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There are 27 Ontario Sired Breeders Crown finalists racing at Woodbine Saturday night, including homebred elimination winner Solar Sister trained by Gregg McNair and driven by his son, Doug, who are both looking for their first harness racing Breeders Crown victory. Veteran Ontario trainer Gregg McNair of Guelph said he would love nothing more than to win the Breeders Crown with his son, Doug, in the sulky and ultra-talented Ontario Sired three-year-old pacing filly Solar Sister leading them to the winner’s circle Saturday at Woodbine. It would be the first Crown victory for either McNair. “I’ve had a few Breeders Crown starts and it’s awfully good to just have them race well and get money, but with that horse and with Doug driving her, it would be a great thrill to win it,” Gregg said. Solar Sister is one of 27 Ontario Sired horses racing in the 12-race, $7.6 million Breeders Crown at Woodbine and one of the best. No horse, regardless of gait or gender, earned more money in the Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) program in 2015 than Solar Sister, which is only fitting since she’s the product of a royal Ontario family going back to her Ontario Sired graddam Cathedra, one of the greatest mares in the history of harness racing. “You don’t have to be up on the horses too much to know the family,” Gregg said. Solar Sister, a homebred owned by David Willmot of King City, ON and Clay Horner of Toronto, earned $317,150 of her seasonal total of $507,494 in the OSS competition, where she won three Gold Series legs and the $250,000 Super Final on Oct. 10 at Woodbine Racetrack. But after a lacklustre fourth-place finish on Oct. 1 in a Gold Series leg at Flamboro Down, Gregg said he knew something was wrong. At first he thought it was the fact the daughter of Mach Three out of the millionaire Cabrini Hanover had not raced in almost a month. Then he discovered a foot injury. “It was quite a mess,” Gregg said. “Either some gravel or maybe she hit it one time in the field or something. I don’t know what it was, but she was really sore on it. You wouldn’t have been able to race her. She wasn’t just a little off, she was a lot off.” Gregg said the injury healed the week before the Super Finals. “Touch wood, she’s been good ever since,” he said. Last Saturday, Solar Sister posted a one-length victory over Frost Damage Blue in 1:52.1 in their Crown elimination. “We didn’t have a lot of work in her before the Super Finals,” Gregg said. “We didn’t have her quite as tight as she should have been, so I’m expecting a pretty good effort Saturday.” Solar Sister will start from post three in the fourth race, going for a Breeders Crown purse of $648,700. She’s the second choice in the morning line at 7-2 behind Joe Holloway’s trainee Divine Caroline (2-1). Solar Sister will not only be trying to win a first Crown for the McNairs, she will also be trying to avenge her mother’s two Breeders Crown defeats. In 2005, Cabrini Hanover, finished second by a neck to Belovedangel in the Breeders Crown three-year-old filly pace at the Meadowlands. The year before, she was leading at the top of the stretch in the Crown final for two-year-old pacing fillies and finished fifth. Cabrini Hanover was originally purchased for $350,000 as a yearling at the 2003 Standardbred Horse Sales Company sale in Harrisburg, PA by Willmot and his close friend Bob Anderson of St. Thomas, ON. When Anderson died in 2010, Horner bought into Cabrini Hanover. Shortly after that, the decision was made to breed Cabrini Hanover to Mach Three. The resulting foal was Solar Sister, named after a clean energy movement for women in Africa. Willmot also has an advanced solar energy project at his Kinghaven Farm. “We were coming off a pretty good season and she was bred in Ontario, so we got the opportunity to train her. It’s sure something to train something out of that family,” said Gregg, who hadn’t trained for Willmot or Horner prior to Solar Sister. “I would say we raced her a few times early as a two-year-old probably thinking she was fairly average. We really didn’t know she was having a tie-up issue. We were part way through her two-year-old season when we figured it out. She finished off really good last year as a two-year-old… She was fairly close to (U.S. and Canadian Horse of the Year) JK Shesalday at the end of the year.” Solar Sister did indeed finish second, one-and-a-half lengths behind JK Shesalady in the $424,000 final of the Three Diamonds on Oct. 25, 2014 at Woodbine. She ended the year with a record of 2-3-4 in 13 starts, earnings of $214,828 and a mark of 1:54. This year, she is 8-2-1 in 15 starts and a mark of 1:50.3 earned at Mohawk on July 2 in a Gold leg. “Obviously David and I are very pleased with her season and in particular her last two starts,” Horner wrote in an email. “She loves Woodbine (two wins this year and her two seconds to JK Shesalady in Three Diamonds last year) and has a great post.” If she does win the Breeders Crown, Solar Sister would enhance her chance to win an O’Brien Award as Canada’s top sophomore pacing filly of 2015. “If she is fortunate enough to win the O'Brien, she would be the third straight generation on the female side to win, which would be very special,” wrote Horner, adding it would be the sixth O’Brien Award in Solar Sister’s talented clan, counting the male side. Dave Briggs Ontario Horse Racing

OCTOBER 10, 2015 - Chris Christoforou missed almost two months of the Ontario Sires Stakes season with a broken collarbone, but standing in the Woodbine Racetrack winner's circle Saturday following the first of what would be three Super Final victories the harness racing driver wasted no time lamenting his lost opportunities. "I was thinking today I missed two months, pretty well the whole Sires Stakes season, the meat of it anyway, and ended up with seven drives in the Super Finals, so there's no complaints from me, that's for sure," reflected Christoforou. "And I had a bit of luck so far, so hopefully it continues." Christoforou's first victory came with two-year-old pacing colt Betting Line, who was sent off the favourite from Post 5 and controlled the pace from start to finish, reeling off fractions of :27.1, :56.1 and 1:25 on the way to a 1:52 victory. Division point leader Nvestment Bluechip overcame Post 10 to finish second by two and one-half lengths, while Voracity was six lengths back in third. "He's a top notch colt, that's for sure," said Christoforou. "He's not just a Sires Stakes colt; he's a top flight colt that can go with anybody on the right day." In addition to his Super Final victory, Betting Line captured two Gold divisions, his Metro Pace Elimination and a division of the Champlain Stakes for a freshman bank roll of $481,258. Trainer Casie Coleman of Cambridge conditions the Bettor's Delight son for her partners in the West Wins Stable of Cambridge, Christine Calhoun of Chatham and Mac Nichol of Burlington, ON. Betting Line For his second Super Final win Christoforou teamed up with Coleman trainee Reverend Hanover. Also sent off as the heavy favourites, the duo rolled through fractions of :26, :54.2 and 1:22.2 on their way to a 1:50.1 defense of the Super Final title they earned last season. Moonwriter and Physicallyinclined were two and one-quarter lengths back in second and third. "Tonight, that's the best he's been yet," said Coleman of three-year-old pacing colt Reverend Hanover. "Chris (Christoforou) just told me that." Coleman conditions Reverend Hanover for West Wins Stable, Steve Calhoun of Chatham and Anthony Beaton of Waterdown, ON. The winner of $496,976 is the son of Coleman and Calhoun's former racehorse Sportswriter and is expected to be among the Ontario Sires Stakes stars taking on North America's best in next weekend's Breeders Crown Eliminations at Woodbine. "I'm pretty sure as long as everything comes out of the race good we're going give him a shot at the Crown," said Coleman. "I didn't talk with Steve (Calhoun) and Ross (Warriner) yet, but I'm thinking that's going to be our game plan, as long as Reverend agrees." Reverend Hanover To cap off his evening, Christoforou guided three-year-old trotting colt Dont Rush to a defense of his 2014 Super Final title. Like Betting Line and Reverend Hanover, Dont Rush was sent off the favourite and took early command of the race, laying down fractions of :27.3, :57.2 and 1:26.1 before hitting the wire one and one-quarter lengths on top in 1:55.1.Rubber Duck and Platoon Seelster completed the top three. Christoforou engineered the win for trainer Dustin Jones of Waterdown and Greg Judson of Athens, ON, who share ownership of the Infinitif colt. "He's got a special spot in my heart this little horse, he tries so hard," admitted Christoforou. "He's not the biggest horse and he gives me everything every time, so it was nice for him, and for Dustin, who's been a supporter of mine for the last couple of years, and we've done really well together. "Like I said, missing most of the Sires Stakes season, it was a tough blow, but it ended up good," added the reinsman. "To win three Super Finals and miss most of the year is more than anybody could ever hope for." Dont Rush Driver Randy Waples of Milton, trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor and trainer Gregg McNair of Guelph, ON also made multiple trips to the Super Final winner's circle. Waples captured the first two Super Final titles, guiding two-year-old pacing filly L A Delight to victory for McIntosh and his partners C S X Stables of Liberty Center, OH and Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington. The Bettor's Delight daughter hit the wire in an Ontario Sires Stakes record equalling 1:51.2, besting Twin B Thong and Thisorthat Hanover by four lengths. L A Delight The driver was back in the winner's circle one race later with two-year-old trotting filly Caprice Hill, who romped to a two length win in 1:56.4 over Emoticon Hanover and Silky Flashy Nfast. Manalapan, NJ resident Tony Alagna conditions the daughter of Kadabra for Tom Hill of Hamilton, ON. Caprice Hill Hall of Fame horseman McIntosh scored his second Super Final victory with two-year-old trotting colt Tony Soprano, who delivered an impressive 1:55.1 effort in rein to John Campbell. The son of Kadabra cruised home two and three-quarter lengths ahead of Will Take Charge and Deweylovernleaver. McIntosh shares ownership of Tony Soprano with Mardon Stables of Loretto, Paradox Farm Inc. of Caledon East and Dave Boyle of Bowmanville, ON. Tony Soprano Trainer Gregg McNair got his Super Final victories with three-year-old trotting filly Second Sister and three-year-old pacing filly Solar Sister. Second Sister and driver Rick Zeron of Oakville, ON scored a 1:55.3 upset in the trotting filly title bout, reeling in Elegant Serenity at the wire. Amoureuse Hanover was three and one-half lengths back in third. McNair conditions Second Sister for Jarold Hawks of Jeddo, MI, who had never won a Gold Series trophy before the Deweycheatumnhowe daughter captured her division at Mohawk on Sept. 29. The filly's victory capped off a best-ever year in the Ontario Sires Stakes program for Hawks, whose Muscles For Life captured the two-year-old trotting colt Grassroots title at Mohawk on Sept. 26. In rein to Doug McNair of Guelph, Solar Sister also used a late burst of speed to capture the pacing filly title, edging out her stablemate Glamour Seelster and pacesetter Tessa Seelster for the 1:51.1 victory. McNair conditions Solar Sister for owner-breeders David Willmot of King City and Clay Harland Horner of Toronto, ON. The victory boosted the Mach Three daughter's earnings to $732,340. Solar Sister Saturday's $2 million Super Final battles wrapped up the 2015 Ontario Sires Stakes season, which saw two provincial speed records lowered, two repeat Super Final champions crowned, and Grassroots and Gold Series battles waged at 12 different racetracks across the province. Ontario Horse Racing

