the eliminations. The elimination winners earned the right to select their posts. The $129,661 WEG-SBOA Stakes final for trotting fillies and the $127,661 WEG-SBOA Stakes final for pacing fillies will take place next Saturday (May 30.) Here is how they will lineup in next week's finals. WEG-SBOA - Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly Final 1. Kaddy - Steve Condren 2. Stubborn Belle - Paul MacDonell 3. Second Sister - Doug McNair 4. Summers Jewel - Mario Baillargeon 5. Battle Mage - Jack Moiseyev 6. Meadow Seelster - Jody Jamieson 7. Sumthintotalkabout - Rick Zeron 8. Yanks Ball Girl - Randy Waples 9. Tymal Illbthere - Trevor Henry 10. Magic Shelley - Chris Christoforou AE: Danielle Hall - Jody Jamieson WEG-SBOA - Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly Final 1. Much Adoo - Paul MacDonell 2. Ms Mac N Cheese - Sylvain Filion 3. Solar Sister - Doug McNair 4. Wrangler Magic - Yves Filion 5. Twin B Honour - Trevor Henry 6. Win The Gold - James MacDonald 7. Code One Hanover - Paul MacDonell 8. Southwind Ginger - Jody Jamieson 9. Delightful Hill - Jody Jamieson 10. Capela - James MacDonald AE: I Wonder Why - Steve Condren Mark McKelvie

TORONTO, November 15 - Riveting Rosie wasn't messing around Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack in preparation for next Friday's Breeders Crown final. The three-year-old daughter of Muscle Mass won a $20,000 conditioned trot in 1:53 to set a new Woodbine track record for three-year-old trotting fillies. Driven by Paul Macdonell for trainer John Bax, Riveting Rosie got away in third, but was quickly sent to the lead in the second quarter. Once on the lead, Riveting Rosie kept the tempo honest with fractions of :56.3 and 1:24.4 before trotting home in :28.1 to establish the new track record. The clocking of 1:53 shaved a fifth of a second off One More Ginny's track record from November of 2012. Last year's O'Brien Award winner as two-year-old filly trotter of the year, Riveting Rosie has now won five of 16 starts this season to increase her career bankroll to over $880,000. Her biggest victory this season was in the $250,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final at Mohawk on October 11th. The Bax trainee is now set for next Friday's $500,000 three-year-old filly trot Breeders Crown final at the Meadowlands. Eliminations were not required for the three-year-old filly trot division because only nine fillies entered. Riveting Rosie has drawn post position eight in next Friday's final. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG  

It might have taken a while, but trainer John Bax has gotten the best kind of “stubborn” from 2-year-old female trotter Stubborn Belle. “She’s a lot like her name, she’s a fighter,” Bax said. “You need that to have a good horse. “But it took a while to get on the same page with her. She was pretty single-minded. At first, you had to do things her way. As the year has gone on, she’s gotten a little more manageable. But there sure was a learning curve with her. She’d always rather fight than switch. “It’s frustrating sometimes, but when it goes right it’s pretty good.” Stubborn Belle starts from post seven in the second of two eliminations in the Breeders Crown for 2-year-old female trotters. The top five from each elim advance to the $500,000 final on Nov. 21. A daughter of Taurus Dream-Musetta Hanover, Stubborn Belle is owned by Al Libfeld and Bax’s Parkhill Stud Farm. She has won five of 12 races, including the Peaceful Way Stakes, and earned $448,354, a total good enough to lead all 2-year-old female trotters and trail only the colt Habitat. She enters her Breeders Crown elimination off a second-place finish to Smexi in the Goldsmith Maid. “A lot of times it’s a deal with the females that you have to let them think they’re boss, and usually they are,” Bax said. “It’s a fine line.” Stubborn Belle went off stride in her first two races, but has since won five of 10 starts and finished on the board a total of eight times. “She’s big and strong,” Bax said. “She actually looks like a colt. There’s nothing petite about her. Hopefully down the road she can keep it going. “At the end of the day, she’s been pretty good to me.” Wild Honey, who has won nine of 10 races and finished second in her only loss, is the 4-5 morning line favorite in Stubborn Belle’s elim. Wild Honey, a daughter of Cantab Hall-U Wanna Lindy, is trained by Jimmy Takter for owners Christina Takter, John Fielding, Herb Liverman and Jim Fielding. She heads to the Breeders Crown off a win in the Matron Stakes on Nov. 6 at Dover Downs. Multiple-stakes-winner Mission Brief, a daughter of Muscle Hill-Southwind Serena, is the 3-5 morning line favorite in the first elimination. She has won seven of 11 races for owners Burke Racing, Our Horse Cents Stables, J&T Silva Stables and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. She is the fastest 2-year-old trotter in history, thanks to a 1:50.3 win in October at The Red Mile, but has gone off stride in all four of her losses. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

