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MILTON, ON - SEPT. 13, 2019 - His rivals took a run at him on Friday night, but three-year-old pacing colt Century Farroh proved up to the challenge and wrapped up the Ontario Sire Stakes Gold Series regular harness racing season with a perfect record of five wins in five starts. Bronx Seelster pressed Century Farroh through Woodbine Mohawk Park's opening turn, challenging the division leader for the early lead, but Century Farroh refused to cede his Post 1 advantage and led the field of seven to a :27 opening quarter. After allowing Century Farroh to cruise to a :55.3 half Stag Party mounted a serious challenge heading for the 1:23 three-quarters and the colts turned for home neck-and-neck. However, driver Sylvain Filion simply asked Century Farroh for another gear and the fan favourite pulled away to a three-quarter length victory in 1:50. Bronx Seelster closed to be second and Stag Party finished third. "I was very impressed with Casie's (Coleman) horse tonight (Stag Party). He took a run at him, and kept going too, and so did Bronx Seelster in the first turn and in the stretch, but he's just a very determined animal. He fights them off," said Century Farroh's trainer Dr. Ian Moore. "I hope we can get one more. That's the one that really counts, the Super Final." Cambridge, ON resident Moore trains Century Farroh for Ratchford Stables NS of North Sydney, NS. Trainer and owner now face the task of mapping out the Mach Three colt's schedule leading up to the $225,000 Gold Series Super Final at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Saturday, Oct. 12. "There's probably only going to be one race, I would say, in the four weeks," said Moore. "It could be next week (Sept. 20) in Hoosier in the Jennas Beach Boy or it would probably have to be an overnight here. You have to supplement him to Hoosier, so we might, and then he won't race until the Super Final. He's been off before and he seems to do well on it. He had almost two weeks here too." The $150,000 Jennas Beach Boy at Harrah's Hoosier Park in Indiana requires a $12,500 (US) supplement to make Century Farroh eligible. The same situation exists for the Breeders Crown in late October at Woodbine Mohawk Park and the Matron Pace and Progress Pace in late November at Dover Downs should Moore and the Ratchfords choose to extend the Mach Three colt's season beyond the Super Final. "At this point in time with any horse really it's week-to-week basically, when you get near the end of the season. I mean he started training back in late January I believe, early February, so it's been a long old road," said Moore. "Mr. Ratchford has already stated - he's had numerous offers again recently and also stallion offers too - he's already stated that he wants to race him as a four-year-old, so if he does then you've got to take care of them a little bit. So it will be week-to-week and we'll keep going until he shows signs that he's had enough. Good horses always show you that. Shadow Play told me when it was time to stop with him and this guy will too." Shadow Play would earn a total of $1.5 million in his racing career, retiring to stallion duty in 2009 after his four-year-old season. The horse is just one of several notable pacers that have resided in the Moore stable in the last two decades and while Century Farroh has not had the same stakes opportunities as some of his predecessors the trainer still ranks him among the top performers. "He's a horse that loves his work, he loves his business, and he's a very, very determined animal," said Moore. "I've had the good fortune of being associated with a lot of good horses over the last 15 years I've been doing this and he's right up there with all of them, that's for sure." Following in the footsteps of their older peers, the two-year-old pacing colts will wrap up their Grassroots season at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Monday, Sept. 16, competing in Races 3, 4, 7 and 9 on the program, which gets under way at 7:10 pm. Complete results from Friday's program are available here. From the Ontario Sire Stakes  

MILTON,  ON - AUG. 30, 2019 - On Friday evening two-year-old pacing filly Alicorn rewrote the Ontario Sires Stakes history books for the second time this summer, rocketing around Woodbine Mohawk Park in 1:50.3 for her second Gold Series victory. Starting from Post 3, regular reinsman Louis-Philippe Roy eased the heavy favourite away from the gate and settled in fourth as Kat took the field of nine to a :27.1 opening quarter. Karma Seelster quickly took control of the lead, but Alicorn was hot on her heels and had taken control by the :55.1 half. Once they had control, Alicorn and Roy stepped up the tempo and powered through a 1:22.4 three-quarters on their way to the 1:50.3 victory. Karma Seelster and Kat finished second and third, two and one-quarter lengths behind the winner. "She's just a big beast in a small body," said Guelph, ON resident Roy. "I was a little concerned with the way I had to use her to get to the front at the half, but when I pulled the plugs down the lane she let me know it was game over." "I was glad to see her