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HANOVER, ON - AUG. 23, 2019 - On Saturday, Aug. 24 Ontario's talented harness racing two-year-old pacing fillies will gather at Hanover Raceway for six $22,000 Grassroots divisions, part of the Grey County oval's annual Balanced Image Final night. Shawn Steacy guided Lifeisgood Hanover to a win in last weekend's Balanced Image Trot eliminations and will send the gelding after a share of the $56,600 purse from Post 5 in Saturday's final. The trainer-driver will also send out a trio of freshman pacing fillies in Grassroots action - Noir, Bellini Seelster and In The News. "I've got three fillies, two of them especially, that Bellini Seelster and the In The News filly, they're both real handy, real slick gaited," said Steacy. "They've been able to get around the half good so far racing at Grand River and everything. "All three of those got the rail," added the Guelph resident, who will line up at Post 1 with Noir in the first race, Bellini Seelster in the second race and In The News in the sixth. "And the other filly we have there, Noir, she's a nice filly too. She's not quite as handy as the other two fillies, but I think she's got even a bigger engine in her than the first two." Sunshine Beach daughter Noir and Sportswriter filly In The News will both be looking for their first lifetime win on Saturday, while Bellini Seelster comes into the $22,450 contest off a 2:00 victory at Grand River Raceway on Aug. 16. Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC bred and owns Noir, while Katherine Steacy and Landmark 12 of Lansdowne and 1187422 Ontario Inc. of Ottawa, ON share ownership of Bellini Seelster and Mark Steacy of Lansdowne, Stephen Klunowski of North York, ON and 1187422 Ontario Inc. own In The News. Last Saturday's win was Lifeisgood Hanover's first in four career starts. The son of Royalty For Life will start inside the quickest elimination winner, Awsomedabra, who drew Post 7. The other elimination winner, Royaltys Odyssey, will start from the trailing Post 8. "He raced really good. He's a steady goer and he's good gaited too. For a young trotter that means a lot," said Steacy of Lifeisgood Hanover. "I think we drew the best out of the division winners, so I'm pretty happy with that. I like that better than the rail actually for a young trotter, because I found it was hard to get away from the rail last week." Klunowski, David Reid of Sydenham and Claus Jorgensen of Etobicoke, ON share ownership of Lifeisgood Hanover, whose resume also sports a pair of runner-up finishes in Grassroots action. The freshman pacing fillies will kick off Saturday's program at 7:15 pm in the first race and will also compete in Races 2, 3, 5, 6, and 8. The Walker Invitation Trot goes postward in Race 7 and the Balanced Image Final is slated as Race 9. Steacy expects another big crowd will be on hand to cheer on the young trotters. "Last week they had a good crowd for the eliminations," said the horseman, who currently leads all trainers in the Ontario Sires Stakes program. "Balanced Image and Dream Of Glory night always do really good up there." Complete entries for Saturday's Balanced Image night can be found at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/entries/data/e0824hnvrn.dat. In addition to Saturday's Grassroots event for the two-year-old pacing fillies, Hanover Raceway will also host the regular season finale for the two-year-old trotting colts on Sept. 14. A complete schedule is below and can also be found at http://www.ontariosiresstakes.com/schedule/schedule_loc.html#HNVR. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

MILTON, ON -  AUG. 17, 2019 - Harness racing drivers Doug McNair and Bob McClure split the three-year-old pacing colt Grassroots divisions down the middle on Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park, McNair taking the first two and McClure the second pair. McNair kicked things off in the first $23,500 split with Fast N First and had the heavy favourite on top before the halfway marker. Fast N First never saw another challenger as he cruised home a one and one-quarter length winner in 1:51.2. Pocket-sitter Carlisimo finished second and HP Napoleon was third. "He was a little lazy in the lead," said McNair of Blake MacIntosh trainee Fast N First. "But it takes a lot to get him tired." It was the first Grassroots win for Fast N First, who started his sophomore campaign at the Gold Series level. In 15 starts this season the Bettors Delight son has tallied six wins, three seconds and two thirds, netting owners Blake MacIntosh of St. George, Ridgeway Racing of Ridgeway and Steve Heimbecker of Conestogo, ON $87,334. Fast N First Guelph resident McNair also guided Cliffhanger to his first Grassroots victory in the second division. Like Fast N First the pair were sent off as the favourites from Post 4, but this time McNair opted to follow pacesetter Priceless Beach through fractions of :27.2, :55.2 and 1:24.2. Cliffhanger then unleashed a :26.4 final quarter to catch the leader and pull away to a two length victory in 1:51.2. Machdavid also closed hard, and he and Priceless Beach finished in a dead heat for second. "Cliffhanger raced good," said McNair, who subbed for regular reinsman Louis-Philippe Roy on Saturday. "He is turning into a nice colt." McNair engineered the win for owner and trainer Tony Alagna of Manalapan, NJ. The win was the fourth of the sophomore campaign for Vintage Master son Cliffhanger and boosted his season earnings to $50,402. Cliffhanger McClure picked up where McNair left off in the third Grassroots division, employing a come-from-behind effort to put Carsons Shadow in the Ontario Sires Stakes winner's circle for the first time. The pair caught favourite Sugartown in the stretch with a determined effort that saw them stop the clock at 1:51.2. Sugartown was one-half length back in second, just ahead of third-place finisher Better Moonon Over. "He's a nice little colt. He's not big, but he's quick, and he's a tough little bugger," said McClure of the Shadow Play colt. Like both Fast N First and Cliffhanger, Carsons Shadow tested the Gold Series waters before finding success in the Grassroots. In 14 sophomore starts the gelding has amassed a record of six wins, two seconds and earnings of $62,200. Vicki Gregg trains Carsons Shadow for owner-breeder David Carson of Listowel, ON. Carsons Shadow One race later Rockwood resident McClure was back in the winner's circle with fan favourite Dreamfair Moxy, who stalked pacesetter Sportsline through fractions of :26.2, :55.4 and 1:23.3 before circling around the tiring leader in the stretch. Dreamfair Moxy sprinted home to a three and one-quarter length victory in a personal best 1:51.1. The Regulator and Silver Beast finished second and third. "He is a real nice little colt with a nice gait and he's sweet to drive," said McClure, who was in the race bike in place of regular reinsman Travis Cullen. "He always goes ahead when you ask him." The win was Dreamfair Moxy's second straight in Grassroots action. The Bettors Delight son was also a winner in the third leg at Grand River Raceway on Aug. 5. Jodie Cullen trains the winner of $77,322 for John Lamers of Ingersoll, ON. Dreamfair Moxy The three-year-old pacing colts will make their last regular season Grassroots start at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept. 2. The top 20 point earners will then compete in the Sept. 28 Grassroots Semi-Finals, hoping to land one of 10 spots in the Oct. 5 Grassroots Championship. Click here for complete results from Saturday's program. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Monday Aug. 19 with a trio of Grassroots divisions for the three-year-old trotting colts. The colts will raise the curtain on the program at 7:10 pm in Race 1 and will also battle in Races 3 and 7. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

