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HANOVER, ON - AUG. 24, 2019 - Harness racing driver Mike Saftic piloted three freshman pacing fillies to victory in Grassroots action at Hanover Raceway on Saturday evening. The fillies were serving as the opening act on Balanced Image Final night and Saftic kicked off the festivities in the first race with Preeminence. Starting from Post 4 the filly made a brief break in stride at the start and was sitting last when fan favourite Landry Seelster reached the opening quarter in :29.4. By the 1:01 half Preeminence had moved up to fifth and heading by the 1:29.4 three-quarters Saftic sent her three-wide. Preeminence turned for home four lengths behind the leaders and a solid finishing kick saw her get a head in front of Landry Seelster and Wiggle Delight for the 2:01.2 victory. "I think she was the best in there because we run early and then gathered ourselves and still win," said Saftic. "She went a big trip. I was actually impressed with her to recoup like that and come three high around the turn. If she didn't run I'm sure she could have been an easier winner." The win was Preeminence's second in Grassroots action. The Sportswriter daughter also won her July 18 division at Woodbine Mohawk Park. With a second-place result in the season opener, the Marcel Barrieau trainee currently sits in a tie for top spot in the division standings with 125 points. Barrieau trains the filly for Claude Baril of Mascouche, QC, Gilles Caouette of Sudbury, ON and Michel Daneault of Terrebonne, QC. One race later Saftic was back in front of the Hanover track photographer after another come-from-behind effort with Shiraz Seelster. The pair got away sixth from Post 4 and remained there as early leader Watch My Speed and fan favourite Capistrano battled through fractions of :29.4, :58.1 and 1:28.4. The field caught up to the duelling leaders heading into the last turn and Shiraz Seelster outsprinted them to the wire, getting a head in front for the 2:01 victory. Capistrano settled for second and Shes Magic edged out Watch My Speed for third. "They kind of got fighting on the front end and we were way back, but you know we were a little better rated back there," noted Saftic, who crafted the win for trainer Eric Adams and owner Millar Farms of Stouffville, ON. "She showed some guts you know, she come up the inside around the last turn, but she gutted it out. It was a surprising win, but I was happy with that one." The win was the first lifetime for the Bettors Delight daughter, who was a $107,000 purchase at last fall's London Selected Yearling Sale. Saftic completed the Grassroots hat trick with Dreamadreamforme in the fifth $22,450 division. From Post 6 the reinsman settled Dreamadreamforme in third as Bettorbeasecret led the fillies to a :30 quarter. Heading for the 1:01.1 half Saftic sent the fan favourite to the front once she took command Dreamadreamforme turned back a challenge from Trizzle Trazzle. Bettorbeasecret rallied in the stretch, but Dreamadreamforme prevailed for a three-quarter length victory in 2:00. In The News closed well to be third. "That's the one I came for. She was good," said the Campbellville, ON resident. "She kind of impressed me her first lifetime start (Aug. 19). There was some decent fillies in there. She got a nice trip second over, but she showed some guts getting home, and today she was pretty handy, she showed some talent. "I didn't know what to expect over a half, but she had no problem with it at all," he added. Cambridge, ON resident Jack Darling owns and trains Betterthancheddar daughter Dreamadreamforme, who was a 1:54 winner in her Aug. 19 debut at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The quickest mile of the night was clocked by Queso Relleno, who cruised along on the front end to a 1:58.2 score. High Roller Duke was three and one-quarter lengths back in second and Ms Brampton Beast was four more lengths behind in third. Paul MacKenzie drove the Betterthancheddar lass to the win for trainer Blake MacIntosh of St. George and his partners Sue Vernon Smith of Oakville, ON, Hutt Racing Stable of Malvern, PA, and The Flanagan Sisters of Dublin, Ireland. The win was the filly's second lifetime; she also captured her Battle Of The Belles elimination at Grand River Raceway on July 29. "She's got a lot of talent," said MacIntosh. "She raced so good in her elimination in the Battle - she was three-wide pretty much the whole last half - and then she came up flat in the final (Aug. 5). We pulled her blood and she had a high white (count) and her differentials were flipped, so we skipped the Gold (on Aug. 14) to go to the Grassroots, and I think we'll just stick with the Grassroots for the rest of the year." MacIntosh noted that Queso Relleno the first horse Sue Vernon Smith has owned and that the newcomer to harness racing is thoroughly enjoying her experience. "She's the first horse they've ever owned and they've just had a great time and love it," said the trainer. "It's nice to see new people get in the business and get lucky, have one that looks like she's going to be a nice filly." Another group made up of several new owners also celebrated a Grassroots win on Saturday. Need Ur Opinion went gate-to-wire in the fourth division for fractional ownership group TheStable Need Ur Opinion of Guelph and breeder Matthew Chapple of Chatham, ON. The Warrawee Needy daughter stopped the clock at 1:59.2, two and three-quarter lengths ahead of Satdnite Jukebox and Back To Oz. "Any time you race five and don't miss the board it's a good night, when the five races are stake races that's a fantastic night," said TheStable.ca founder and president Anthony MacDonald, whose other four horses, Wiggle Delight, Capistrano, Ms Bampton Beast and In Land Beach, logged two seconds and two thirds. "Need Ur Opinion found the front end and coasted home to her first-ever win. "Over 70 owners were represented in tonight's stake races from TheStable.ca and I'm sure all left with smiles on their faces," he added. The sixth Grassroots division went to Up The Credit daughter Tuggingoncredit who delivered a 1:59.4 front-end effort for trainer-driver Guy Gagnon of Gatineau, QC and his partners Gestion Louis Latulippe Inc. of Beaupre, QC and Gestion Bruno Blouin Inc. of St-Fereol Les Neiges, QC. In Land Beach and Sunshine Hall rounded out the top three. The evening was capped off by the $56,600 Balanced Image Final which saw Aphrodite Duke romp to a four length victory in 2:01 for driver Ryan Holliday of Mount Forest. Tuckers Out finished second and elimination winner Lifeisgood Hanover was third. Holliday drove the E L Titan daughter to the win for trainer Andrew McCabe of Guelph-Eramosa and owner-breeder Glenview Livestock Ltd. of Wallenstein, ON. The win was Aphrodite Duke's second lifetime, she was also a winner in the July 14 two-year-old trotting filly Grassroots season opener at Georgian Downs. Complete results for Saturday's program are available at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0824hnvrn.dat. Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Hanover Raceway on Saturday, Sept. 14 with the final Grassroots Leg for the two-year-old trotting colts. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

