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Six divisions of two-year-old trotting colts put on an exciting show during Ontario Sires Stakes Super Sunday at the harness racing meeting at Clinton Raceway. Gonna Fly trotted into the Clinton oval's history books with a 2:02.2 track record in the second $18,000 division, taking command in the backstretch and pulling away to a four and one-quarter length victory over Eyeseenow and Cooper. Arthur, ON resident Trevor Henry crafted the win for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor, ON. "He trained down no problems whatsoever. I don't think he hardly even made a break the whole time training down," said McIntosh of the homebred Gonna Fly. "He's super gaited and super good on the half-mile track, he can trot the turns faster than he can trot a straightaway. "I wish all the races were on a half," added the trainer with a chuckle. "He's a handy little cat on a half." McIntosh and Earl Hill Jr. of Ohsweken, ON share ownership of the Kadabra colt Gonna Fly, who peeled two-fifths of a second off the former track record, set by Oratorio in 2006. Local colt Warrawee Rob captured the third Grassroots division for trainer Heather Toll of Dungannon, ON and owners Janet and Murray Bradshaw's 574238 Ontario Inc. of Waterford. Starting from Post 2 the Angus Hall son and driver Scott Coulter roared out to a seven-length lead before the :29.4 quarter, reached the half in 1:01.3 and the three-quarters in 1:33.4 and dug in down the stretch to secure the three-quarter length victory in 2:04.2. "He gets a little bit aggressive, I guess you could say. He knows his job and it's his home track, so I figured he'd probably leave a little bit," said Toll. "At the three-quarters he kind of came back to Scott, because that's the way he usually does when we train him, and then when he sees the other one coming he digs back in." Toll and the Bradshaw's were joined in the winner's circle by a number of family and friends who all enjoyed Ontario Sires Stakes Super Sunday at Clinton, which featured giveaways, the "Guess with Jess" trivia contest and an opportunity to drive a racehorse. "The people from Seelster's all came down today because of Heineken (Seelster), and they came back to the barn, and they were really happy and just loved the environment in Clinton," said Toll, whose other colt, Heineken Seelster, finished fifth behind Gonna Fly. "It's friendly, it's an open atmosphere and everybody gets along. It's fun, the kids can come and swim in the pool because it's free, and it's a nice relaxing day for people to come and enjoy the business, which is great. "Everybody coming out today was a great thing," she continued. The other Grassroots divisions went to Ginger Road, Wildwild Men, The Land Shark and Muscle Time. Ginger Road kicked off the afternoon's festivities with a 2:04.2 victory for driver Lorne House of Ingersoll, ON trainer Fred Jamieson of Putnam, ON and his partners Renato Confortin of London, ON and Karl Empey of Mossley, ON. The Holiday Road gelding bested favourite Holiday Bro and Leroys Dream. Fan favourite Wildwild Men moved into a tie for top spot in the division point race with his 2:06.2 triumph over Terrain Seelster and Kronwall in the fourth division. Robert Shepherd of Cambridge, ON engineered the 10 and one-half length win for trainer Isabelle Darveau of Cambridge, ON and owners Catheline Pelletier of Mirabel, QC and Chantal Gravel of St.-Cyrille-de-Wendover, QC. Second in the Grassroots season opener, the Muscle Mass son now boasts a point tally of 75. Driver Alfie Carroll of Iona Station, ON piloted The Land Shark to a 2:05.2 win in the fifth division for trainer Richard Moreau of Puslinch, ON and his partner 9099 3833 Quebec Inc. of Sorel-Tracy, QC. The Manofmanymissions colt reeled in pacesetter United BI and pocket sitter Bipartisan Hanover in the stretch to earn the quarter length victory, his first. Petrolia, ON resident Darryl Laver steered Muscle Time to a gritty neck victory in the final division, hitting the wire in 2:02.4, a neck in front of JLs Bad Moon Risin and Bow Ties N Bourbon. Laver bred, owns and trains Muscle Time, who is a Muscle Mass son out of his $324,264 winning race mare Spare Time Rozie. The two-year-old trotting colts make their third Grassroots appearance at Mohawk Racetrack on July 28. Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Clinton Raceway on Sunday, Aug. 9 with Grassroots action for the two-year-old pacing fillies. Ontario Horse Racing

Local colt Tswalu delivered the perfect opener for the 43rd Anniversary celebrations at the harness racing meeting at Kawartha Downs on Saturday, capturing his very first Ontario Sires Stakes victory at his hometown oval. "It's always nice to win on the home turf," said Peterborough resident Dagfin Henriksen, who piloted the gelding to the win for his partners Kevin Isaac of Bridgenorth and Samuel Mulholland of Picton. "They were a bunch of happy owners." Starting from Post 5, Henriksen sent Tswalu directly to the front and controlled the tempo through fractions of :28.1, :58.4 and 1:26.4 before sailing down the stretch to a one and one-quarter length win in 1:56.3. Fan favourite Parkhill Lancelot, trained by Peterborough native John Bax, finished second and P L Intimidator was third. The win came on the heels of a disappointing performance for Tswalu in the July 3 Grassroots event Mohawk Racetrack where he made a break and finished ninth, so trainer-driver Henriksen was pleased the gelding was finally able to demonstrate his ability. "He didn't get to show what he was last time because he just wanted to go forward when he got a horse on the outside, and I had a horse in front of me," explained Henriksen. "You know it's kind of hard for handicappers to see that because they don't know what happened." "So I knew he was a nice horse, but I haven't had much luck with him yet." The win was not just Tswalu's first in Grassroots action, it was his first ever victory in 19 starts. In two other Grassroots starts this season the Angus Hall son finished sixth (June 4) and second (June 24). Henriksen is hoping Saturday's victory is a sign of better things to come for the trotter. "He's just starting to put it together and I think he'll be a really nice aged horse too," noted the horseman. The second $18,000 Grassroots division was captured by driver Delcrest Massy, who went gate-to-wire in 1:56.4 for driver Alfie Carroll. Jayport On Th Edge and J N Ryder finished five and one half lengths back in second and third. Victor Puddy of Mountain, ON conditions Delcrest Massy for owner Keith Cassell of Smiths Falls, ON. Through four Grassroots starts the Muscle Mass son has tallied two wins, one third and one fifth for 117 points and second spot in the division standings. "He's a real nice horse." He's good mannered, he don't pull, he does everything you want him to do," said driver Carroll of Delcrest Massy. "You can race him either way, but he looked like he'd been racing good near the front, so that's where I aimed for and we were lucky enough to get it." The win with Delcrest Massy was the first of three Grassroots wins and two overnight victories on the program for Carroll, who scored his first Ontario Sires Stakes hat trick on July 7 at Georgian Downs with a trio of two-year-old trotting fillies. "I haven't driven in a lot of Ontario Sires Stakes," noted the 30-year-old reinsman. "This is my first year to really be driving a lot of them, and most of them have so far been trotters." The Iona Station, ON resident scored his next two victories with Bob McIntosh trainees A Little More Love and Kadabrasnewrecruit, and controlled the fractions with both colts. A Little More Love roared out to a three length margin from Post 2 in the fourth division and carried on to a one and three-quarter length victory in 1:56.3. Favourite Buzz and Century Behemoth rounded out the top three. Windsor, ON resident McIntosh shares ownership of A Little More Love with Dave Boyle of Bowmanville, ON. The number two ranked colt in the Gold Series last season, the Kadabra colt had not visited the winner's circle in five sophomore starts prior to Saturday evening's effort. Favourite Kadabrasnewrecruit rang up fractions of :27.4 and :57.3, then was briefly headed by Stormont Wizard heading by the 1:26 three-quarters, but came back on to record a one-half length victory in 1:56.3. Stormont Wizard settled for second, with Lets Be Honest a length back in third. The win was the third in Grassroots competition for Kadabrasnewrecruit, who sits atop the division standings with 162 points. Hall of Fame horseman McIntosh owns the son of Kadabra, who has been no worse than third in six starts this season. "They said he was the best of the two, so after the first one I thought we had a pretty good chance with him," said Carroll. "He dug deep and showed he's got a lot of heart to come back on like that." The other Grassroots trophy went home with A Rod Hall, who bested Rebel Rebel and Pridecrest in 1:58. It was the first ever win for the Deweycheatumnhowe gelding, who was making just his fifth lifetime start. Thornton, ON resident Steve Byron crafted the win for trainer Dustin Jones of Waterdown, ON and owner Willow Pond LLC of Hewlett, NY. The three-year-old trotting colts make their fifth Grassroots start at Hiawatha Horse Park on August 22. In addition to the three-year-old trotting colt Grassroots event, the large Kawartha Downs crowd celebrated the anniversary with cupcakes, prize draws and giveaways, and a variety of special on-track moments, including the presentation of the second Grassroots trophy by Mary Speck, who was celebrating her 90th birthday with her family. Racing continues at Kawartha Downs next Saturday at 7 pm. Ontario Horse Racing