MILTON, ON - AUG. 15, 2019 - Ontario's talented harness racing two-year-old pacing colts put on a good show at Woodbine Mohawk Park Thursday as three of the youngsters paced to personal best efforts winning their Grassroots divisions. Driver Trevor Henry and Usurper kicked things off in the first race with a front-end effort from Post 1 that saw them hang on for a nose victory over a hard-closing Remembering Shorty. Aces Rock rounded out the top three in the 1:54.3 mile. "He's a consistent colt, doesn't do nothing wrong and just goes about his work," said Henry. "He can do it from anywhere I think. He drew good the last few times, and he's good gaited, so he finds himself close to the front." The win was Usurper's first in Grassroots action after finishing second and third in the first two legs. Dr. Ian Moore of Cambridge, ON trains the Sportswriter son for Next Generation Stable of Stratford, PEI, who offered up $22,000 for the full-sister to $659,193 winner Voracity at last fall's Harrisburg Yearling Sale. Henry also won the last $23,150 division with Quick Tour, opting for another front-end effort that saw the fan favourite go gate-to-wire from Post 4 in a personal best 1:53.2. Better B Swift was one length back in second and Lous Delight was another length and one-quarter behind in third. "He's a really nice colt. He's real handy, you can do whatever you want with him," said Arthur, ON resident Henry. "He was kind of a steal at the sale." Quick Tour is owned by trainer Mark Horner of St. Marys and R A W Equine Inc. of Burlington, ON who acquired the Mach Three son for a modest $7,000 at the 2018 Harrisburg Yearling Sale. In four lifetime starts the gelding has already netted $30,480 and with two wins and one second in Grassroots action, he currently sits atop the two-year-old pacing colt standings with 125 points. Driver James MacDonald also made two appearances in the Grassroots winner's circle on Thursday, steering Bettors Delight sons Delightful Terror and Day Delight to wins in the second and third divisions. Starting from Post 2, MacDonald settled Delightful Terror in fourth as Doc Fanelli took the field to a :28 opening quarter. Heading by the :56.3 half MacDonald sent the fan favourite after the lead and the pair had things well in hand by the 1:25 three-quarters. Delightful Terror then opened up a two and one-quarter length margin on his peers before the 1:53 finish. Dontblvmejustwatch and Night Watchman closed well to claim second and third. "It just took him a couple starts to get his feet underneath him, and then I rushed him there a couple weeks back (July 16) and he made a break. Since then he got a couple nice trips and won and he's starting to figure out what to do," said MacDonald. "He's a good little racehorse. He was more than willing tonight." MacDonald steers Delightful Terror for trainer Shawn Steacy of Guelph and owners Shelly and Robert MacMillan of Waterloo, Doug Millard Stables of Woodstock and Vivian Bell of St. Thomas, ON. A $32,000 purchase out of the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, Delightful Terror has now won his last three starts, Thursday's Grassroots division and two overnight events at Woodbine Mohawk Park. "He's learning more and more every week and willing to do it, and every time you ask him for a little more he's always got lots left," added Guelph, ON resident MacDonald. "Hopefully if he keeps improving he should be tough to beat going forward." In the third division MacDonald and Day Delight lined up at Post 6 and went straight to the front. Never tested through fractions of :27.3, :55.4 and 1:24.1, Day Delight drew away to a six and one-quarter length win in a personal best 1:52.1. Beach Demon and Menlo Park finished second and third. "He was big, good gaited, strong - strong from start to finish," said MacDonald, who was making his first appearance in Day Delight's race bike. "I had actually driven his mother and he looked a lot like her and acted like her, and she was a good two-year-old." The colt's mother Kims Royal Day was one of the top two-year-old pacing fillies in Ontario in 2012 and earned $328,803 in her career. She has already produced $205,934 Shadow Play gelding Levis Day, so owners Bill Manes of Rockwood, Lloyd Stone of Portland, numbered company 10462217 Canada Inc. of Gloucester, ON and Wayne MacRae of Fall River, NS offered up $55,000 to acquire Day Delight from last fall's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. Victor Puddy trains Day Delight - who had one win in overnight action to his credit before Thursday's outing - and the Mountain, ON resident let MacDonald know the colt was ready for battle in his second Grassroots start. "Victor's in PEI right now, but he texted the groom and said he got kind of a tough trip last time, just kind of got shuffled around and didn't get much of a chance," said MacDonald. "And he said he thinks he's ready to win and try and race him on the front if you can, and no problem tonight, he was very ready." My Land captured the other $23,500 division, picking up his second Grassroots win with a 1:52.1 personal best that saw him stalk pacesetter Bee Two Bee through the early going before circling to the front and pulling away to a one and one-half length victory. Better Take It and Mission Bay closed hard to finish second and third. Phil Hudon drove My Land to the win for trainer Gerard Demers and owners La Ferme Tag Inc. of Papineauville, QC. The Badlands Hanover son was a $10,000 acquisition at last fall's London Selected Yearling Sale. On Friday evening (Aug. 16) the Gold Series two-year-old pacing colts will step to centre stage at Woodbine Mohawk Park, competing in Races 4 and 8. Friday's program gets under way at 7:50 pm. Complete results from Thursday's program are available at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0815wbsbsn.dat. The two-year-old pacing colts will return to Grassroots action on Sunday, Sept. 1 at Clinton Raceway. From the Ontario Sire Stakes  

CLINTON, ON -  AUG. 11, 2019 - The trip to Clinton proved worthwhile for reinsman James MacDonald on Sunday as he notched a driving hat trick, with two of the wins coming in Grassroots divisions for the three-year-old trotting fillies. MacDonald kicked off the afternoon's Ontario Sires Stakes action with fan favourite Halo Its Me, taking the lead early and hanging on for a one-half length victory in 2:00. Blue Magic closed well, but could not catch the pacesetter, and Cambridge Kate was four lengths back in third. "I kind of took my time in the first turn. She was trotting good, but I didn't want to ask her to put Scott (Young with Blue Magic) in behind me so I just let her idle around, let Scott clear, and then as soon as we straightened out I came back around. And the rest is history," said MacDonald, who lined up at Post 3 with Halo Its Me. "She was really strong." Sunday's win was Halo Its Me's second in Grassroots action this season. The Archangel daughter also triumphed in the July 16 event at Georgian Downs. Along with a runner-up finish in the Grassroots season opener Halo Its Me now has 125 points and sole ownership of top spot in the division standings. MacDonald made his first appearance in the filly's race bike in an Aug. 1 overnight at Woodbine Mohawk Park and the Guelph, ON resident is confident Halo Its Me can pad her point total when the sophomore trotting fillies head to the Campbellville oval for their last regular season Grassroots test on Sept. 17. "She raced really well the last Grassroots starter race at Mohawk (Aug. 1). I was impressed with her," said the driver. "Hopefully she can get in a division at Mohawk (Sept. 17) where she can do some damage." Connie and David Chisholm of Brighton, ON bred and own Halo Its Me and Connie handles training duties on the winner of $43,445. Two races later MacDonald picked up his second win in an overnight event with two-year-old pacing colt Macpherson Thunder and two races after that he was back in the Grassroots winners circle with Rebellious Lady. Starting from Post 5, MacDonald fired Rebellious Lady to the front and the fans' second choice never faced a challenge. After cruising through fractions of :30.3, 1:02 and 1:32.3 the Angus Hall miss powered down the stretch to a four and one-quarter length victory in 2:02. Vimy Ridge Venus and Glide N Go rounded out the top three as the rest of the seven-horse field struggled with breaks. "She got out of the gate good and the race was never in question, she just drove forward from there and I never had to ask her," said MacDonald. "Never a worrisome moment, that's for sure." A two-time Grassroots winner as a two-year-old, Sunday's victory was Rebellious Lady's first of her sophomore campaign. Trainer Duane Marfisi leases the filly through his Green And Gold Ltd. of Guelph, ON. The other two Grassroots divisions went to first-time Ontario Sires Stakes winners Witches N Angels and Kashe. Fan favourite Witches N Angels and driver Trevor Henry went straight to the front from Post 6 and never looked back, rolling through fractions of :29, 1:00 and 1:30.1 on their way to a 2:00 score. Warrawee Ultra and Angel Status finished second and third, six and one half lengths behind Witches N Angels. Joe MacIsaac of Freelton, ON trains Witches N Angels for Andy Stewart and Lennan MacIsaac of Inverness, NS and breeder Carolyn Williston of Carlisle, ON. Sunday's win was the Archangel daughter's first of the season. Lightly rated Kashe took full advantage of a late error by pacesetter and fan favourite Splurge On Me to pick up her first Grassroots win. Sitting second-over in the outer lane when Splurge On Me went off-stride, Kashe out-sprinted the rest of the challengers down the stretch to secure the 2:01 victory. Absynthe Hanover was one and three-quarter lengths back in second and Holiday Harlot was two more lengths back in third. Wayne Henry of Arthur, ON drives, trains and owns Justice Hall daughter Kashe, who now has three wins on her sophomore resume. In addition to the Grassroots action, Clinton Raceway fans were treated to a bake sale, barbecue, 50-50 draw and silent auction by the Stratford Warriors on Sunday. The Junior B hockey club raised over $3,000 thanks to the support of their Clinton-area fans. Complete results for Sunday's program, which saw $47,998 wagered, are available at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0811clntnn.dat. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