MILTON, ON - October 25, 2018 - Ontario sired rookies were on display Thursday at Woodbine Mohawk Park for the finals of the Harvest Series. A quartet of series finals put on a bow on the three-week event and featured a few upsets. Angus Hall filly Dance Hall Babe muscled by race-favourite P L Molly in the final eighth of a mile to win the $43,300 two-year-old trotting filly final. Driven by Anthony MacDonald, Dance Hall Babe led the field of six to the opening-quarter before handing over top spot to P L Molly, who led by just over two lengths at three-quarters in 1:30. Dance Hall Babe regained the lead late in the mile and crossed the wire first in 2:01.1. P L Molly finished second, beat a length. Briarwood Belle and Order Mattie completed the Superfecta. Trained by Jason McGinnis, Dance Hall Babe entered the Harvest Final off sixth and fifth-place finishes in the preliminary legs and with just one win in eight prior starts. The series final victory pushes her earnings to $39,942 for owners MacDonald, Philip Newfeld, Felix Marion and Georgia Dalziel. Dance Hall Babe, who was a $9,000 Harrisburg yearling purchase, paid $14.80 to win. Kadabra gelding Cool Clifford split rivals late to win the $45,400 final for trotting colts and geldings. Race-favourite All Wrapped Up was looking for the series sweep and grabbed the lead in the second-quarter. The public's choice led the field into the lane after reaching three-quarters in 1:28.1. All Wrapped Up couldn't seal the deal and was surrounded by several rivals in deep stretch. Cool Clifford and driver Jody Jamieson got away sixth and sat third-over turning for home. The Scott McEneny trainee trotted a :28.3 final-quarter to split rivals and reach up for the 1:57.3 victory. Scarlett Raider almost scored a 14-1 upset, but came up just a neck short in finishing second. Esa finished third, while Sinful was fourth. All Wrapped Up finished fifth, beat a length and a half. Cool Clifford entered the Harvest final off a second-leg victory of nearly 10 lengths. The rookie gelding improved his career numbers to two wins and $66,969 earned in 11 starts with his series final victory. A $60,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase, Cool Clifford is owned by Brad Grant and Martwest Racing Stable. He paid $4.40 to win. Bettors Delight filly Thats Incredible followed up a convincing second-leg score with another impressive performance to take the $46,300 final for pacing fillies. Driven by Trevor Henry, Thats Incredible left well from the centre of the gate and got situated second behind Salutation, who got to the top from the ten-hole. Salutation led the field by the half in :56.4. Thats Incredible moved to the top on the far turn and it was game over from there. The Bob McIntosh trainee cruised to a 1:54.2 victory for her third win in 11 starts. Salutation dug in and turned in a strong effort to finish second, beat 3 ¼ lengths. Twin B Tipster was third, while Fresh Eyes was fourth. Charmbo Brie, who was going for a series sweep, finished fifth. Thats Incredible increased her earnings to $48,488 with the victory for owner/breeders Robert McIntosh Stables Inc, C S X Stables and Dave Boyle. She paid $3.50 to win. Shadow Play gelding Shadow Of A Daut delivered his second consecutive upset victory to take the $48,100 final for pacing colts and geldings. Driven by Mike Saftic, Shadow Of A Daut got away seventh in the field of 10, while Shadow Tail posted a :27.2 opener. Crusher Q overtook the lead entering the backstretch, but quickly surrendered it to race-favourite Carlisimo, who left from post 10 and had been parked until claiming the lead. Carlisimo led to three-quarters in 1:25.3 and brought the field into the stretch. Shadow Of A Daut was placed third-over by Saftic and was four-lengths from the top turning for home. In the stretch, Shadow Of A Daut charged by rivals and reached the wire first for a 1:54.3 victory. Better Than Some followed the eventual winner fourth-over and finished second, beat three-quarters of a length. Carlisimo was third, while Joe Mcdude was fourth. Trained by Michel Rivest, Shadow Of A Daut is now two for 10 with $40,105 earned for owner Claude Poirier. The Shadow Play gelding was a $42,000 London Selected Yearling Sale purchase. Shadow Of A Daut paid $24.60 to win. Ontario sired two-year-olds, who were non-winner of $30,000 as of September 30, 2018, were eligible for nomination to the Harvest Series. Live racing continues Friday at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Post time is 7:10 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications

Elkton, MD - Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by BetAmerica, is excited to announce their line-up for Thursday morning (September 26) at 10:30 a.m. They will be joined by Mike Saftic, who just surpassed the C$100 million mark in career earnings; Jessica Dowse, the caretaker of Courtly Choice; Steve Searle, the trainer of Spirit O'Mar; and Jeff Gesek and Caroline Vazquez with Pacing for the Cure. Saftic, who surpassed the C$100 million mark in career earnings, joins the program to discuss his career and how he got into the sport of harness racing. Saftic will talk about some of his experiences in the sport and what he is looking forward to going forward. Dowse, the caretaker of Courtly Choice, joins to talk about the star colt who recently won the Little Brown Jug. She will talk about the colts mannerisms and how he is in the barn. Searle, a long-time Illinois horsemen, won the Pleasac Championship in Illinois on Super Night with Sprit O' Mar. Searle will discuss his colt and what is next for him. Gesek and Vazquez join the program this week to highlight activities going on with Pacing for the Cure. Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by BetAmerica can be heard live every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. via their website www.posttimewithmikeandmike.com or on the archive at www.betamerica.com/BARN. By Michael Carter, for Post Time with Mike and Mike

MILTON, ON - September 25, 2018 - Driver Mike Saftic joined elite company by surpassing $100 million in career earnings on Monday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The 56-year-old reinsman entered Monday's action just $5,895 away from the significant milestone with six-drives on the 11-race card. Saftic earned $6,180 in his opening four drives of the evening, surpassing the $100 million mark with a third-place finish behind five-year-old pacer The Loan Ranger in the fifth-race. A native of Sudbury, Ontario, Saftic has been a member of the Woodbine driving for more than three-decades and his streak of consecutive $1 million seasons currently sits at 29. Saftic, who was inducted into the Sudbury Sports Hall of Fame in 2016, has won 5,284 races during his career. His career-best for wins in a season is 246 in 2000, while his highest-earning season is $6.7 million in 2002. A presentation to celebrate Saftic's milestone was held following the seventh-race and the veteran reinsman was joined by a group of family and friends. Woodbine Entertainment would like to congratulate Mike Saftic on his accomplishment. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications  