Current Ontario Sires Stakes trotting queen Muscle Baby Doll captured her third straight Gold Series trophy with a 1:53.1 victory at the harness racing meeting at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday evening. Starting from Post 2 the Muscle Mass daughter took control of the race heading for the halfway marker and driver Doug McNair simply sat back and enjoyed the ride, which resulted in a personal best 1:53.1 clocking. "She's been really good all year. She hasn't been beat in the Sires Stakes yet," said Guelph, ON resident McNair. "Tonight I just chirped her a little bit and she did the rest on her own. She sure felt like she had a second left, I don't know if she did or not, but she felt like it." Muscle Baby Doll cruised under the wire one and three-quarter lengths ahead of former Gold division winners Elegant Serenity and Amoureuse Hanover. The three fillies are currently sitting atop the division standings in the same order of their finish with 150, 80 and 67 points, respectively. Tony O'Sullivan conditions Muscle Baby Doll for F. Bellino and Sons LLC of Bronxville, NY and the Cambridge, ON resident is thoroughly enjoying training and racing the talented filly. "I'm pretty happy, pretty proud of her. It's pretty exciting to have such a nice filly," said O'Sullivan. "She's pretty fun to train and pretty fun to watch." With a record of five wins and one second in six starts since her May 9 debut, O'Sullivan said Muscle Baby Doll will get a vacation from the racetrack over the next few weeks, returning to action for the fourth Gold Series event at Grand River Raceway on August 19. "I'd like to just use the time to let her freshen up a little bit and give her a break," said the trainer. "After Grand River she doesn't have a week off, so it works out pretty well now there's a month and she can freshen up." O'Sullivan also started Youre Majestic in the second Gold division, but the Majestic Son daughter settled for fourth spot behind first-time winner All That Sparkles. With James MacDonald of Guelph, ON in the race bike, All That Sparkles accelerated away from Post 3 and was able to lay claim to the coveted pocket spot behind heavy favourite Stubborn Belle. Stalking the pacesetter through fractions of :26.2, :56 and 1:25.3, MacDonald bided his time until the final turn and then gave All That Sparkles a clear view of the finish line. The filly shifted into another gear and accelerated away from the field to a four length victory in 1:54.2. After being forced out three-wide to find racing room, Second Sister and LMC Marshmellow settled for second and third. Jonas Czernyson of Allentown, NJ trains All That Sparkles, and shares ownership and breeding credit on the daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe and Chocolate Tiara with his wife Christine. All That Sparkles is the first horse the Czernyson's have raced in the Ontario Sires Stakes program and they were pleasantly surprised with her victory. "She'd been getting sharper and sharper, I didn't know that she was going to do it like that, that I have to say," admitted Jonas Czernyson. "She don't really have that quick burst of speed." "She has the speed, but she can't pop out of a hole halfway down the stretch and do it, she has to have a little longer time to get up to speed." Raced just four times last season, All That Sparkles had eight starts to her credit prior to Thursday's test, and had posted one second and three thirds. Czernyson said she was an awkward, growth filly at two and has only just begun to grow into her lanky frame. "She's grown into herself some, but she still has some more growing to do, she's pretty long-legged," said the trainer. If All That Sparkles is happy and healthy following Thursday's victory and the return trip to her New Jersey home, Czernyson said her next start will likely come in the August 7 Duenna Stake at The Meadowlands, followed by the fourth Gold at Grand River Raceway on August 19. Next up on Mohawk Racetrack's Ontario Sires Stakes schedule are six Grassroots divisions for the two-year-old pacing colts on Friday night. The colts will be featured in Races 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 10 on the 7:25 pm program. Ontario Horse Racing

Trois-Rivieres, Quebec - The unbeaten win streak this year by Intouchable is no more as the three-year-old trotter went off-stride after the start of the first race at the Hippodrome 3R Wednesday. Touted as perhaps "untouchable" after his easy victories in the first two rounds of the $200,000 Quebec-Bred Series, Intouchable and driver Mario Charron went on the gallop after the start and could not get back on-stride and was distanced in the race. Intouchable's first loss in 2015 was a big gain for Seeyou Men, who started from post three for driver Robert Shepherd, went right to the lead, held the field at bay through fractions of :28.3, :59.3 and 1:29.4 before opening up on the field, winning in a romp by five and one-quarter lengths in 1:59.3. Promesses Imperial (Jerome Lombart) was second with Champagne Panic (Denis Filion) third. It was the second win in just three lifetime starts and a lifetime mark for Seeyou Men. The gelded son of Muscle Mass is trained by Isabelle D'Darveau for owner Catheline Pelletier of Chantal Gravel, QC and paid $9.70 to win. In the seventh race filly division, a bulky field of ten starters went behind the starting gate and it was National Trace and driver Stephane Brosseau who was the first on the lead as race favorite Double Chance (Sylvain LaCaille) went off-stride. National Trace led to the opening quarter mile in :29.2, then giving way to stubborn Meganou (Jocelyn Gendron), who took the field to the half mile marker in :59.3 and looked to be in total control of the race. Then right at the three-quarters in 1:30.2, Meganou went off-stride, giving the easy lead back to National Trace. But stalking the field in third place most of the mile was D'Espoir and driver Pascal Berube and at the top of the stretch they came after stablemate National Trace, collared them in mid-stretch and came on to win a half-length in 2:03.3. Chamane (Simon Delisle) was third. Both D'Espoir and National Trace are trained by Dany Fontaine and owned by Ecurie Gaetan Bono, Inc. Montreal. D'Espoir is also co-owned by the Berto Stables of QC. It was just the first win in two starts this year for the daughter of Windsong Espoir. She paid $8.50 to win. Coming up this Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R will be the $250,000 third round of the Quebec-Bred Series for three-year-old pacers. For more information visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club  