SARNIA, ON - AUG. 10, 2019 - Five divisions of freshman harness racing trotting fillies stepped to centre stage at Hiawatha Horse Park on Saturday evening, competing for a total of $117,500 in the third Grassroots Leg of their season, and a trio of fillies scored their first-ever victories in the Ontario Sires Stakes event. The fillies kicked things off in the first race and Enjoyin My Life picked up her first lifetime victory with a 2:00 effort. Starting from Post 8, Enjoyin My Life left the gate smartly and was sitting fourth when Peppas Angel reached the quarter pole in :28.1. After following the leaders to the :59.1 half, driver Ryan Holliday decided to send Enjoyin My Life up the outer lane and the filly had a head in front of Peppas Angel at the 1:29.2 three-quarters. Trotting strongly down the stretch, Enjoyin My Life pulled away to a four and one-half length victory. Peppas Angel finished second and Craving You was four more lengths back in third. "She was good, very professional," said Holliday, who was making his first appearance in the Royalty For Life daughter's race bike. "Nice filly. Trotted good, did everything you'd want." Isabelle Darveau of Flamborough trains Enjoyin My Life for numbered company 1187422 Ontario Inc. of Ottawa, ON. The half-sister to former Gold Series winner Okeanos was a $44,000 purchase at last fall's London Selected Yearling Sale. Highland Foxytrotr got her second straight Grassroots win in the second $23,500 division. Starting from Post 7 Highland Foxytrotr and driver Alfie Carroll led the field to a sharp :27.4 opening quarter and then yielded to fan favourite Canadian Titan. After following that filly through a :58.4 half and 1:29 three-quarters, Carroll gave Highland Foxytrotr a clear lane and the filly nabbed Canadian Titan at the wire by a nose in 1:59.3. Zebs Flur finished third. "She's a really nice, solid filly and Amanda (Fine) had her sharp," said Carroll, who drove Highland Foxytrotr to the win for trainer Amanda Fine of Guelph and owner-breeder Highland Thoroughbred Farm of Inglewood, ON. "She raced tough." In the third division driver Paul MacDonell employed an off-the-pace approach from Post 10 with first-time winner Mckees Angel. Sitting sixth as Emily Antoinette rang up a :28.4 quarter and 1:00.4 half, MacDonell sent Mckees Angel up the outer lane heading for the 1:29.4 three-quarters. Accelerating off the final turn Mckees Angel was able to circle the leaders and hold off fan favourite Yen for a three-quarter length victory in 200.2. Susies Lady closed hard to be third. "She was really good tonight, excellent," said Ted MacDonnell of Allenford, ON who trains the Archangel daughter for owner-breeder Legendary Standardbred Farms of Mt. Morris, NY. "She's just been a work in progress. Each week she's getting a little better and a little better. She's always shown a nice bit of ability and a nice bit of trot, so we knew it was there. "She has a great pedigree, she's out of a really good family that filly, so we're hoping for things to continue," the trainer added. "Paul's (MacDonell) done a great job with her, so fortunate to be able to have him come here." A full-sister to $860,719 winner Top Flight Angel, Mckees Angel had finished off the board in her first two lifetime starts, a July 23 overnight and the July 30 Grassroots Leg at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Mag N Roses picked up her second straight Grassroots win in the fourth division, going gate-to-wire from Post 4 in 2:00.3. Warrawee Vulcan finished two and three-quarter lengths behind the fan favourite in second and Credits Celebrity was another length back in third. Mario Baillargeon drove Mag N Roses to the win for trainer Jean Francois Maguire of Carlisle and his partners Julie Malenfant of Carlisle, ON and Richard Legris of St-Charles-Borromee, QC. The Royalty For Life daughter was a $17,000 acquisition from last fall's London Selected Yearling Sale. In the final division Need An Alibi got a calm, cool steer from Stephen Byron to earn her first-ever victory. Starting from Post 4, Byron eased the filly away from the starting gate and was near the back of the pack when Haven Seelster reached the :28.3 quarter. Moving up the outer lane, Need An Alibi had halved the distance between her and the pacesetter by the 1:01.1 half and as horses started to make mistakes around them Byron simply kept the filly focussed on her work. Third at the 1:31.3 three-quarters posted by Queen M, Need An Alibi was on top as the field turned for home and stayed game for a one-half length victory in 2:02.2. Fan favourite Eternal Jewel finished second and Queen M was third. "She sat on the outside the whole mile," said trainer John Bax. "Going to the three-quarter pole a horse runs on the inside, thinks about coming out and doesn't, the horse in front of us runs, goes out, so it was just kind of like parting of the seas and we went straight through. "He (Byron) just sat there kind of cool and allowed everything to happen around him and he didn't jerk her sideways or grab her up or anything and him being relaxed, she was relaxed," the trainer added. "It was a pleasant surprise. She wasn't the one we thought would pay for the diesel fuel." Bax Stable of Campbellville shares ownership of Need An Alibi with Brilo Farms of Sharon, ON and Dave Hudson of Dallas, TX. The partners purchased the E L Titan daughter for $52,000 at last fall's Harrisburg Yearling Sale. The two-year-old trotting fillies will return to Grassroots action on Sept. 4 at Grand River Raceway, the fourth of their five regular season events. Complete results for Saturday's program are available at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0810sarfn.dat. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

SARNIA, ON - AUG. 8, 2019 - Ontario Sires Stakes excitement arrives at Hiawatha Horse Park on Saturday, Aug. 10 with five divisions of two-year-old trotting fillies competing in their third Grassroots Leg. Zebs Flur made her debut in the Grassroots program, finishing third in the July 14 season opener at Georgian Downs, and then jumped up to the Gold Series for her second Ontario Sires Stakes start where she finished second over the Grand River Raceway half-mile on July 24. The filly returns to the Grassroots for her third provincial appearance and will start from Post 1 in the second $23,500 division. "She's surprised us, let's put it that way, for the price of her and where she came from," said Wyoming resident Don Allensen, who shares ownership of Zebs Flur with Bax Stable of Campbellville and Goin To The Show Stable of Peterborough, ON. The partners offered up $14,000 for the Muscle Mass daughter at last year's London Selected Yearling Sale. "She raced good the other night in Grand River (July 24), she come through the middle there and got second, so that was good." Regular reinsman Stephen Byron will steer Zebs Flur on Saturday, where she faces a tough field that includes division co-leader Canadian Titan from Post 3 and former Grassroots winner Highland Foxytrotr from Post 7. Like Zebs Flur, Highland Foxytrotr stepped up to the Gold Series for her second start and finished third behind the undefeated Warrawee Vicky. "I'm glad she drew the rail in Hiawatha," said Allensen, who will miss the filly's start at his local oval due to a prior commitment. "I think she's one that's just going to maybe surprise you if she gets the right trip and gets away good. She's got some step at the end." In addition to Zebs Flur, trainer John Bax will also send out Golden Gavel from Post 10 in the first division, Up And Trending from Post 6 in the fourth split and Need An Alibi from Post 4 in the last division. The two-year-old trotting fillies kick off Hiawatha Horse Park's Saturday evening program at 6:30 pm and will also showcase their skills in Races 2, 4, 7, and 8. Complete entries are available at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/entries/data/e0810sarfn.dat. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

MILTON, ON - AUG. 6, 2019 - Division point leader Fit Bitt kicked off the third Grassroots Leg for the two-year-old trotting colts at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Tuesday evening, battling to his second straight harness racing victory in the Ontario Sires Stakes program. Driver Sylvain Filion of Milton, ON fired Fit Bitt away from Post 8 and the pair trotted by the opening quarter in :29.1. Through a :59.4 half and 1:30.1 three-quarters Fit Bitt was comfortably in charge, and when the challengers came in the stretch the Bob McIntosh trainee was ready to battle, reaching the wire a neck in front of Gretzky Seelster and Tymal Tarot in 2:00.4. "He raced really good. He's a nice little colt, he's pretty quick too. He's just a nice horse," said McIntosh, who bred and owns Fit Bitt in partnership with C S X Stables of Liberty Center, OH. "He showed a lot of talent all winter really. He showed he had a lot of promise, so I'm glad it's worked out the way it has. "I wouldn't say he's a superstar, but he's a pretty nice colt," added the Windsor, ON resident. In three Grassroots starts the son of Muscle Mass and $462,826 winner Armbro Affair has tallied two wins and one second for 125 points and sole ownership of top spot in the division point standings. He will be looking to add to that tally when the freshman trotters make their fourth Grassroots start at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept. 3. Mr Arch took the second $23,500 division with a front end effort that saw him take control just after the :29.4 half and ring up fractions of 1:01.1 and 1:32.1 on his way to a two length victory in 2:01. Lifeisgood Hanover finished second and Dart Guy was three more lengths back in third. "He got it real easy," said driver Bob McClure, adding that the last eighth of a mile was where the Archangel son showed off his true ability. "Once he got going in the stretch he stopped watching the birds and focussed on his work." Rockwood, ON resident McClure drove Mr Arch to his first lifetime win for trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman and owners Kempii Stables OY Inc. and Suojalampi Stable Inc. of Delray Beach, FL. The partners acquired the colt from last fall's Harrisburg Yearling Sale for $27,000. The quickest mile of the five Grassroots divisions was clocked by Lovedbythemasses, who stalked fan favourite Awsomedabra through the first three-quarters of the mile and then shifted into another gear around the final turn and drew away to a four and one-quarter length win in 1:57.3. Awsomedabra settled for second and Magic Wizard completed the top three. Mike Saftic of Campbellville, ON piloted Lovedbythemasses to his second straight Grassroots win for trainer Edward Peconi of Peterborough, ON and his partners Wade Peconi of Stanchel, PEI and Nicholas Peconi of Lakefield, ON. The Muscle Mass son is two-for-two in his young career and currently sits second in the standings with 100 points. In the fourth division Royaltys Odyssey made his Grassroots debut a winning one with a bold three-wide move at the three-quarter pole. Starting from Post 8 driver Jody Jamieson eased the Royalty For Life gelding off the gate and was sitting sixth in the outer lane when favourite Kenogami Coco reached the quarter in :28.2. Still sixth at the :59.3 half, Jamieson sent the youngster out wide heading by the 1:30.1 three-quarters and Royaltys Odyssey powered off the final turn to a three-quarter length victory in 1:59.3. After providing a wind break for Royaltys Odyssey, Youboozeyoulose stayed game for second and Kenogami Coco settled for third. Jamieson drives the gelding for his father Carl Jamieson of Puslinch and breeder Joanne Morrison of Beeton, ON. The rural Milton resident said the gelding has recovered well from minor surgery last winter and will be looking to add to his point total in the last two regular season events. "He needed every day until today to be able to put it all together," said Jamieson. "He may have a big chance at Grassroots glory." The top 20 point earners through the five regular season events will compete in the Grassroots Semi-Finals at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept. 27, with the top five finishers from each Semi-Final advancing to the Oct. 5 Grassroots Championship. The last division went to Magic Bob, who started his provincial career with a pair of off the board finishes at the Gold Series level. The change in competition suited the Kadabra son and driver Trevor Henry of Arthur, ON, who controlled the tempo for much of the race on the way to a 1:58.3 win. I Got The Looks finished two and one-quarter lengths back in second and Massman was third. Magic Bob's win was the second of the night for New Jersey-based trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman, who conditions the gelding for breeders Melvin Hartman of Ottawa and Herb Liverman of Miami Beach, FL and their partners David McDuffee of Delray Beach, FL and Little E LLC of New York, NY. Magic Bob's former Gold Series peers will gather at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Thursday, Aug. 8 for the third event of their season. The first race gets under way at 7:10 pm and the trotting colts will compete in Races 2 and 6. Complete results for Tuesday's program are available at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0806wbsbsn.dat. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

