Vallandingham holding the aces in Staats Series With After Alimony and R Journey Together among his stable representatives in Friday night's second leg of the Bob Staats Pacing series at Cal Expo, there is no question Gene Vallandingahm is holding a strong hand looking ahead to next week's final. The same can be said of the Vallandingham barn in general, which has benefited by an influx of new performers from the East, many of them racing under the A Piece of the Action LLC banner. At the moment, Gene has 36 horses here at Cal Expo and another half-dozen in action at Pocono Downs. "You have to go back to Hollywood Park in the 70s for a time that I had this many horses," Vallandingham noted. "You can say I'm just like Jack Benny, because I feel 39 again." For those who are sticklers about details, Gene officially turned 73 in September. He has made nearly 20,000 trips to the post in his career and has had his picture taken 2,965 times as of Friday evening's program. Getting back to the Staats, After Alimony and R Journey Together both reported home on top in their divisions of the opening leg with Gene in the sulky while being dispatched as the public choice. After Alimony went coast-to-coast in the faster mile of the pair, while R Journey Together spent some time In The Pocket behind modest fractions before asserting her authority in the stretch. "These are two real nice fillies and they had three or four weeks to get ready for the meet after they shipped in. Of the two, I would say After Alimony has probably benefited the most by moving from a five-eights track to a mile." Vallandinghan noted there are a couple of very nice older pacers who could be headed this way to compete at the head of the class, while he is on the lookout for an Invitational trotter back East who could make the trip to Sacramento and help bolster the stable in that area. Bob Staats, Joe Lighthill Series headline program The second leg of the Bob Staats Series for pacing fillies and mares, headed by After Alimony and R Journey Together; the beginning of the Joe Lighthill Trotting Series featuring Silverlode; and an Open Distaff Pace with Haggin Oaks in the spotlight are the main events on Friday night's card at Cal Expo. A 12-race card is on tap with first post set at 5:55 p.m. The Staats will go as the eighth on the program, the Lighthill goes in divisions and occupies the second and fifth-race slots and the Distaff Open is the third race on the evening. After Alimony and R Journey Together proved punctual favorites in the last week's divisions of the Staats for the combination of A Piece of the Action LLC and driver/trainer Gene Vallandingham. With just a single heat this time around, Gene will handle After Alimony while Steve Wiseman takes over the lines for R Journey Together. After Alimony is a 3-year-old daughter of Lis Mara who was second in her local debut on October 19 and has come back to post two sharp wins with Vallandingham at the helm. She made what proved to be the winning move at the quarter in the first of those scores, then went coast-to-coast as the even-money choice in her division of the Staats opening leg in a 1:58 flat tour. R Journey Together accounted for the other section that evening while also going off at even-money. She was used early, tracked to the lane and then proved clearly best as she drew off by three and three-quarter lengths for her second straight decision over this layout. The Joe Lighthill Series is for the trotting set and Silverlode figures to get plenty of attention over the next three weeks. A 7-year-old by British Sterling, this one carries the banner of the Desomer Stable with Steve Desomer at the controls. A winner of eight of 23 trips to the posts, Silverlode will be looking to add to a $70,000 bank account. Racing is now conducted on Friday and Saturday nights. Looking ahead to the Saturday card, there will be an Open Trot headed by Franks Best and an Open Pace that finds Phantom Dan facing a solid cast. By Mark Ratzky for Cal Expo Harness
I Luv The Nitelife heads into Saturday’s American National 3-year-old filly pace fresh off her stunning victory in the $500,000 Breeders Crown sophomore distaff pace on Oct. 19 at Pocono Downs. The venerable daughter of Rocknroll Hanover trounced her competition soundly in 1:50 by nearly four lengths. “She’s been at Odds On Acres since last Wednesday and she’s just jogged lightly all week,” said her trainer Chris Ryder. “She came out of her Breeders Crown win in really fine shape, and just seems to enjoy life.” Harnessed by Ryder for owners Richard and Joanne Young of Florida, I Luv The Nitelife has been driven by Tim Tetrick in all of her pari-mutuel starts this season. This familiar scenario follows closely on the heels of 2010 champion Put On A Show—who had these same connections and credentials. I Luv The Nitelife—with her Breeders Crown victory—erased her stablemate’s combined record earnings from her freshman and sophomore season($1,893,475), with her $1,907,867 totals. On Monday of this week, the Young’s cleverly challenged the connections of North America’s top male pacer, Captaintreacherous, to a match race on The Meadowlands’ opening night, on Nov. 23 at the East Rutherford, NJ one mile oval. All of the money from the race would go to charity,with the winning horse’s charity receiving 60% of the purse. “It’s a great idea the Young’s have come up with, and it’s for charity,” Ryder said. “It’s a great opportunity for both of these outstanding 3-year-olds, and a fantastic promotion for harness racing. It’s a win-win situation overall.” I Luv The Nitelife had a 31-day layoff and a pair of qualifiers between her double-heat Jugette victory at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in Ohio on Sept.18 and her Breeders Crown victory, and now has had 21 days since that last triumph at Pocono Downs. “She wasn’t eligible to anything at Lexington, and our main goal was to win the Jug and the Breeders Crown,” said Ryder. I Luv The Nitelife posted back-to-back miles of 1:51 and 1:51.2 in the Jugette, setting a world record of 3:42.2 for a combined two heats. “I wasn’t concerned about her racing the two heats; I