On Tuesday evening fans at the harness racing meeting at Georgian Downs experienced a moment of deja vu when Bob McClure piloted three-year-old trotting filly Judy The Beauty to her first win of the season in the last of seven Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots divisions. "I won my first Grassroots with her almost a year ago today at this track," recalled McClure, who piloted Judy The Beauty to her first lifetime win in a division of that July 22, 2014 Grassroots event. The pair went on to capture one more Grassroots trophy last season, with Judy The Beauty earning $31,320 and McClure's mounts reaching the $1 million mark for the first time in his career. This season McClure has chosen to concentrate on driving every card at Georgian Downs and Grand River Raceway, so Tuesday was the first stakes event he has partnered with Judy The Beauty. Starting from Post 1 McClure was content to get away mid-pack and watch the pacesetters battle to a :28.2 quarter and :56.3 half. Heading by the 1:27 three-quarters the 24-year-old reinsman tipped Judy The Beauty into the outer lane and the pair steadily reeled in the front-runners, reaching the wire half a length ahead of favourite Railee Priti and Ill Stay Here in 1:57.2. "She's just a very nice filly to drive, even last year when she was a two-year-old it was just like I was driving a three or four-year-old because she was just so smart," said McClure. "She really makes life easy because you can leave or race from off." "Last year towards the end she seemed to have a few growing pains and this year she's really filled out, she's got a more powerful stride," continued the Orangeville, ON resident. "I would just say she's a lot stronger, and she'll continue to get better because she still is just a touch green." McClure crafted the win, a personal best for the Muscle Mass daughter, for trainer Keith Jones of Midland, ON and owner Randy Zhok of Dover Centre, ON. The victory boosted Judy The Beauty up the division standings, moving her into a tie for third with 100 points. While McClure would like to maintain his successful partnership with Judy The Beauty, he has been turning down Ontario Sires Stakes mounts this summer in an effort to achieve a different goal. "I'm leading driver at Grand River and Georgian right now, and I'm trying to hold that, and it's hard when you have to leave on Saturday nights to go to stake races," explained the young reinsman. "I'm trying not to get too far away from them." "It's hard to turn down stake drives, but I'm trying to keep most of my business there right now." If McClure can maintain his leading driver status through the Georgian Downs and Grand River Raceway meets this season, he hopes that level of success will allow him to pursue a few more Ontario Sires Stakes opportunities in 2016. In addition to McClure and Judy The Beauty's repeat performance, six other fillies took home Grassroots trophies from Georgian Downs on Tuesday. La Bella Rosa captured the first Grassroots division in commanding style, sailing from Post 6 to the finish without seeing a challenger. The Holiday Road filly and river Mario Baillargeon hit the wire nine and one-half lengths on top in 1:56.3. Lady Caterina and Magic Dancing finished second and third. The win was La Bella Rosa's second straight in Grassroots action and vaulted her to the top of the division standings with 108 points. Reaume Bouvier of Guelph, ON conditions La Bella Rosa for breeder Bella Fortuna Stables of Laval, QC and Patricia McGuirl Bouvier of Guelph. Campbellville, ON resident Mike Saftic piloted fan favourite Renegade Magic to a 1:57 victory in the second division for trainer Ted MacDonnell of Allenford, ON and owner-breeder Jeff and Lori Thomson of Chesley, ON. Kadabra daughter Renegade Magic hit the wire two lengths ahead of Cincinnati Miss and California Rachel. Sumthintotalkabout went gate-to-wire from Post 9 in the third division, battling all the way to the wire for a neck victory over favourite Tymal Signature and Ladyone in 1:57. Arthur, ON resident Trevor Henry guided the Muscle Mass filly to her second straight Grassroots victory for trainer Steve Bossence of London, ON and his partner Stephen Palermo of Brampton, ON. The fourth division saw Holiday Road daughter Meadow Seelster drop down from the Gold Series to find her first Ontario Sires Stakes victory, cruising home a seven length winner over Aunt Lottie and Sheguindah. Robert Shepherd engineered the 1:56.1 mile, the quickest of the seven Grassroots divisions, for trainer Bill Budd of Waterdown, ON and owner William Dixon of Caledon, ON. Hape also posted her first Grassroots win with a 1:58.2 clocking in the fifth division, besting favourite Summers Jewel and Tyrone Zoey. Moffat, ON resident Jack Moiseyev trains and drives the Pilgrims Taj filly for Joanne Colville of Moffat and Nancy MacNevin of Essex, ON. Luc Ouellette and Allies Gift controlled the pace from start to finish in the sixth division, cruising home two lengths ahead of Flexceptional and Pinky The Intern in a personal best 1:57.1. The Campbellville resident drives and trains the Holiday Road daughter for Ecuries Richelieu Inc. of Venise-En-Quebec, QC. The three-year-old trotting fillies make their fourth Grassroots start at Mohawk Racetrack on August 10. Ontario Sires Stakes excitement returns to Georgian Downs this Sunday, July 19 with the second Grassroots event for the two-year-old pacing fillies. Ontario Horse Racing

Sylvain Filion had a golden touch at the harness racing meeting at Mohawk Racetrack on Monday night, guiding both of his two-year-old trotting colt mounts to an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series victory. In the first $105,000 division Stormont Esquire surprised Filion, trainer Kevin Benn and the Mohawk Racetrack fans when he fired off the gate and had established a four length lead by the :28.3 opening quarter. When Willyorwonthe and driver Mike Saftic finally stepped up to take control heading for the :58.4 half Filion was content to sit behind the fan favourites. Around the final turn Dewey Dont Cheat pressed Willyorwonthe, getting out to a quarter length lead by the 1:28.2 three-quarters. With an open lane behind the duelling leaders, Filion sent Stormont Esquire to the outside and asked him for another gear. The colt responded with a strong effort that saw him reel in the leaders and hold off a hard-charging Will Take Charge to score the quarter length win in 1:57.4. Tony Soprano rounded out the top three. "Kevin (Benn) just told me try to get him around, he's really green." "He didn't have really much expectations, he said he liked him, but he meant that he was really green," said Filion after the race. "So I put him on the gate and he got fired up and he wanted to leave the gate real hard, so I went on with him." "Then I was waiting for Mike (Saftic) to come and cover me up - and obviously Mike's horse wasn't 100 per cent tonight - and around the last turn we were able to find room and pull out, and he just got there," Filion continued. "That was a nice surprise." Filion engineered the victory for trainer Benn of Napanee, ON and owner-breeder Stormont Meadows of Long Sault, ON. Stormont Esquire is a son of Muscle Mass from the mare Queen Of Stormont, who earned $124,059 in her career and counts four $250,000-plus winners among her siblings. Starting from Post 7 in the second division, Filion had a vastly different situation on his hands. Where Stormont Esquire had been keen to accelerate away from the gate, Adored By Masses was not even keen to approach the gate. With a few colts making early breaks, Filion was able to land Adored By Masses in fifth, from where they watched Unitaliano BI and Dad Leads battle through a :28 quarter and :58.2 half. When fan favourite V For Victory tipped to the outside, Filion sent Adored By Masses up behind him and the colt reached the 1:27.2 three-quarters almost six lengths behind the leaders. Getting a clear look at the wire at the top of the stretch, Adored By Masses trotted steadily down the centre of the racetrack and got a neck in front of Dad Leads, who went off stride just before the wire. V For Victory was well back in third. "Robin, who takes care of him,trains for Erv Miller, told me he was really, really lazy and you know what, she didn't lie." "Not often you see a lazy trotter, but he is lazy." "So I had to work on him just to get him to the gate," said Filion. "Once the gate left he kind of got into it; there was a lot of breakers leaving the gate and that helped us." "We were able to sit fourth or fifth and we just kind of followed them along." "Top of the stretch he kind of kicked in and got drifting out bad, and I was just worried to keep him trotting," added the reinsman. "I was just hoping to finish in second because Mike (Saftic) had such a lead I didn't think I was going to catch him." So I was just paying attention to my horse and all of a sudden I look and Mike's on the run." "That was kind of lucky I think, because no way we're going to catch him (Dad Leads) if he doesn't run." The 1:56.3 mile was the third straight win for Adored By Masses, who also captured a two-year-old conditioned event at Pocono Downs on June 21 and one at Georgian Downs on July 4. Erv Miller of Wind Gap, PA conditions the Muscle Mass half-brother to $243,945 winner Pizzazzed for Anthony Lombardi of Morris, IL, Paymaq Racing of Long Grove, IL and Mystical Marker Farms of Dyer, IN. The freshman trotting colts head to Georgian Downs for their second Gold Leg on July 21, and Filion is hoping to be back in the race bike behind both colts. "I'll probably continue to drive them because I think them two colts are the kind of colts that are going to improve, they're going to go forward," Filion noted. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Mohawk Racetrack this Thursday, July 16 when the Campbellville oval welcomes back the three-year-old trotting fillies for their third Gold Series event. The sophomore trotting lasses will battle in Races 3 and 8 on the 7:25 pm program. Ontario Horse Racing