get away fourth. Even though she only sat in until just about the quarter pole and then he removed her, I was glad to see her do that. I didn't want to see her get too aggressive behind the gate, because she can take a good hold of you behind the gate," added trainer Chantal Mitchell. "She's always been like that, she knows what she's there to do when she gets in behind the starting car, but when she makes the front she kind of goes to sleep. So it's a Catch-22 with how you want to race a horse like her really, but every time you ask her she gives you more." The mile lowered the filly's own Ontario Sires Stakes record by two-fifths of a second. She won her July 19 Gold Series start at Woodbine Mohawk Park in 1:51. Friday's victory was Alicorn's second straight at Woodbine Mohawk Park, she captured her Eternal Camnation division last weekend, and her fourth of the season. In seven starts the Bettors Delight daughter has banked $216,889 for owners Windermere Stable LLC of New York, NY and Robert Muscara of Ivyland, PA. "I feel like she's getting stronger and stronger. She's feeling better and better after every start," said Hamilton, ON resident Mitchell. "When she gets to the racetrack she just knows how to turn it on, because at home she's a nice quiet little filly and when she gets to the track she's got her game face on." The two-year-old pacing fillies will wrap up their Gold Series regular season at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept. 30, but before that Alicorn is also eligible to the Champlain Pace on Sept. 7 and the Shes A Great Lady, which sees eliminations on Sept. 14 and the final on Sept. 21. "We'll just see how she comes out of it (Friday's race), because it's a pretty tight schedule from here on to the end of the year," said Mitchell about whether the filly will race in both the Champlain and Shes A Great Lady. "If she were to race in every race she's got, she'd only be getting one week off between now and the end of the Breeders Crown." The other $107,200 Gold Series division went to Temagami Seelster and driver Yannick Gingras, who used a similar strategy from Post 5. The fan favourites got away third, watching P L Notorious roll out to a :26.4 opening quarter, and then followed Rose Run Vantage up the outside, overtaking that filly heading by the :55.1 half. Temagami Seelster led the field to a 1:23.4 three-quarters and when Rose Run Vantage and Peaky Sneaky tried to reel her in down the stretch the filly dug in and held on for a head victory in 1:52. Rose Run Vantage and Peaky Sneaky had to settle for second and third. "About halfway down the lane it looked like they were going by her on the inside and the outside, and then he kicked the plugs and she dug right back in," said trainer Wayne McGean. "She's got a heart, that's for sure." The win was Temagami Seelster's first in Gold Series action. In the first three Gold legs the Sunshine Beach daughter finished second twice and third once. In nine starts the filly has only missed the top three on two occasions, earning $144,913 for McGean, who hails from Sydney Mines, NS and his partners David Mercer and Joseph Lewis of Sydney, NS. "She was riding under the radar," said the trainer. "This evening I told Yannick she's a nice filly. He said, 'Yeah, you drew away from some of the tougher ones', and I said, 'Yeah, but I think she's a tough one too. I think she's a real nice filly.' He said, 'Okay'. And he drove her like she was the best. "She knows what it's all about now I think. She kind of proved tonight that she knows what it's all about," he added. "She was beat halfway down the lane, you know that and I know that right, but once he pulled the plugs then she dug back in." Like Alicorn, Temagami Seelster is eligible to the Champlain and Shes A Great Lady stakes and McGean is also taking a wait and see approach. Both fillies are currently among the top five point earners in the Gold Series division and will be assured of a berth in the Oct. 12 Super Final at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Complete results from Friday's program are available at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0830wbsbsn.dat. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

MILTON, ON - AUG. 27, 2019 - Each year Tammy McNiven enrolls every member of the Twinbrook Farms broodmare band in the Ontario Resident Mare program. The Embro, ON resident enrolls both the mares bred to Ontario sires and those bred to US-based stallions. Those producing Ontario Sired horses are eligible for breeders rewards related to the Ontario Sires Stakes program and both sets of mares are eligible for the breeders rewards connected to the Grand Circuit stakes races hosted by Woodbine Mohawk Park. "It's like a stake payment in a way. That's all it is; I'm staking my bet that we'll have something come back and race in Ontario, for the American-breds anyways. For the Ontario-breds you're silly not to pay it, because that's a lot of money that could go towards a new mare," said McNiven. "That's what we try to do with all our breeder's awards, we usually try to buy a new mare, a new young mare and bring her to Ontario." A total of $1.1 