was confident she could handle that,” Ryder noted. If she wins on Saturday night, I Luv The Nitelife has a chance to become just the fourth 3-year-old pacing filly in harness racing history to be honored with a Horse of the Year trophy, joining Rainbow Blue (2004), Bunny Lake (2001) and Fan Hanover (1981). A $60,000 yearling purchase by the Young’s at the 2011 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, I Luv The Nitelife now has 12 consecutive victories to her credit this year, with one third place finish in 13 trips postward this season. Her lone loss came at The Meadowlands on June 1 in a $150,000 New Jersey Sire Stake. Since then, her career has been a dream-come-true for her connections. “She’s a great horse, and great horses do great things,” said trainer Chris Ryder after her Breeders Crown victory. “Yes, there was a longtime in between races, but we just couldn’t find any suitable ones for her, so we qualified her.” This year I Luv The Nitelife also won the $205,608 Simcoe Stakesat Mohawk in 1:50, the $350,000 Valley Forge at Pocono in a career best 1:48.4,the $125,000 Miss New Jersey final (in 1:49) and elimination (in 1:50.3), the $184,250 Mistletoe Shallee (in 1:50), the $300,000 Lynch elimination (in1:50.1) and final (in 1:50) at Pocono, and the $384,044 Fan Hanover elim (in1:50.4) and final (in 1:49.1) in early June. No slouch as a freshman, I Luv The Nitelife earned $689,530 from four wins, four seconds and one third in ten 2-year-old starts, and was named Canada’s top freshman pacing filly, honored with that nation’s prestigious O’Brien Award. She’s slated to start in the Nadia Lobell after her start in the American National. Ryder said the star distaff takes all the traveling and racing in stride. “She sleeps a lot and is just kind of a plain-jane filly,” he stressed. “She’s never any trouble; in fact, you’d never know she was in the barn.” I Luv The Nitelife is the second daughter out of the $67,482-winning Camluck mare Lisjune, an 11-race winner who took a mark of1:50.4 at age four. Her granddam is the Abercrombie mare Lisheen p,3,1:52.3 ($518,405), who also produced Lisjune’s half-sister, the worldchampion Lis Mara (by Cambest) p,4,1:47.3 ($2,141,661); Lisagain (by DragonAgain) p, 4, 1:49.1F ($635,218); Lis Deo (by The Panderosa) p,2,1:50.2($353,755); Mr Dennis (by Dragon Again) p,3,1:51.1 ($152,410); Odds On Santi (by Jate Lobell) p,4,1:54.2 ($56,049); and Lislea (by Cam Fella) p,Q1:52.3($28,849), etc. by Kimberly Rinker for Balmoral Park
Two divisions of the first leg of the Bob Staats Pacing series and the Don Lovier Memorial Pace featuring Haggin Oaks and That's Mara have center stage at Cal Expo Friday evening. A 13-card is on tap as the Watch and Wager LLC meet will now find the trotters and pacers in action on Friday and Saturday nights. First post has been set at 6:10 for Friday's program. Gene Vallandingham figures to have a strong say in the opening leg of the Staats as his barn will have three representatives in each division, including last week's winners After Alimony and R Journey Together, both of whom he will guide. That's Mara also gives Gene a major look in the co-featured Lovier Memorial as she is coming off a game decision two weeks ago and should be well supported in the event. She will be taking on the likes of the hard-hitting Haggin Oaks, Strings, Scooter Babe and No Mo Parking. That event carries a $4,500 purse and goes as the third on the card, while the Staats divisions are scheduled as the seventh and twelfth contests. After Alimony deserves plenty of respect as the Staats series gets underway after turning in a pair of big races since arriving from the East Coast. Owned by A Piece of the Action LLC and reined and trained by Vallandingham, she finished nicely for second in her local debut and then proved a punctual 3-5 favorite in last week's tour in a 1:57 flat performance. R Journey Together is a 3-year-old daughter of Western Ideal who races for the same connections. Like her stablemate, she was a runner-up in her local debut after coming in from Pocono Downs and followed with a trip to the winner's circle last week as the odds-on choice. That's Mara looks to make it two straight in the Lovier and could be part of a big night for A Piece of the Action LLC and Vallandingham. The 4-year-old Lis Mara offspring took the measure of an optional claiming field on opening night, was hard used early and paid the price at second asking here and then rebounded to hold safe by a neck with this group last time. by Mark Ratzky for Cal Expo Harness
The maiden-breaking freshman Lisplaced put an end to Need You So Bad's undefeated win streak in the $7,500 third leg of the Robert Millbank Breeders Stakes on Sunday at Fraser Downs. Owned and bred by local trainer Rod Therres and Blair Miller of Langley, B.C., the Lis Mara-Jennys Place gelding sat near the back of the seven-horse field early on before moving up on the attack around the final turn under the guidance of Serge Masse. Meanwhile, Need You So Bad (Bill Davis) had worked his way to the front of the field past the :28.1 opening panels and maintained an uncontested two-length lead through middle splits of :57.2 and 1:27.1 in search of his seventh straight win. But Lisplaced was quickly gaining ground and collared Need You So Bad at the top of the stretch en route to the 1:58.1 victory over the "good" surface. Need You So Bad held on for second-place honours three lengths behind over the closing second over Kootenay Harper (Jim Marino). Lisplaced earned his first career win while making his seventh start. In previous legs of the B.C. Breeders Stakes, he finished third and was a runner-up to Need You So Bad. Sent postward as the 13-1 fourth choice in a field scratched down to seven, Lisplaced paid $28.30 for the upset win. The fourth leg of the Robert Millbank Breeders Stakes is scheduled for next Sunday, November 3. B.C. Breeders Classic Day featuring all of the divisional finals will be held on Monday, November 11. To view Sunday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Sunday Results - Fraser Downs. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca
Steven Reid is currently enjoying a holiday in Hawaii, but the weather isn’t the only think heating up this week for Reid. So is his stable back home, meaning his training partner Simon McMullen has a busy week ahead. “We have runners at Cambridge, Alexandra Park, and Addington, so it’s all on,” said McMullen “Stable employee Michael Blakemore headed south with Easy On The Eye and Franco Nikau this morning. ”They arrived in at 6am and are being stabled at Spreydon Lodge,” he added. McMullen said he was stoked with Easy On The Eye’s Spring Cup win. But admits it is hard to see him beating either of the big two, Christen Me and Terror To Love, in Friday’s Canterbury Classic. “We were pleasantly surprised with his Spring Cup win as we thought he would be a run short, so either he was more forward than we thought or he has really stepped up this time in. Hopefully it is the latter,” he laughed. McMullen said that in his opinion Easy On The Eye is the third best horse in Friday’s $40,000 feature, and believes that’s where he should be in the betting order. “In saying that, they are all good horses and a lot of them have beaten him before. But I do think he is a better horse now than he was then,” he added. McMullen and Reid also have talented four-year-old Franco Nikau engaged at Addington, and he looks more of a realistic winning chance. “Steven and I both have a very big opinion of him, and think he will eventually work his way through to open class. “He is down there to qualify for the $40,000 Show Day Futurity,” said McMullen. “There is also a $21,000 race for him next week,” he added. McMullen has no qualms about Franco Nikau going right-hand, and even went as far to say he will be better. But he does think the son of Lis Mara will improve on anything he does on Friday. “He still has a bit of strengthening up to do. I think he will be an even better horse in 12 months time. Meanwhile, McMullen will be on-course at Alexandra Park on Friday, where he has Charge Forward and Kiwi Ideal engaged in the feature 5-7 win pace “We are rapt with how Charge Forward has come back, but he was a bit average at the recent workouts, so that is a slight concern. Still, from the front mark he looks a good each-way chance. As does Kiwi Ideal, who McMullen thinks will have benefited greatly of his fresh-up run. “He missed a workout before that race, so he should strip a much better horse this week.” When asked what he rated as best overall chance of the week, McMullen said he was very bullish about the chances of maiden trotter Jogo Bonito, who goes around in the fifth race at Alexandra Park. “He seems to be getting better every start. I expect him to be very hard to beat.” By Mitchell Robertson
ALBERTA DOWNS National Debt became the fastest two-year-old pacer in Alberta Downs history on Sunday afternoon in just his second start, defeating a field of more experienced rivals in 1:53.3. The Allamerican Native colt is now undefeated in two starts for trainer/driver Kelly Hoerdt and co-owners Blair and Erna Corbeil of Beaumont, Alta. National Debt sat gapped out in fifth for most of the mile in a $4,500 conditioned pace while favoured sophomore Bettor In The Bank carved out fractions of :27.4, :57 and 1:25.4 in search of his fifth straight win. But National Debut unleashed :26.4 final quarter speed to propel him into the top spot. His winning margin was more than three lengths. Bettor In The Bank settled for second and the pocket-sitting three-year-old Cabo Real finished third. National Debt lowered the freshman track record by two-fifths of a second. The former mark was set by two-year-old pacing colt Wrangler Betonme in 2011. Alberta-sired two-year-olds took the stage later on the card in three Alberta Shooting Star divisions, ranging in purses from $18,767 to $19,067, and another record was set. Blue Eyed Cowboy ($6.40) established a new 1:54.4 track record for two-year-old pacing geldings as he overtook the pacesetting Pass The Port in deep stretch and held off Outlaw Last Chance by a head. The Brandons Cowboy gelding shaved four-fifths of a second off The Big Heist's former record. Bill Tainsh Jr. was the winning driver for trainer/owner Rod Starkewski of Lamont, Alta. The win was Blue Eyed Cowboy's first in ABSS action and second from six pari-mutuel starts. The late sire Brandons Cowboy's legacy continues to live on as his offspring completed a sweep of the Shooting Star with other divisions going to J J J Stables' Comes Home First ($2.30), a 1:56.1 winner for driver Jim Marino and trainer Lance Ward, and the maiden-breaking Incognito Cowboy ($12.50), a 1:58.1 winner for trainer/driver Keith Clark, who also co-owns with Doris McDougall of Cochrane, Alta. and Calgary's Verne Rea and Laurence Swalm. Both posted win margins of more than six lengths. Comes Home First has now won all five of his pari-mutuel starts, including divisions in all three ABSS legs. The Alberta-sired two-year-old pacing colts and geldings will wrap up their ABSS season in the Battle of Alberta Super Finals on Saturday, Nov. 2 at Northlands Park In other action, Revolver ($6.90) and driver Brandon Campbell took the $8,500 top class in 1:53.1, scoring by nearly five lengths over favourite Cowboy Caper and Hoerdt. Glenn Lutz trains the six-year-old pacer, who notched his 20th career victory for the Estate of Harvey Poffenroth of Calgary. To view Sunday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Sunday Results - Alberta Downs. St. JOHN’S RACING Sophomore pacer Dustylane Wildbill took top honours winning the featured stakes event at St. John's Racing and Entertainment Centre on Sunday's harness racing card, which was sponsored by Meridian Farms. Dustylane Wildbill romped to a five and a quarter length victory, stopping the clock in a career-best clocking of 2:03 in the $2,200 featured sixth race for two and three-year-old Newfoundland-owned pacers. Freshmen Salmonier Storm and Son Of Rocknroll rounded out the top three finishers. Shane Forward was in the sulky for trainer Scott Forward and local owner Joanne Forward. The Meridian Farms-bred colt is a son of Ss Sand Dollar, who has won half of his 12 career starts. This week's $1,190 