L A Delight’s caretaker has looked after 11 horses and three generations of a harness racing royal Ontario equine family going back to a Camluck-sired matriarch named Los Angeles. Three generations, 11 horses, more than $4.1 million in earnings and one common denominator — Nicole Pedden-MacQuarrie has groomed virtually every horse from a royal equine family produced by the Bob McIntosh Stables going back to an Ontario Sired matriarch named Los Angeles. The latest star from that talented clan is Los Angeles’ granddaughter L A Delight, a winner of 10 of 11 races and $579,335 that will start from post six Saturday (Oct. 10) in the $250,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final for two-year-old pacing fillies at Woodbine Racetrack. It is one of eight Super Finals on the card that serve as the de facto provincial championships (first race post time is 7:25 p.m.) “This is three generations and (Pedden-MacQuarrie) treats them like her own. She’s done a great job,” said Al McIntosh, L A Delight’s part-owner and part-breeder, the cousin of the filly’s trainer, co-owner and co-breeder Bob McIntosh of LaSalle, ON, who also shares her with the C S X Stables of Liberty Center, OH. Eighteen years ago, Pedden-MacQuarrie graduated from high school and was supposed to return to a summer job working for trainer Jim Ainsworth before heading off to post-secondary school. She landed at the McIntosh Stables instead. “The first year I started there I got the horses nobody wanted and I had a little homebred that made over $100,000 named McGetty,” Pedden-MacQuarrie said. Before long she was vowing to stay just five years. Good thing she reconsidered. After looking after stars such as Woodrow Wilson winner Richess Hanover ($557,537), a Camluck filly named Los Angeles landed in her lap in year six. “I wasn’t the first person that had her in the stall. Actually, she was in a couple of other people’s hands before I got her. Her first start I remember her making a break. It was in Elmira. She had tied up and I thought, ‘What kind of a project do we have here?’ But Bob’s got a pretty good program with tie-up fillies and he just made some changes, worked on her and she came right around. “That mare was just the biggest sweetheart of all of them. She never gave you any kind of attitude in the barn,” Pedden-MacQuarrie said of Los Angeles, who earned $289,213 in 2003 and 2004 before being bred. So began a beautiful relationship. Along the way, Pedden-MacQuarrie also met her husband, Mark MacQuarrie at Windsor Raceway. MacQuarrie has worked as an assistant trainer for Bob McIntosh for some eight years. Today, all three horses Pedden-MacQuarrie looks after for McIntosh are members of Los Angeles’ prolific family, including L A Delight, a two-year-old grandson named New Talent ($64,826) and the family’s superstar, 2012 Pepsi North America Cup winner Thinking Out Loud, who has earned just shy of $2 million. Thinking Out Loud, now six and still racing, is Los Angeles’ son. “He’s my boy,” Pedden-MacQuarrie said. “He was pretty exceptional right from day one. He had a lot of go. It’s just too bad he had a bone bruise as a two-year-old and we had to shut him down, but he did exceptionally well as a three-year-old… He’s pretty confident in himself, which is a good thing. He’s just always done everything right.” Pedden-MacQuarrie was five months pregnant with her son, Benjamin MacQuarrie, when Randy Waples drove Thinking Out Loud to victory in the NA Cup. “I was up on the track and I thought I was in the way of the cameras. I was screaming for him before he hit the wire. I remember jumping six feet off the ground. I don’t think I’ve ever jumped that high. That was quite the thrill,” Pedden-MacQuarrie said. Bob has said L A Delight — a winner of all four of her OSS events, as well as the $227,500 final of the She’s A Great Lady at Mohawk — turned out to be a bit of a surprise. It explains why he didn’t keep her eligible to the Breeders Crown. Pedden-MacQuarrie said she knew L A Delight was special from the start. “He was really high on a couple of other fillies and she wasn’t really strong finishing when it came time to qualifying. Bob knew she was nice and he really liked her, but she just wasn’t the standout he was looking for.” Until she hit the track. “When she’s at the track, she knows what she’s there for. She’s all business when she’s there. As soon as you take her in the paddock, she is a different horse. She has the desire to win,” Pedden-MacQuarrie said. “As I said to Bob, ‘It’s been an exceptionally nice family, but her desire is like no other.’” L A Delight is a Bettor's Delight filly out of Los Angeles’ daughter West Of L A, who earned $257,150 before being bred. Pedden-MacQuarrie looked after West Of L A, as well, of course, as well as her sister You See L A ($249,339), the dam of New Talent. From that same family, the groom also has cared for L A Confidential ($6,400), See You L A ($3,160), West Coast Rocker ($34,478) and Somewhere in L A ($698,595). The only one she didn’t look after was LA Rockstar, who came along the year Pedden-MacQuarrie was on maternity leave. Is it a coincidence LA Rockstar is the only horse in the family not to earn a penny on the racetrack? “Everyone in the family I can say has been pretty smart and they’ve all been pretty easy on themselves. It’s a good family,” Pedden-MacQuarrie said. But L A Delight might one day rival Thinking Out Loud for superstar status. “She’s so smart, probably too smart for her own good,” said Pedden-MacQuarrie, who knows a thing or two about what makes this outstanding equine family tick. Dave Briggs Standardbred Communications Ontario Horse Racing

DATE, 2015 - Harness racing trainer Dave Menary will arrive at Woodbine Racetrack on Saturday evening with eight Super Final contenders, including two division point leaders, but the Cambridge, ON resident says his starters have their work cut out for them in the Ontario Sires Stakes program's $2 million season finale. "When the sheet came out, you know Free Show drawing the 10-hole, and Nvestment drawing the 10-hole, it was just a heart-breaker," said Menary of the post position results for his top two-year-old pacing filly Free Show and two-year-old pacing colt division leader Nvestment Bluechip. "Nvestment he's just risen to the occasion. He's been my favourite colt since November and he's kind of lived up to it," said the trainer, whose Ontario Sires Stakes starters have earned a program leading $802,700 this season. "His last start -- to take a lifetime mark and beat Betting Line fair and square -- we raced the whole way, we were out there to race, and we're going to be out there to race again Saturday night. We're just going to have to overcome our post." In four regular season Gold Series starts Nvestment Bluechip posted three wins and one fourth to finish with 158 points. The son of Shadow Play and Hazes Zure Bet also won his Champlain Stakes division at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 12 and has earned $219,283 for owners Menary Racing Inc. of Rockton, Michael Guerriero of Brampton, Denis Breton of Welland and Thomas Kyron of Toronto, ON. The colt, a $40,000 purchase from the 2014 Harrisburg Yearling Sale, heads into Saturday's fifth race off a 1:51.1 personal best in the last Gold Leg of the season. His rivals in the two-year-old pacing colt division will line up in the order they finished in the point standings with Semi Automatic at Post 3, Voracity at Post 4, and Betting Line at Post 5. "I think the horse is as good right now as he's been all year, but I think it's the worst post he's ever had, so we'll see how those two factors together work out," said Menary, who will entrust the colt to regular reinsman Jody Jamieson of Moffat, ON. "We're going out there to win, so he's going to have to work pretty hard from the 10-hole, and we'll see how that pans out." In addition to Free Show, Menary will harness two other hopefuls in the freshman pacing filly season finale, which will be the first $250,000 Super Final to go postward on Saturday. Heavenly Hill and New Jersey-based driver Tim Tetrick landed Post 4, Maniana and Guelph, ON resident James MacDonald will start from Post 9, while Free Show and Jamieson will be handicapped by the outside Post 10. Bred and owned by Tom Hill of Hamilton, ON, Heavenly Hill was a winner in the Aug. 15 Gold Leg at Georgian Downs and the Art Colony daughter heads into Saturday's test off a runner-up effort at Mohawk on Sept. 28. Unlike her stablemates, Maniana did not win a regular season Gold division, but Menary says the Sportswriter filly has been in the picture in most of her starts. William Donovan of Ft. Lauderdale, FL owns Maniana, who was a $12,000 acquisition from last November's Harrisburg Yearling Sale. Free Show led her stablemates in the division standings, finishing third with one win, one second and three thirds for a total of 137 points, and the Badlands Hanover daughter was also victorious in her elimination and the final of the Battle of the Belles at Grand River Raceway. Hutt Racing Stable of Paoli, PA acquired the winner of $205,773 from the Harrisburg Yearling Sale for $14,000 and Menary says she may be the fastest two-year-old in Ontario in a sprint away from the starting gate. "I don't think there's any two-year-old colt or filly that can out leave her," attested the horseman. "I didn't want to have to try to prove it from the 10-hole, but she can absolutely follow the car, and we've done that all year, she's been so handy. You can follow the car out of there, and leave any kind of quarter you want to leave with her, and she'll just come right back to you." Division heavyweights Thatsoveryverynice, L A Delight and Twin B Thong will make their bid for the Super Final crown from Posts 5, 6, and 8, respectively, in the second race. Two-year-old trotting filly One Too Many makes her first start out of the Menary barn in Saturday's Super Final and the trainer says he and his staff have been tinkering with the young trotter's equipment in an effort to maximize her raw speed. "She's a filly that's made a good impression on me so far. Anthony MacDonald did a very good job with her all year," said the trainer. "The filly is maybe just a step behind the best fillies, but she has a very quick turn of foot. I think I've made changes that have helped her, and hopefully they don't backfire." Guelph, ON resident Anthony MacDonald will steer One Too Many from Post 2 in Saturday's third race on behalf of Rene Allard of Milford, PA, who purchased the Manofmanymissions daughter from the 2014 Canadian Yearling Sale for $14,000. Aside from Devils Advocate, who will start from Post 3, the big names in the freshman trotting filly division will be loaded on the outside of the starting gate. Division leader Caprice Hill gets Post 7, Emoticon Hanover will start from Post 8 and Could It Be Magic has Post 9. Menary's final group of starters will go postward in the seventh race, when the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings will wage the last Ontario Sires Stakes battle of their careers. Last season's Super Final champion Reverend Hanover and North America Cup Consolation winner Physicallyinclined are expected to give fans another epic battle from Posts 7 and 4, respectively, but Menary is hoping his trio can earn their share of the $250,000. "I think every colt in the race is a step behind the best two colts, so the three that I have in there, I would like to see them all get a piece of the pie, and the bigger the better," said the trainer. "This is supposed to be the glamour boy division for Ontario so they're all going to be going, they're all going to be racing, hopefully things happen and my three can all pick up good pieces." Sportsmanship will start from Post 2 for Kenneth Ewen of Georgetown, Denis Breton of Welland, Thomas Kyron of Toronto and Parkinson Farms of Lucan, ON, getting the driving services of Jody Jamieson. The Sportswriter gelding finished the season in ninth spot in the standings and Menary expects an off-the-pace effort from the winner of $109,890. Robert Hill and Tim Tetrick will start from Post 3 and Menary expects another solid effort from the game pacer. Hamilton resident Tom Hill owns the Jeremes Jet gelding, who has banked $172,790. The final member of Menary's three-year-old pacing trio is division point leader J Js Delivery, who posted one win, one second, two thirds and one fifth in the regular season to tally 104 points. The Jeremes Jet gelding battled hard all season and the trainer does not expect things to change in the season finale. "It's just been ultra-tough all year. He's gone a lot of hard trips and he's been going a long time," said Menary, who trains the winner of $222,031 for owner-breeder Robert Hamather of Exeter, ON and will entrust the lines to James MacDonald. "I think from the eight-hole we're going to be going for it. We've given him a lot of hard trips; I don't think we're going to stop now." In addition to being treated to eight outstanding Super Final battles on Saturday evening, Woodbine Racetrack fans will also receive an Ontario Sires Stakes ball cap with their program purchase. The evening's first race goes postward at 7:25 pm, with the eight $250,000 Super Finals featured in Races 2, 3, and 5 through 10. For the full program click here. Ontario Horse Racing