million is distributed to breeders each year in the form of Ontario Bred Rewards. Each top five finish by the two and three-year-old offspring of an Ontario Resident Mare in Ontario Sires Stakes or Grand Circuit stakes action contributes to their breeder's awards. "We're going to get the benefit if - small word, big meaning - if that horse comes back and races in those stakes that are eligible," said McNiven. "And usually, if that happens, my breeder's awards basically pay for the whole next year broodmare band, to enroll. If we get somebody even that finishes about fifth in the Shes A Great Lady or something like that, we might get $3,000, which always helps to go toward your bottom line." Breeders can enroll their mares at any point before September 1 of the current foaling year, but enrollment before the mare foals lowers the cost to $100. After foaling, and before September 1, the fee increases to $300 and third party proof of residency must be provided. "I like to pay mine as soon as possible. I like to pay mine in the fall so then I know they are done for the next year," said McNiven. "If a mare comes up empty or aborts I'm out $100, but I've wasted more money frivolously." In 2018 there were 1,109 broodmares enrolled in the Ontario Resident Mare program. In order to be eligible mares must reside in Ontario for a minimum of 180 consecutive days and mares must be enrolled every year prior to the September 1 deadline. More information about the Ontario Resident Mare program is available on the Ontario Racing website at Ontario Resident Mare Program. Further questions can be directed to program co-ordinator Kathie Wilkinson at ontariomare@ontarioracing.com or 416-477-5529. From the Ontario Sire Stakes  

OTTAWA, ON - AUG. 25, 2019 - Rideau Carleton Raceway hosted a battle of the three-year-old pacing filly heavyweights on Sunday evening and harness racing fans were treated to a championship display in the $158,000 Gold Series division. Division leaders Boadicea, Powerful Chris and Sunny Dee were sent off as the top choices in the 10-filly field, with Powerful Chris getting the slight edge over her rivals. Starting from Post 5 with regular driver Bob McClure in the race bike, Powerful Chris left sharply and led the field to a :26.1 opening quarter. Boadicea and driver Jonathan Drury took over heading for the :54.1 half and continued to set the tempo through the 1:21.4 three-quarters with Powerful Chris in the pocket and Sunny Dee and driver Trevor Henry looming on the outside. Boadicea turned for home with a one and one-quarter length margin, but McClure hit the accelerator when Powerful Chris reached the passing lane and the fan's top choice sprinted by the pacesetter to a one length victory in a track record 1:50.2. Boadicea finished second and Sunny Dee was another length back in third. "What can I say? She's amazing. Such a pleasure to drive," said McClure, who steers Powerful Chris for trainer John Pentland of Dorchester and his partners Jack Darling Stables Ltd. of Cambridge and Syllabus Stable of Georgetown, ON. "John (Pentland) has done an excellent job and she keeps improving." The mile took almost one full second off the former three-year-old pacing filly track record of 1:51.1, set by Michelles Power in an August, 2007 Gold Series event. "She's just got so many tricks, this filly. That's the beauty of her," said trainer Pentland. "She can race from off the pace, absolutely, but we rarely, rarely leave with her. I don't think it's a surprise to anybody that she's that capable of leaving, it's just not something we use very often." Sunday's victory was Powerful Chris's third in Gold action this season and boosted her lifetime earnings to $412,255. The Betterthancheddar daughter was also victorious over the Woodbine Mohawk Park oval on June 22 and July 27. Heading into the last Gold Series event on Sept. 22 at Flamboro Downs, Powerful Chris and Boadicea are tied for top spot in the division standings with 175 points. The top 10 point earners from the regular season will compete in the $225,000 Super Final at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Oct. 12 and Pentland said Powerful Chris will make a couple more overnight starts in between the remaining Ontario Sires Stakes events. "She'll race once or twice. She won't be over raced for sure, but she hasn't raced a lot this year. I just want to make sure I keep her up," said the trainer. "She loves her work, she loves to race. She's funny, she loves being in her stall and played with and she's okay for half an hour out in the paddock, but she gets bored fast, she wants to come in and she knows she can jog, she loves jogging. She's kind of a hard-working homebody." In addition to the Gold Series fillies, Rideau Carleton also hosted four $22,800 Grassroots divisions for the sophomore pacing lasses and they were dominated by father and son team Gregg and Doug McNair. The McNair's kicked off the Ontario Sires Stakes action in the first Grassroots division as Doug McNair guided Sports Flix to a 1:54.1 gate-to-wire effort from Post 1. Saulsbrook Jessie finished two and one-quarter lengths back in second leaving fan favourite Springbridgevision