MILTON, JULY 25, 2019 - Father-son harness racing duo Gregg and Doug McNair captured two $23,500 Grassroots divisions at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Thursday evening with three-year-old pacing fillies Swift Ally and Kylie Seelster. The Guelph, ON residents kicked off the event in the first race, with driver Doug McNair and Swift Ally lining up behind Post 2 in the field of nine. The fan favourites sat mid-pack as Green Point and Manhattan Night battled to a :27 opening quarter and a :54.1 half. Heading for the 1:22.4 three-quarters McNair tipped Swift Ally into the outer lane and the filly sprinted off the final turn and down the stretch to a one and three-quarter length win in 1:51.3. Free Exchange finished second and Green Point held on for third. "Things set up pretty good for her," said trainer Gregg McNair. "She wasn't really running away on them, but she raced good. She got the job done anyways." McNair and Ian Fleming of Londesborough, ON bred and own Swift Ally, who is a Big Jim daughter out of $398,464 winner Claires Apache. Unraced at two, the filly started her Ontario Sires Stakes career at the Gold Series level, finishing seventh in the June 1 season opener at Woodbine Mohawk Park. That result prompted McNair and Fleming to drop the filly down to the Grassroots level, where she is now undefeated through two starts. "She probably won't see, unless she changes around, she probably won't see any more Gold action. They're a tough bunch this year the Golds," said the trainer. "She's better off in the Grassroots." Swift Ally In the fourth division Doug McNair and Kylie Seelster started from Post 7 and were sitting fifth when Cinderella Delight reached the quarter in :26.3. McNair moved the filly to the outside heading for the :55.3 half and rolling into the final turn Kylie Seelster turned on the afterburners, opening up a five length lead by the 1:23 three-quarters. Runner-ups Cinderella Delight and Just My Shadow ate up some of that margin in the stretch, by Kylie Seelster hit the wire a comfortable two length winner in 1:52. "She has a real big kick and was in a good spot to get the job done," said Doug McNair. "She's been good her last few starts against some tough fillies." "She was following something pretty good (Better Be Donna N) there two starts ago (July 8), of course she wasn't going to get to her, but she wanted to go three-wide around the last turn," recalled Gregg McNair. "Doug wouldn't let her, it wouldn't have worked out good for her, but she kind of thought she could. That's where she kind of likes to roll a little, on that turn." The elder McNair shares ownership of Kylie Seelster with Hall of Fame horseman Keith Waples of Durham and Dr. Chris Robson of London, ON. The daughter of Big Jim and Kiddie Cocktail is a half-sister to $813,650 winner Kendall Seelster, who was the first sophomore pacing filly to record a sub-1:50 mile in Ontario Sires Stakes action. Thursday's win was Kylie Seelster's third of the sophomore campaign and her first in Grassroots action. Kylie Seelster The other three Grassroots divisions were captured by Twin B Tipster, Lady Finetune, both first-time Ontario Sires Stakes winners, and Springbridgevision. In the second division Twin B Tipster and driver Sylvain Filion of Milton, ON rocketed down the stretch to nab pacesetter Crisp Mane in 1:51.4. Crisp Mane settled for second behind the fan favourites, with Saulsbrook Jessie rounding out the top three. "She likes to race from off the pace, she could never cut a mile," said trainer Scott McEneny of Puslinch, who shares ownership of the Bettors Delight daughter with Brad Grant of Milton, ON. "We're very happy with the way she is racing right now." Twin B Tipster One race later Lady Finetune slipped out of third coming off the final turn and powered home to a 1:52.2 win for driver Bob McClure of Rockwood, ON. Pacesetter Affluent Seelster finished second and fan favourite Freya Seelster was third. McClure crafted the win, the Badlands Hanover daughter's third straight, for trainer Robert Fellows and owner Alan Bodin of Rockwood, ON Lady Finetune Springbridgevision and driver James MacDonald used a sharp :26.4 last quarter to circle the field and claim a head victory over Be Best and Quebec Blue Chip in the last division. The fillies hit the wire in 1:52.1. Guelph resident MacDonald drove Springbridgevision to her second Grassroots win for trainer Andrew Moore of Russell, who shares ownership of the Shadow Play daughter with Allan Moore of Stratford, Charles Farrell of Spencerville, ON and Tommy Godfrey of Charlottetown, PEI. Springbridgevision The three-year-old pacing fillies will make their fourth Grassroots start at Rideau Carleton Raceway on August 25. Their Gold Series peers are next up on Woodbine Mohawk Park's Ontario Sires Stakes schedule, competing in two divisions this Saturday, July 27. Saturday's first race goes postward at 7:10 pm and the Gold fillies will be featured in Races 2 and 8. Complete results for Thursday evening's program are available here. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

FRASERVILLE, JULY 20, 2019 - A collaborative effort between Per Henriksen and Richard Moreau put two-year-old trotting colt Ripped And Ready in the Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots harness racing winner's circle at Kawartha Downs on Saturday evening. After Ripped And Ready made a break and finished eighth at the Gold Series level in the July 4 season opener, trainer Moreau enlisted the help of friend and mentor Henriksen. The men have often worked together on horses each is having trouble with, so Norwood, ON resident Henriksen was happy to turn his trotting specialist eye on Ripped And Ready and also agreed to steer the colt from Post 2 in Saturday night's fourth $23,150 Grassroots division. Ripped And Ready left the gate cleanly and proceeded to pull away from the field with every step, rolling through fractions of :28.2, :58.2 and 1:27.4 before reaching the finish 13 lengths ahead of his peers in 1:57.2, just shy of the Kawartha Downs track record. Fan favourite Gamblin Road settled for third, just ahead of French Twist. "All the power to Per," said Moreau. "It's a pleasure teaming up with him. I'm still learning every day." "All I did was - he was ready - all I did was give him a little trotting touch you know, I changed his shoes a little bit and he was a different horse," said Henriksen, who also drove two other trotters for Moreau, finishing fifth with The Reins Of Titan and sixth with Freedom Express. "I am just happy he asked me to drive them and give him feedback if there was anything I saw," said the horseman. "And they stayed trotting and everybody is happy." Moreau and owner-breeder Dr. Ruth Irving of Russell, ON will now have to decide whether Ripped And Ready, a Muscle Mass colt out of $297,969 winner Cumin First, will remain in the Grassroots or go back to the Gold Series for his third Ontario Sires Stakes start. The Grassroots colts compete at Woodbine Mohawk Park on August 6 and the Gold colts on August 8. Henriksen was not the only local reinsman to grace the Grassroots winner's circle on Saturday, Doug Hie and Doug Brown also won divisions. Fraserville resident Hie kicked off the Ontario Sires Stakes festivities in the first split with Lovedbythemasses. The pair replicated their July 13 qualifying effort over the Kawartha Downs oval, floating away from Post 5 into fifth spot by the :30 quarter, shifting into the outer lane heading for the 1:02.1 half and taking command before the 1:31.3 three-quarters. From there Hie never had to look over his shoulder as the Muscle Mass son cruised home a three length winner in 2:00.4. Remember Titans finished second and Our Van Gogh was well back in third. Peterborough resident Edward Peconi Jr. trains Lovedbythemasses for his co-owners Nicholas Peconi of Lakefield, ON and Wade Peconi of Stanchel, PEI. Saturday's outing was the gelding's first lifetime start. Bowmanville, ON resident Brown gave Chocolate Pie a textbook pocket steer in the third Grassroots division, getting away second from Post 3 and stalking Tuscan Titan through fractions of :29, :59.3 and 1:29.4 before getting a head in front at the 2:00.1 finish. "Chocolate Pie is a very nice colt. He does everything right; very smart, good gaited, going to be a very nice little guy," said Brown of the Archangel colt owned and trained by Kyle Bossence of Arthur, ON. "Kyle does well, so I expected him to be good." Like Ripped And Ready, Saturday's victory served as a bit of redemption for Chocolate Pie, who made a late break in the July 7 Grassroots season opener at Georgian Downs and finished ninth. With a runner-up finish in his June 30 debut at Georgian Downs the colt, who was a $17,000 purchase out of last fall's London Selected Yearling Sale, has now earned $13,200. The other Grassroots division went to Fit Bitt and driver Trevor Henry of Arthur, ON who took command before the half and sailed home two length winners in 2:00.3. Rubbleonthedouble finished second and fan favourite Aussie Lover was third. Henry engineered the win for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor, ON who shares ownership and breeding credit with C S X Stables of Liberty Center, OH. With Saturday's win and his runner-up finish in the Grassroots season opener the son of Muscle Mass and $462,826 winner Armbro Affair currently sits atop the freshman trotting colt standings with 75 points. Complete results for Saturday's program are available at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0720kdfn.dat. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