OCT. 2, 2015 - Woodbine Racetrack fans got a preview of next week's Super Final as the three-year-old pacing colts delivered a pair of impressive performances on Friday evening in the last regular season event on the Gold Series calendar. Six of the top 10 point earners lined up on the starting gate in the second $105,000 Gold division and six of the nine starters had their accelerators down early. Physicallyinclined and driver Paul MacDonell won the first battle, reaching the opening quarter in a snappy :25.3. The pair looked under threat from Go Daddy Go and fan favourite Reverend Hanover in the outer lane, but Go Daddy Go made a break that pushed Reverend Hanover into the middle of the racetrack and allowed MacDonell to sneak in a quick breather for his colt. Reverend Hanover caught Physicallyinclined just before the :54.1 half and led the field to a 1:22.3 three-quarters. As the colts squared up for the stretch drive, Guelph, ON resident MacDonell fired Physicallyinclined out of the pocket and the Mach Three son rocketed down the stretch to a one-half length win in 1:50.2. Reverend Hanover settled for second after his interrupted tour of the racetrack and Drachan Hanover was three lengths back in third. "He's a tough horse," said Dr. Ian Moore of Physicallyinclined. "We got him ready in a hurry, we had no choice really, he has nothing left after these two races." After posting a record of four wins and two seconds in his first seven starts this season, Physicallyinclined suffered an injury in mid-July that saw him miss two months of action on the Gold Series circuit. The colt requalified on Sept. 18 at Mohawk Racetrack and made his first start since the injury in a Sept. 25 overnight event at Mohawk, posting a 1:51.2 win. Tied for ninth in the division standings heading into the regular season finale, Physicallyinclined secured a berth in the Oct. 10 Super Final with Friday's win, his first in Gold Series action. "All the owners were up, so they were very pleased," said Dr. Moore, who conditions the North America Cup Consolation winner for Bruce McGean of Stewiacke, NS and Sterling Feener of Sydney, NS. "We're looking forward to next week." The Guelph, ON resident noted that Physicallyinclined had an easier tour around the Woodbine oval than a number of his peers and said he will have to be back at the top of his form for next Saturday's $250,000 Super Final test. "He should be fairly fresh, but Reverend Hanover is going to be fresh too. There are several good colts in that division, it's not going to be a cakewalk for anybody," said the trainer. "It will be a tough race, that's for sure." The sophomore pacing colts also delivered a thrilling finish in the first $105,000 division, with His Boy Elroy prevailing by one-half length over Mr Carrotts and Moonwriter in 1:52. Starting from Post 5, driver Mike Saftic settled His Boy Elroy into the fourth spot and watched as Sportsmanship rang up a :26.3 quarter and :55.3 half. Just after the halfway marker Saftic sent His Boy Elroy up the outside and the Jeremes Jet son was leading the charge up the outer lane at the 1:24.3 three-quarters. Shifting into high gear in the stretch, His Boy Elroy powered by the leaders to claim his first Gold Series trophy, adding it to the Grassroots hardware he won at Mohawk on July 31. Third in the Grassroots Championship at Mohawk on Sept. 26, His Boy Elroy is not eligible to the Super Final, but runner-up Mr Carrotts and pacesetter Sportsmanship both qualified for the lucrative post season. Campbellville, ON resident Saftic engineered His Boy Elroy's fifth win in 23 starts for trainer Jean Guy Belliveau of Cambridge, ON and owner Dan MacRae of Baddeck, NS. His Boy Elroy The top 10 point earners from all eight trotting and pacing divisions will spend the next eight days preparing for the $2 million Super Finals at Woodbine Racetrack on Oct. 10, and if Friday's regular season finale was any indication, fans are in for a night of outstanding racing. Ontario Horse Racing

OCT. 1, 2015 - Harness racing trainer Ben Baillargeon says Tessa Seelster may not be the prettiest filly to watch on the racetrack, but when it comes to grit and heart the three-year-old pacing filly has no equal. "She's a very gutsy mare, because she almost died as a two-year-old," explained Rockwood, ON resident Baillargeon. "She was on the operating table for colic surgery and the small bowel ruptured so they had to sew it by hand, and the chance of her surviving was about slim and none." Not only did Tessa Seelster survive the surgery, she went on to race as two-year-old, posting two victories in seven starts, and on Thursday evening she captured her first Ontario Sires Stakes trophy in Gold Series action at Flamboro Downs. Starting from Post 3 in the first $105,000 division, driver Mario Baillargeon of Milton, ON settled Tessa Seelster into fourth as fan favourite Solar Sister fired off the starting gate to a :27.1 opening quarter. The resinman kept Tessa Seelster in fourth through the :56.1 half and then sent the daughter of Shadow Play up the outside, reaching the 1:24.4 three-quarters with a narrow lead. Tessa Seelster stayed game down the stretch, holding off Maplelea for a three-quarter length victory in 1:53.1. Capela was well behind the leaders in third. "The half-mile is not her best asset, and she still made it today, so I am very pleased with the result," said Baillargeon, who conditions the filly for Richard Berthiaume of Pointe-Aux-Trembles, QC. "Very pleased with the result and looking forward to next week." Tessa Seelster and the other nine leading point earners from the five regular season Gold events will make their next start in the $250,000 Super Final at Woodbine Racetrack on Oct. 10. "She will try her heart out anyway, because she's a very gutsy mare," noted Baillargeon. Among the fillies joining Tessa Seelster on the starting gate at Woodbine will be Thursday's other division winner, Glamour Seelster. With Guelph, ON resident Doug McNair in the race bike Glamour Seelster fired off the starting gate from Post 2 and landed third on the rail as fan favourite Wrangler Magic led the field to a :28.1 opening quarter. The pair continued to sit third as Wrangler Magic paced by the half in :57, then circled around the leaders to take command before the 1:25 three-quarters. From there Glamour Seelster cruised home a one and one-half length winner in 1:53, with Ms Mac N Cheese and Wrangler Magic crossing the finish line in her wake. "She's a high speed filly, she can pace as fast as any horse I've driven for a piece," said McNair. "She's getting better every week." The driver's father, Gregg McNair of Guelph, conditions Glamour Seelster for Lindsey and Connie Rankin of Lexington, MI. The win, her first in Gold Series action, improved the Jeremes Jet daughter's record to seven wins, one second and one third in 11 starts and boosted her earnings to $155,033. In addition to the sophomore pacing fillies' last regular season Gold event, Flamboro Downs also hosted the regular season finale for the two-year-old pacing colts on Thursday. Two-time Grassroots winner Continual Hanover made the move to the Gold Series level look easy, reeling in pacesetter Arsenic in the stretch to post a three-quarter length victory in 1:55.1. Fan favourite Nocturnal Bluechip was hot on Arsenic's heels in third. "He's always been right on the cusp of the Gold, but it was a bit easier to stay with the Grassroots," said driver Jody Jamieson of Continual Hanover. "Tonight he was real good, and dodged (division leaders) Voracity, Betting Line and Nvestment Bluechip, which is always good." Jack Darling of Cambridge, ON owns and trains Continual Hanover, who qualified for the freshman pacing colt Super Final with Thursday's victory. The Bettor's Delight colt will require a new driver for the Oct. 10 test as Jamieson is already committed to division point leader Nvestment Bluechip, but the Moffat, ON resident says the colt is a legitimate player in the season finale. "I think he's got a good chance with the right trip," said Jamieson of Continual Hanover's prospects. "He's peaking at the right time." In the second pacing colt division, Semi Automatic earned his second Gold trophy with an effortless six and one-half length score over New Talent and Cruise Patrol. The fan favourite and driver James MacDonald of Guelph, ON hit the wire in 1:55. "Semi was great tonight. He has had a great year," said MacDonald of the Badlands Hanover son. "Tonight he was pacing great, drew well (Post 2), so I moved him to the front and he controlled the race and won pretty handy." MacDonald crafted the win for trainer Tony O'Sullivan of Puslinch, ON and his partners Let It Ride Stables Inc. of Boca Raton, FL and J and T Silva Stables LLC of Long Beach, NY. The win bumped Semi Automatic into second spot in the division standings with 142 points from two wins, one second, one third and one fifth in the five regular season Gold events. The Gold Series regular season wraps up at Woodbine Racetrack on Friday, Oct. 2 with two $105,000 divisions for the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings, and then the Toronto oval will welcome the best horses from each division for the $2 million Super Final Night on Oct. 10. Ontario Horse Racing