Preferred class, sponsored by Rene Allard, was also won by the driver-trainer team of Shane and Scott Forward as Inspired Art drew off by nine lengths in the stretch. Carl Stafford's eight-year-old pacer hit the wire in 2:01.3 with Muzzysenglishbaby and Machthemoment finishing second and third, respectively. Team Forward also won the opener with five-year-old pacing mare K Ngs Hurricane edging out Brandishing by a head in 2:11.3. Another Ss Sand Dollar offspring, the winner is owned by Christine Hedges and Jacqueline Smith, and bred by Meridian Farms. To view Sunday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Sunday Results - St. John's Racing. SUNBURY DOWNS Trainer/driver Paul MacLean worked out a perfect pocket trip aboard sophomore filly Ideal Odds to win the $18,700 final of the Late Bloomer Pacing Series on Sunday at Sudbury Downs. Stablemate Vijay Scam set the tempo with fractions of :29.3, 1:00.1 and 1:30 over the sloppy surface with the field stacking up into the stretch. But Ideal Odds came through to prevail in 2:02, scoring by three-quarters of a length over Hot N Shooting. Vijay Scam edged out Ok Eros and Fools Run Around for third one length behind. With a win in the opening leg of the series on Sept. 15 and a second-place finish by a nose in the Sept. 22 round, Ideal Odds was sent postward as the second choice on the odds board and returned $5.70 to win. After going winless in four starts as a freshman, she has only missed the board once in 14 starts this year. The Western Ideal filly has won six times while pushing his bankroll to $30,270 for owner B. Michael Timpano of Phelpston, Ont. Maclean also drove Mellow Jenny ($13.90) to a 2:02 victory in the $4,500 Fillies & Mares Preferred 2 Pace by a quarter-length over Carly Hollywood for trainer Philippe Belanger. Another Belanger trainee, Stable Eyes ($3.80), won the $4,200 Not Listed Preferred in rein to Mike MacNeill. She prevailed in 2:01.3 by half a length over No Teasing Me and MacLean. Sophomore gelding Mr Why ($8.70) and Wayne MacLean won the $7,500 Late Bloomer Consolation in 2:02.2 by two and three-quarter lengths. The Late Bloomer Series was for non-winners of one race or $15,000 (fillies and mares $18,750) lifetime as of Sept. 2, 2013. To view Sunday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Sunday Results - Sudbury Downs. TURO RACEWAY Three-year-old pacing colt The Rev led Sunday afternoon's Carl & Marg MacKenzie Memorial Stakes winners with a 1:56.3 triumph in the opening division at Truro Raceway. The MacKenzie Memorial was split into five $7,682 divisions for three-year-old colt and filly pacers. Trained and driven by Danny Romo, The Rev ($3.10) fought off J B Bolt through early fractions of :27.4 and: 56.4 in the first colt division and then drew clear en route to three-quarters in 1:27. The popular son of Western Paradise cruised home in :29.3 for the one and a half length triumph over pocket-sitter Forever Paradise and the wide rallying Watersides Kipper. The consistent colt now boasts seven wins and four seconds in 12 sophomore starts for Nova Scotia owners Robert Skinner, Jeffrey Skinner, Stephen Tufts, and the Glb Stable. Trainer/driver Kenny Arsenault took the other colt divisions with Untouchable One ($2.70) going wire-to-wire for his fifth win in a row in 1:57 and J J Nitro ($7.10) rallying three-wide off cover to prevail in 1:58. Arsenault was also in the sulky as Mike Campbell-conditioned Rose Valley ($5) went first over to win her filly division in 1:57.2. Icandothat ($4.30) front-stepped her way to victory lane in the other filly split in a matching time of 1:57.2 for trainer/driver Ryan Ellis. The Arsenault stable also collected a win in the $10,200 Nova Scotia Series Stakes for two-year-old colt pacers with the Hilliard Graves-owned and driven Waterside Light ($13) converting off a pocket trip to win by more than two lengths in 2:00.2. The win was the Lis Mara colt's fourth (consecutive) in seven starts. To view Sunday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Sunday Results - Truro Raceway. INVERNESS RACEWAY Junebugs Baby closed out Inverness Raceway's Sunday afternoon card of harness racing with a bang as he circled a field of six top Nova Scotia pacers and drew off to an impressive open length victory in the featured $3,750 Inverness Invitational Greg Sparling drove the four-year-old son of Western Paradise to the six length triumph in 1:57.2 over early race leaders Art I Special and Redmond Doucet. Lils Destiny and John Hawco rounded out the top three finishers. Dominion, N.S. horseman Fraser Turnball trains and co-owns the homebred with John Turnbull Jr. of Glace Bay, N.S. The Atlantic Sires Stakes graduate now boasts a career record reading 18-10-2 in 36 starts with earnings totalling $67,639. Junebugs Baby paid $3.40 to win as the bettors' choice. To view Sunday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Sunday Results - Inverness Raceway. SUMMERSIDE RACEWAY Big League and All Turain won their respective $3,500 first leg divisions of the Island Pacing Championship, presented by Meridian Farms, Sunday at Red Shores Summerside. Big League, owned by Johan Moase of Cornwall, P.E.I., gave Corey MacPherson his fourth winner of the day when he caught fraction-setter Wild Dragon at the head of lane and drove on to victory in 1:55.4. Leading Camdidate came flying late to grab second while Narragansett finished third. All Turain won his fourth in a row in the second division of the Island Pacing Championship for Brodie MacPhee in 1:55.1. MacPhee tipped the Trevor Hicken trainee off the back of Touch Of Lightning to capture his fifth win from 18 starts this season. Lee Hicken of Charlottetown co-owns the pacer with his trainer. Touch Of Lightning was right there for second while Lucky Encounter completed the triactor. War Cry Ranger won the Isabelle & Ivan Cameron Memorial in an impressive 1:57.2. Brian Andrew did the driving for his co-owners Bill and Blake Andrew. MacPherson’s other winners on the program came with No Pain Intended for Harold Hill, Lets Make Ideal owned by Mikeala Lustic, and Bizzy Izzy for trainer Jeff Wallace. MacPhee had a driving double on the program also winning with Selkirk Stable's Roscoes Child. The second leg of the Island Pacing Championship will take place on Saturday, October 5 at Charlottetown Driving Park with the final set for Sunday, October 13. To view Sunday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Sunday Results - Summerside Raceway. Reprinted with permission from www.standardbredcanada.ca