October 11, 2014. Riveting Rosie backed up her Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final victory last year by doing the same thing this year, winning the $250,000 test for harness racing three-year-old trotting fillies at Mohawk Racetrack in 1:55. Driver Paul MacDonell sighted Riveting Rosie at the front from her post nine starting position, and she would stroll through fractions of :27.4, :57.1, and 1:26.2 while never facing a threat to her outside. The fillies began to fan out behind Riveting Rosie in the lane, but they just couldn’t get to her as she reached the wire half a length ahead of Margie (Sylvain Filion). Sweetie Hearts (Randy Waples), who had the pocket trip behind the eventual winner, snagged third. White Becomes Her (Mario Baillargeon) overcame post ten to get fourth and Muscle Babe (James MacDonald) finished fifth. “She got good at the right time of the year. We’re pretty happy with her,” said winning trainer John Bax. “She had an accident at the farm (explaining her slow start to her sophomore campaign) – scraped up her legs – with all the scar tissue; just little things were bothering her. She’s gotten through it. The race at Flamboro (September 21), when she won in the mud there in 1:57, she looked pretty good. I thought everything’s good. “She’s eligible down in Hoosier Park for the Moni Maker and she’s also eligible for the Breeders Crown at The Meadowlands.” Bax’s Parkhill Stud Farm of Peterborough, Ontario, also co-owns the victorious daughter of Muscle Mass with partners Don Allensen of Wyoming, J And T Stable of Newmarket, and John Hayes of Sharon, Ontario. Riveting Rosie, who was bred by Schare Adams and fetched $17,000 at the 2012 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, won for the fourth time from 14 attempts this year, and this was her tenth career victory. She has earned $401,680 in 2014 and $870,293 lifetime. The full results from tonight’s race card at Mohawk may be viewed Mohawk Results – October 11. By OSS News

Riveting Rosie was the standout harness racing two-year-old trotting filly in Canada last season but she struggled for that same dominance this year – until recently that is. The three-year-old daughter of Muscle Mass has had to overcome a number of issues this season including some nasty cuts to her back legs from a training accident prior to the start of her 2014 campaign which trainer John Bax treated with Manuka honey on the advice of his vet. “It’s been one thing after another with her this year, I’d love to see her finish the year strong,” Bax said shortly after Rosie finished second to the top filly Shake It Cerry in the Elegantimage final earlier this month. It would appear Bax is getting his wish. In her next race after that appearance, a $105,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold division, Rosie went to the top and never looked back to win by more than six lengths in 1:57 which equaled the track record despite the track being rated good. Tonight at Mohawk, in the final OSS Gold event for this division, Riveting Rosie was once again the best of her group by open lengths, winning in a new life best of 1:54, again over an off track. Rosie left from post six in the compact field of a half dozen in the second of two divisions and she was quick to the first quarter in :27. Rosie pulled Paul MacDonell to the half in :56.3 and three-quarters in 1:26. White Becomes Her came up to challenge in the final turn, and tucked in behind the leader down the stretch as she could not gain on Rosie who was home with more than four lengths to spare over White Becomes Her and Mayberry. Bred by Schare Adams of Kentucky, Riveting Rose sold for $17,000 at the Lexington Select Sale to Bax, Don Allensen, Wyoming, J And T Stable, Newmarket and John Hayes, Sharon, Ontario. Rosie’s summary on the year now reads 3-2-2 in 13 starts for $276,000 earned this year and $745,293 lifetime. In the first division Muscle Babe powered to the front early to hit the opening quarter in :27. Randy Waples pulled Sweetie Hearts out from second just past that point and she trotted by the half in :57. Miss Liv came up on the outside to challenge and that pair were neck and neck at the 1:26.2 third panel. Sweetie Hearts put away that challenger and was home first easily in 1:55. Kate Smith closed a ton to take second while Miss Liv held for third. Bob Key of Leechburg, Pa., bred and owns the winner, a daughter of Angus Hall who has four wins in 15 trips behind the gate this year for $280,000 in earnings. Ron Parsons trains the filly whose second dam is a full sister to American Winner, Super Pleasure, Jonlin, etc. The top fillies from the division will meet one more time in OSS action, on Super Final night, October 11, back at Mohawk. To view the results from tonight’s event, please click Mohawk Results - September 30. By OSS News

Stubborn Belle cruised to a new life mark in the first and fastest of two $105,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold divisions for two-year-old trotting fillies tonight at Mohawk. Danielle Hall captured the other division. Amoureuse Hanover and Doug McNair grabbed the lead early in the first test and got the girls by the opening marker in :27.3. She was passed by Youre Majestic whose lead didn’t last long as Paul MacDonell sent heavy favourite Stubborn Belle directly to the top. They passed the half in :56.1 and three-quarters in 1:25.1. No one could catch them down the lane as Stubborn Belle cruised to an easy victory in 1:54.1. Youre Majestic finished second followed by Lady Caterina. Trainer John Bax of Peterborough, Ontario, shares ownership of the winner, a daughter of Sir Taurus, with Al Libfeld of Pickering, Ontario. Bred by Hanover Shoe Farms, Stubborn Belle was an $85,000 yearling buy at Harrisburg. A winner of the Peaceful Way final in her most recent start, Stubborn Belle has five wins in nine tries this year for $361,000 in earnings. In the second division Stubborn Belle’s stablemate from the Bax barn, Juanitas Fury got away second behind Meganou who trotted by the opening quarter in :28. Just past that point MacDonell sent Juanitas Fury to the front and she hit the half in :57.3. She had company in the form of Danielle Hall at the 1:26.2 three-quarters. That gritty pair went head to head down the stretch with Juanitas Fury showing her determination to hang onto the lead and Danielle Hall just as determined to take it. She managed to narrowly edge Juanitas Fury at the wire in 1:55.2. Elegant Serenity was third. Jody Jamieson drove the winner for his father Carl Jamieson of Rockwood, Ontario who trains and co-owns with Winnipeg Racing of Concord, Ontario. A daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe who sold for $21,000 for breeder Walnut Hall Ltd. at the Lexington Select Sale, Danielle Hall improved her summary to 6-1-1 in nine starts for $253,000 banked. This was the final regular season OSS Gold event for these girls. The top point earners will hook up once more in the season ending Super Final on October 11 at Mohawk. To view the complete results from tonight’s program, please clickMohawk Results - September 25. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

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