SEPT. 27, 2015 - Adding trotting hopples to Devils Advocate's equipment bag paid immediate dividends for harness racing trainer Jack Darling and driver Ron Waples as the filly rocketed around Flamboro Downs to a track and Ontario Sires Stakes record during the Dundas oval's OSS Celebration on Sunday. In spite of a recall that delayed the start of the first $105,000 Gold division, Devils Advocate kept her mind on her job and led the field of two-year-old trotting fillies through fractions of :28.3, :58.1 and 1:28 on her way to the record setting 1:57.4 result. Magical Wonder finished three lengths behind Devils Advocate in second and One Too Many was six more lengths back in third. "The funny thing is, she really wasn't very relaxed warming up, she was kind of back to her old self, but we snugged up the hopples a little bit and she was fine," said Cambridge, ON resident Darling, who also owns the filly. "It's all really a testament to Ron Waples. He's been working for me for a while and that's his baby. He just knows her inside and out, trains her and drives her, and it's all working out pretty good." Darling said Guelph, ON resident Waples kept Devils Advocate calm during the delay by walking her around on the grass in the centre of the racetrack, but as soon as the starter called the fillies back to the gate she was raring to go. "He had her on the grass there trying to keep her calm, walking around, and she was fine, and then they called her to the gate again and geez she goes right up in the air a couple times just like 'Hi-Ho Silver'," said the trainer. "She got behind the gate and then she was fine the rest of the way." The impressive mile obliterated the Ontario Sires Stakes record of 1:59.2 set by Miss Aultsville at Grand River Raceway in 2013 and the Flamboro Downs record of 1:59.3 set by Birminghim in 2005 and matched by Charmed Life in 2012. Through eight freshman starts Devils Advocate now boasts two Gold Series wins and three seconds for earnings of $135,625. Sunday's win moved her into a tie for top spot in the two-year-old trotting filly division standings with 175 points. The Manofmanymissions daughter will make her next start in the Oct. 10 Super Final and, if she continues to behave, also has the Breeders Crown on her calendar. "I think it's about two weeks to the Super Final, so that works out good, and then after that, if all goes well, we've still got the Breeders Crown," said Darling. "The best fillies this year are Ontario Sired, the best in North America, and I just think she's one of them, so hopefully we get a chance to find out." Like Devils Advocate, Levitator made her debut with trotting hopples at Flamboro on Sunday and, like Devils Advocate, she emerged victorious from the second $105,000 Gold division. Starting from Post 4, Levitator was eased off the starting gate by driver Trevor Henry of Arthur, ON and watched from third as High Heels led the field to a :29 opening quarter and :59.3 half. Heading for the 1:29.4 three-quarters Henry sent Levitator up the outer lane and the filly sailed home to a one and one-half length victory in 1:59.4. Las Vegas Seelster trotted into second and High Heels was eight and three-quarter lengths back in third. The win was the first in four starts for Levitator, who is trained by Richard "Nifty" Norman for Melvin Hartman of Ottawa, ON, Herb Liverman of Miami Beach, FL, David McDuffee of Delray Beach, FL and Little E LLC of New York, NY. The daughter of Kadabra and Shesa Priority is a full-sister to $870,153 winner Prestidigitator and was a $120,000 purchase from the 2014 Harrisburg Yearling Sale. With one win and one second in Gold Series action, Levitator accumulated 75 points, good enough for eighth spot in the division standings and a berth in the Oct. 10 Super Final at Woodbine Racetrack. Flamboro Downs wraps up its 2015 Ontario Sires Stakes schedule on Thursday evening with the last Gold Series events for the two-year-old pacing colts and three-year-old pacing fillies. Ontario Horse Racing

SEPT. 26, 2015 - With a large and enthusiastic crowd of Ontario Sires Stakes harness racing fans welcoming each Champion back to the winner's circle, the 2015 Grassroots season came to a close at Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday evening. The curtain went up on the $400,000 Grassroots Championship in the first race, and Semi-Final winner Muscles For Life delivered his third straight victory to earn the two-year-old trotting colt crown. With Guelph, ON resident Doug McNair in the race bike Muscles For Life got away third from Post 8 and then led the parade of colts up the outer lane before sprinting home to a 1:57.2 victory. Dynamic Edge trailed Muscles For Life up the outer lane into second, while fan favourite Georgies Pockets settled for third. Gregg McNair of Guelph trains the son of Muscle Mass and Serenity Girl for Jarold Hawks of Jeddo, MI, who has purchased two Ontario Sired yearlings each fall for the last five or six years, sending them to McNair in the spring of their two-year-old season. "We bought him in Lexington and we broke him in Michigan, took him to Florida, had him down there for the winter and then I turned him over to Gregg," said Hawks, who acquired the colt for $35,000 from the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. "He looked like the nicest colt. I have a filly trotter that we trained, Cadillac Sally, and she was really nice but he looked like he had a little more ability than she had." In six freshman starts Muscles For Life proved Hawks right, tallying three wins and one second for earnings of $49,400. The trotter will once again spend the winter in Florida with Hawks before returning to McNair's barn in time for his three-year-old Ontario Sires Stakes campaign. "It's a fun business," said the hands-on owner, who was standing in a Grassroots Championship winner's circle for the second straight year. In 2014 Second Sister won the freshman trotting filly title for Hawks and the McNairs. Muscles For Life Campbellville, ON resident Riina Rekila guided Jangone to this year's freshman trotting filly title, using a :27.1 final quarter to reel in the leaders and post the 1:56.3 victory. Tough Affair and Semi-Final winner Myretirementticket were one and three-quarter lengths back in second and third, while fan favourite Magical Steph settled for fourth. Bred and owned by Rekila and Esa Lahtinen's Overseas Farms Ltd., Jangone was a two-time winner during the Grassroots regular season, triumphing in the first and last events. "First of the year I let her leave and then she went nuts," said Rekila, who trains and drives the filly. "She was just leaving, and then I changed my tactics to coming from behind and that really worked with her." Jangone, by Overseas Farms' stallion Johnny William and mare Panderosa F, wrapped up her freshman campaign with a record of four wins, one second, one third and earnings of $54,140 from nine starts. Jangone Semi-Final winner Mayhem Seelster posted her fifth win of the season in the two-year-old pacing filly Championship. The Mach Three filly and driver Jack Moiseyev circled out three-wide at the three-quarter pole and fired down the stretch to a one-quarter length victory over division point leader Sports Expert and pacesetter Southwind Shania. "Tonight around that last turn she was just chomping at the bit," said Moffat, ON resident Moiseyev, who engineered the win for trainer Tony O'Sullivan of Puslinch, ON and owner Domenic Chiaravalle of Hamilton, ON. "I thought she was going to win a little easier, but there were some nice fillies in there, she had to race for it." Never worse than second in seven starts, Mayhem Seelster wraps up her freshman OSS campaign with earnings of $68,500, a surplus of $13,500 over her purchase price from the 2014 Forest City Yearling Sale. Mayhem Seelster Trevor Henry guided Semi-Final winner Duh Bubbees to a1:55.2 triumph in the three-year-old trotting colt and gelding Championship. The Arthur, ON resident engineered the two length win - over Parkhill Lancelot and In Secret - for Jamie and Chris Wilson of Huron Park, ON. "He was better tonight than he has been ever," said trainer Jamie Wilson, who also bred the son of Up Front Ben and Nothing To Justify. "I just kind of worked around with him a little bit this week, did a bit of work behind on him, and he (Trevor) said tonight he was really good." The gelding will be back at Mohawk Racetrack on Monday evening in a Gold Series division - his second run at the Gold level colts - starting from Post 6 in the evening's first race. Duh Bubbees Driver Jody Jamieson of Moffat, ON scored the first of two Grassroots Championship victories with three-year-old pacing filly Dublin Rose. After trailing division point leader Stonebridge Quest through fractions of :26.2, :55.1 and 1:24.3,Jamieson was able to find racing room in the stretch and Dublin Rose hit the wire one-quarter length the best in 1:52.2. Ainsleynoelle finished second and Stonebridge Quest was third. "That's the horse I wanted to follow. It worked out. I think she can race any way, but I think getting a trip she's probably a little bit better," said trainer Dave Menary of Cambridge, ON, who welcomed Dublin Rose into his barn in late August when she was acquired by Jerry Clark of Finksburg, MD. "(Former trainer) Allen Tomlinson did a really good job with the mare and I just did my best to try to not screw it up," Menary added. Dublin Rose Jamieson's second victory came one race later with two-year-old pacing colt St Lads Moonwalk, the only regular season point leader to earn a Championship title. After sitting on the rail behind pacesetter Kokanee Seelster through fractions of :26.2, :55.3 and 1:24.3, Jamieson once again had to weave his way around horses to give St Lads Moonwalk a path to the finish. Once he reached open space the Mach Three son blasted under the wire a one length winner in 1:53.2. Azul Pool finished second and Bingo Ingo was third. "Somehow Jody has a way of sneaking through there, he does it time and time again," said owner and trainer Jack Darling. "He's such a game horse. He's got a lot of try to him, just the kind you hope for," added the Cambridge resident, who had to solve a couple of minor issues for the colt between a lacklustre fifth-place finish in his Semi-Final and Saturday's Championship. "Every time you go you know he's going to give a big effort." St Lads Moonwalk Three-year-old trotting filly Meadow Seelster was sent off as the heaviest favourite of the eight Championships and delivered the largest margin of victory, besting Oh My Magic and Judy The Beauty by four and one-quarter lengths in 1:56. Like Duh Bubbees, Meadow Seelster and driver Sylvain Filion of Milton will take one final run at the Gold Series horses, returning to Mohawk on Tuesday with Post 2 in the seventh race. "I'll give her tomorrow in the paddock and jog her a little Monday and race her Tuesday; she loves her job," said trainer Bill Budd of Waterdown, ON, who conditions the Holiday Road daughter for Bill Dixon of Caledon, ON. Meadow Seelster The final Grassroots title was bestowed upon Artful Way, who came up with a big trip when it counted for driver Paul MacDonell of Guelph and trainer-owner-breeder Bob McIntosh of Windsor, ON. Starting from Post 2 the Artistic Fella gelding stepped to the outside heading for the halfway marker and then reeled in pacesetter Make Some Luck in the stretch to score a one-half length win in 1:51.1. Fan favourite Make Some Luck settled for second while His Boy Elroy closed hard for third. "I didn't really know what to expect from him," said MacDonell, who picked up the drive when Milton resident Randy Waples opted for McIntosh's other colt, Thinkofagameplan. " He felt like a really nice horse on the track when I paraded him, so I got away fourth and then I looked at the horse that was third and it didn't look like he would probably move first over so I thought, 'Well, we can't stay in fourth and win the race', so I just moved him easily, didn't really pressure him too much until the last eighth of a mile. "Some of them can't take air like that," added the veteran reinsman. "Bob's horses, I find it doesn't seem to bother them, they seem to be able to live longer on the outside than most." Through six regular season Grassroots starts Artful Way had posted three wins, two thirds and one fifth, finishing third in the point standings. Saturday's victory improved the gelding's sophomore record to five wins, three seconds and three thirds in 17 starts for earnings of $78,380. Artful Way While Saturday's event completed the 2015 Grassroots season, eight events remain on the Gold Series calendar before the Oct. 10 Super Finals at Woodbine Racetrack. Mohawk Racetrack will host the three-year-old trotting colts and two-year-old pacing fillies on Monday and the two-year-old trotting colts and three-year-old trotting fillies on Tuesday, post time 7:25 pm. Ontario Horse Racing