INNISFIL, JULY 7, 2019 - Twenty-eight freshman harness racing trotting colts invaded Georgian Downs on Sunday night as the Innisfil oval played host to the first Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots event of their season. Coming into the event off a June 28 win in qualifying action, fans sent Horse Trader off as one of the favourites and the young trotter did not let them down. After starting from Post 6, Horse Trader sat second last through much of the mile as Enduring Strength rang up fractions of :29.2, :59.3 and 1:29.1. Coming off the final turn trainer-driver Paul Walker sent Horse Trader out three-wide, and when the colt squared up in the stretch he shifted into high gear and sprinted by the field to a one and one-quarter length victory in 2:00.1. Lifeisgood Hanover also closed well to be second, leaving pacesetter Enduring Strength to settle for third. "We were wondering at the three-quarter pole if he was going to be able to do a lot, but he trotted home like a champion," said Dr. David Grant, whose Oaklea Farm Inc. bred and owns the son of Wheeling N Dealin and Oaklea Wand. "He was down in Georgia and Paul did tell me that he had a big motor right away, but I've learned not to get too excited," said Grant. "And he's a late May colt so I thought that if we could race him a bit at two that would be great." Horse Trader also used a late kick to win his qualifier at Woodbine Mohawk Park by three-quarters of a length in 2:01.4. With that effort and Sunday's Grassroots win under his belt, the colt looks poised to exceed Grant's modest expectations. "He just loves to be on the track. I've never actually had a horse that was so much like that," said the Simcoe, ON resident. "His barn manners aren't maybe the best, he's a bit of a twerp, but as soon as he gets on the track he's perfect. We're very lucky to have a colt like that." The second $23,150 division went to local colt Aussie Lover, who left smartly from Post 7, took command heading for the half and went on to a one length victory in 2:01.4. Remember Titan closed well to be second and pocket-sitter Lexus Markus completed the top three. Thornton, ON resident Stephen Byron drove Aussie Lover to the win for owner-trainer Gino Cicero of Melancthon, ON. Byron also piloted the Angus Hall colt in his first lifetime start, a fifth-place finish in a June 30 two-year-old race at Georgian Downs, and said that outing helped Cicero prep Aussie Lover for his Grassroots debut. "I thought last week there he raced good, but I didn't think he was getting a hold of the track, so they changed a few things on him and it turned out to work, so that was good," said Byron. "He raced well. He's going to be a steady horse, he might not be the fastest, but I think he'll be a steady horse," the driver added. JCs Royal Tease rounded out the Grassroots winners with a 2:02.3 effort in the last $23,500 division. Like Aussie Lover, the Royalty For Life colt left sharply from Post 6 and led the field to a :30.1 quarter. Driver Trevor Henry and JCs Royal Tease then watched from the pocket as Fit Bit and Tuscan Titan battled for control through the 1:01.2 half and 1:32.1 three-quarters. In the stretch Henry sent JCs Royal Tease after the leaders and the colt powered home to a one and one-half length win in 2:02.3. Fit Bit and Tuscan Titan settled for second and third. "He should make a nice horse," said Arthur, ON resident Henry, who leases the colt in partnership with his wife, trainer Shannon Henry. "He has a few driving issues, but can go fast for a piece." JCs Royal Tease also qualified at Woodbine Mohawk Park on June 28, finishing third, 12 lengths behind Horse Trader. The pair may meet up again when the two-year-old trotting colts and geldings head to Kawartha Downs for the second Grassroots event of their season on July 20. The Ontario Sires Stakes will be back at Georgian Downs next Sunday, July 14 with the first Grassroots event for the two-year-old trotting fillies. Post time for Sunday's program is 6 pm. Complete results from Sunday's Grassroots event are available here. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

MILTON, JULY 5, 2019 - It was the two-year-old pacing colts' turn to shine at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday evening and the novices impressed harness racing fans in five $23,000 Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots divisions. The two quickest miles came in the first and last splits as Hes Watching sons Tattoo Artist and One For Julius delivered 1:54 and 1:52.4 victories for their connections. With Milton resident Sylvain Filion in the race bike, Tattoo Artist left sharply from Post 2 and took command of the tempo before the :57.2 half. Without seeing a challenge, Tattoo Artist sailed by the three-quarters in 1:26 and down the stretch to a one and one-quarter length win in 1:54. Quick Tour closed well to be second, getting by pocket-sitter Day Delight, who settled for third. "It's always very gratifying and satisfying to take a baby from scratch and go out and win the first race There's no other feeling in harness racing I don't think," said trainer Dr. Ian Moore. "Especially this guy, because when we got him we couldn't catch him in the stall, we couldn't get a halter on him, he was half wild. And I didn't see him until December the tenth, he was late, and he had a pretty dramatic injury there about mid-May." While training, Tattoo Artist spooked and stepped on his left front ankle, slicing it up enough to require several staples. Fortunately, the injury was largely superficial and the colt was soon back training. After a June 28 qualifier at Woodbine Mohawk Park, where Tattoo Artist was a two length winner in 1:56.3, Moore and owners Frank Cannon of Sanford, FL and Let It Ride Stables Inc. of Boca Raton, FL briefly considered starting the colt at the Gold Series level before deciding on Friday's Grassroots event. "We opted to start him in the Grassroots, no harm doing that, and we'll just see how much they go tomorrow (in the Gold Series)," said Moore. "I think the track was off a little bit tonight. It rained hard about an hour or so before we got there and it certainly wasn't fast, that's for sure. So it was a pretty good mile." Tattoo Artist By the time One For Julius paraded onto the racetrack for the last division in Race 8, the track was a bit drier and the tempo of the race was faster from the start. Morneau led the field to a :27.2 opening quarter and then handed off to Journalistic before the :55.4 half. Driver Chris Christoforou had watched the early lead changes from third, where he and One For Julius landed after getting off the gate well from Post 3, and heading toward the 1:25.1 three-quarters he sent the colt after the pacesetters. Once One For Julius got rolling he quickly pulled away from his peers, hitting the top of the stretch with a three and one-half length lead. After sailing down the lane he stopped the teletimer at 1:52.4, one and one-quarter lengths ahead of hard-closing favourite Mayhem Seelster. Dontblvmejustwatch was two more lengths back in third. Campbellville resident Christoforou crafted the win for trainer Dustin Jones of Waterdown and owner-breeder Andrea Lea Racing Stables Inc. of Lakefield Gore, QC. One For Julius Christoforou also guided Sirjamesthegreat to victory in the third Grassroots division. From Post 2, the Big Jim colt went straight to the front and never relinquished control, cruising home a one and three-quarter length winner in 1:56. Gentry Seelster and Century Gigalo rounded out the top three. Guelph resident Dagfin Henriksen trains Sirjamesthegreat for his co-owner Gary Volpe of St. Thomas. Sirjamesthegreat Bettor Focus captured the second division in 1:56 for driver Bob McClure of Elora, trainer Casie Coleman of Cambridge and her partners West Wins Stable of Cambridge, Brad Grant of Milton, McKinlay & Fielding of Toronto and Teresa Davidson of Milton. Twin B Frenchtoast and Usurper did their best to catch Bettor Focus, but the winner fought back in the stretch to secure a neck victory. "I was very happy with him. He's still green and learning," said Coleman of the Bettors Delight son. "It's not often one gets passed and comes back on to win. He showed some guts and grit tonight." Bettor Focus The other division went to Captivate Hanover and driver James MacDonald who used a late sprint to secure the 1:56.2 victory, one-half length ahead of Social Theories. Giddy Up Max was another length back in third. All three colts are by sire Bettors Delight. "That was a pleasant surprise," said Guelph resident Shawn Steacy, who conditions Captivate Hanover for Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC, Stephen Klunowski of North York, ON and James Feeley of Pine Bush, NY. "We always knew he was quick, but didn't know how moving up to the big track for the first time, and a race situation, would work out." Captivate Hanover The two-year-old pacing colts will make their second Grassroots start at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 16. Their Gold Series peers take centre stage on the Campbellville oval Saturday night, squaring off in a pair of $108,000 divisions, slated as Races 5 and 8 on the 7:10 pm program. Complete results from Friday's program can be found here. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