Two-year-old trotting colts were the headliners at the harness racing meeting at Georgian Downs on Saturday evening, with 57 colts battling in seven Grassroots divisions. French Bastille captured the first Grassroots trophy of the freshman trotting colt campaign, hitting the wire in 2:01.1 for trainer-driver Mark Steacy. French Bastille reeled in pacesetter and fan favourite Clone The Tone through the stretch, reaching the wire one-quarter length on top. Stormont Viceroy finished two more lengths back in third. Lansdowne, ON resident Steacy conditions French Bastille for Landmark 8 Racing Stable of Kingston, ON, Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC and Bridle Path Stables Ltd. of Ossining, NY. The partners acquired the son of Kadabra and $639,981 winner Brigham Dream for $55,000 at last fall's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. In the second $18,000 division Mass Balance got a pocket trip behind pacesetter Wildwild Men before rolling out in the stretch and accelerating away to a three and one-quarter length victory in 1:59.3. Wildwild Men trotted into second, with Terrain Seelster earning the third spot when Holiday Party made a late break and was placed from third back to fourth. Bob McClure piloted the Muscle Mass son to the win for trainer Chris Beaver of Delaware, OH and owner Synerco Ventures Inc. of Toronto, ON, and Georgian Downs' leading reinsman was impressed with the trotter. "He's a very nice young trotter with the attitude of a four-year-old," said McClure, who resides in Orangeville, ON. "He has a bright future." The third division was the first of two captured by driver Travis Henry of Brantford, ON and trainer Shannon Henry of Arthur, ON. Starting from Post 8, Travis Henry sent Zagster straight to the front and the pair never looked back, sailing home one and one-quarter length winners in 2:02.1. Money Mission and Muscle Time rounded out the top three. Muscle Mass gelding Zagster is owned by Trevor Henry Stables Inc. of Arthur, ON and John MacLeod of Kincardine and was a bargain $3,000 purchase at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale last fall. Through two qualifiers and one Grassroots appearance the colt is undefeated. Im A Mate scored the quickest mile of the seven divisions, trotting under the wire in 1:59.1 for driver Don Dupont and trainer Marie Dupont of Loxahatchee, FL. The fan favourite bested pacesetter Rose Run Rudi by three and one-quarter lengths with Romeo another length back in third. Roy Dobbins of Bryant, AL bred and owns Im A Mate, a son of Muscle Mass and Im A Checkmate. Among the colt's half-siblings is $799,117 winner Prayer I Am. Travis and Shannon Henry returned to the winner's circle following the fifth division when United BI caught pacesetter Chestnut Schofield at the wire. Just one-quarter of a length separated the colts at the 2:00.1 finish, with Eyeseenow seven lengths to the rear in third. Nick Petrusich of Hamilton, ON and Trevor Henry Stables Inc. share ownership of United BI, who was a $35,000 acquisition at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. Georgies Pockets went gate-to-wire in the sixth division, stopping the Georgian Downs teletimer at 1:59.4. Asterix and Dynamic Edge were four and one-quarter lengths back in second and third. Milton, ON resident Steve Condren crafted the victory for trainer Melvin Turcotte of Coconut Creek, FL and owner-breeder M T Pockets Stables of Pompano Beach, FL. The colt is the son of Muscle Mass and former OSS competitor Striking Pockets. The final Grassroots trophy of the evening was captured by Cool Creek Victory, who toured the Georgian Downs oval in 2:02.1, besting Dial K and Some Peach. Eddie Green of Ohsweken, ON owns, trains and drives the son of Windsong Espoir, who was a $30,000 purchase from the Canadian Yearling Sale. The two-year-old trotting colts will make their second Grassroots start at Clinton Raceway on Sunday, July 19. Georgian Downs fans will be treated to the Gold Series debut of the two-year-old trotting fillies on Sunday evening. The freshman fillies are featured in Races 2, 4, 6, and 8 on the July 12 program, which gets under way at 6 pm. Ontario Horse Racing

JULY 7, 2015 - Georgian Downs hosted the Ontario Sires Stakes debut of the two-year-old trotting fillies on Tuesday evening and harness racing driver Alfie Carroll piloted three of the novice trotters to Grassroots victory over the rain-soaked oval. "The trainers had them all ready and they raced super," said Carroll. "Made my night great, made it easy - it wasn't really anything I did." Carroll kicked things off with a win in the first $18,000 Grassroots division, guiding Ballykeel Rocket to a 2:03.2 score for trainer Richard Moreau of Puslinch, ON and owner-breeder Ballykeel Racing Inc. of Tillsonburg, ON. The Majestic Son daughter finished two lengths ahead of pacesetter Shes All Muscle and Darling Diva. "Richard doesn't really tell you too much how to drive, he just said don't get her on the gate too soon, so I just timed her in and she got away decent," said Carroll of Ballykeel Rocket. "Then I just moved her first up and she trotted on by. She raced good." In the second Grassroots division Carroll followed a nearly identical path to the winner's circle with Bob McIntosh trainee Tough Affair. Getting away third, the reinsman tipped the filly out heading for the three-quarters and Tough Affair pulled away from the field to a four and one-quarter length victory in 2:00.3, an impressive mile over a surface rated two seconds slower than normal. Shes In Gear and Windsongmusclelady finished behind Tough Affair in second and third. "The trainer said Bob said to say that they were better than their lines showed," noted Carroll. "So I just basically did the same thing, left comfortably, got away third and was able to move first up, and she raced tough too." Hall of Fame horseman McIntosh of Windsor, ON and C S X Stables of Liberty Center, Ohio bred and own Tough Affair, a Muscle Mass daughter from their $462,826 winning broodmare Armbro Affair. Carroll completed the driving hat trick in the final Grassroots division aboard another McIntosh trainee, Krafty. Starting from Post 1 the fan favourites went straight to the front, cruised through fractions of :32, 1:05 and 1:35.4, and hit the wire three-quarters of a length on top in 2:05.3. Pocket-sitter Mariana and a hard-closing Malibu Seelster rounded out the top three. "They said she's a Cadillac to drive and the Kadabra filly was," said Carroll of his third winner. "She left good, I got to the front, got decent fractions and she was strong right to the end." While Carroll has visited the Grassroots winner's circle before, the Iona Station, ON resident had never captured three events on one night. Coming off a personal best season in 2014 and on track for an even more successful 2015, Carroll is hoping the Ontario Sires Stakes program becomes a regular part of his summer schedule. "I've won a few Grassroots, but never three in one night, so it was a great night for me," said the 30-year-old. "Bob (McIntosh) was wondering if I could drive some of them for him, kind of commit to some of them, so I said I'd try to do my best. And then there's a few other trainers, hopefully if I get that one of Moreau's back I'll follow it too. Hopefully it keeps rolling." The other two Grassroots divisions on the Tuesday evening program went to Jangone and Its All About Sam. Trainer Riina Rekila piloted Jangone to a front-end victory from Post 7 in the third division, sailing home three and three-quarter lengths ahead of The Power of Many and Shezastrikin Loral in 2:03.4. It was the second straight win over the Georgian Downs oval for Jangone and Rekila, who captured a two-year-old event on June 27. A daughter of Johnny William and Panderosa F, Jangone is owned by breeder Overseas Farms Ltd. of Campbellville, ON. Its All About Sam closed hard through the last quarter to earn her first victory, reaching the wire three lengths ahead of First Mission and Attitude To Burn in 2:02.3. The Angus Hall daughter, a $40,000 acquisition at last fall's Harrisburg Yearling Sale, is trained by Scott McEneny for Bradley Grant and Teresa Davidson of Milton and Michelle McEneny of Waterdown, ON. Guelph resident James MacDonald engineered the win. The two-year-old trotting fillies will make their second Grassroots start on July 22 at Grand River Raceway. Georgian Downs has a full weekend of Ontario Sires Stakes action on tap beginning Saturday, July 11 with the two-year-old trotting colt Grassroots season opener and continuing on Sunday, July 12 with the first Gold Series event for the two-year-old trotting fillies. Ontario Horse Racing