SEPT. 24, 2015 - Flamboro Downs celebrates the Ontario Sires Stakes program on Sunday with two $105,000 Gold Series divisions for the exciting two-year-old trotting fillies and the "Be A Winner" contest, which puts one lucky harness racing fan in the OSS winner's circle. Leading up to Race 4 fans can place their ballots in a box representing the horse they believe will win the second Gold division. One semi-finalist will be selected to represent each horse and will receive an OSS golf shirt, ball cap and a $10 win voucher on their chosen horse. With their semi-finalists cheering them on, the two-year-old trotting fillies will battle in Race 7 and the semi-finalist who selected the winner will join the victorious filly and her connections in the winner's circle. The successful "Be A Winner" contestant will have their photo taken with the Gold Series winner, receive a commemorative photograph, a trophy and $50 wagering voucher. In addition to the "Be A Winner" fun, fans arriving early for the festivities will receive an Ontario Sires Stakes t-shirt with their program purchase, while those who prefer a ball cap should keep their eyes peeled trackside throughout the evening. On the track, trainer Jack Darling is hoping Devils Advocate can find her way back to the winner's circle in the first division on Sunday. After scoring a win in the July 23 Gold Leg at Mohawk Racetrack and finishing second in all three of her other Gold Series outings, the filly made miscues at the start of both her Peaceful Way Elimination and Champlain Stakes division earlier this month. As a result Darling and driver Ron Waples opted to add trotting hopples to the filly's equipment bag for Sunday's test. "She's just a very excitable filly, and she kind of got the running in her head so we put the hopples on and she's settled right down, so hopefully she'll be fine," said the Cambridge, ON resident, who also owns the daughter of Manofmanymissions and Malabar Memories. "Ron Waples, he does her every day, and he said when he put the hopples on it helped her relax." Hall of Fame reinsman Waples piloted Devils Advocate to a solid 2:01.1 qualifying win at Flamboro on Sept. 17, and she has also taken a few extra spins behind the starting gate in an effort to erase the memory of her miscues. "We schooled her behind the gate a little bit, but once we put the hopples on that seemed to do the trick," noted Darling. "Flamboro will tell the tale, how she behaves there, and if she behaves there hopefully we're in good shape for the rest of the season." If she minds her manners in Race 3 on Sunday, Devils Advocate will be headed to the $250,000 Super Final at Woodbine Racetrack on Oct. 10. She currently sits third in the two-year-old trotting filly division standings with 125 points. The filly is also eligible to the Breeders Crown at Woodbine, with eliminations on Oct. 16 and the final on Oct. 24. "I really believe she can go with those top fillies so it would be nice to have a chance to find out, but we're just going a week at a time," said a cautious Darling. "I'd like to be in with those top ones and be sitting close. I think she'd make a good account of herself in the stretch," he added. On Sunday, Guelph, ON resident Waples will steer Devils Advocate from Post 4 in the first Gold division, taking on a field of eight, including Champlain division and Peaceful Way Elimination winner Could It Be Magic who will start from Post 8. The second division features six Gold Series veterans and two newcomers to the Ontario Sires Stakes program. Muscle Mass daughter Dottie makes her debut from Post 5 for trainer Jerry Duford of Campbellville, ON and his partners Joanne Wray of Campbellville and Lloyd and Barbara Tylee of Grimsby, ON. Ulittleripper debuts from Post 6 for trainer Jeff Gillis of Hillsburgh, ON and his partners Mac Nichol of Burlington, ON and Gerald Stay of Buffalo, NY. Flamboro Downs' Sunday program gets under way at 6 pm, with the two-year-old trotting fillies featured in Races 3 and 7. The draw for the "Be A Winner" semi-finalists will take place following the fourth race. Ontario Horse Racing

SEPT. 18, 2015 - Mohawk Racetrack fans got a second evening of outstanding Grassroots Semi-Final action on Friday, courtesy of the province's top harness racing three-year-old pacers and trotters. In the first of the $20,000 Semi-Finals, driver Chris Christoforou teamed trotting gelding Irish Scotch to a come from behind victory in a mile that saw the top five finishers separated by less than two lengths. The fan favourites hit the wire one length ahead of Namesmuscle, Parkhill Lancelot, Buzz and A Little More Love, stopping the teletimer in a personal best 1:55.4. "It worked out very well," said owner-trainer Shane Arsenault of Waterdown, ON. "Chris was very patient and tidy with him so it worked out well." Friday's outing was Christoforou's first appearance in Irish Scotch's race bike, and his first Ontario Sires Stakes victory since recovering from a broken collarbone. Arsenault asked the Campbellville, ON resident to drive the son of Muscle Mass because he felt Christoforou's patience and experience would benefit the trotter. "I just thought he would complement the horse a little bit, you know he's quiet with trotters and he handles them well, and this guy can be a little bit excitable sometimes," said the trainer. "I think he gets more keyed up when he's at the racetrack, definitely. It does kind of spin him a bit." Irish Scotch earned his spot in the Semi-Final with a win in the last regular season Grassroots event. Prior to that Sept. 3 victory at Flamboro Downs, the gelding had recorded one third, two fourths, and two sixths in Grassroots action. Irish Scotch In the first trotting filly Semi-Final, Meadow Seelster was the picture of cool, cruising along on the front end to a four and one-quarter length victory in a personal best 1:55. Division point leader Renegade Magic finished second, Oh My Magic was third, Desis Dream finished fourth and Allies Gift rounded out the qualifiers for next Saturday's Grassroots Championship. 'She's a good mare, she's tough as nails," said trainer Bill Budd of Waterdown, ON, who conditions Meadow Seelster for Bill Dixon of Caledon, ON. "They pull on her; they're pulling on the wrong horse. That's a new mark for her too. She was good, real good." The daughter of Holiday Road and Must Sold Dream captured two of three regular season Grassroots starts and finished third in the other. Meadow Seelster A three-time winner in regular season action, Dublin Rose collected her fourth Grassroots trophy with a 1:53 triumph in the first pacing filly Semi-Final. The daughter of Major In Art powered out of the pocket in the stretch and paced home to a two length score over Nationalize, Ainsleynoelle, Northern Starlet and OK Hallelujah. "She won pretty handily," said driver Jody Jamieson of Moffat, ON, who piloted the fan favourite to the win for trainer Dave Menary of Cambridge, ON and owner Jerry Clark of Finksburg, MD. "I got out kind of flat footed and the outside horses had a head of steam on me, but she just dug in right to the wire, she was really good." Dublin Rose Duh Bubbees also battled right to the wire to capture the second trotting colt Semi-Final. The Up Front Ben son finished one length in front of Seeking Steven, stopping the clock in 1:57.1. Favourite In Secret finished third, Mandeville was fourth and Its Huw You Know rounded out the top five. Division point leader Kadabrasnewrecruit made a series of breaks and finished at the back of the pack, the only division leader not advancing to the Grassroots Championships. Jamie Wilson of Huron Park, ON bred and trains Du Bubbees and Chris Wilson, also of Huron Park, owns the trotter, who won a Grassroots event at Mohawk on July 3 and finished sixth and seventh in his other two regular season appearances. Duh Bubbees Driver Jody Jamieson captured his second Semi-Final with pacing colt Make Some Luck, who went gate-to-wire in the seventh race. The Camluck gelding romped to a three and one-half length victory over His Boy Elroy, Mach Code, Artful Way and Western Bayama, recording a personal best 1:51.2. "That's only the second time he's raced off the front end and he win both times. He really was strong the last time he win off the front end, and he was strong tonight, I guess he likes the front end," said trainer Carl Jamieson of Rockwood, ON. "He seems to be better this year than he was last year. He was more immature last year, he's really come a long way." In six regular season starts Make Some Luck picked up two wins, two seconds and two thirds, finishing fourth in the point standings. Jody Jamieson's numbered company 1140545 Ontario Ltd. owns the pacer. Make Some Luck The second pacing colt Semi-Final went to Mac Raider, who prevailed by one-half length in another finish that saw less than two lengths separate the top five colts. Thinkofagameplan finished second, fan favourite and division point leader Southwind Indy was third, Win One Soon finished fourth and The Fire Within was fifth. Doug McNair of Guelph, ON engineered the 1:52.3. win for his father, trainer Gregg McNair of Guelph, Leonard Gamble of Etobicoke, ON, and Don MacDonald and David Kryway of Amherstburg, ON. In six regular season outings the Mach Three gelding had posted one win, one second, one fourth, one fifth, one sixth and one eighth. Mac Raider Judy The Beauty snuck up the rail to claim victory in the second trotting filly Semi-Final. The Muscle Mass daughter and driver James MacDonald of Guelph hit the wire in 1:56.4, a new personal best for the filly. Favourite World Class Izzy was one-half length back in second, with Giona, Hope Rises and Railee Priti completing the top five. Keith Jones of Midland, ON conditions Judy The Beauty for Randy Zhok of Dover Centre, ON. The filly was the runner-up in the division point race, with two wins, two seconds and one fifth to her credit in five regular season starts. Judy The Beauty Pacing filly Lovely Erin claimed the last Semi-Final trophy of the evening, sailing home a three and one-quarter length winner in 1:53.2. Aniston Seelster, Machmeter, Stonebridge Quest - who went undefeated in four regular season starts to finish atop the point standings - and Brown Brinny also advanced to the Grassroots Championship. Doug McNair crafted the win, the Sportswriter daughter's third straight in Grassroots action, for trainer Ron Adams of LaSalle, ON and 1362313 Ontario Ltd. of Windsor, ON. Lovely Erin The top five finishers from each Semi-Final will return to Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday, Sept. 26 for the 2015 Grassroots Championship. Ontario Horse Racing