Harness racing colts take first steps down path blazed by successful siblings Four Grassroots divisions of two-year-old pacing colts went postward at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday evening and a quartet of well-bred youngsters took home the Ontario Sires Stakes hardware. Leading off in the first division, Bet On Brett and driver Mike Saftic took immediate control of the race from Post 1 and laid down fractions of :27.2, :57.3 and 1:27 on their way to a 1:54.4 victory. Streakavana closed hard to be second, one and one-half lengths behind the winner, and Mach Déjà Vu was hot on his heels in third. "He left the gate really sharp and then settled down nicely," said Campbellville, ON resident Saftic. "He got home very strong." Saftic qualified two other colts in the first division, including runner-up Streakavana, but chose the Marcel Barrieau trainee as his mount for the Grassroots season opener. "He looked more mature than the other two at this point," explained Saftic, who had not driven Bet On Brett before Thursday's contest. Barrieau prepped the Sportswriter son for his provincial stakes debut with a pair of qualifiers at Mohawk on June 17 and 25, finishing fourth in both outings. The Cambridge, ON resident shares ownership of Bet On Brett with Gestion Mastel Inc. of Longueuil, QC and Conrad Leber of Montreal, QC. The partners acquired the half-brother to three $150,000-plus winners for $80,000 at the 2015 Harrisburg Yearling Sale. Bet On Brett In the second Grassroots division driver Mario Baillargeon also opted to control the pace, putting Play For Gold on the lead heading by the :28.1 opening quarter and carrying on through fractions of :57.2 and 1:26.1. Under fierce pressure from fan favourite Aston Hill Dave in the stretch, Play For Gold dug deep and kept a nose in front to secure the 1:543 victory. Aston Hill Dave settled for second and Silverinyourpocket closed hard to be third. Milton, ON resident Baillargeon crafted the win for trainer Jacques Dupont of Repentigny, QC and his partners in Les Ecuries Dorleans Inc., along with numbered company 9099 3833 Quebec Inc. of Sorel-Tracy, QC and Gestion C Levesque 2005 Inc. of St-Hyacinthe, QC. The group selected the Shadow Play son Play For Gold out of the Lexington-Selected Yearling Sale, offering up $20,000 for the half-brother to two $100,000-plus winners. Play For Gold Sent off as the heavy favourite in the third division, driver Paul MacDonell of Guelph, ON chose to continue the front-end trend, sending Mc Mach after the lead from Post 2. The Mach Three son powered through a :28.2 quarter, :57.1 half and 1:26.3 three-quarters before accelerating away to a two length victory in 1:54. Down On My Luck and Tremendous Play followed Mc Mach from start to finish, earning the second and third-place share of the $18,000 purse. MacDonell drove Mc Mach to the win for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor and his partners Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington, ON and Randy Liepa of Livonia, MI. Like the first two winners, Mc Mach has several successful half-siblings, including former Grassroots regular Western Empress, a winner of $229,915 in her career to date. "He's improved nicely since his first qualifier," said MacDonell, who piloted the colt to a fourth-place results in a June 25 qualifier and a win in a July 1 effort, both at Mohawk. "He may step up to the Gold level before year's end." Mc Mach The final Grassroots division saw the only come-from-behind effort of the evening. Starting from Post 5, driver Sylvain Filion settled Yogi Bayama in the middle of the pack and watched as rivals Kingston Seelster and Master The View battled to a :27.1 first quarter. Favourite Master The View took over heading for the :57 half and continued to lead the field through the 1:26.1 three-quarters as Filion and Yogi Bayama stepped into the outer lane behind Pop N Liam. Turning for home Pop N Liam and Yogi Bayama were matching strides with Master The View, but when Filion asked his colt for another gear Yogi Bayama pulled away to a two length win in 1:54.1, leaving Master The View and Pop N Liam to settle for second and third. Stephane Larocque of Carlisle, ON trains Yogi Bayama for owner-breeder Bayama Farms Inc. of Saint-Andre-D'Argenteuil, QC. The Sportswriter half-brother to $168,610 winner Urbana Bayama qualified at Rideau Carleton Raceway on June 15, finishing fourth, and at Mohawk Racetrack on June 25, finishing sixth. The colt made his debut in a two-year-old overnight event at Mohawk on July 1, finishing second. "He's all right, he looked good tonight," said Bayama Farms' Yves Filion, who piloted the colt in his first qualifier. "He had a perfect trip and he looked like he win it kind of easy, but we don't know if he's going to be a good Gold or not. "A few more starts we'll know better how good he is," added the horseman, who will be inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame on August 3. "So far he looks all right. We hope for the best." Yogi Bayama Yogi Bayama and his peers will have their next opportunity to prove just how good they are when Mohawk hosts the second two-year-old pacing colt Grassroots leg on Friday, July 15. Mohawk Racetrack's two-year-old showcase continues tomorrow, July 8, as the Campbellville oval hosts the freshman pacing fillies in four Grassroots divisions. The first race goes in behind the starting gate at 7:30 pm and the fillies will show off their skills in Races 3, 5, 7, and 9. Ontario Racing

Harness racing driver Mike Saftic picked up an extra mount 45 minutes before the first three-year-old trotting colt Grassroots division went behind the gate at Georgian Downs on Tuesday and turned the unexpected opportunity into an Ontario Sires Stakes driving double. Stepping into Parkhill Maximus's race bike for the first time, Saftic eased the gelding away from Post 4 and then found cover behind Ulysses Bi as that colt powered up the outside. Turning for home Saftic asked Parkhill Maximus for another gear and the Federal Flex son sprinted away from the field to a 1:59 victory. KFB Amigo Cool was two and one-quarter lengths back in second and Red Monster was third. "The trip set up good, he was second over and the other horse cleared. He got a nice little trip," said Saftic, who piloted Parkhill Maximus to the win for trainer Bill Shaw and owner Patricia Gibb of London, ON. The victory was the fifth trip to the winner's circle in 20 sophomore starts for Parkhill Maximus, and the gelding's first Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) victory. One race later Saftic was back in the winner's circle with one of his regular mounts, Bow Ties N Bourbon. The fan favourites led from start to finish, laying down fractions of :29.3, :59 and 1:29 before battling down the stretch to hold off UF Musclemass Star by a head in 1:59.3. Classical Son was three lengths back in third. "He showed some heart down the lane and got the job done," said Saftic. "He's a little bit of a trappy-gaited guy, and he was a little rolly today, but he hung on. "They were happy owners, put it that way," the Campbellville, ON resident added. "That's what it's about." Saftic piloted Bow Ties N Bourbon to his second win of the season, and first OSS victory, for trainer Marcel Barrieau of Cambridge, ON and owner Dona McDonald of Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Trainer John Bax of Campbellville, ON made a rare appearance in the race bike in the third division, guiding Manofmanyimages to a 1:57.4 score for owners Richard Gutnick of Blue Bell, PA, T L P Stable of Kearny, NJ and Joseph Lozito Jr. of Wayne, NJ. The pair finished one length ahead of Chestnut Schofield and four lengths ahead of Wildwild Men. A Grassroots winner at Georgian Downs last season, the Manofmanymissions son had been winless in three sophomore starts before Tuesday's triumph. The fourth division saw Holiday Party and driver Paul Mackenzie control the tempo with fractions of :28, 58.3 and 1:28.1 on their way to a one length score in 1:58. The Land Shark and favourite Muscles For Life, last year's Grassroots champion, finished second and third. Puslinch, ON resident Mackenzie engineered the win for trainer Dany Fontaine of Lachenaie, QC and owner Ecurie Gaetan Bono Inc. of Montreal, QC. The win was the second straight for the Holiday Road gelding. Sylvain Filion, last year's leading reinsman in the Ontario Sires Stakes program, piloted JLs Bad Moon Risin to a win in the fifth division, guiding the Muscle Mass son to a 1:57.1 personal best. Favourite Donicus and P L Jerico, piloted by Saftic, rounded out the top three. Filion, who makes his home in Milton, ON, drove JLs Bad Moon Risin to the second Grassroots win of his career for trainer Richard Moreau of Puslinch, ON and owner Gestion J Y Blais Inc. of Montreal, QC. The final Grassroots trophy went to Georgies Pockets and trainer-driver Jack Moiseyev, who delivered a commanding four and one-half length victory over Asterix and Stormont Esquire. The 1:57.3 clocking was a personal best for Georgies Pockets, who was a four-time winner in the Grassroots as a two-year-old, including his Grassroots Semifinal. Moffat, ON resident Moiseyev conditions the son of Muscle Mass for owner-breeder M T Pockets Stables of Pompano Beach, FL. The three-year-old trotting colts and geldings will make their second Grassroots start at Mohawk Racetrack on July 12, while Georgian Downs gets set to host the Gold Series debuts of the two-year-old trotting fillies on July 5 From the Ontario Sire Stakes