The 2015 Hanover Stake season is officially underway as Balmoral Park played host to a pair of trotting stakes for three-year-olds as part of an action packed harness racing July 4th program.   The action kicked off with a non-wagering event as a field of five colts lined up behind the gate to battle for a purse of $20,600.   The battle between Illinois bred stars Captain Greedy and Fox Valley Qatar resumed in this event and for the third straight meeting between these two it was Charles Dowering and John D Finn's Captain Greedy who came out on top as he reported home with a one-length victory in 1:56.2.   Confidently handled by driver-trainer J D Finn the son of Yankee Valor--Tropical Trixie was sent right to the top where he proceeded to stroll through splits of 28.2, 58.3 & 1:28.4.   Sprinting home in 27.3, Captain Greedy shook off the challenge of a pocket sitting Fox Valley Qatar (Todd Warren) to record his fourth win in seven starts this season. Fox Valley Qatar was forced to settle for the runner-up role again while Bulldog Benji (Mike Brink) was third. The victory pushed Captain Greedy's career bankroll up to $90,796.   Sophomore trotting fillies also took to the track for Hanover action as a compact a field of five battled for a purse of $23,900.   After being content to sit near the back in the compact field, Ronald Phillips My Mini Snickers exploded through the stretch to win by a widening 3½ lengths in 1:56.3 for "provisional" driver Clifton Bell.   Content to bide their time near the back as Fox Valley Harrah (Todd Warren) put up pedestrian splits of 29.4, 59.1 & 128.1 Bell moved his filly to the outside as the field neared the top of the lane.   Trotting up a storm as she moved down the center of the track, the Bob Phillips trained daughter of Muscle Mass--Milky Way rolled home in 27.4 to notch her second win in 10 starts this season. In what is believed to be a "first" in harness racing history, Fox Valley Yoko (Kyle Wilfong) and Persuasive Look (Casey Leonard), who finished in a dead-heat for the win in an ICF stake here last week, wound up on even terms once again as they dead-heated for the place spot.   With the victory My Mini Snickers now boasts seven wins in 21 career starts with earnings of $45,319.   A pair of state-bred events were also contested on Saturday night as part of the big 12-race betting card.   In the first of these battles, the $8,000 Hot Head Stake for sophomore pacing colts, James & Terri Blackmon's Dixie's Boy picked a nice time to come up with a career best as he blew by his rivals in the lane to post a one-length victory in 1:52.0 for driver Casey Leonard.   Using a perfect second over trip the gelded son of Duneside Perch--Dingy's Model circled rivals after watching Dinky Dune (Pat Curtin) put up some brisk splits, speeding home in 26.4 while holding division leader Earndawg (Todd Warren) at bay. Longshot Casey At Bat (Mike Oosting) wound up with the show dough.   The Joel Smith trainee now sports a career record of 5-5-5 in 24 lifetime starts with earnings of $31,522 after Saturday's victory.   In the nightcap Kay Willis's Lex had no problem overcoming the dreaded 10-hole as she posted a 1¾ length triumph over nine rivals in the $8,000 Ohyouprettything Stake for ICF three-year-old pacing fillies.   Hustled right to the front by Kyle Wilfong, the Nelson Willis trained daughter of Lexington Legend--I Bet U put up splits of 28.4, 58.2 & 1:26.4 while relatively unchallenged on the front end.   With plenty left in the tank the division leader in 2015 sealed the deal with a 26.4 final panel to notch her fifth win in nine starts this year. Fox Valley Charm (Tim Curtin) rallied late to be the bridesmaid while Sportsmuffler (John De Long) shook loose to finish third.   With Saturday's victory Lex now boasts a career record of 9-4-4 in 18 starts with earnings of $107,123.   The ICF stake action continues on Sunday, July 5th with a field of six freshmen trotting fillies getting the action underway in a non-wagering test as they battle in the $6,000 Vaporize Stake which will go at 6:45 p.m. (central). The second division of that stake has also drawn a field of six and will go as race three on the regular 10-race card. An overflow field of 11 2yo trotting colts will battle in race four which is the $8,000 Psychic Spirit Stake and a field of seven sophomore trotting fillies will close out the stake action in race six as they battle in the $8,000 Source Ann Stake. Once again the wagering action gets underway at 7:10pm on Sunday night and as always the $1 Pick 4 features a $25,000 guaranteed pool. The Pick 4 is on races seven through 10 on Sunday night.   Tom Kelley

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

Doug McIntosh missed out on a piece of the eight-foot long cake, but the Wheatley resident still left the harness racing meeting at Dresden Raceway on Canada Day in a celebratory mood after Cincinnati Miss delivered an impressive victory in her $18,000 Grassroots division. "It's now one race at a time, but she kind of made us believers, and I'm very, very happy," said McIntosh. "It worked out great." Sent off as the narrow favourites over Allies Gift and Luc Ouellette, Cincinnati Miss and driver Trevor Henry sprinted away from Post 4 and took early control of the race. As the pair rolled through fractions of :29, :57.3 and 1:28 with Allies Gift tucked in behind them, McIntosh worried the tempo might be too quick, but Cincinnati Miss found another gear in the stretch and pulled away to a two and one-quarter length victory in 1:58.2. "I was a little concerned that the fractions were pretty heavy," admitted McIntosh, who shares ownership of Cincinnati Miss with Ivey Pharm Stable of Cincinnati, Ohio. "But you know what, she made us proud in the stretch, she just dug in and got the job done, and within two-fifths (of a second) of the track record." The win improved the Kadabra daughter's sophomore record to two wins, two seconds and one third in five starts and boosted her season earnings to $25,160. The consistent young trotter will make her next start in the July 14 Grassroots event at Georgian Downs. "I can't say enough for Bob's team, they've done a great job," said McIntosh, who retired from training horses in the spring and handed care of Cincinnati Miss off to his brother Bob McIntosh of Windsor, ON. "Daryl (Wayne) that looks after her is a very, very efficient groom, she's had a lot of experience and she knows what to do. She's very, very proud." McIntosh was also pleased to see the enthusiastic crowd gathered at Dresden Raceway to celebrate Canada Day and the Grassroots trotting fillies. In addition to Cincinnati Miss, the fans greeted six other fillies as they returned triumphant to the Dresden winner's circle. The aptly named Summers Jewel kicked things off with a 1:59.2 score in the first Grassroots division, circling out three-wide to claim a two length victory over Pointe Of Inquiry and JLs Too Hot Taj. Mario Baillargeon piloted the fan favourite to her first win of the season for his brother, trainer Benoit Baillargeon of Rockwood, ON, who also owns the daughter of Angus Hall. In the second division Hope Rises tracked down pacesetter Misslarissa heading for the three-quarters and accelerated away to a three and one-half length victory in 2:01. Fan favourite Lady Caterina settled for second, with Misslarissa hanging on for third. Sylvain Filion drove the Windsong Espoir daughter to her first win of the season for trainer Kelly Goodwin and owner-breeders Deborah Spike-Pierce of Lexington, KY and Madelon Spike of Jerome, MI. Local filly Judy The Beauty, owned by Randy Zhok of Dover Centre, had fans on their feet in the stretch of the third division, but finished one-quarter length behind winner Flexceptional in the 2:01 mile. Dave Tyrrell trains Flexceptional for Michael Casalino Jr. of Freehold, NJ and Anthony MacDonald piloted the Federal Flex daughter to the win. Tymal Fireitup rounded out the top three. La Bella Rosa's late sprint in the fourth division paid dividends, as she hit the wire one-quarter length ahead of Giona and fan favourite Kaddy. The Holiday Road filly gave driver Sylvain Filion his second win of the afternoon. Filion engineered the 1:59.4 win for trainer Reaume Bouvier and owners Bella Fortuna Stable of Laval, QC and Patricia McGuirl of Guelph, ON. Kadabra daughter Wing Flash displayed an impressive turn of foot in the fifth division, sailing along on the front end to a seven and one-half length victory in 1:58.2. Sheguindah and Stay In Touch completed the top three. Trainer-driver Wayne Henry of Arthur, ON shares ownership of Wing Flash with Daylon Farms of Komoka, ON. The final Grassroots division saw Trevor Henry make his second appearance in the Dresden winner's circle, guiding Muscle Mass daughter Sumthintotalkabout to a three and one-quarter length win for trainer Stephen Bossence of London, ON and his partner Stephen Palermo of Brampton, ON. Ill Stay Here and fan favourite Oh My Magic finished second and third in the 1:59.3 mile. The three-year-old trotting fillies will make their third Grassroots start at Georgian Downs on July 14, with each of the Canada Day winners hoping to add a few more points to their total in pursuit of a berth in the post season. Ontario Horse Racing