Ontario's talented two-year-olds put on an impressive show at the harness racing meeting at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday evening as the top 20 point earners in each division were whittled down to 10 in Grassroots Semi-Final action. Muscles For Life kicked off the Ontario Sires Stakes post season, sprinting down the stretch to a 1:57.3 personal best in the first trotting colt Semi-Final. The Muscle Mass son and driver Doug McNair of Guelph, ON bested Money Mission and United BI by two and three-quarter lengths to secure their spot in next weekend's Grassroots Championship. "He was a little late getting started, he made a few mistakes and then we had to put the hopples on him," said trainer Gregg McNair about Muscles For Life, who finished the regular season with one win, one second, one fourth and one eighth in four outings. "He's raced pretty good every time. He's got a lot of trot. "He got a good trip, but he's got fairly good talent," added the Guelph resident, who trains Muscles For Life for Jarold Hawks of Jeddo, MI. Fourth and fifth-place finishers Cool Creek Victory and Muscle Time also advanced to the Sept. 26 Grassroots Championship. Muscles For Life The first trotting filly Semi-Final was the first of three captured by Trevor Henry, who is in a fight for top spot in the Ontario Sires Stakes driver standings with Milton, ON resident Sylvain Filion. Henry teamed Myretirementticket to a 1:57.1 personal best ahead of fan favourite and division point leader Magical Steph and Jangone. Myretirementticket hit the wire one-quarter length ahead of her rivals. "She's getting better every week," said Henry. "She does everything right, she's a sweetheart to drive." Henry engineered the win for Eli Wagler of Ingersoll, ON who bred, owns and trains the daughter of Cornaro Dasolo and Shine Again. Very Classy and Dayliner rounded out the qualifiers for the Championship. Myretirementticket Arthur, ON resident Henry faces a tough choice for the Championship, as he also piloted the winner of the second trotting filly division. Traviata cruised home a four and one-half length winner; matching Myretirementticket's 1:57.1 clocking. The fan favourite bested Mariana, Liseberg, Malia and Tough Affair. "She's pretty nice too, it's going to be tough to be pick," said the reinsman, who engineered the Kadabra daughter's fourth straight victory for trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman of Allentown, NJ and Melvin Hartman of Ottawa, ON. Traviata Henry's third win came with pacing filly St Lads Smokin Hot, who powered down the stretch to a 1:53.1 personal best. Noone To Depend On finished one and one-quarter lengths back in second, favourite and division point leader Sports Expert was third, with Selling The Dream and Miss Print completing the top five. Puslinch, ON resident Richard Moreau trains St Lads Smokin Hot for Holland Racing Stable of Niagara-On-The Lake, ON. The No Pan Intended daughter finished the regular season with a pair of wins - both over half-mile ovals - two thirds and one sixth in five starts. St Lads Smokin Hot Gerries Sport captured the first pacing colt Semi-Final with a 1:53 personal best for trainer Robert Robinson and owner-breeder Gerrie Tucker of Montreal, QC. The Mach Three son and driver Rick Zeron of Oakville, ON controlled the tempo for much of the race and cruised home three and one-quarter length winners over Print Media, Blue Zombie, Bingo Ingo, and division point leader St Lads Moonwalk. "He's a nice little colt," said Zeron. "He had a little confusion when we first started going with him so we were pretty conservative with him and let him pace into where he wanted to be to get his form going, and as the summer went on he's gotten smarter and better." Gerries Sport Moffat, ON resident Jack Moiseyev piloted two Semi-Final winners, starting with pacing filly Mayhem Seelster in Race 8. The fan favourites pressed the pace in the outer lane through much of the mile before getting up for a one-half length win in a personal best 1:53. Im In Luv, Buttermilk Hanover, pacesetter Southwind Shania and No Shadows completed the top five. Moiseyev engineered the win for trainer Tony O'Sullivan of Cambridge, ON and owner Domenic Chiaravalle of Hamilton, ON. The Mach Three miss was a two-time winner and one-time runner-up in three regular season Grassroots starts. Mayhem Seelster One race later Moiseyev was back in the winner's circle with the only division point leader to add a Semi-Final win to their resume. Trotting colt Georgies Pockets sprinted from seventh to first through the final quarter, reaching the finish in 1:58.4, one and one-quarter lengths ahead of Dynamic Edge and Willyorwonthe. Gonna Fly and Asterix finished fourth and fifth. Mike Vanderkemp of Hillsburgh, ON conditions Georgies Pockets for owner-breeder M T Pockets Stables of Pompano Beach, FL. In five regular season starts the Muscle Mass son posted an impressive record of three wins and two seconds to top the freshman trotting colt division. Georgies Pockets The last of the Grassroots Semi-Final trophies went home with Kokanee Seelster, who prevailed in the second pacing colt split. The Camluck colt and driver Phil Hudon of Guelph controlled the temp from start to finish, reaching the wire one and one-half lengths ahead of Tango Star in 1:53. Favourite King Of Sports was third, just ahead of Azul Pool and Only Half Bad. Anthony Montini of Acton, ON trains Kokanee Seelster for Ming Siu of Richmond, BC and Edmund Lui of Parkhill, ON. The pacer posted two wins and one second in three regular season Grassroots starts. Kokanee Seelster The top five finishers from each Semi-Final will now begin preparations for next Saturday's (Sept. 26) $50,000 Grassroots Championships. They will be joined by their three-year-old peers, who will wage their Semi-Final battles at Mohawk on Friday, Sept. 18. The sophomores are featured in Races 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 11 on the program, which gets under way at 7:25 pm. Ontario Horse Racing

SEPT. 9, 2015 - Southwind Shania clocked the quickest mile in a quartet of harness racing Grassroots divisions for the two-year-old pacing fillies at Grand River Raceway on Wednesday evening. In rein to Arthur, ON resident Trevor Henry, favourite Southwind Shania fired straight to the front from Post 4 and sailed through fractions of :27.2, :56.3 and 1:26.3 on her way to a 1:56.3 clocking. Dancin Inthe Nude and Northern Prima were three lengths back in second and third. "Hopefully tonight is a step in the right direction for her," said trainer Casie Coleman. "She trained down like a real good filly, I thought like a Gold and maybe open calibre, and things haven't panned out. She's been disappointing so far." Coleman shares ownership of Southwind Shania with her partners in the West Wins Stable of Cambridge, ON, Let It Ride Stables Inc. of Boca Raton, FL and Steve Calhoun of Chatham, ON. Wednesday's victory was the Sportswriter daughter's first in nine starts, with three of them coming in the Grassroots program and two at the Gold Series level. With just one win, one third and one fourth in her Grassroots appearances, Southwind Shania finished short of the cut off for the Grassroots post season. Coleman said the filly will have an opportunity to maintain her forward progress in a few more overnight events before being sold in November. "She is a nice filly, but I don't believe Grand Circuit, so she will be sold in Harrisburg," said the Cambridge resident. Driver Trevor Henry also piloted St Lads Smokin Hot to a win in the final Grassroots division of the evening. Also starting from Post 4, Henry settled St Lads Smokin Hot into third as Noone To Depend On rolled out to a :28.3 opening quarter. Heading for the :58.2 half Henry tipped the fan favourite into the outer lane and St Lads Smokin Hot had taken control before the 1:27.3 three-quarters. From there the filly cruised home to a two length victory in 1:57.2, besting Endless Legacy and Buttermilk Hanover. Richard Moreau of Puslinch, ON conditions St Lads Smokin Hot for Holland Racing Stable of Niagara-On-The-Lake, ON. In five Grassroots starts the No Pan Intended daughter posted two wins, two thirds and one sixth for a point total of 127, good enough for fifth spot in the division standings. "She's a big filly that only gives as much as she has to, but she is game and they will know she is there next week," said Henry, who will steer the filly in one of two $20,000 Semi-finals at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 17. The largest margin of victory on the evening went to Divas Image, who hit the wire 10 and one-half lengths ahead of the third division field in a sharp 1:56.4. Stonebridge Pearl and Tempus Seelster followed the fan favourite down the stretch into second and third. Guelph, ON resident Paul MacDonell crafted the win, the filly's second of the season, for trainer Mark Steacy of Lansdowne, ON and his partners Bannon Stables of Napanee, ON and Diane Bertrand, Edmonton, AB. The partners also bred and raised the daughter of Bettor's Delight and Rocknroll Diva. "She is a real sweetheart of a filly that we bred because we really believed in her mother, but she was injured badly at two," explained Steacy. "Although she's small, Diva has a great gait and lots of brains," the trainer continued. "We have raced her from off the pace in most of her races and I think it has allowed her to develop into a very nice filly who should go into the Semi-final very brave." Divas Image finished the regular season with one win, two seconds, two thirds and one fifth in six Grassroots starts, earning 129 points and putting her in fourth spot in the standings. The other $18,000 Grassroots division was captured by Im In Luv who tipped out of the outer lane turning for home and paced under the wire a one length victor in 1:58.1. Pocket-sitter Glorious Delight finished second and the leader of the outer lane parade, Specialcelebration, finished third. "She got a perfect trip and she responded well," said Moffat, ON resident Jody Jamieson, who guided the filly to her second Grassroots victory. "Semi-finals next." Jamieson's father Carl of Rockwood, ON trains Im In Luv and shares ownership of the Badlands Hanover daughter with Thomas Kyron of Toronto, ON and George Harrison of Preston, England. In six Grassroots outings the filly posted two wins, two fourths and two fifths for a total of 126 points and sixth spot in the standings. Wednesday's event completed the regular season events for all eight Grassroots divisions. The top 20 point earners from each two-year-old division will battle in Semi-final action at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 17 and the three-year-olds on Sept. 18. The top five finishers from each Semi-final will make their way back to Mohawk on Sept. 26 for the Grassroots Championships. The Ontario Sires Stakes program makes one more stop at Grand River Raceway, a Gold leg for the two-year-old pacing fillies on Monday, Sept. 21. Ontario Horse Racing