CAMPBELLVILLE, ON — Last season Gregg McNair clinched his first Johnston Cup title with three Grassroots Championship victories. This year the Guelph resident could watch Saturday’s festivities from the Mohawk Racetrack grandstand and still take home the Ontario Sires Stakes program’s leading trainer award. After jumping out to an early lead in June McNair has been unstoppable and currently sits 129 points ahead of his nearest rival, Puslinch resident Richard Moreau. The horseman has raced 24 different pacers and nine trotters this season, making winner’s circle appearances in every division except the two-year-old trotting colt. The trainer will only harness entries in two Grassroots Championships this season, but his starters make up almost one-third of the two-year-old pacing filly field and are headlined by division point leader Momara. “She’s had a surprisingly good year,” says McNair of the Lis Mara filly, who will start from Post 7. “She always had a lot of potential, but she wasn’t just the greatest gaited thing all winter, so she’s been a nice surprise.” McNair shares ownership of Momara with Leonard Gamble of Etobicoke and Don MacDonald and David Kryway of Amherstburg. The partners also bred the winner of $65,634, who has not been bested in Grassroots action since the July 2 season opener at Georgian Downs. McNair’s son Doug will steer Momara in Saturday’s $50,000 test, which is slated for Race 8. Momara’s stablemate Can Art finished third in the point standings and will attempt to capture the division title from Post 4. A daughter of Artistic Fella and former McNair trainee Canadette, who won $449,634 in her racing career, Can Art has always ranked near the top of the trainer’s freshman pacing filly group, which also includes the American-bred star Precocious Beauty ($376,062). “She trained down real big last winter,” says the horseman. “She’s a little like her grand dam, Legacy of Fame ($861,061). You get floating along with her and you really don’t realize how fast you’re going.” Chatham resident Rob Chapple bred and owns Can Art, who comes into the Championship off a three and one-quarter length win in the Sept. 11 Grassroots event at Grand River Raceway. The final member of McNair’s potent two-year-old pacing filly trio is Regally Ready, who also reeled off a win in the last regular season event, posting a 1:56.4 personal best over the Grand River oval. The Royal Mattjesty daughter, owned by Hutt Racing Stable of Paoli, PA, finished sixth in the point standings and will start from Post 2 on Saturday. “She’s got a lot better that mare. She’s stronger now than she was at the start of the year,” says McNair. “She’s got gate speed and she’ll race from out of it too.” The trainer’s fourth starter is three-year-old pacing colt Southwind Amazon, who gets Post 4 in the tenth race. The Camluck colt found the winner’s circle for the first time this season in the Sept. 8 Grassroots event at Clinton Raceway where he stopped the teletimer at 1:56.4. “I don’t think he got beat in the Grassroots as a two-year-old,” notes McNair. “But we tried to switch him over to the Gold at the end of last year and it ended up he had a cracked P1 bone or something. He had to have surgery on it. “He’s come back, but he’s not as dominant as he was,” the trainer continues. “The rest caught up to him I guess.” After going four-for-four in the Grassroots last season Southwind Amazon posted one win, two seconds and three thirds in six regular season starts, putting him fourth in the sophomore pacing colt point standings. Jarold Hawks of Jeddo, MI owns the winner of $94,184 and Doug McNair will be in the race bike for Saturday’s test. Mohawk Racetrack raises the curtain on its Saturday, Sept. 21 program at 7:25 pm, and turns the spotlight on the province’s best Grassroots competitors in Races 2 through 6 and 8 through 10. Race 7 features the $284,000 Milton Final for aged pacing mares, highlighted by former Ontario Sires Stakes stars Monkey On My Wheel and Voelz Hanover. For complete entries please go to http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/racing/entries/data/e0921mohsn.dat
Those betting on the Horsham meeting on Monday September 16 got their fingers burnt, when Bungaree (Ballarat) based trainer “Ash” Herbertson snared the first two races on the program at juicy odds. Four year old Blissful Hall/Princess Yum Yum mare Gelese brought up two wins in succession by taking the Get Well Gary Scott Pace for C0 class over 2200 metres paying Supertab odds of $11.90. Driven by Terang “young gun” Jason Lee, Gelese was given the run of the race from the pole following the pacemaker Confusion Reigns (gate three), one of two runners from the Kerryn Manning barn, with stablemate Willow Robyn going for a hat-trick as a short priced $1.60 favourite. When Willow Robyn rushed up three wide from last in the final circuit, he appeared to have the race well in his keeping after dashing clear on straightening, with Gelese being extricated into the clear. Finishing full of running, Gelese bloused Willow Robyn in the last bound to score by a nose in 2-00.7, with Armbro Speedster third after racing in the open. Nine year old Ultimate Falcon/Left Tycoon mare Ultimate Tycoon returned to the winners list after an absence of 25 months when greeting the judge in the Westvic Race Pix – Matt Craven Pace for C1 class over 2200 metres, with ironicly Matt Craven in the sulky. A winner of six races in 122 stars prior to the race, Ultimate Tycoon produced a career best performance after being driven forward from gate five to park outside the heavily supported pacemaker Mister Seelster (gate six) which had little difficulty in assuming control shortly after the start. Refusing to give in on straightening, Ultimate Tycoon ($5.10) showed previously unseen strength in proving too strong for Mister Seelster ($2.90), winning by a margin of 4.2 metres in a rate of 2-03.6. Vee Jay Jazz (four back the markers finished third). Terang’s Matt Craven who is driving in rare form at present can do nothing wrong of late and brought up a double when 4-Y-0 Sealed N Delivered/Lady Bullville gelding Ynobe Coby scored a big win in the Betta Electrical Horsham – Peter Manning Pace for C0 class over 1700 metres in a rate of 1-58.6. Trained at Elliminyt (Colac) by Courtney Slater, Ynobe Coby bred and raced by Ebony Slater settled in the moving line closer to last than first after starting from gate two on the second line, with the Mildura visitor Kilbirnie North View leading from the pole. Set alight at the bell to join the leader for the final circuit, Ynobe Coby went into overdrive on turning and raced away to register a 9.5 metre margin over Kilbirnie North View and Artois Stone which trailed the favourite. Jason Lee (cousin of Matt Craven) was also to chalk up a double after winning the Conway Pies – Jayson Finnis Pace for C1 class over 2200 metres aboard the Michelle Manning (Great Western) trained 5-Y-0 Elsu/Whatsonyamind gelding Pacquiao after taking a concession. Despite sitting in the open from gate five outside Bohemian Lombo (gate two), Pacquiao outstayed his rivals to win well by 3.9 metres in advance of Garabaldi Union which followed him all of the way, with Rising Power a stablemate of the winner third from near last. The mile rate 2-01.1. Astute Narracoorte (S-A) part-owner/trainer Greg Scholefield has made many successful raids on Victoria in the past and kept his record intact when smart 4-Y-0 gelding Glenferrie Rustler scored in the Grahan Eeles Saddlery – Cheap Tint Pace for C2 & C3 class over 2200 metres. Taking a concession for Mount Gambier’s Jayson Finnis, Glenferrie Rustler (Lis Mara/Exceptional Lass) led throughout from gate three in defeating a game Valentino Rustler which raced outside him, going down by 1.1 metres in 1-58.9, with Wipethesmile third after trailing the winner. It was Glenferrie Dreamer’s 12th victory in 19 outings, the majority being in restricted company in his home state. Local trainer Ken Exell would have received a tremendous thrill when his bargain priced 8-Y-0 Allawart Ray/Allawart Liz gelding Allawart Ugo scored in the Bunnings Horsham – Ken Exell Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2200 metres in a leisurely rate of 2-06.9. With Hamilton reinsman Rod Barker in the sulky, Allawart Ugo stepped cleanly from a 20 metre handicap, avoiding a couple of gallopers in the early stages to lob three back in the moving line with Peter Manning’s Sunnyandcher leading. Trailing Ollie Nova ahead of him three wide into the final bend, Allawart Ugo ran home strongly out wide on straightening to gain the day by 2.3 metres from Ollie Nova with the hot favourite Knapdale Girl a disappointing third 2.5 metres away after trailing the pair. by Len Baker
ELORA, ON - Father and son Gregg and Doug McNair captured three of five Grassroots divisions at Grand River Raceway on Wednesday in a dominant display that secured three of their freshman pacing fillies a berth in the Grassroots Championship. The McNair's exceptional evening got under way in the first $18,000 division with Regally Ready. Starting from Post 3 the Royal Mattjesty daughter cruised away from the starting gate and watched from third as Savhorsrideacowboy rolled through a :27.4 quarter and a :57.2 half. Doug McNair sent the fan favourite after the leaders heading for the 1:26.2 three-quarters and Regally Ready rocketed away to a six length triumph in a personal best 1:56.4. Gregg McNair conditions Regally Ready for Hutt Racing Stable of Paoli, PA and sent the filly out in all six regular season Grassroots events, garnering one win, three seconds, one seventh and one ninth for a point tally of 127 and a berth in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship. In the third division Doug McNair wasted no time putting Can Art on the lead from Post 4. The Artistic Fella daughter had a one length lead by the quarter pole and extended that to three and one-quarter lengths by the finish, halting the teletimer at 1:56.2. Robert Chapple of Chatham bred and owns Can Art, who wrapped up the regular season with three wins, one fourth and one sixth, putting her third in the division standings with 161 points. The two-year-old pacing fillies will be led into the post season by McNair trainee Momara, who recorded her fifth Grassroots win in the fourth division. The Lis Mara daughter and Doug McNair dominated the talent laden field from the start, sailing home six lengths on top in 1:56.3. Gregg McNair shares ownership of Momara with Leonard Gamble of Etobicoke, Don MacDonald of Amherstburg and David Kryway of Amherstburg. The McNair's came within a nose of a fourth trip to the winner's circle in the last division when Therese Killean almost reeled in pacesetter and heavy favourite Itsa Surprise Tome. The fillies hit the wire in 1:59. The other Grassroots division, the only one which did not feature a McNair entry, was captured by Skippin By in 1:58.1. Doug McNair finished third with Blair Burgess trainee Double Joy. The top 10 point earners will now begin preparations for the Sept. 21 Grassroots Championship at Mohawk Racetrack, and Doug McNair will begin deliberations about which of his father's trainees he will steer in the season finale. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Grand River Raceway on Friday with three Gold Series divisions for the two-year-old pacing colts. For complete results Photo 1: Doug and Gregg McNair of Guelph celebrate at Grand River Raceway after winning three Grassroots divisions, with two-year-old pacing fillies Regally Ready, Can Art and Momara, on Sept. 11. Iron Horse Photo Photo 2: Momara and driver Doug McNair of Guelph post a 1:56.3 victory in their Grassroots division at Grand River Raceway on Sept. 11, wrapping up the regular season at the top of the two-year-old pacing filly standings. Iron Horse Photo For up to date point standings, race replays, and more Sandra Snyder