As he often does on the Ontario Sires Stakes program's biggest nights, driver Sylvain Filion made multiple trips to the Woodbine Mohawk Park winner's circle on Saturday evening as the best Grassroots competitors gathered for their $400,000 season finale. The Milton resident opened the Grassroots Championship program with a win, guiding two-year-old trotting filly At Will to a two and three-quarter length score over Nifty Trick and Eramosa Magic in 1:58.4. "She raced awesome tonight. She had to go first-over, which I didn't really like, but she raced her guts out. That's her best race so far this year," said Filion of the fan favourite. "They've done a really good job with her, keeping her sound and healthy, and having her in top form for tonight." Filion drives At Will for trainer Julie Walker of Carlisle and her partners, breeder Layhoon Chan Brunner of Etobicoke, and Ron Piers of Georgetown, Ontario. The Kadabra filly's win was Walker's first in the Grassroots Championships and just her second in post-season action, the first coming in last week's Semi-Final. Filion, the reigning Lampman Cup champion as the leading driver in the Ontario Sires Stakes program, was back in the winner's circle after the fourth $50,000 Grassroots Final. The reinsman piloted two-year-old pacing filly point leader Sports Flix to a 1:54 victory, two and three-quarter lengths ahead of Shadow Sparks and Freya Seelster. "I drove her last week for Gregg McNair for the first time. I ended up first-over, but she really impressed me the way she did it and I knew if I could get her in a position to win, she had a good shot," said Filion. "When I saw the nine-hole I said, oh my god, that will be tough, but she left the gate good, we got a two-hole trip and she just win easy. "It is always nice to win for Gregg McNair, we go way back, it's a good feeling," the reinsman added. Guelph resident McNair conditions Sports Flix for James Fraleigh of Dresden, who purchased the daughter of Sportswriter and former Gold Series competitor Moving Pictures at last fall's London Selected Yearling Sale for $13,000. Filion completed the Grassroots Championship hat trick in the second last final, steering three-year-old trotting filly Stormont Charlotte to a front-end victory in 1:56.2. Magics Lucky Charm finished one and three-quarter lengths behind the favourite and Zorgwijk Sophia was five more lengths back in third. "She raced awesome last week, sat in the two-hole and she just moved by them when I got clearance. So tonight with the six-hole I thought if I could ease her off the gate and try to get to the front and control the pace I had a really good shot, and that's exactly what happened," said Filion, who steers the Justice Hall filly for trainer John Gouveia and owner Alan Fair of Ancaster, Ontario. "It doesn't happen often that it goes the way you think it's going to go, but that's exactly how I wanted it to go." Driver Jonathan Drury scored two victories on the championship card, with the most meaningful coming in the three-year-old pacing colt and gelding final with Pretty Handsome. The pair was awarded the Grassroots title last season when one of their competitors committed interference and was placed from first to ninth, but on Saturday they commanded the race from the start to the 1:50.3 finish. Casimir Richie P was three and one-half lengths back in second, and Luka Shenko was five lengths behind in third. Andrew McCabe trains the Mach Three gelding for Glenview Livestock Ltd. of Wallenstein, Ontario and says the pacer will make a few more sophomore starts before beginning preparations for his four-year-old campaign. "JD (Drury) seems to think he can maybe race against some of these aged horses here with the miles he's been putting up," said McCabe. "One race that would maybe be in his backyard would be the Confederation Cup I think. He's got gate speed and he gets around a half really well." Drury's second victory came with three-year-old pacing filly Machnhope, who bested Azure Seelster and I Shadow U in 1:53.1. The Guelph resident crafted the win for trainer Bill Robinson, owner-breeder CMR Farms of Hagersville, and co-owners David Serwatuk of Hamilton and BC Reichheld Stables of Caledonia, Ontario. Driver Scott Young scored his first-ever Grassroots Championship victory with two-year-old trotting gelding Lariat Seelster. The Kadabra son got a head in front of Bob McIntosh trainees Judge Ken and A Royal Line to record the 1:58.1 score. "First time ever in the Finals, so to get a win on one that's awesome," said Young, who also piloted Rebellious Lady to a fifth-place result in the two-year-old trotting filly final. "I said at the beginning of the night if I could get money with both I'd be happy, so a win sure is nice." Guelph resident Bob Young conditions Lariat Seelster for his partners Robert Deveau of Toronto, Frank Chiaravalloti of Downsview and Jaftica Stable of Guelph, Ontario. Trainer Mark Steacy finished first and second in the three-year-old trotting colt and gelding final with Jammin Jack and Majestic Fire, who were separated by a head at the 1:55.4 finish. TBarrr rounded out the top three. "At the start of the year I wouldn't have gave a whole lot for either one of them horses. They were a lot of work. They didn't show a whole lot, they didn't even show a lot of speed early on, especially Jammin Jack," recalled Steacy, who trains Angus Hall son Jammin Jack for Hutt Racing Stable of Paoli, PA. "But as the year progressed he just got more confidence and he showed speed and he's got a good kick coming for home. James (MacDonald) got to know him really good, that really helped too." Century Farroh and driver Trevor Henry captured the two-year-old pacing colt and gelding final in commanding style, going straight to the front from Post 4 and cruising home a seven length winner in 1:53. Wager On Me and The First Step finished second and third behind the fan favourites. Dr. Ian Moore conditions Mach Three son Century Farroh for Ratchford Stable NS of North Sydney, Nova Scotia. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Woodbine Mohawk Park next week as the two-year-old trotters and pacers wrap up their Gold Series regular seasons in preparation for the Oct. 13 Super Finals. The trotters will compete in their last regular season Gold event on Thursday, Oct. 4 and the pacers will wrap things up on Saturday, Oct. 6. Post time for both programs is 7:10 pm. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

MILTON, ON - September 27, 2018 - The duo of driver James MacDonald and trainer Mark Steacy are sitting pretty heading into Saturday's $400,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Championships at Woodbine Mohawk Park. MacDonald, who sits sixth in the Lampman Cup standings, has a drive in all eight of Saturday's $50,000 finals and will team up with Johnston Cup leading trainer Steacy in five of the finals. The Steacy/MacDonald duo is clicking at a winning percentage of nearly 20 per cent with more than 350 starts this season on the Woodbine circuit and those numbers could rise with several legit contenders in Saturday's finals. Rookie trotting colt Royale Elite (Race 2, PP5) enters his Grassroots final off a hard-fought second-place finish to A Royal Line (PP2, Henry/McIntosh) in his Semi-Final. The sons of Royalty For Life battled the length of the stretch with A Royal Line prevailing by a head. "He drew the rail unfortunately last week and I just kind of got him in a tough spot," said MacDonald of Royale Elite. "He's been handy and anyone that's been watching sees his times maybe haven't been the best, but the lengths he's made up down the lane in some of those races and the way he won at Grand River (September 12) in my mind he's still the one to beat, him and McIntosh's horse." Royale Elite has won four of seven starts this season and earned $45,232 for owner/breeder Hudson Standardbred Stable. He has been saddled with morning-line odds of 9/2. Rookie pacing filly Freya Seelster (Race 5, PP4) is one of two morning-line choices for MacDonald and Steacy in the Grassroots finals. A daughter of Sunshine Beach, Freya Seelster charges into the final on a four-race win streak, which started with a 1:53 maiden-breaking score on August 20 at Mohawk Park. "She's been dominant in the Grassroots this year," said MacDonald. "They were hoping she would learn to be a Gold filly and I think she probably will next year. She's a big long-legged filly and she's been winning pretty easy." A $26,000 London Selected Yearling Sale purchase, Freya Seelster has won four of six starts and earned $42,005 for owners Katherine Steacy, Bertrand Gilhespy Stable, Shawn Steacy and Guy Haskell. "I know there are a couple good ones in there," noted MacDonald. "But I think if I can find her somewhat of a comfortable trip she'll give us a good effort." Augus Hall gelding Jammin Jack (Race 6, PP8) has overcome recent breaking issues and is the 5/2 morning-line choice in thee-year-old colt and gelding trot final. Unraced as a two-year-old, Jammin Jack has five wins and $51,312 earned in 16 starts this season for owner Hutt Racing Stable. The Steacy trainee has been streaky with stretches of top-results, but also breaking issues in consecutive starts. Jammin Jack made consecutive breaks in starts on August 26 and September 10. Despite the miscue on September 10, the Steacy trainee recovered to pick up the victory and then qualified two-days later for a clean line to enter the Semi-Final. The Angus Hall gelding captured his Semi-Final in 1:59.2 and will seek a third-consecutive victory in Saturday's Championship. "He's a little bumpy, but you just got to take your time with him," said MacDonald. "He's got a big engine and he loves doing it. He drew the eight-hole and if I can get him somewhat in a striking spot turning for home or somewhere easy I think he's the one to beat as well." MacDonald and Steacy will also team up in Saturday's finals with two-year-old trotting filly Pyrrha (Race 1, PP1) and three-year-old pacing filly Lady Bubbles (Race 3, PP10). Not one to get ahead of himself, MacDonald is excited for Saturday's Grassroots Championships. "It should be a good day for hopefully Mark and I and the crew." Post time for Saturday's $400,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Championships is 7:10 p.m. To download a free program for Saturday's card, click here. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications

Reigning Grassroots champion Pretty Handsome delivered an emphatic statement at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday night, laying down a :27.4 final quarter in his 1:51.3 Semi-Final victory on a night when the wind slammed into each field as they turned for home. "It's about a three second wind really," said driver Jody Jamieson, who won two of the eight Semi-Finals, including the other three-year-old colt event. "So the trip (Jonathan) Drury's horse went was monstrous." Drury and Pretty Handsome left smartly from Post 5 in the second $20,000 pacing colt Semi-Final and were comfortably in control by the :28 quarter. Unchallenged through a :56.3 half and 1:23.4 three-quarters, Pretty Handsome seemed completely unfazed by the wind that took the steam out of many of the evening's pacesetters. Rather than slowing, the Mach Three gelding powered down the stretch to a nine and one-quarter length victory. Luka Shenko and Shadow Moon completed the top three, with Phantom Seelster and Gideon Seelster also advancing to next week's championship. "Actually, he didn't surprise me tonight," said Andrew McCabe, who trains Pretty Handsome for owner Glenview Livestock Ltd. of Wallenstein. "A lot of horses that were leaving out into the wind and then finishing into the wind as well were getting tired, but he just seemed to accelerate in the stretch." The win was Pretty Handsome's third straight and makes him a perfect four-for-four in Grassroots action this season. A two-time Grassroots winner at two, Pretty Handsome was not the favourite in last year's final and was awarded the title when Phantom Seelster was placed from first to ninth for causing interference. Second across the line, Pretty Handsome was elevated to first. With the other two-year-old title holders failing to advance to this year's finals, the gelding is the only horse with an opportunity to repeat as champion. Hoping to prevent Pretty Handsome from repeating will be the other Semi-Final winner, When You Dance, who used a late sprint to score his 1:54.2 victory. Pocket-sitter Yacht Seelster was second while pacesetter and fan favourite Casimir Richie P settled for third. JM Jack Of Hearts and Stock also advanced. Moffat resident Jody Jamieson piloted When You Dance to the win for trainer Ben Wallace of Puslinch and his partners Daniel Plouffe of Bromont, Quebec and Birnam Wood Farms of Boca Raton, Florida. Like Pretty Handsome When You Dance is undefeated in Grassroots action this season, winning two regular season events prior to his Semi-Final victory. "He's just been a nice horse all year for us," said Wallace of the long-legged pacer. "He's had a great summer and we're looking forward to next week." Jamieson's other victory came in the pacing filly division with favourite Neon Moon, who turned for home so far ahead of her peers she was able to ease up in the stretch and still hit the wire six and one-quarter lengths the best in 1:54.4. Sunday Afternoon finished second, Lady Bubbles was third, Mittany Nicole fourth and Enchanted Eva rounded out the finalists in fifth. "She's a beast," said Jamieson, who drives the Sportswriter filly for owner-trainer Jack Darling of Cambridge, Ontario. "She's likely a Gold contender, but that division is so tough she's taking the road less travelled. With no bad luck, she should win the Grassroots Final." Guelph resident Jonathan Drury earned his second Semi-Final win in the other pacing filly contest, guiding Machnhope to a 1:54.2 victory over Princess Abie W and Azure Seelster. Sharks Summrshandy and I Shadow U rounded out the top five. Bill Robinson trains the Mach Three daughter for CMR Farms of Hagersville, David Serwatuk of Hamilton and BC Reichheld Stables of Caledonia, Ontario. In the sophomore trotting colt Semi-Finals, Say You Do was also untroubled by the wind, pulling away from the field in the stretch to record a 12 length victory in 1:58. T Barrr finished second in spite of broken equipment, Legend Within was third, Daylon Phantom fourth and Sicario fifth. "He's a big strong colt that wasn't bothered by the windy conditions tonight," said driver Paul MacDonell. "He'll be a factor in the final next week." Guelph resident MacDonell crafted the Kadabra gelding's third lifetime win for trainer Stephen Oldford, Oldford Racing LLC of Port Huron and Gene Oldford Farms LLC of St. Clair, Michigan. The other trotting colt Semi-Final went to favourite Jammin Jack and driver James MacDonald in 1:59.2. Mister Magic was second, Delcrest Holiday third, Takter fourth and Northern Ruler finished fifth. Mark Steacy trains Angus Hall son Jammin Jack for Hutt Racing Stable of Paoli, Pennsylvania. The trotting filly Semi-Finals went to Stormont Charlotte and Zorgwijk Sophia. Stormont Charlotte trotted to a personal best 1:57.2, finishing four lengths ahead of favourite Hopes Solo and pacesetter Ezee Tiguan. Magics Lucky Charm and Gradabra also advanced to the final. Sylvain Filion piloted the Justice Hall daughter to the win for trainer John Gouveia and owner Alan Fair of Ancaster, Ontario. Favourite Zorgwijk Sophia sailed to a 1:59 victory, five and one-half lengths ahead of Melanie G and Shotgun Sally. Stormont Chef and Gotta Pay To Play were well back in fourth and fifth. Doug McNair drove both Zorgwijk Sophia and Ezee Tiguan for trainer Lyle MacArthur and owners Linda Wellwood of St. George Brant and Tammy Aspden of Caistor Centre and will have to choose between the two for the final. "Sophia is a nice little filly to drive," McNair said. "The other filly is different. Once you start her up she's tricky to get relaxed." McNair has until Tuesday to make his decision, when the top five finishers from all of the two and three-year-old Semi-Finals will be entered in the post-position draw for the finals. The eight Grassroots champions will be crowned Saturday, Sept. 29 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