to settle for third. The Grassroots champion at two, Sports Flix did not get off to the start the McNair's expected as a three-year-old and after her July 25 Grassroots start trainer Gregg McNair decided a complete break was in order for the Sportswriter daughter. "We were expecting pretty big things out of her this year. We started her off in the Fan Hanover and she raced real big in the elimination and boy she was no good in the consolation and the next Gold," recalled the elder McNair, who trains Sports Flix for James Fraleigh of Dresden, ON. "We ended up giving her three weeks off and put the antibiotics to her. She really didn't have a lot of work in her for this start, because she'd had such a long time off, but she was real good tonight." Two races later the McNair's were back in the winner's circle with fan favourite Kylie Seelster, who floated off the gate from Post 5 and watched Freya Seelster post a :27 opening quarter. Doug McNair sent Kylie Seelster to the front before the :56 half and the Big Jim daughter fended off a challenge from Premier Cabernet heading by the 1:24 three-quarters and then repelled a second challenge in the stretch to grab a head victory in 1:52.2. Premier Cabernet settled for second and Freya Seelster was third. Guelph resident Gregg McNair shares ownership of Kylie Seelster with Hall of Fame horseman Keith Waples of Durham and Dr. Chris Robson of London, ON and the two-time Grassroots winner has been a pleasant surprise for the partners this season. "She's been a bit of a surprise, she's come back better than we thought she was. I think she has anyways," admitted the trainer. "She's been a nice filly all year. Even in the overnight races she's raced good." The McNair's capped of the night of Ontario Sires Stakes action in the last Grassroots division with heavy favourite Swift Ally who took control early from Post 1 and never looked back, cruising to a three length victory in 1:53.4. Behavenmyself finished second and Red River Jane was third. Gregg McNair and Ian Fleming of Londesborough, ON bred and own Swift Ally, who was unraced at two due to an injury and the Big Jim daughter has been another pleasant surprise. "We had no idea what kind of a filly she was last year, so she's just been kind of like a pleasant surprise," said the horseman, a three-time winner of the Johnston Cup as the top trainer in the Ontario Sires Stakes. "She's been good. She's a nice big mare and everything. "She trained in Florida last year, all three of them did. They trained back good all of them, but we had no idea they were going to work out to be decent fillies like this," he added. The other Grassroots division went to first-time OSS winner Deb, who stopped the clock at 1:52.3 for driver Trevor Henry, trainer James Dean and owners Wilma and James MacKenzie of Ennismore, ON. Crisp Mane was one and one-quarter lengths behind the Sportswriter daughter in second and favourite Twin B Tipster was another length back in third. The Grassroots fillies will wrap up their regular season at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept. 10 and then the top 20 point earners will return to the Campbellville oval for the Sept. 28 Grassroots Semi-Finals. All four of Sunday's winners are currently in contention for a post season berth, with Swift Ally leading the division with 150 points. Complete results from Sunday's program are available at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0825ridcfn.dat. From the Ontario Sire Stakes  

MILTON, ON - AUG. 16, 2019 - Tall Dark Stranger made his harness racing debut in the Ontario Sires Stakes at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday evening and padded his growing resume with a seemingly effortless three length victory in 1:51.2. Lining up at Post 8 in the second $108,000 Gold Series division, driver Yannick Gingras eased Tall Dark Stranger away from the starting gate and settled in fifth as Bettor At Hightide rolled out to a :26.3 opening quarter. Heavy favourites Gingras and Tall Dark Stranger started their advance up the outer lane heading for the :56 half and at the 1:24 three-quarters they matched strides briefly with Bettor At Hightide before taking command and sailing home to a comfortable victory. Pocket-sitter Sports Obsession finished second and YS Mathis closed well to claim third-place honours. "He's been pretty easy to train and he's always kind of done what he's supposed to do, for the most part, so it makes my job a little bit easier for sure," said trainer Nancy Johansson of the colt, who is now perfect through two qualifiers and three races, with all three races clocked in 1:51.3 or faster. Tall Dark Stranger The son of Bettors Delight and $869,920 winner Precocious Beauty was a $330,000 purchase from last fall's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale and Friday's win boosted his early career earnings to $68,000 for owners Marvin Katz of Toronto, ON, Crawford Farms Racing of Syracuse, NY, Caviart Farms of Vienna, VA and Howard Taylor of Philadelphia, PA. Tall Dark Stranger started his career at The Meadowlands, near Johansson's Allentown, NJ base, but he has taken up residence at Classy