TORONTO, January 22 - The finals of the Blizzard and Snowshoe Series highlighted harness racing action Friday night at Woodbine Racetrack. The $45,200 Blizzard final for three and four-year-old pacing fillies and mares featured a field of nine, while a full-field of ten three and four-year-old pacers competed in the $47,200 Snowshoe final. Rafa and Shades Of Bay entered the Snowshoe final both seeking a series sweep and the anticipated matchup lived up to the hype. Driven by Sylvain Filion, Rafa, 3/2, fired out from post three to grab the lead, while Shades Of Bay, 4/5, and driver Phil Hudon left from post nine and found a spot in fourth. After posting an opening-quarter of :26.2, Rafa was quickly confronted by Shades Of Bay, who made a quick brush to the lead. The two favourites sat one-two through middle-fractions of :55.4 and 1:24.3. In the stretch, Filion tipped Rafa off the back of Hudon to set up a stretch duel. Rafa was able to get within less than a length of the lead, but Shades Of Bay would not be denied a series sweep and held off his rival to win by a length and a quarter in 1:52.2. Shippen Out finished third, while Tylers Beach Boy was fourth. A son of Art Major, Shades Of Bay is trained by Sean Mehlenbacher for owner Timothy Kim. The Snowshoe Series sweep improves the four-year-old to three for three in 2016 and six for seven since joining the Mehlenbacher barn. Friday's Snowshoe victory was the second series victory for Shades Of Bay in less than a month. The Mehlenbacher trainee also won the Valedictory Series final on Boxing Day. Shades Of Bay now has seven career victories and earnings exceeding $92,000. The runner-up finish by Rafa is the Richard Moreau trainee's first defeat after starting his career four for four. A $2 win ticket on Shades Of Bay returned $3.80. Shades Of Bay A week after capturing a second leg divison as the favourite, Double Olives turned in another game effort to win the Blizzard final at 10/1. Driven by Mike Saftic, Double Olives was taken back in the early stages and got away eighth. Twin B Sweetheart, who was parked around the first turn, finally cleared to take command ahead of Cracklin Rosie, the 8/5 favourite, and Amazing Control entering the backstretch. After posting a half of :55.2, Twin B Sweetheart relinquished the lead to Dontbruisecarrie and began to jam things up along the inside. Saftic was able to situate Double Olives third-over around the final turn, as Naughty Lady B closed in on the leader first up. In the stretch, Naughty Lady B took over the top spot, but Double Olives came off cover and charged by her rival to score a length victory in 1:53. Naughty Lady B held on for second, while Bad As Leader and Cracklin Rosie rounded out the Superfecta. A four-year-old daughter of Blissfull Hall, Double Olives is trained by Dave Matson for owners John Taylor and Jeffrey Ruch. The brown pacing mare entered Friday's final with a victory and runner-up finish in the preliminary legs. Double Olives now has two wins from three starts this season and seven overall in her racing career. The Blizzard Series victory pushes her career bankroll to $72,810. A $2 win ticket on Double Olives returned $23.80. Double Olives The Blizzard and Snowshoe Series carried the same conditions, as the pacers had to be non-winners of two races or $30,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2015. Winter Series action continues on Monday night (January 25) with the $44,200 Lifetime Dream final. Live racing continues Saturday at Woodbine. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