Wednesday September 11 will forever remain in the memory bank of young Avenel concessional reinsman Joshua Aiken, as he guided his first winner when fully American bred 4-Y-0 Yankee Boy/Racy Remarque entire Chevals Racer scored in the Wangaratta Stock Foods & Farm Supplies Trotters Mobile for T0 class over 2190 metres at the Wangaratta HRC fixture held at Shepparton, with proud parents David & Colleen cheering him home. Trained by David, Chevals Racer began with a wing on every foot from gate five to lead and rated to perfection, ran out an easy 14.2 metre victory in a mile rate of 2-03.1 from the Chris Lang trained pair of Did I Imagine That (three wide last lap from last) and Kyvalley Rancher (three back the markers). It was Josh’s third registered race drive as he had finished third aboard Wolfpack behind Itcan Happen in the Warby Street Butchery Pace for C0 class over 1690 metres after leading and fourth to stablemate Quick Jet with Lets Go Rabbitoh in the Wangaratta Members Pace for C0 class over 2190 metres – the first two races on the program. It was a great night for the stable, as apart from Quick Jet leading throughout with Chris Alford in the sulky, David was successful with 4-Y-0 Lis Mara/Triple Franco entire Our Warwick Lad in the Naish Security Shredding Pace for C2 class over 2190 metres. Starting solo on the second line, Our Warwick Lad settled three back in the moving line, before making an early move to assume control mid-race. Travelling boldly throughout, Our Warwick Lad coasted to the wire 10.7 metres in advance of Cream Of The Team which led out from gate five before taking a trail on the winner, with the red-hot favourite Sword And Pistol third after racing in the open after following the winner forward. The mile rate 2-00.3. Kialla trainer Peter Hornsby scored a well deserved victory with ultra consistent mare The Pearl Of Paris in the Avian Park Trotters Handicap for T1 or better class over 2190 metres. Driven by Shepparton local Stephen (Boyo) Boyington, The Pearl Of Paris stepped safely from the 10 metre mark and was immediately sent forward to stride past Red Hot Chilli which had crossed Silver Memory shortly after the start. Always looking the winner, The Pearl Of Paris defeated Just Call Me Earl out wide off a three wide trail last lap by 1.9 metres, with the outsider Miss Kai Ching using the sprint lane from near last to finish third. The mile rate 2-06.3. On what was a good night for the Goulburn Valley, revitalised 8-Y-0 Washington Vc/New York Glow gelding Fergus Mactavish trained at Nathalia by Noel Tyndall and driven by Donna Castles taking a concession, snared the J & T Joinery Wangaratta Pace for C1 class over 2190 metres and Ardmona trainer Doc Wilson’s very much in-form 6-Y-0 D M Dilinger/Nora Barnacle also driven by partner Donna Castles, brought up a hat-trick of wins by taking the Wangaratta Stock Foods & Farm Supplies Pace for C3 & C4 class over the same journey. Len Baker
ELORA, ON - Grand River Raceway fans will witness a heavyweight showdown in the fourth of five two-year-old pacing filly Grassroots divisions on Wednesday, Sept. 11. Ranged along the starting gate in the eighth race will be four of the fillies currently ranked among the top 10 point earners, including division leader Momara, who has not been bested since the Aug. 2 Battle of the Belles at Grand River where she finished second to stablemate Lady Shadow. Aside from the Battle of the Belles Final Momara's only other loss through seven lifetime starts came in the Grassroots season opener at Georgian Downs where she finished second. The Gregg McNair trainee boasts a Grassroots point tally of 225 from four wins and one second and will take aim on win number five from Post 1 on Wednesday. Guelph resident McNair shares ownership of the Lis Mara daughter with Leonard Gamble of Etobicoke, Don MacDonald of Amherstburg and David Kryway of Amherstburg. First in the group of fillies hoping to best Momara is Shadows Wonder, who will line up to the division leader's right at Post 2. The Shadow Play daughter is riding her own two race win streak in Grassroots action and is currently ranked fourth in the standings with 116 points. Dr. Ian Moore of Guelph trains Shadows Wonder for his partners R G McGroup td. of Bathurst, NB, and Serge Savard of Saint-Bruno, QC. From Post 3, Shes A Hotmama is in a fight to keep her spot in the top 10, sitting in a tie for ninth with 93 points. Only the top 10 point earners advance to the $50,000 Grassroots Championship at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 21. The Major Hottie daughter posted a win in the July 9 Grassroots event at Georgian Downs, but has been unable to find her way back to the winner's circle. Stephen Charlton trains Shes A Hotmama for Larocque Racing Stb Inc. of Thornhill and Kathleen Charlton of Clifford. Girlsgotmachzie is the final top 10 point earner in the eighth race and will make her bid for a second Grassroots win from Post 5. The Mach Three filly captured her July 22 division at Mohawk Racetrack for trainer Victor Puddy and owner Percy Elkins of Campbellville, then added two seconds, one fourth and one seventh to her tally for 110 points. Post time for Wednesday's talent laden program is 7:05 pm and Grand River Raceway will feature the two-year-old pacing fillies in Races 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10. For complete entries Sandra Snyder