SEPT. 8, 2015 - Magical Steph wrapped up the Grassroots regular season with a perfect harness racing record of four wins in four starts and heads into the Semi-finals off an impressive 1:56.4 score at Mohawk Racetrack on Tuesday evening. The two-year-old trotting filly and driver Steve Byron lined up behind Post 4 in the third Grassroots division and when the wings folded they went straight to the front. Rolling unchallenged through a :28 quarter and :58.4 half, the fan favourites shook off a challenge from Dayliner at the 1:28.1 three-quarters and sailed home to a five and one-half length win in a personal best 1:56.4. Pocket-sitter The Muscle Touch and challenger Dayliner finished second and third. "I was surprised how strong she was going to the wire, to tell you the truth," said Byron. "She did it on her own." The Thornton, ON resident has driven Magical Steph in all but one of her seven starts, guiding her to Grassroots victories over Grand River Raceway's half-mile oval on July 22, Georgian Downs's five-eighths mile oval on Aug. 8 and to a pair of wins over the seven-eighths mile surface at Mohawk, the first coming on July 30 and the second on Tuesday evening. In addition to her quartet of Grassroots wins, the Kadabra daughter won her elimination and finished second in the final of the Balanced Image Trot at Hanover Raceway on Aug. 22 and 29, and finished fourth in the first Gold Leg at Georgian Downs on July 12. "She's been a nice filly all year long, that's for sure," said Byron, who drives Magical Steph for trainer Gary Lance and GL Racing Inc. of Port Perry, ON. "They tried her in the first Gold at Georgian and she finished fourth, but he decided - she's a late foal and little on the small side - so he thought he'd go the Grassroots route. She's been pretty push button all summer." With her four-for-four record, Magical Steph leads the division point race with 200 and will be among the fillies to beat in the Sept. 17 Grassroots Semi-final. While her connections would prefer a favourable post, Byron has faith in the filly's versatility. She has won races from Posts 7, 8 and 9, with Tuesday's outing being the closest to the rail she has ever started in Ontario Sires Stakes action. "Obviously I'd sooner have a good post, but you know, she's pretty versatile," noted Byron. "That's the nice thing about her, she doesn't have to race on the front and she can race off cover just as well, I think. "She's a pretty nice filly," he added. Magical Steph The other Grassroots winners at Mohawk on Tuesday evening were Tymal Tempest, Myretirementticket, Jangone and Traviata. Tymal Tempest kicked things off in the first race, keeping a determined nose in front after a gritty trip in the outer lane. The Deweycheatumnhowe daughter and driver Phil Hudon of Guelph, ON stopped the teletimer at 1:59.2, holding off Tough Affair and Shes In Gear. It was the first win of the season for Tymal Tempest, who logged one second, one fourth and one sixth in her other three Grassroots appearances. The win boosted the filly's point total to 86 and moved her from thirty-fourth in the standings to thirteenth, causing trainer Erv Abdulov and owner Tymal Farms of Oldcastle, ON to add the Sept. 17 Semi-finals to their calendar. Tymal Tempest In the second division Myretirementticket moved one step closer to delivering on the promise of her name for trainer, owner and breeder Eli Wagler of Ingersoll, ON. First up on the outside for much of the mile, the Cornaro Dasolo filly accelerated down the stretch to a two and one-half length victory in a personal best 1:58. Majestic Presence and Windsongmusclelady finished second and third. Arthur, ON resident Trevor Henry engineered the win, Myretirementticket's second in Grassroots action. In five appearances the filly posted two wins, one second, one fourth and one sixth for a total of 136 points and a share of fifth spot in the standings. Myretirementticket Jangone and trainer-driver Riina Rekila of Campbellville romped to a seven length win in the fourth division, recording a lifetime best 1:58.3. Herbe A Loral and Majestic Diva battled into second and third. Rekila conditions the Johnny William filly for Overseas Farms Ltd. of Campbellville and guided Jangone to two wins, one second, one fourth, one seventh and one eighth in Grassroots action, accumulating 136 points. The filly heads into the Semi-final tied for fifth with Myretirementticket. Jangone Traviata captured the last Grassroots trophy of the evening with a late sprint that saw her get a head in front of fan favourite Powerful Glare at the wire. The battling leaders stopped the clock at 1:57.4, well ahead of third-place finisher Toss It Back. Trevor Henry made his second appearance of the evening in the Grassroots winner's circle; guiding Traviata to her second Grassroots win for trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman, Melvin Hartman of Ottawa, ON and Enzed Racing Stable Inc. of Allentown, NJ. The Kadabra daughter wrapped up her season with two wins, one second and one seventh for 127 points and sole ownership of seventh in the division standings. Traviata The two-year-old trotting fillies will return to Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday, Sept. 17 - along with the two-year-old trotting colts, pacing colts and pacing fillies - for their Grassroots Semi-finals, with the top five finishers from each Semi-final earning a return trip to the Campbellville oval for the Sept. 26 Grassroots Championships. Ontario Horse Racing

SEPT. 6, 2015 - Harness racing's father and son team Gregg and Doug McNair sent a pair of two-year-old trotting colts out in the last regular season Grassroots event on Sunday evening and landed both colts in the Flamboro Downs winner's circle and the post season. Heading into the event Dynamic Edge and Muscles For Life were sitting twenty-fifth and thirty-seventh, respectively, and in need of a victory to extend their season through the Sept. 17 Grassroots Semi-finals. "I figured they had to be close, but he never said nothing, so no pressure, no added pressure," said driver Doug McNair about his pre-race conversation with his father Gregg, who trains the colts. First out of the barn for the McNair Stable was Dynamic Edge, who lined up at Post 5 in the fourth Grassroots division. The younger McNair sent the Muscle Mass son directly to the front and Dynamic Edge reached the opening quarter in :29.3 and the half in 1:02.2. Heading for the 1:32.3 three-quarters Weve Had Enough mounted a challenge and it looked as though Dynamic Edge would have to settle for second, but the gelding found another gear late in the stretch and dug in for a neck victory in 2:02.4. Weve Had Enough was second and Northern Bruiser was one and one-quarter lengths back in third. "He's a little green sometimes," explained the driver. "He pulls up once in a while and he did again today a little bit, but then he battled back on in the stretch. "He's just a just a little funny. He trots perfect, he's great gaited, but he just pulls up sometimes," added the Guelph, ON resident. "It would be nice if he could get out of that, he maybe will as a three-year-old." Gregg McNair, also of Guelph, shares ownership of Dynamic Edge with numbered company 1187422 Ontario Inc. of Gloucester, ON. A $28,000 acquisition at last fall's Canadian Yearling Sale, the gelding wrapped up the post season with one win, one second, two thirds, one sixth and 102 points in five Grassroots starts, jumping from twenty-fifth to tenth in the standings with Sunday's win. In the last Grassroots division, Doug McNair also opted for a front-end strategy with Muscles For Life. The pair went to the front from Post 4 and controlled the tempo through fractions of :30.2, 1:02.3 and 1:33.2, hitting the wire three-quarters of a length in front of favourite Georgies Pockets in 2:02.1. Muscle Hustle was well behind the leaders in third. With all of his starts coming in the Grassroots program, Muscles For Life now boasts a record of one win, one second, one fifth and one eighth. Sundays win boosted his point total to 81 and moved him from thirty-seventh to seventeenth. "He trots real nice when he trots, sometimes he just gets out of gear, like if you don't have him paying attention he won't trot for you," said Doug McNair of Muscles For Life, also a son of Muscle Mass. "But when he pays attention he can trot; he's one of the better Grassrooters. "Last start (Aug 11) I just wanted to make sure I got him around without him running and he trotted home in 28 seconds, that's a pretty good quarter for a green trotter," the reinsman added. Jarold Hawks of Jeddo, MI owns Muscle For Life, who was a $35,000 purchase from the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. The other three division winners also secured their position among the top 20 point earners. Romeo and driver Skip Jay De Mull captured the first Grassroots trophy, tipping out of the pocket heading for the three-quarters and trotting by pacesetter Derivative and on to a three-quarter length victory in a personal best 1:59, the quickest of the five divisions. Fan favourite Money Mission finished second and Magic Missions was third. Kevin St. Charles of Whitmore Lake, MI trains Romeo for E C S Racing LLC of Rockford, MI. In six Grassroots starts the Muscle Mass gelding tallied one win, two thirds, one fifth, one sixth and one eighth for 83 points. Division two went to Cool Creek Victory and Iona Station, ON resident Alfie Carroll, who also popped out of the pocket to reel in the favourite. Cool Creek Victory stopped the Flamboro Downs teletimer at 2:01, one-half length ahead of United Bi and Classical Son. The win was the second in Grassroots action this season for Cool Creek Victory, who also posted two thirds and one seventh, wrapping up with 126 points. The Windsong Espoir son is trained by Mountain, ON resident Victory Puddy for Bill Manes of Rockwood, ON, Limco Inc. of Chateauguay, QC, and Otnevram Inc. of Saint Leonard, QC. After four second-place finishes JLs Bad Moon Risin finally found the winner's circle, going gate-to-wire in 2:04 for driver Trevor Henry of Arthur, ON. The Muscle Mass colt bested Clone The Tone by one-half length, with Eyeseenow well back in third. Puslinch, ON resident Richard Moreau conditions JLs Bad Moon Risin for Gestion J Y Blais of Montreal, QC. Sunday's win gave the colt 158 points and a share of second-place in the division standings. The top 20 point earners will now battle in a pair of Semi-final races at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 17, with the top five finishers from each Semi-final returning to the Campbellville oval on Sept. 26 for the $50,000 Grassroots Championship. Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Flamboro Downs on Sunday, Sept. 27 when the two-year-old trotting fillies will wrap up their Gold Series regular season. Ontario Horse Racing