TORONTO, January 14 - Bad As Leader was a repeat winner, while a pair of fresh faces visited the harness racing winner's circle in Thursday's second leg of the Blizzard Series at Woodbine Racetrack. A trio of $17,000 Blizzard Series divisions for three and four-year-old pacing fillies and mare were contested under light snow conditions. Bad As Leader was confidently driven by Trevor Henry to a 1:54.3 victory in the first division. Sent off as the 1/5 favourite, Bad As Leader got away seventh and last for Henry, while Nadia Can Go and Mattjestic Tempo did the early heavy lifting on the front-end. Bad As Leader was able to pick up the cover of Tilikum at the half to sit second-over around the final turn. The public's choice was a little less than three-lengths from the front, as Mattjestic Tempo took the field by the three-quarter pole in 1:25.4. In the stretch, Bad As Leader came off cover and surged to the lead, but Tilikum made the favourite work for it and paced with her right to the wire. Bad As Leader hit the line first for a three-quarter length victory over Tilikum. Nadia Can Go finished third, but was placed back to fifth for causing interference while making a break entering the final turn. Barbaras Shadow was vaulted from fourth to third due to the disqualification. Trained by Victor Puddy, Bad As Leader is now two for two in the Blizzard Series and 2016, while her career record now sits at four wins from six starts. The three-year-old daughter of Badlands Hanover increased her career earnings to over $34,000 with the win. Bad As Leader paid $2.40 to win. Bad As Leader A week after finishing second, Double Olives was able to change her luck and score a half-length victory in the second division at odds of 3/2. Driven by Mike Saftic, Double Olives found an early spot in third, while Twin B Sweetheart rejected the two-hole trip and circled to the lead ahead of Shesagamemajor at the opening-quarter in :28. CampsBay made a powerful second-quarter move to the lead from sixth for Rick Zeron to post a half of :57. Saftic brought Double Olives to the outside from fourth around the final turn and found himself behind a pocket-pulling Twin B Sweetheart at the three-quarter pole. In the stretch, Double Olives edged off the back of Twin B Sweetheart and paced by to win in 1:54. Twin B Sweetheart finished second, while Camps Bay held on for third. A four-year-old daughter of Blissfull Hall, Double Olives picked up her sixth career victory with her first win of 2016 Thursday night. Dave Matson trains the winner of over $50,000 for owners John Taylor and Jeffrey Ruch. Double Olives matched her career mark with Thursday's victory. She paid $5 to win. Double Olives In the final division, Cracklin Rosie was also able to flip the script at odds of 3/1 and score a victory after finishing second last week. Driven by Phil Hudon, Cracklin Rosie showed early speed to charge by Amazing Control, the 1/2 favourite, and grab command heading into the first turn. Jody Jamieson was not content to sit in the two-hole with the favourite and quickly circled back to the lead in the second-quarter. Amazing Control, a leg one winner, posted middle panels of :58 and 1:27.2, which set up a final-quarter sprint between the two favourites. In the lane, Cracklin Rosie came to the outside and was able to power by Amazing Control to defeat her by a length in 1:54.1. Naughty Lady B finished third in a photograph against Black Widow Baby. Cracklin Rosie paced a :26.3 final-quarter to secure her maiden-breaking victory Thursday night. Trained by Luc Ouellette, the three-year-old daughter of Badlands Hanover entered Thursday's contest with a pair of second place finishes in six career starts. Cracklin Rosie is owned by Luc Ouellette Incorporated, Anita Ouellette and Alan Alber. The sophomore pacing filly now has career earnings of over $21,000. The Ouellette trainee paid $8.30 to win. Cracklin Rosie In order to be eligible to the Blizzard Series, the pacing fillies and mares had to be non-winners of two races or $30,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2015. Bad As Leader will have an opportunity to sweep the Blizzard Series in next Friday's (January 22) $45,200 final. Winter series action continues Friday night with the second leg of the Snowshoe Series. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

TORONTO, November 21 – Ontario three-year-old harness racing colts and geldings kicked off their Autumn Series with four divisions Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack. A total of 18 pacers and 20 trotters made up four $18,000 round one divisions. Mach On The Beach kicked off the night with a 1:52.2 victory in the first pacing division. Driven by Sylvain Filion, Mach On The Beach flashed early speed aiming for the front, while Twin B Sportsman was pacing hard early looking for the lead. Mach On The Beach got to the pylons first and Filion opted to stretch Twin B Sportsman out by the opening-quarter in :26.2. Filion eventually released the challenger at the top of the backstretch. After a half of :55.1, Mach On The Beach came to the outside and surged by Twin B Sportsman to take the field by the three-quarter pole in 1:24.1. In the stretch, Mach On The Beach left his rivals in his dust and paced away to an easy-looking four-length victory. The Rock finished up with a strong final-quarter to come from eighth to finish second. Sports Lightning finished third, while Windsong Lightning was fourth. A son of Mach Three, Mach On The Beach is trained by Richard Moreau for owner Ecurie Gaetan Bono Inc. The sophomore gelding now has seven wins from 24 starts in his first season of racing. Mach On The Beach pushed his earnings to over $60,000 with the victory Saturday, while also lowering his career-mark by more than two-seconds. The Moreau trainee paid $3.90 to win. Mach On The Beach In the second division, Cajon Lightning came first up to win in 1:52.4. Driven by Mike Saftic, Cajon Lightning got away fifth in the early stages, while Doctor Royal and Major Dan took turns on the lead through panels of :26.1 and :56.1. Saftic sent Cajon Lightning first up around the final turn and the even-money favourite was second and less than two-lengths from the front at the three-quarter pole. In the stretch, Cajon Lightning powered by Doctor Royal and paced home strong in :27.2 for a length and a half victory. Jack Reacher finished second, while Naturescape finished third just ahead of Doctor Royal. Another son of Mach Three, Cajon Lightning is trained by Scott Bell for owner John Taylor. Saturday’s victory was the third from 16 starts this season for the gelding. Cajon Lightning has now earned over $48,000 in his first season of racing. The clocking of 1:52.4 matched his career-mark taken October 12 at Woodbine. Cajon Lightning paid $4.10 to win. Cajon Lightning On the trotting side, Stormont Wizard took the first division in 1:56.1 at odds of 3/5. Driven by James MacDonald, Stormont Wizard trotted out strongly to grab command at the opening-quarter in :28. Down the backstretch, Win The Day came first up from fifth at the half to challenge the leader. MacDonald kept his trotter moving well and turned aside the first-over challenger to lead the field by the three-quarter pole in 1:26.1. In the stretch, Stormont Wizard sealed the deal with a :30 final-quarter to score a two and a quarter length victory. P L Icabod finished second, while Lmc Mass Oak was third. Win The Day rounded out the Superfecta in fourth. A son of Kadabra, Stormont Wizard is trained by Kevin Benn for Stormont Meadows. The sophomore gelding now has two wins in 12 starts this season. Last year, Stormont Wizard scored a single victory in seven starts, while hitting the board five-times. The Benn trainee has banked over $48,000 this season and $74,000 lifetime. Stormont Wizard paid $3.40 to win. Stormont Wizard Love Hunter turned a two-hole trip into a victory in the second trotting division. The Nick Gallucci trainee left quickly for driver Trevor Henry to challenge for the lead, however Gronk, the even-money favourite, pushed forward for the lead and forced Henry into the pocket. After setting fractions of :26.4, :57.3 and 1:27.1, Gronk carried the lead into the lane with Love Hunter on his back. In the stretch, Love Hunter came to the outside and waged war with Gronk, eventually edging by in deep stretch to win by half a length in 1:57. Freddie closed with good speed for third, while Thoughtful Leader was fourth. A son of Holiday Road, Love Hunter entered Saturday’s contest with one win in 10 starts this season. The Autumn Series division victory pushes the gelding’s earnings in 2015 to over $34,000. Love Hunter paid $12.20  to win. Love Hunter In order to be eligible to the Autumn Series, the Ontario sired three-year-olds had to be non-winners of $50,000 lifetime or $30,000 in 2015 as of September 30, 2015. The second round of the Autumn Series for the colts and geldings will take place next Saturday (November 28).