Woodbine Mohawk Park hosted the two-year-old Grassroots Semi-Finals on Thursday and the youngsters put on a tremendous show for fans, with five of the eight races decided by less than one length. The two-year-old trotting colts set the tone in the first $20,000 contest as the division's point leaders A Royal Line and Royale Elite battled tooth and nail down the stretch. A Royal Line had controlled the tempo for much of the race and Royale Elite appeared to have him beat at the top of the stretch, but A Royal Line fought back and put a head in front as the trotters reached the wire in 1:59. Favourite LA Magic was three lengths behind the leaders in third and Northern Tailwind and Fitzgibbons also advanced to the Sept. 29 Grassroots Championship. "I thought A Royal Line fought hard, he was beat and he come back," said trainer Bob McIntosh. "I was pretty proud of him." The Windsor resident bred and owns the son of Royalty For Life and Direct Dial with Dave Boyle of Bowmanville and Mardon Stables of Loretto, Ontario and Paul MacDonell piloted the gelding to his fourth lifetime win. McIntosh, who watched the Semi-Finals from his vehicle on the way home from the Little Brown Jug in Delaware, Ohio, had reason to celebrate again following the second trotting colt Semi-Final. With Phil Hudon filling in for the scheduled Bob McClure, Judge Ken got away sharply from Post 7 and rang up fractions of :27.1, :57.2 and 1:27.3 on the way to a 1:57.4 score. Priceless Ruler finished one-half length back in second and favourite Cousin Peter was hot on his heels in third. LMC Picasso and Lariat Seelster also advanced to next weekend's final. "Pretty proud of both colts, they were gritty, they were good," said McIntosh, who bred and owns the son of Justice Hall and Barbie And Ken in partnership with Boyle and C S X Stables of Liberty Center, Ohio. "It's been a good year. Hopefully we can finish it off with a bang." McIntosh's trotting fillies Splurge On Me and Nifty Trick also advanced to the Championship. Splurge On Me made an early break leaving from Post 10, but recovered to finish fifth behind heavy favourite At Will, who stopped the teletimer at 1:58.1. Eramosa Magic was three and three-quarter lengths back in second, Galaxy Seelster was third and P L Molly fourth. Sylvain Filion piloted the Kadabra daughter At Will to the win for trainer Julie Walker of Carlisle and her partners, breeder Layhoon Chan Brunner of Etobicoke and Ronald Piers of Georgetown, Ontario. Nifty Trick finished second to Rebellious Lady, who sprinted down the stretch to a three and three-quarter length victory in 1:59.1. Royaltys Pearl was third and Pyrrha and Luckyjohanna completed the top five. Scott Young crafted the win for his father, trainer Bob Young, and owner Hugh Fitzpatrick of Guelph, Ontario. "She's always a complete pro," said the driver, who was making his first-ever appearance in the post-season winner's circle. "She always shows up and does her job. For a two-year-old Angus Hall filly, she's a pleasure to drive." The pacing filly divisions went to Freya Seelster and Jessicas Legacy, who both started from Post 1 with James MacDonald in the race bike. Freya Seelster took command before the :56.3 half and opened up a gap on the field heading by the 1:25.2 three-quarters that runner-up Free Exchange was unable to close. The fan favourite hit the wire three-quarters of a length the best in 1:53.1. Sports Flix was third, Whitehaven Beach fourth and Saulsbrook Jessie fifth. Mark Steacy trains Sunshine Beach daughter Freya Seelster for Katherine Steacy of Lansdowne, Shawn Steacy and Guy Haskell of Guelph, Ontario and Bertrand Gilhespy Stable of Edmonton, Alberta. Of the six freshmen Steacy started in Thursday's Semi-Finals, Freya Seelster was one of four that qualified for the Championships. Jessicas Legacy enjoyed a pocket trip behind Lady Driver, stepping out in the stretch to claim the one and one-quarter length victory in 1:53.3. Favourite Shadow Sparks was second, Twin B Friendly third, Lady Driver settled for fourth and Buckingham was fifth. MacDonald crafted the win for trainer Anthony Beaton and owner-breeder Robert Hamather of Exeter, Ontario. Chanting Hanover mounted a late charge to win the first $20,000 pacing colt and gelding Semi-Final, which saw less than two lengths separate the top six horses. The Sportswriter son and driver Louis Philippe Roy hit the wire in 1:54.1, one half length ahead of The First Step and B Stoney. Mo Bettor was third and Ahi and Sports Hero finished in a dead heat for fifth. Repentigny, Quebec resident Colin Johnson trains Chanting Hanover for Paul Johnson of Durham, England, and William Greenhorn and Andrew Dick of Stirling, Scotland. The final honour of the evening went to fan favourites Century Farroh and driver Sylvain Filion, who powered to the front early and held on for a three-quarter length victory over Wager On Me. JMs Delight was third, Boys Turn fourth and Maintenance Man fifth. Dr. Ian Moore trains the pacing colt for Ratchford Stable NS of North Sydney, Nova Scotia and says the Ratchfords may not recognise the son of Mach Three when they arrive for next weekend's Championship. "He's grown a lot. He (Dave Ratchford) won't even know him when he sees him. He was just an average-sized colt when he came and now he's a nice, good-sized muscular colt, really solid, so we like him pretty good," said Moore of Century Farroh. "So hopefully he stays good for at least one more week." The top five finishers from each two-year-old Semi-Final will be back at Woodbine Mohawk Park next Saturday, Sept. 29 for the Grassroots Championships. They will be joined by the three-year-olds, who compete in their Semi-Finals at the Campbellville oval on Friday evening. The three-year-olds will battle in Races 2 through 7, 9 and 10 on the Friday evening program, which gets under way at 7:10 pm. From the Ontario Sire Stakes  

With a 26 point lead in the standings, Mark Steacy has all but locked up his third straight Johnston Cup title as the leading trainer in the Ontario Sires Stakes program. Among the horses propelling Steacy toward his third honour are the 13 Grassroots competitors set to battle in this week's Semi-Finals at Woodbine Mohawk Park, six in the two-year-old event on Thursday and seven in Friday's three-year-old event. Three of those hopefuls lead their division after the five regular season events - two-year-old trotting colt Royale Elite, three-year-old pacing colt Hudson Phil and three-year-old pacing filly Hello Love. "(Thursday) my best chance, I think, is Freya Seelster," said the trainer of his two-year-old entries. "She's been pretty good and really hasn't done anything wrong up until now, and she drew a good post and all, so I think that she's probably my best chance." Two-year-old pacing filly Freya Seelster will start from Post 1 in the eighth race on Thursday, the first of the two $20,000 pacing filly Semi-Finals. The daughter of former Steacy trainee Sunshine Beach is a perfect two-for-two in Grassroots action and has not missed the top three in five starts. James MacDonald will steer the filly for Katherine Steacy of Lansdowne, Shawn Steacy and Guy Haskell of Guelph, Ontario and Bertrand Gilhespy Stable of Edmonton, Alberta. Division point leader Royale Elite will also start from Post 1 in the first freshman trotting colt Semi-Final, while Rap Royalty gets Post 1 in the second trotting colt showdown. MacDonald will pilot both youngsters, along with trotting filly Pyrrha from Post 9 in the ninth race and pacing colts Ahi from Post 2 in the tenth race and Moonshine Kisses from Post 10 in Race 12. On Friday, Steacy believes the stable has serious contenders in every division they have entrants - pacing colt, pacing filly and trotting colt. "I think in the three-year-olds (Friday) we've got a couple chances," noted the Lansdowne resident. "Hello Love, and if the trotters Jammin Jack and Majestic Fire behave themselves they look pretty good too." The horseman is also not counting out three-year-old pacing colt point leader Hudson Phil, who will be hampered by Post 9 in the tenth race. "He drew bad. I was thinking that he had a real decent shot too, and maybe still does," said Steacy. "Or maybe get fifth or fourth and make it to the final and redraw again, because he deserves better." Hudson Phil went three-for-three in Grassroots action for owner-breeder Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, Quebec. The Shanghai Phil son also captured the Quebec Breeders Cup Series Final at Hippodrome Trois-Rivieres on Sept. 9. Stablemate Jonathan Quick will start from Post 7 in the other three-year-old pacing colt Semi-Final, which goes postward in Race 4. A total of three trotting colts from the Steacy barn will be looking to advance to the Sept. 29 Grassroots Championship. Northern Ruler and Jammin Jack will make their bids from Posts 4 and 5 in the first Semi-Final and Majestic Prince will take his shot from Post 4 in the second split. Jonathan Drury will steer Northern Ruler, while MacDonald handles the driving assignment on all the other Steacy trainees. While Steacy is optimistic about the trotters' chances now that the entries are complete, he was far less confident last week. All three colts were required to qualify after making breaks in the last regular season Grassroots event, contested over a heavy, rain-soaked Woodbine Mohawk Park oval on Sept. 10. Northern Ruler and Jammin Jack accomplished the task in one shot, touring the Grand River Raceway half-mile in 2:04 and 2:04.1, respectively, on Sept. 12, but Majestic Fire made another error on Sept. 12 and had to try again at Woodbine Mohawk Park the following day. Fortunately the second time was the charm and MacDonald teamed the trotter to a flawless 1:58.4 clocking. "Since the last qualifier we've just been quite easy on them, and hopefully they've got it down pat now," said Steacy ruefully. "Jammin Jack's always been a little tricky, but Majestic Fire has been pretty good. He's been pretty safe all along, and all of a sudden he just got out of whack there for two or three starts, right when he needed to be good. "I think they should fine, and I think they're just as fast as anything in the division as long as they behave," the trainer added. Sophomore pacing fillies Hello Love and stablemate Lady Bubbles sit one-two in the point standings and will start from Posts 5 and 3 in their respective Semi-Finals. "(Lady Bubbles) is a real trier, she just gives 100 per cent all the time and she seems to always be right there in all these Grassroots," noted Steacy. "And Hello Love, right now I think she's as good as she's been." Division leader Hello Love heads into Friday's Semi-Final on a two-race win streak and has not been worse than second since late July. The Shadow Play daughter is owned by Landmark 10 Racing Stable of Kingston, Ontario, J and T Silva Stables LLC of Long Beach, NY, Bertrand Gilhespy Stable of Edmonton, Alberta and Conrad Leber of Montreal, Quebec. Steacy said getting each of the 13 trotters and pacers to the Grassroots Semi-Finals has required countless hours of hard work and attention to detail from his first-class staff, along with a healthy dose of racing luck. As the post-season gets under way, the horseman is simply hoping the hard work pays off and there is a bit more luck to be found. Post time for both the Thursday, Sept. 20 and Friday, Sept. 21 programs at Woodbine Mohawk Park is 7:10 pm. The two-year-old Grassroots Semi-Finalists will compete in Races 2, 3 and 7 through 12 on Thursday while the three-year-olds wage their Friday evening battles in Races 2 through 7, 9 and 10. The top five finishers from each Semi-Final will return to the Campbellville oval for the Sept. 29 Grassroots Championships. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

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