SEPT. 2, 2015 - Grand River Raceway harness racing fans got more than their money's worth from Ontario's talented three-year-old pacing colts and geldings on Wednesday evening as they wrapped up their Grassroots regular season. Deetzy set the tempo for the event in the first $18,000 division, sprinting from sixth to first in the stretch to post his second Grassroots win of the season. The Jereme's Jet son and driver James MacDonald reached the wire one-quarter length ahead of fan favourite Regal Sight and halted the Grand River Raceway teletimer at 1:55.3. Charlottes Colony was two lengths back in third. "He raced awesome tonight, he has a really good move to him," said Guelph, ON resident MacDonald. "He has had a lot of bad luck lately - he was caught in last week - but tonight everything went his way and he was flying when he shook loose." Ken Sucee of Bowmanville, ON trains Deetzy for owner-breeder Shelby Novick of Delray Beach, FL. The gelding competed in all six regular season Grassroots events, recording two wins, one fourth, two fifths and one sixth-place result for a total of 120 points and heads into the post season ranked sixth in the division standings. The top 20 point earners will compete in a pair of $20,000 Semi-finals at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 18, with the top five finishers from the Semi-finals returning to Mohawk on Sept. 26 for the $50,000 Grassroots Championship. Southwind Indy wrapped up his regular season with a hard fought victory in the second division that saw him jump to the top of the standings. The Sportswriter gelding and driver Steve Condren of Milton, ON led the tough second division field from start to finish, rolling through fractions of :27.2, :56.1 and 1:25 before digging in at the wire to hold off Make Some Luck and Artful Way and claim the 1:53.3 victory by a neck. "He's been really coming around and racing better and better with each start," said trainer Casie Coleman. "He seems to like any size track, and always digs hard to the wire." The Cambridge, ON resident conditions Southwind Indy for her partners in the West Wins Stable of Cambridge, Steve Calhoun of Chatham, ON and breeders Southwind Farms LLC of Pennington, NJ. In five Grassroots starts Southwind Indy tallied three wins, one second and one third for a total of 187 points. In addition to finishing hot on Southwind Indy's heels in Wednesday's test, Artful Way and Make Some Luck finished just eight and 13 points behind him in the division standings, and head into the post season ranked third and fourth, respectively. In the final division Twin B Scandal eked out a half-length victory over pacesetter Sporting The Look and fan favourite Thinkofagameplan to extend his Grassroots season. Starting from Post 4, trainer-driver Joe Hudon fired Twin B Scandal off the starting gate and led the field to a sharp :26.4 opening quarter before yielding control to Sporting The Look. With Thinkofagameplan looming on the outside, Sporting The Look rang up a :57.1 half and a 1:26.4 three-quarters while Hudon and Twin B Scandal watched from their comfortable seat in the pocket. Once the duelling leaders turned for home, Hudon sent Twin B Scandal into the passing lane and the Mach Three gelding roared up the inside to a one-half length victory in 1:55.2. The win was Twin B Scandal's first of the season in Grassroots action. In his four previous appearances the gelding had tallied one second, one third, one fifth and one seventh-place result. Heading into Wednesday's regular season finale Twin B Scandal was sitting 28th, but the win boosted him up to tenth with a total of 94 points. Acton, ON resident Hudon and R A W Equine Inc. of Burlington, ON share ownership of Twin B Scandal, who was a two-time Grassroots winner at two and finished third in both his Semi-final and the Grassroots Championship last season. Grassroots action continues at Grand River Raceway on Labour Day, Monday, Sept. 7, when the two-year-old pacing colts will wrap up their regular season. Ontario Horse Racing

Four years after being diagnosed with colon cancer, the Hall of Fame harness racing driver is on a roll on Canada’s top circuit and has a shot to win the $685,000 Metro Pace Saturday at Mohawk Racetrack. Hall of Fame driver Steve Condren said winning his first Metro Pace Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack would be nice, especially at this stage of his career, but he counts being able to drive horses at all as a bonus after his 2011 battle with colon cancer. “After going through what I went through, just being here is a beautiful thing,” Condren said. The 58-year-old Milton, Ont. resident will pilot Betting Line for trainer Casie Coleman of Cambridge, Ont. in the $685,000 stakes race for two-year-old pacers. Ken Middleton, Jr., the standardbred race caller for the Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) that includes Mohawk and her sister track, Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, said it is amazing Condren still is driving on Canada’s top loop. “He’s a survivor,” Middleton said. “This is the toughest circuit anywhere for guys to survive on. Take a look at Doug Brown, Dave Wall. Those guys were kingpins the same time Steve Condren was in his prime. Steve has kind of reinvented himself and he shows up and he’s still here. Why those other guys aren’t still here, I don’t know. They’re talented guys, too.” Condren worked with Coleman’s stable in Florida over the winter to keep busy and stepped in to drive for her a little over a month ago when her regular driver, Chris Christoforou, suffered a broken collarbone in a race accident July 24 at Mohawk. “I didn’t really know Steve all that well over the years until he asked me if I wanted him to jog and train some horses just for something to do in the winter in Florida,” Coleman said. “He helped me out a lot this winter. He’s very knowledgeable. Besides being a very, very good driver, he’s very, very good at training one and hanging one up and going really good, proper fractions with training miles. He was, obviously, a big improvement for my barn this year. He told me right from the get-go that he wasn’t looking to get any drives. He just wanted something to do in the winter and he really enjoyed training. After Chris got hurt I was kind of stuck and needed somebody. So, I’ve been using (Condren) and he’s been doing a really good job for me.” Condren has started 22 times for Coleman in a little more than a month, posting a 6-3-4 record and earnings just a few dollars shy of $100,000. “Lately, it’s been fun. No complaints, that’s for sure,” Condren said. One of Condren’s biggest wins so far for Coleman came Aug. 29 when he drove Betting Line to a 1:52.2, two-and-a-quarter length victory in the last of three $40,000 Metro Pace eliminations. Betting Line has post two in the Metro final (race seven) that is part of a stakes-rich card that includes the 72nd edition of the Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers (race eight, $685,000) and the $455,000 final of the Shes A Great Lady for two-year-old pacing fillies (race 10). First-race post time is 7:05 p.m. Betting Line, an Ontario-sired son of Bettors Delight out of Heathers Western that was purchased for $60,000 at the 2014 Standardbred Horse Sales Company’s yearling sale in Harrisburg, Pa., has won four of his six starts for Coleman and Ross Warriner’s West Wins Stable, Christine Calhoun of Chatham, Ont. and Mac Nichol of Burlington, Ont.  Condren also was driving when Betting Line posted his career-best mile of 1:51.4 in an overnight race Aug. 6 at Mohawk. “He was one of (Coleman’s) better colts all winter down there,” Condren said. “He’s progressing well. This is a big test for him. So far, he’s stepped up to the plate and looks pretty good doing it.” Considering Condren has spent virtually his entire 38-year career at WEG and has crafted out a specialty driving young horses, it is surprising he has never won the Metro Pace. “Working with the young horses is something I like to do,” Condren said. “That’s kept me in this business this long.” “At this time of year, people love Steve Condren on young horses,” Middleton said. Coleman said Condren, “never hurts one, but, yet, he’s always got them in play… He’s very good with the young ones. Besides how good he drives them and always brings you a horse back for next week, he’s also really good at helping you if you have issues and need to change the equipment. He’s a very smart horseman.” The Metro Pace is part of a busy weekend for Condren. Friday night, he will drive Deep Impact in the second of two $118,907 Champlain divisions at Mohawk for trainer Brad Maxwell of Guelph, Ont. On Aug. 20, Condren drove the two-year-old gelded trotter to victory in the $35,600 final of the Define The World stakes at Mohawk. Maxwell and Condren previously teamed up on such stars as Elegantimage (nearly $1 million lifetime) and Pure Ivory (nearly $1.5 million lifetime). On Saturday, Condren will also drive Reverend Hanover for Coleman in a $25,000 three-year-old conditioned race. Reverend Hanover was a top two-year-old that has earned more than $275,000 lifetime. Sunday afternoon, Condren will meet fans, sign autographs and drive in the $15,000 Legends Day Trot at Clinton Raceway (www.clintonraceway.com) against seven other Hall of Fame drivers. It will be the second time Condren has appeared at the biannual Legends Day since being inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2011, not long after he was diagnosed with cancer. Condren drove just a handful of times in 2011, but was in the sulky nearly 200 times in 2012 and has slowly increased his workload each year since. In 2014, he drove over 600 times and earned over $1.5 million, the first time he has topped seven figures since 2010 and the 31st time he’s done it in a career in which he’s won 6,784 races and driven the winners of more than $113 million. He said his last medical checkup went well, and “everything is going in the right direction still, so far, which is good… I put a lot of effort into keeping in good shape. What I went through, and at my age, you have to be in decent shape to compete out there now. So, I put a big effort into that.” An avid golfer, Condren said he plays four to six rounds a week. “I’m still walking and carrying as part of my keeping-in-shape routine… That’s a nice walk every day.” As for his driving career, Condren is big on perspective. “I’m happy to be around, never mind driving horses,” he said. “I always said to myself that if I start getting in people’s way out there I’ll give it up. So far, I haven’t been doing too much of that.” Dave Briggs Standardbred Communications Ontario Horse Racing standardbrednews@ontariohorseracing.ca

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