ELORA, ON -- Harness racing drivers James MacDonald, Mike Saftic and Billy Davis Jr. are three of 30 keen dog owners vying for a dash of glory in tonight's inaugural Wiener Dog Race at Grand River Raceway. Collectively, the three reinsmen have won more than 8,000 horse races and purse earnings in excess of $126 million. But tonight is all about the little win. Saftic sports the veteran of the three 10-dog fields. Sophie is an 11-year-old Dachshund weighing in at six pounds. "She's small, quick and fast. She's made for a half-mile track," said Saftic. Sophie will start from post nine in the first heat. The Davis and MacDonald pooches start from the rail and two-hole, respectively, in the third elimination division. Alley is a freshman two-year-old Wiener weighing 14 pounds owned by Davis and Amy McNair. "Alley has been training down with the two-year-old horses at McNair Stables and is ready for the competition," said Davis. MacDonald's starter, Tank, is one and weighs in at 12 pounds. Jenna MacDonald will handle wrangling duties tonight. "Tank MacDonald is a yearling brown and tan Wiener that comes from a strong racing family," Jenna said. "Adoptive father James MacDonald was the 2014 Battle Of The Belles winner and the reigning Bouncy Pony Stakes champ. The Tankster has the need for speed and the strong urge to do his family proud (if we can just keep him from being distracted by something shiny). The 30 dogs will be introduced on-air, trackside, on the Tarmac Show segment prior to Race 5 (approx. 7:40) and the dog races will be after â€Ĺ˝Race 5 (approx.. 7:50). All dashes are 20 metres. The winner of each of the three heats advances to the final race-off. All four dashes will be conducted consecutively after race five. The winners will be recognized on-air after race six. Each contestant will receive a participatory prize compliments of event sponsors Loyall Pet Food and Legendary Canine. The race-off winner will receive a $100 gift card. Runner-up and third-place will strut home with a $50 gift card. A list of all 30 starters can be found on the Wiener Dog Race webpage. This is Grand River Raceway's second-last Fun & Frivolity Friday race night of the summer. Other activities this evening include The NEIGHbourhood kids' program, which includes a special showing by miniature horse Mullingar, who will provide rides on the tarmac. Mullingar will return for the final Fun & Frivolity Friday race night on September 4, which features a miniature horse race and the Wanna Drive program which gives fans the chance to drive a racehorse (accompanied by a pro) between the races. Post time for the first horse race this evening is 6:30pm. by Kelly Spencer, for Grand River Raceway  

AUGUST 9, 2015 - Nine divisions of two-year-old pacing fillies invaded Clinton Raceway on Sunday afternoon and in the eighth Grassroots split Bourbon Seelster rewrote the half-mile oval's harness racing history books. Starting from Post 5, driver Mike Saftic of Campbellville, ON sent Bourbon Seelster straight to the front and rang up evenly-rated early fractions of :30.1 and 1:00.2. Heading for the three-quarters Saftic picked up the tempo, reaching the marker in 1:29.4, but when fan favourite Divas Image mounted a challenge in the stretch Bourbon Seelster really poured it on, sprinting home in :27.2 to reach the wire in a track record 1:57.1. Divas Image settled for second, three-quarters of a length behind the winner, and Where Are We rounded out the top three. The win was the second in Grassroots action for Bourbon Seelster, who posted her first in the July 19 contest at Georgian Downs. Watford, ON resident Robert Manders conditions the daughter of Camluck for Scott and Keith Manders, also of Watford, who purchased her for $14,000 from the Forest City Yearling Sale. Trainer Dave Menary won three of the nine Grassroots divisions, teaming up with driver James MacDonald for two and Kevin Sizer for the third, and also picked up one second and one third with his six starters. "It was pretty lucky," said the Cambridge, ON resident. "It would be nice to have six Gold fillies, but we were the masters of Clinton today." Menary and MacDonald's first victory came in the second division with Twin B Virtue, who battled to a neck victory over Jimmys Little Girl in 1:58.4. Life Book finished two and one-quarter lengths behind the duelling leaders in third. "Her last two starts she's been right on the front and end and I really think this filly's a lot better off a helmet or off a little trip, but when you're racing on a half-mile track you can't always work that out," noted Menary. "She got run at and headed the whole way, and dug in, and I was super happy with the filly." Menary shares ownership of Twin B Virtue with Brad Gray of Dundas, ON and Michael Guerriero of Puslinch, ON. The partners acquired the daughter of Badlands Hanover for $32,000 from the Canadian Yearling Sale last fall and through four starts the filly has returned $20,600. The trainer and driver were back in the winner's circle after the fifth division with Rosy Outlook. Starting from Post 2 Guelph, ON resident MacDonald put the Badlands Hanover daughter on the front end and she led through all stations on the way to her first lifetime victory in 1:59.4. Fan favourite Selling The Dream closed hard, but fell one-quarter length short, while Kyrstal C was well back in third. "Today she raced very greenly," said Menary, who added that MacDonald felt her attention wavered significantly through the final quarter. "I definitely have faith in the filly that she's going to get better." Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc. of Wallkill, NY own Rosy Outlook, who was a $10,000 purchase out of the Harrisburg Yearling Sale. After debuting in the Gold Series on July 6, where she finished eighth, Rosy Outlook finished third in the July 19 Grassroots event at Georgian Downs. Menary's third victory came in the last Grassroots division when driver Kevin Sizer of Morriston, ON took Norcross Blue Chip gate-to-wire for her first win. The Bettors Delight daughter finished two lengths ahead of Endless Legacy and favourite State Of Joy in 1:58.1. "This is a filly that I thought was one of my best all winter. She had little problems with the efficiency of her gait, so I spent a lot of time going with this filly, and Kevin Sizer's done a great job with this filly -he works for me - he's done a great job with this filly and he did a great job today," said Menary. "She's been behind all the way, but catching up rapidly." The trainer shares ownership of Norcross Blue Chip with Michael Guerriero, Denis Breton of Welland, ON and Thomas Kyron of Toronto, ON. A $30,000 purchase at the Harrisburg Yearling Sale, the filly has two starts under her belt, Sunday's win and a fourth in a July 31 conditioned event at Grand River Raceway. The other Grassroots divisions were captured by Trilife, St Lads Smokin Hot, P L Jasmine, My Rhythm Of Rhyme and Miss Babe Delight. Trilife kicked things off in the first division with a 1:58.1 score for driver Anthony MacDonald of Guelph, trainer Larry Ainsworth of Petrolia, ON and owner-breeder William Boden of Vancouver. The Mach Three lass hit the wire two and one-quarter lengths ahead of Menary trainee No Shadows and Northern Prima to record her first Grassroots victory. St Lads Smokin Hot recorded her first lifetime victory in the third division, sailing along on the front end to a 2:00.2 win over Sports Expert and This Day Forward. Arthur, ON resident Trevor Henry engineered the No Pan Intended daughter's successful effort for trainer Richard Moreau of Puslinch and Holland Racing Stable of Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON. A gritty first-over trip netted P L Jasmine her second straight victory, and first Grassroots trophy, in the fourth division. The Badlands Hanover daughter and driver Scott Coulter of Brantford, ON cruised home five and one-half lengths ahead of Watt Machs Me Win and Menary trainee Green Light in 1:58.3. Robert McMillan of Beaverton, ON conditions P L Jasmine for owner-breeder Prince Lee Acres of Uxbridge, ON. Paul MacDonell and My Rhythm Of Rhyme never faced a challenge on their way to a two and one-quarter length win in the sixth division. The Shadow Play daughter stopped the Clinton teletimer at 1:59.1, besting Dancin In the Nude and favourite Boozer Bruiser. Guelph resident MacDonell shares ownership of first-time winner My Rhythm Of Rhyme with his wife Lynn MacDonell. Miss Babe Delight also made winning look easy, pacing home three lengths ahead of Action Big and Bad Lightning in Race 7. Milton, ON resident Sylvain Filion piloted the Bettors Delight filly to her first win in 1:58.2 for trainer Dany Fontaine of Lachenaie, QC and owner Ecurie Gaetan Bono Inc. of Montreal, QC. The two-year-old pacing fillies start the second half of their Grassroots season at Mohawk Racetrack on August 24. Ontario Horse Racing