JUNE 30, 2015 - Twelve days ago harness racing trainer Dustin Jones made an unanticipated return to the race bike behind his top trotting colt Dont Rush, a return that had a direct impact on Tuesday evening's Gold Series event at Mohawk Racetrack. "Chris (Christoforou) had got hurt that night in the parade, and I wasn't really prepared to drive him," said Jones of his last minute return to the race bike in the June 18 overnight. "Chris wanted me to leave with him and I said, you know what, if I leave with him and I get parked I'm going to be mad at myself. I said, I'll just put him in the back." Jones eased Dont Rush off the gate from Post 6 in the three-year-old conditioned event and the pair raced along well behind the leaders before closing hard to finish two and one-half lengths back in third. The mile may not have been the one Christoforou would have crafted, but it did cause Jones to firm up a decision he had been toying with since the start of Dont Rush's sophomore season. "He did trot his last half in :56.1, but I thought he was working too hard, his legs were going fast and he wasn't grabbing the track good enough, so I changed his shoes," said the Waterdown, ON resident. "I've been debating about that all year because I knew he was going to have to gain a few seconds, because he's not a very big horse." Jones switched Dont Rush's front footwear from steel to aluminum, which lowered the colt's gait a little bit, and the result was immediately apparent to Christoforou as he rolled in behind the gate for Tuesday evening's $105,000 Gold Series division. Lining up at Post 9 the Campbellville, ON resident opted to send Dont Rush to the front and the trotter looked every inch a division champion as he cruised home to a four length victory in a personal best 1:54.3. "Dustin made a great change and lightened his front shoes, and the colt's gait was much more efficient," said Christoforou after the race. "I have never raced him that way before, but with 11 horses in the field, and having the 9 hole, I was reluctant to risk getting him caught in traffic. He responded well and showed his class tonight." The win gives Dont Rush one Gold trophy, one Grassroots trophy, and one third-place result in overnight action through three sophomore starts and boosts his season earnings to $63,900. Jones, who shares ownership of the homebred son of Infinitif and Color Me Pretty with Greg Judson of Athens, ON, says last year's division champion will now begin preparations for the July 15 Gold Leg at Grand River Raceway. Dont Rush One race after guiding Dont Rush into the Mohawk winner's circle, Christoforou paraded onto the racetrack with another trotter benefitting from a recent equipment change. Like Dont Rush, Muscle Up The Goal captured his Grassroots division at Mohawk on June 4, but when the colt made a break in his Goodtimes elimination at the Campbellville oval on June 12 trainer Rob Fellows decided to add trotting hopples to his equipment bag. Christoforou and Muscle Up The Goal gave the hopples a test run in a June 23 qualifier at Mohawk, posting a two and one-half length win in 1:57.2, which had fans sending the duo off as their fourth choice in Tuesday's second Gold division. Starting from Post 1, Christoforou allowed the trotter to coast away from the starting gate and the pair was sitting fifth at the :27.2 opening quarter clocked by Raising Richard. With Olympic Son and Rubber Duck serving as a wind break, Muscle Up The Goal stepped into the outer lane heading for the :57.3 half and maintained that position through the 1:27.2 three-quarters. When Christoforou asked the Muscle Mass son for an additional gear, Muscle Up The Goal kicked home to a one and one-quarter length win in a personal best 1:55.4. "Muscle Up The Goal showed a lot of ability early last year then got hurt. It's been a long road back for him, but the addition of trotting hopples has seemed to help him tremendously," said Christoforou. "He got a nice trip tonight and raced very good." Rockwood, ON resident Fellows conditions Muscle Up The Goal for Synerco Ventures Inc. of Toronto, ON. Before being injured early in his freshman campaign the trotter scored two Gold Series victories. In just seven lifetime starts Muscle Up The Goal now has four wins and earnings of $150,600. Muscle Up The Goal Like Dont Rush, Muscle Up The Goal will now turn his attention toward the third Gold Series event of the three-year-old trotting colt calendar on July 15 at Grand River Raceway. After a break for Canada Day, Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday, July 2 with two Gold Series divisions for the three-year-old pacing fillies. Ontario Horse Racing

Campbellville, ON resident Chris Christoforou found his way to the winner's circle twice in Monday's three-year-old trotting filly Grassroots season opener at the harness racing meeting at Mohawk Racetrack. Teaming up with regular mount Bistrobistro Taj in the first $18,000 Grassroots division, Christoforou hustled the filly away from the outside post and settled her in fourth spot, where the pair sat through the :27.2 quarter. Rolling toward the :57.2 half Christoforou sent the striking chestnut filly after the lead, and by the 1:26.1 three-quarters Bistrobistro Taj was comfortably in front. In the stretch Bistrobistro Taj opened up a four and one-quarter length margin on Judy The Beauty and Cincinnati Miss, sailing under the wire in a personal best 1:55.3. Christoforou engineered the win for trainer Dustin Jones of Waterdown, ON and owners 9215 6447 Quebec Inc. of Lasalle, QC. The victory was the Pilgrims Taj daughter's first of the season, but her third lifetime, with the other two victories also coming in Grassroots action. Through 11 lifetime starts Bistrobistro Taj has earned $69,650. The 2014 O'Brien Award winner's second Grassroots triumph came in the fourth division, when he piloted Oh My Magic to a 1:57.1 personal best for trainer Per Henriksen of Norwood, ON and Steve Organ of Aurora, ON. Christoforou and Oh My Magic wrestled command of the race from fan favourite Lady Caterina heading for the three-quarters and then held off late challenger Railee Priti in the stretch to secure the three-quarter length victory. Giona rounded out the top three. The win was Oh My Magic's fourth of the season, in which the Kadabra daughter has finished no worse than fourth in eight starts, earning $26,000. The filly is a half-sister to former Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series winner Friendly Amigo, who earned $588,266 in her career. Trainer Per Henriksen also captured the third Grassroots division with fan favourite Coloratura. Oakville, ON resident Rick Zeron piloted Coloratura to the 1:57.4 win for Henriksen and owner-breeder Andrea Lea Racing Stables of Lakefield Gore, QC. The win was the Angus Hall daughter's second this season and her first in Grassroots action. P L Indyanaca and I Feel Good finished second and third, one and one-half lengths behind Coloratura. Homebred Renegade Magic delivered an impressive effort in the second Grassroots division, ringing up a 1:55.4 personal best for driver Mike Saftic of Campbellville, ON, trainer Ted MacDonnell of Allenford, ON and owner-breeders Jeff and Lori Thomson of Chesley, ON. Hape and Ladyone finished two and one-quarter lengths behind the fan favourite. Another Henriksen earned the win in the fifth division, with trainer-driver Dagfin Henriksen guiding Lady Ping to a 1:57.1 romp over Stay In Touch and Massima. Peterborough, ON resident Henriksen shares ownership of the Muscle Mass daughter with breeder Dr. Brett Anderson of Port Hope, ON. Through 13 starts this season the filly now has two wins, six seconds and one third for earnings of $42,150. The final division saw Muscle Kit and driver Sylvain Filion of Milton, ON cruise to a three and one-quarter length victory over Striking Ivy and GS Grasshopper in a personal best 1:56. Ervin Miller of Wind Gap, PA owns and trains the Muscle Mass daughter, whose dam Lookit was a Grassroots winner during her $187,033 career. The three-year-old trotting fillies make their second Grassroots start on July 1 during Dresden Raceway's Canada Day program. Mohawk Racetrack's action-packed Ontario Sires Stakes schedule continues next Monday, June 29 with the second Gold Leg for the three-year-old pacing colts. Ontario Horse Racing