ELORA, ON - On Wednesday evening three-year-old pacer Mach It So rocketed around Grand River Raceway in a track record clocking, the fourth record-setting mile by an Ontario Sires Stakes competitor at the Elora oval this month. Starting from Post 2 Mach It So and driver Scott Zeron got away second, getting a bird's eye view of the :26.2 opening quarter clocked by Duc Dorleans. Oakville resident Zeron moved Mach It So to the lead heading for the :55.1 half and the gelding had things comfortably in hand by the 1:23.2 three-quarters. Cruising down the stretch, Mach It So hit the wire one and one-quarter lengths ahead of Duc Dorleans and Tarpon Hanover, halting the Grand River teletimer at 1:51.4. The record-setting mile stripped two-fifths of a second off the 1:52.1 effort recorded by Grassroots division leader Champagne Phil on Aug. 16. Mach It So now boasts a flawless record of four wins in four Gold Series starts. In 11 sophomore starts the Mach Three son has tallied eight wins, one second and earnings of $337,837 for trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman and owner Bamond Racing LLC of Brick, NJ. Zeron had the hottest set of hands at Grand River on Wednesday, guiding Validus Deo to a neck victory in the other $105,000 Gold Series division. Getting away fifth from Post 1, the pair clawed their way up the outside to grab the victory over Up Up And Out and pacesetter OK Fantastic. Fan favourite Windsong Jack ran out of gas after providing a wind break to Validus Deo and finished at the back of the eight-horse field. The 1:53.4 victory was the first in Gold Series action for Validus Deo, who is trained by Tony Alagna for owners Alan Alber of Thornhill and Cheap Speed Stable of Steger, IL. The Lis Mara son was a two-time Grassroots winner last season. Wednesday's event completed the Gold Series regular season for the three-year-old pacing colts. The top 10 point earners will now begin preparations for the Sept. 28 Super Final at Mohawk Racetrack. Ontario Sires Stakes fans will be back at Grand River Raceway on Friday, Sept. 6 to catch the final Grassroots event of the regular season for the three-year-old trotting fillies. For complete results. For up to date point standings, race replays, and more. Sandra Snyder
Metro Pace, Canadian Pacing Derby and Shes A Great Lady Stakes
It was another good night on the track for 2013 Johnston Cup leading trainer Gregg McNair when seven divisions of two-year old pacing fillies rolled into Hanover Raceway. The Guelph, Ontario resident formerly of Walkerton, scored two grassroots division victories with Momara and Can Art in races five and nine respectively. 2013 Battle of the Belles runner-up Momara wired the field as the overwhelming post-time favorite. The daughter of Lis Mara cruised to an easy victory in 1:57.3 with Stuart Sowerby in the race bike. Momara now has four wins in six lifetime starts for earnings nearing the $50,000 mark. Sowerby was steering once again when McNair sent out Can Art in race nine. The Artistic Fella filly was a gate-to-wire winner in 1:58.3, as she was able to fend off all challengers in the stretch. The win was her second in six races. McNair also had a second place finish from Regally Ready in race seven, while Sowerby scored an OSS hat trick by adding a win with Gram Rules for Blake McIntosh in race three. Hanover was lucky to have Hall of Famer Clint Galbraith formerly of Tara on hand, as he visited with Peter and Jean Thibideau before heading to Clinton to compete in their Legends Day of Racing program. Galbraith trained and drove arguably the best horse of the last century in Niatross who was just this past week, was enshrined in the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Niatross was the first pacer to earn over 2 million dollars and was named the hosre of the year in 1979 and 1980. Niatross was named the Horse of the year in both Canada and the United States during 2 year old campaign where we won all 13 of his races and won 37 of his 39 career starts. Hanover Raceway returns with All-Trot Night on Saturday, August 24th. The eleventh edition of the track’s all trotting card will feature eliminations for the Balanced Image stakes for two-year olds, the 39th annual Walker Memorial, and a RUS Ontario exhibition race. Hanover Raceway is also participating in the Bring A Friend to the Races Challenge, as fans who bring someone new to the races, will both be entered in a draw for special behind the scenes prizing. Fans who come early will get a chance to meet the RUS riders and several regular drivers including Jay Harris and Stuart Sowerby in a meet and greet session under the grandstand at 6:30pm. Post time next Saturday for the 11th annual ALL TROT DAY is 7:30pm.
CAMPBELLVILLE, ON — Momara jumped to the top of the two-year-old pacing filly Grassroots division with a commanding victory at Mohawk Racetrack on Monday evening. In rein to Doug McNair, Momara took command of the race before the halfway marker and pulled away from her peers to a ninth length triumph in a personal best 1:55.1. Hit It Big and Jakardez finished second and third. Guelph resident Gregg McNair conditions Momara for his partners Leonard Gamble of Etobicoke, Don MacDonald of Amherstburg and David Kryway of Amherstburg. The partners also bred the daughter of Lis Mara and Mosaic, who posted her first Grassroots win at Georgian Downs on July 9 and finished second in the season opener, also at Georgian Downs, on July 2. The father and son duo of Gregg and Doug McNair teamed up for a second victory in the seventh race with Can Art, who overcame the outside Post 9 to eke out a head victory in 1:55. The Artistic Fella daughter bested Noble Jilly and An Angel Shes Not to secure her first ever victory for owner-breeder Robert Chapple of Chatham. Guelph resident Doug McNair made one more appearance in the Mohawk winner’s circle, steering Murray Brethour trainee Girlsgotmachzie to her first victory in the final Grassroots division. The Mach Three lass caught Thrill Chaser in the stretch to record the 1:55.3 win. Lyons Katrina rounded out the top three. Murray Brethour and Gary Brethour of Sunderland share ownership of Girlsgotmachzie. The other Grassroots divisions were captured by Skippin By (1:55.1), Hare To Eternity (1:54.4), Savhorsrideacowboy (1:55.4), and Delirium (1:55). The two-year-old pacing fillies make their fourth Grassroots start at Hanover Raceway on Aug. 17. Ontario Sires Stakes action marches on at Mohawk Racetrack, with the two-year-old trotting fillies arriving at the Campbellville oval on Monday, July 29 for their third Grassroots skirmish. For complete results please go to http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0722mohsn.dat by Sandra Snyder
INNISFIL, ON - Murray Brethour trainee Justabit Mean improved on her result from the season opening Grassroots harness racing event with a 1:56.3 score at Georgian Downs on Tuesday, July 9.