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

After having his early season derailed by allergies, two-year-old trotting colt Willyorwonthe finally found his way to the Ontario Sires Stakes winner's circle at the harness racing meeting at Mohawk Racetrack on Tuesday evening. The colt and driver Mike Saftic of Campbellville, ON fired away from Post 8 in the last $18,000 Grassroots division and reeled off fractions of :28.2, :59 and 1:30.1 before fending off a late challenge from The Land Shark and sailing under the wire a three-quarter length winner in 1:58.4. Sass was well behind the leaders in third. It was Willyorwonthe's first win since he turned heads with a 1:56.3 triumph in a two-year-old conditioned event at Mohawk on July 2, and the effort caused owner-trainer Bill Megens of Puslinch, ON to breathe a small sigh of relief. "He raced very good the first start," said Megens of the colt's July 2 debut. "He had a few problems with food allergies so the vet, after the first race, suggested I treat him for the allergies and it kind of back-fired, he was allergic to the treatment." Willyorwonthe broke out in a rash, his throat was inflamed and he developed a cough in response to the allergy treatment. In his first two Ontario Sires Stakes appearances, at the Gold Series level on July 13 and 21, he finished seventh and fourth without the finishing kick he had shown Megens all winter. "He'd been good all along and I couldn't figure out what the heck went wrong with him," said Megens, who learned that 30 per cent of horses have an adverse reaction to the allergy treatment. "Hopefully we've got that under control now. He's not allergic to dust or nothing, it's just some foods." Following Willyorwonthe's reaction to the allergy treatment, Megens reverted to the simple diet he had been feeding the son of Angus Hall and Mikestory since he was a foal. "No more sweet feed or any of the mixed feeds." "He's allergic to corn and soy beans both, so it makes it hard to get a feed that don't contain them, so I put him on straight oats," said the horseman, who bred both Willyorwonthe and his dam, $246,254 winner Mikestory. "When I trained him down he was on straight oats and he always was good, and then I tried to get him a little better feed and it didn't work." If Willyorwonthe continues to regain his health Megens will send him to Georgian Downs for the fourth Grassroots event on August 4, and a positive result there may see the young trotter take another run at the Gold Series colts. "Hopefully he'll stay healthy for a while," said the horseman. "We'll see after the next race, if he races well next time we'll probably try him in the Gold again." Local trotter Holiday Bro also captured his first Ontario Sires Stakes trophy on Tuesday. The son of Holiday Road and Armbro Xanadu circled out wide in the final quarter and sprinted down the stretch to a two length victory over favourite United BI and Muscle Time in 2:00.3 in the second division. "They were all hanging in the last turn, so I whipped out like 10-wide and let him trot," quipped Phil Hudon, who piloted Holiday Bro to the win for owner-trainer Ivan Gallant of Rockwood, ON. "I helped Ivan train him down and he's coming along nicely," added the Guelph, ON resident. "He's getting better every start and he's a quick learner." In his Grassroots debut, at Clinton Raceway on July 19, Holiday Bro finished second, so Tuesday's victory bumped his point tally to 75 and put him in fifth spot in the standings with three regular season events left on the two-year-old trotting colt calendar. Milton, ON resident Randy Waples won two Grassroots events, with Thee Desperado and Frankly Speaking. Starting from Post 5 in the first division, Thee Desperado recovered quickly from an early break in stride and then reeled in the leaders through the stretch to post a victory in his first lifetime start. Waples and the Manofmanymissions son hit the wire one-half length ahead of favourite Recreate and Romeo, stopping the teletimer at 1:58.3. Waples engineered the win for trainer Brent Belore of Embro, ON and owners Karen and Daniel MacIntyre of London, ON, Joshua McKibbin of Tillsonburg, ON and Nancy Newport of Ingersoll, ON. Lightly rated Frankly Speaking also used a come-from-behind move to post his first victory in the fifth division. The Angus Hall son bested Asterix and Clone The Tone by three-quarters of a length in 1:59.2. Waples piloted the colt for trainer Mark Steacy of Lansdowne, ON and owners Frank Spagnolo of Potsdam, NY and Frank Schimizzi of Ottawa, ON. Georgies Pockets kept a neck in front of UF Musclemass Star to record his second straight Grassroots victory in the fourth split. The Muscle Mass son and driver Steve Condren hit the wire in 1:58.3. Cool Creek Victory rounded out the top three. Milton, ON resident Condren piloted the colt to his second win for trainer Melvin Turcotte of Coconut Creek, FL and owners M T Pockets Stables of Pompano Beach, FL. Georgies Pockets now shares top spot in the division standings with United BI. Windsun Missile captured the other Grassroots division with a 2:00 clocking for trainer-driver Per Henriksen . The duo bested JLs Bad Moon Risin and Welland Seelster. Henriksen trains the Kadabra colt for Steve Organ of Aurora, ON, Asa Farm of Norwood, ON and Darryl Drain of Tweed, ON. The two-year-old trotting colts make their fourth Grassroots start at Georgian Downs on August. 4, while their feminine peers arrive at Mohawk on Thursday evening for seven Grassroots divisions. The two-year-old trotting fillies are featured in Races 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 9, and 11 on the Thursday program, which gets under way at 7:25 pm. Ontario Horse Racing