Trois-Rivieres, Quebec – The Hippodrome 3R hosted four $35,000 finals of the Quebec-Bred Series for four and five-year-old trotters and pacers Sunday and the action was fast and furious from the start. In the third race first division for older pacing horses, Atomic Million AM made the most of an ideal two-hole pocket trip from race favorite Champagne Phil, sliding out from second at the top of the stretch for driver Sylvain LaCaille and out gunning them to the wire in a track record time of 1:52.3. Driver Denis St Pierre sent Champagne Phil out for the lead from post five but LeCaille and Atomic Million AM had other ideas, stinging Pierre and Champagne Phil to the opening quarter in :26.2 before letting them take command. Separating from the rest of the field, Champagne Phil led with Atomic Million AM sitting right on his back through the half mile in :55.2 and the three-quarters in 1:24.2. Then sling-shotting from the pocket, Atomic Million AM collared Champagne Phil and going on to win by a half-length. Bali (Shane Weber) was third. The time of 1:52.3 was the second fastest mile in Hippodrome 3R history. It rewrote the track record for older geldings of 1:53.1 that was set by Duc D’Orleans in 2014. Atomic Million AM is also eligible for the $200,000 Prix D’Ete at the Hippodrome 3R on August 23. For Atomic Million AM, it was the four-year-old son of Million Dollar Cam’s fourth win in seven starts this year. He has yet to finish worse than second in a race. He is trained and owned by Alan Martin of Gatineau, QC and bred by Ferme Alain Martin. He paid $4.40 to win. There were no surprises in the fourth race finale for older trotting horses as the prohibited favorite, unbeaten Maximuscle and driver Mario Charron scored with ease in 1:57.3. It was the fastest trotting mile this season at the Hippodrome 3R, but a “walk in the park” for Maximuscle. SOS Ticket Master (Pascal Berube) was first out of the starting gate with Maximuscle and Charron floating on the outside in second place. Then after the opening quarter mile in :28.1, Maximuscle has taken command from SOS Ticket Master. Only SOS Ticket Master was able to stay somewhat close to Maximuscle as he cut easy fractions of :58 and 1:28. Then by the top of the stretch, SOS Ticket Master moved to the outside and was looming closer to Maximuscle. But Mario Charron just raised the lines and Maximuscle easily trotted to a two length triumph. SOS Ticket Master was second with Somoli E (Jerome Lombart) third. A four-year-old gelded son of Angus Hall, it was the fourth straight win for Maximuscle this season. He is trained by Maxme Velaye and owned and bred by Ecurie Provoguante of Mirabel, QC. Maximuscle paid the mandatory $2.10 to win. Over the past three years Maximuscle has made a clean sweep of the Quebec-Bred Series. My Tallia Ideal and driver Stephane Gendron took full advantage of the late scratch by Champagne Shower, and were not only able to leave and get to the lead, but cut torrid fractions and set a track record in the sixth race finale for older pacing mares. After getting stung early by Victoria Semalu (Stephane Brosseau) to the opening quarter mile in :27.1. My Tallia Ideal settled on the lead but kept motoring to the half mile in :56.3 and the three-quarters in 1:25.4. It was then that Brosseau moved to the outside with Victoria Semalu but they could not collar My Tallia Ideal who crossed the wire a winner by three-quarters of a length in 1:54.1. Chaleurs Fantasy (Gaetan Lamy) was third. The time of the race reset the track record for older pacing mares that was previously co-held by not only My Tallia Ideal two starts back, but also Champagne Shower (2015) and Sans Frontiere (2013). Trained by Michel Allard, My Tallia Ideal is a five-year-old mare by Western Ideal. She is owned and was bred by Gestion Mario Audet, Inc. and Yves Sarrazin, QC. She paid $2.80 to win. Viva Bayama and driver Denis St Pierre, despite being parked out three-wide from the start of the backstretch to the top of the stretch, was still able to pull away for a three length triumph in the eighth race finale for older trotting mares. Canbec Kangourou and driver Jocelyn Gendron out early but challenged right away by Kim Sorel (Martin Gingras) who took the lead at the opening quarter mile in :28.4. Then Gendron came right back with Canbec Kangourou to retake the lead. They raced to the half mile in :59 as Pierre came to the outside with Viva Bayama, but they faced road traffic as Lucyll Bro (Stephane Gendron) came to the outside and that forced Viva Bayama three wide down the backstretch. Hoping to clear and be first-over was out of the question for Denis St Pierre and Viva Bayama as Kim Sorel and Gingras came out again and kept Viva Bayama parked out three-wide past the three-quarters in 1:29.1 and around the final turn. But the classy mare Viva Bayama was up to the talk, collaring the leaders by the top of the stretch and then pulling away at the finish in 2:00.2. Kim Sorel was second with Sexy P V (Yves St Jacques) third. It was the third straight win for the four-year-old daughter of Muscle Mass. She is trained by Sebastien Groux and owned by Richard Dinelle and Andre St Laurent. She was bred by Bayama Farms and paid $3.20 to win. It was her seventh victory in ten starts this year. Live racing resumes Wednesday at the Hippodrome 3R. First race post time 7:00 pm. For more information visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club

Trois-Rivieres, Quebec – The center stage will be on the four $35,000 finals of the Quebec-Bred Series for four and five-year-old pacers and trotters Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R. Culminating the three weeks of preliminary round action will be the top point earners in the month long series. And the very first final on the program is race three for older pacers and it has shaped up to be perhaps the toughest of the four finales. Both Champagne Phil and Atomic Million AM have been battling each other for the past three years and once again meet in the Quebec-Bred Series finale. Champagne Phil comes into the final on a five-race winning streak for trainer Francis Richards and driver Denis St. Pierre. The five-year-old gelded son of Shanghai Phil will start from post five and has been on a tear. Three starts back at Mohawk Raceway he took a lifetime mark of 1:49.4. Meanwhile, Atomic Million AM has been either first or second in his last seven starts for owner/trainer Alan Martin. He has almost never lost at Trois-Rivieres, scoring in 1:55.2 there two starts back. A four-year-old gelded son of Shadow Play, Atomic Million Am starts from post three. With these two high caliber contenders going head and head, the track record of 1:53.1, equaled two starts back by Champagne Phil, could well be broken. “I just finished watching my replays,” said Denis St Pierre Friday, “and I really think I can beat him (Atomic Million AM), I know his weakness. And Champagne Phil is a very very nice horse.” The fourth race is the $35,000 final for older trotters and the overwhelming favorite, who was barred from wagering his last start at 3R, is the undefeated Maximuscle. He starts from post six for driver Mario Charron. Three for three in 2015 for trainer Maxime Velaye, Maximuscle has just bullied his way in the series with no one able to stay close to him. The four-year-old gelded son of Angus Hall has led from start to finish in all three of his races this season, the fastest in 1:57.1. The real race will be for second place, which is worth $8,750. There we will see Andovers Touch (post 8), who won two of the three prelimary rounds when not facing Maximuscle, Somoli E (post 2) and George S P (post 4) in a close matchup. “I do not think another horse can keep close to Maximuscle,” said Mario Charron. “They have not been able to this season. I think he could break the track record with ease (1:56), but the trainer and owner do not want me to push him that hard. There is no need to but if I cut him loose he would break the record. I would go for it but they don’t want to. He is that good a horse.” The sixth race finale for older pacing mares features Champagne Shower going for her fifth straight win. She starts from post three for driver Denis St Pierre. The daughter of Santana Blue Chip seeks to make it a clean sweep of the Quebec-Bred Series for trainer Yves Tessier. Last week Champagne Shower and Pierre cruised to a four and three-quarter length triumph in 1:54.3. That mile tied the track record for older mares.  “She is strong,” Denis St Pierre said. “She passed the test last week as she won well within herself.” My Tallia Ideal (post 7) was the hot mare two starts back when she also won in 1:54.3, tying the track record, but last week she was only second best to Champagne Shower. Others contenders include series division winner Canbec Lindor (post 1) and Lutetia Semalu (post 2). Viva Bayama is the strong horse in the eighth race final for older trotting mares. She sports six wins in just nine starts for trainer Sebastian Giroux and starts from post three for driver Denis St Pierre. The Muscle Mass mare has won her last two starts at Trois-Rivieres the hard way, having to race first-over and grind it out as she has no ability to leave at the start of the race. “My plan will be the same,” Denis St Pierre said, “She cannot leave at all. We will have no choice but to be parked out and sit and wait.” Her main rival is just the opposite of Viva Bayama as Canbec Kangourou (post 5) is hot for the lead at the start of most of her races. She won one of the three preliminary rounds, leading from start to finish, but when facing Viva Bayama, she has been just second best. Canbec Kangourou is driven by Jocelyn Gendron and is expected to try and wire the field again. Denis St Pierre celebrates his 52nd birthday Saturday and would like nothing more as a birthday wish then to have a big day Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R. “I think that I could have a big day at 3R Sunday,” Pierre said. “After studying the race program and watching replays I could maybe win six of the races. That would make for a great day after my birthday celebration.” Post time Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R is 1:30 pm. For more information visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club  

The old saying in harness racing that the cream always rises to the top all things being equal is never more appropriate than in the case of young North Canterbury trainer Gavin Smith. After  a promising start to his training career, Gavin had struck one problem after another from blood issues to soundness problems and it seemed to be never ending and as a result, Gavin was on the verge of giving the training game away as recently as earlier this year. The harder he tried the worse it seemed to get and not surprisingly Gavin was having thoughts of getting a Monday to Friday job to pay the bills. This from a horseman who looked just a few years earlier to have a huge future in the harness racing industry after a stellar junior driver career. Gavin started out in the industry helping out Murray Hamilton during the school holidays. " Murray was a friend of mum and dads and I would help out there during the school holidays." " The first time I sat in a cart I was hooked and from that time on this is all that I have wanted to do," Gavin told Harnesslink this week. While his parents raced the odd horse, there is no family history of involvement in the industry. " I am pretty sure I am the only one from either side of the family who is involved in the racing industry as a career," Gavin said. Hooked by harness racing, Gavin got his first job in the industry at age 16 when he went to work for Doug Gale. " Doug was really good to work for and I was there for over two years before doing a three year stint with Mark Purdon." " You never stopped learning off Mark and he was always good to watch and learn from." " From there I did over four years with David and Catherine Butt and I can never thank them enough for all the opportuniities they gave me." "It was while there that I got established as a driver and I don't think I would still be in the industry if it hadn't been for their help." " After that I did 18 months working for Graham Rogerson when he was in partnership with firstly Peter Simpson and latterly with Steven Reid and like everyone you work for, you pick up little things from them that helps give their horses that edge," Gavin said. Deciding it was time to go out training on his own, Gavin returned to Canterbury and purchased a 20 acre block at Leithfield beach and it wasn't long before he brought another adjacent 20 acre block. While his driving for outside trainers such as Phil Burrows and Robert Dunn was going great, his own team was forever having issues. " I got a bad virus that went right through the stable and the horses struggled to get over it." " I could never get their blood right and I tested everything to try to get to the source of the problem with no luck." " I just had one of those runs where nothing went right." " It got to the point where I was thinking seriously about giving the training away." " Then I got the opportunity to lease the complex at Dancingonmoonlight and I thought a change of scenery might change my luck so I moved here on April 2nd this year." " The horses were coming right before I moved here and since the move they have continued to improve." "I have put a lot of time into understanding the results of blood tests and I now like to think I can nip a lot of things in the bud before they become a major problem,"Gavin said. Gavin is thankful to his owners who stuck by him even when things weren't going that well. "Trish Dunell has been with me since I started out on my own and she has been great to train for." "She has been so loyal to the stable and its good she is getting a bit of payback now," Gavin said. Over the last few years Gavin has brought a handful of cheaper yearlings at the sales with the aim to turn them over quickly at a profit and been reasonably successful in doing so but now the plan has changed. " I am not buying as many as I use to but the quality is a lot better and they are by better sires." "I really like three that I bought at this years sales." * Filly by The Pres from Howz Lucky for $16,000 * Colt by Muscle Mass from Whosinthenest for $19,000 * Colt by Artsplace from Sirius Flight for $38,000. " They have all shown plenty to date so I am really looking forward to racing them next season," Gavin said. Gavin is also breeding from three mares in Hanover Glory, Bute Falcon and All Settled Down and has covered them with high profile stallions with Hanover Glory going to Sportswriter, Bute Falcon to Mach Three and All Settled Down to Majestic Son. As with all stables Gavin has one horse that he has really high hopes for next season. " I think Scarlett Banner could be very competitive in the big fillies races next season." " I gave her one start this season when she ran fifth to Dream About Me and Arden's Choice and then had to put her aside." " She has just blossomed in the last couple of months and I am really looking forward to next season with her," Gavin said. Since the move to his new stables Gavin has really got his mojo back, racking up 15 wins as a driver and more importantly 10 winners from his own barn. The highlight though was undoubtedly his drive on the Fred Fletcher trained Sunny Ruby to win the 3 year old Ruby on Jewels day. " Fred and Sam did such a great job just to get her there." " She never started to come right until ten days before the race so to have her ready to run 1:54 was a great training achievement." " She use to over race quite badly but they have got her to settle now so they deserve a lot of credit for the turnaround in her attitude." "She has an all round game and I think she will measure up in the best company in time," Gavin said. With the massive turnaround in stable fortunes since the move to his new stables, Gavin is looking to the future with a lot of confidence. " The move has been positive on so many fronts." Not only with the horses but I get to see a lot more of the family not having to travel so much up to Leithfield. "Sara is running the breeding side with her father Robert and so we work in together a lot with the two operations." It is working out really well, Gavin said. Gavin knows how lucky he is to be in the position he now finds himself in. "I know how hard it is for people who don't have family in the industry to get established." "When I have a look now at all the drivers who were about in my junior driving days, only Nathan Williamson and Jay Abernathy have made it in the training ranks which shows you how hard it is for a young trainer to get established in harness racing," Gavin said. With the way his team is performing at the moment and the confidence he is gaining from driving so well at present, Gavin looks poised to reach the high levels that many astute judges in the industry always thought he was destined for. 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