Clinton -- Two years ago, James MacDonald was winning Clinton Raceways' annual harness racing drivers challenge heading into the final race when Trevor Henry pulled off a last second victory. MacDonald got his revenge a year ago, winning his first title with a decisive victory over Jody Jamieson. Henry was third. On Sunday, May 31, the trio, along with five other top reinsmen, will suit up against each other again as the 35th annual Drivers Challenge hits the track in support of the Clinton branch of the Royal Canadian Legion. "Legions are having a tough time financially across the province. Every cause is a good one, but we think this will be a nice tie-in for us," said Clinton Raceway general manager Ian Fleming. Though it's a fun, relaxed atmosphere in which all proceeds of the day, including the drivers' fees, will go to the Legion, MacDonald said the drivers don't take the competition lightly. "Everyone's really competitive," he said. "You put a bunch of egos in together and one's a winner and you're going to get people trying pretty hard. There's no favours there, that's for sure." Henry, a finalist for the O'Brien Award for Canada's driver of the year in 2014, said pride is on the line. "It's always nice to have the bragging rights," Henry said, "But it's just a lot of fun. It's a good day out." The Drivers Challenge will pit Clinton's top three drivers of 2014 -- Henry, Ryan Holliday and Bruce Richardson-- against MacDonald, Jamieson, Doug McNair and Mike Saftic from the Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) circuit and Canada's leading dash winner, Alfie Carroll, who turned 30 in early May, and is leading the nation with nearly 200 wins already in 2015. For the first time in its long history, the Drivers Challenge is being held at the beginning, rather than at the end of the season, to make room for the eighth edition of Clinton Raceway's biannual Legends Day classic that will close out the track's 16-race season on Sept. 6 in support of the Clinton Public Hospital. Henry, long the king of Ontario's smaller tracks and now a regular fixture on the WEG circuit, said he's a big fan of Clinton Raceway. "It's just good to go there and give back to the town of Clinton," Henry said. "They do a lot of good there. It's a good town and a nice track and a good spot." MacDonald said he likes making the trip to Clinton because the Drivers Challenge usually draws a huge crowd and, "the people there seem to appreciate it and they put on a good show." MacDonald currently ranks a close second on Canada's driver earnings list with over $1.35 million made in 2015. McNair is a close third ($1.23 million), following by Henry in fifth ($1.09 million), Jamieson in sixth ($980,000) and Carroll in eighth ($890,000). In the wins department, after Carroll, McNair currently ranks sixth in the nation with 90 wins, followed by MacDonald in seventh (88) and Henry tied for ninth (80). The eight reinsmen participating in the Drivers Challenge have more than 26,300 career wins between them and combined career earnings of around $300 million.     Jessica Carnochan

TORONTO, April 6 - A pair of harness racing  sophomore pacing fillies continued their dominance Monday night in the second leg of the Blossom Series at Woodbine. Two $15,000 second leg divisions of the series event for three-year-old pacing fillies were contested Monday evening. First round winners Cast No Shadow and Maplelea returned to score victories once again and set up a potential showdown in the series final. In the first division, Cast No Shadow improved her record to five for five in 2015 with a sharp 1:52.2 victory. Driven by Mike Saftic, Cast No Shadow, the 1/5 favourite, sat off the pace early on and would get into the outer flow heading towards the final turn. A fading first up challenger would force Cast No Shadow and her cover to go three-wide, but that wouldn't faze the public's choice. Cast No Shadow would explode off her cover in the stretch and charge by leader Moonlit Dance to prevail by a length and three-quarters. High Fashion Mel and Nippy W Hanover finished third and fourth, respectively. A daughter of Shadow Play, Cast No Shadow paced home in :26.4 to remain undefeated in 2015. She is trained by Des Tackoor for owner Millard Adams and now has over $40,000 in career earnings. The clocking of 1:52.2 knocked more than two-seconds off Cast No Shadow's previous career-mark. She paid $2.50 to win. Cast No Shadow Maplelea, the HPI Series winner, scored her fifth consecutive victory with a 1:56 triumph in the second division. Sent off as the 1/2 favourite, Maplelea and driver Rick Zeron got away sixth and last in the early stages of the race. Little pace was offered in the second-quarter and the field got to the half in just 1:00.1. Maplelea started up on the outside down the backstretch and was situated second-over coming off the final turn. In the stretch, Maplelea powered by her rivals to score a length and three-quarters victory. Her individual final-quarter was a dazzling :26.1. Doctor Terror finished second, while Beyonces Rockn took third. A daughter of Sportswriter, Maplelea has now won seven of nine starts this season for owner/trainer Andrew Moore. Her career bankroll now sits at over $82,000. Maplelea returned $3 to win. Maplelea Both Cast No Shadow and Maplelea will now have a chance at the Blossom Series sweep in next Monday's $36,200 final at Mohawk Racetrack. Mark McKelvie WEG Communications

TORONTO, February 16 - Bourbon Bay completed the General Brock series sweep with a dominating harness racing victory Monday night at Woodbine Racetrack. A field of nine four-year-old trotters contested the $50,800 final of the three-week series. Bourbon Bay and driver Mike Saftic came into the finale off two impressive victories in the opening two rounds and they lived up to their 3/5 billing with another eye-catching performance. A son of Sand Vic, Bourbon Bay sprinted out to the lead from post position one and posted a speedy opening-quarter of :27. A fired up Bourbon Bay had to be reeled in a bit by Saftic down the backstretch as he had a two-length advantage over Severus Hanover in second and more than ten-lengths on Bags For All in third. The duo would reach the half in :56.1 and continue to roll along around the final turn, while the back of the pack tried to tighten up to the leaders. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:26, Bourbon Bay kicked into another gear and extended his lead back out to several lengths on his opponents in the stretch. When it was all said and done, Bourbon Bay scored an easy-looking 4 ½ length victory over Bags For All in 1:55.1. Meadowview Vicky finished third, while Severus Hanover took fourth. A four-year-old gelding, Bourbon Bay had been racing primarily in New York, but shipped north of the border into the Mike Sinclair barn for the General Brock. Bourbon Bay is leased by John Cummings Jr. of Nichols, New York and now has four wins from six starts in 2015. Monday's victory was the ninth career score for the son of Sand Vic and pushes his career bankroll over $75,000. Bourbon Bay paid $3.20 to win. In order to be eligible to the General Brock, the three- and four-year-old trotters had to be non-winners of $50,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2014. Mark McKelvie

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