Lane Training Centre in Puslinch in preparation for the next Gold event and the Sept. 14 Metro Pace eliminations at Woodbine Mohawk Park. "I have nine horses at Classy Lane, so I have a few up here and some of my staff stays up here with them. And I've been spending essentially Tuesday through Saturday in Canada," said Johansson. "I think we might race him in the Gold on the 31st, we'll race him that Gold and then he'll go to the Metro from there, most likely. Obviously he needs to stay healthy and sound and everything." Gingras, who also calls Allentown, NJ home, has been in the race bike for all of Tall Dark Stranger's appearances and Johansson does not expect the reinsman to miss any of the colt's starts, which she expects will number 12 or 13 by the end of the season. "We got lucky there were no conflicts tonight, so that he was able to come up, but I do really like to keep the same driver on a two-year-old, so that they get comfortable with each other and confidence in each other," said Johansson. "And obviously Yannick is one of the top drivers in our sport, so if he wants to come and drive him, I'm not going to fight him not to do it. "I think it will probably be in his best interest too, to keep showing up," she added with a chuckle. While Tall Dark Stranger has been straightforward to train and a gentleman to work with, that was not the case for the winner of the other Gold Series division. In the weeks after Examiner Hanover arrived at Casie Coleman's winter base in Florida last November the trainer was so unimpressed with the $80,000 yearling she suggested owners Brad Grant of Milton and Steve Heimbecker of Conestogo, ON should either send him back to breeder Hanover Shoe Farms or give him to another trainer. The son of Hes Watching was extremely difficult to work with and seemed physically unable to learn his early lessons. "He was so bad that I actually tried to give him back to Hanover Shoe Farms, saying this horse can't even, like I can't do anything with him, he can't function. I even told Brad Grant, 'If they won't take him back just try him with one of your other trainers or something, because I can't figure this horse out'," Coleman recalled. "He ended up having a lot of chiropractic issues basically, so I don't know if something happened on the ship or what, but they got fixed up and then he was training down like a beast. He couldn't have trained any better all winter once we figured that part out." Examiner Hanover continued to train well when Coleman returned to Ontario in the spring and delivered two sharp qualifiers at Woodbine Mohawk Park on June 14 and 22, but things went off the rails for a second time in July 6 Gold Series opener when the gelding's knee boots slid down his legs. "He went the entire mile with two knee boots down, and he got all hot and rattled up because of that," said Cambridge resident Coleman. "He qualified great, I was thrilled with him, then his first few starts weren't so good at all." After a fourth-place result in the second Gold Leg, Examiner Hanover rebounded with an overnight win at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 26 and then finished fourth to Tall Dark Stranger in the Dream Maker Series on Aug. 5. In Friday's Gold Series test driver Bob McClure settled Examiner Hanover in fifth through the :28.1 opening quarter and then sent the gelding up the outside heading for the :57 half. The pair was able to follow Wind Blown to the 1:24.4 three-quarters and then sprint home for a neck victory over Rhythm In Motion and Aneto in 1:52.3. Examiner Hanover "He went from a disaster, to awesome, to a little bit of a disaster again, to good again now," said Coleman with a chuckle. "Hopefully he's on the track right now." Complete results from Friday's program are available by clicking on this link. Next up on Woodbine Mohawk Park's Ontario Sires Stakes schedule are four Grassroots divisions for the three-year-old pacing colts on Saturday, Aug. 17. Post time for Saturday's program is 7:10 pm and the colts will compete in Races 3, 5, 7 and 8. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

ELORA,ON -  Battle Of The Belles champion Karma Seelster returned to Grand River Raceway for Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series action on Wednesday, Aug. 14 and picked up her third straight win at the Elora oval. With Post 4 in the second $72,267 Gold division, driver Doug McNair fired Karma Seelster off the starting gate and led the field of two-year-old pacing fillies to a :28.3 opening quarter. From there the fan favourites rolled along to a :58.1 half and 1:27.2 three-quarters before cruising down the stretch to a one and three-quarter length win in 1:56.3. Temagami Seelster got up for second, edging pocket-sitter Got Power into third. "She was good again. She got a lot easier trip than last week (Aug. 5 Belles Final)," said Guelph resident Doug McNair, who piloted the filly to all three wins. "She's great gaited and she's handy off the wings, so that really helps for this track. She got to pick up some pretty good money the last couple weeks here." The driver's father Gregg McNair, who also calls rural Guelph home, trains Karma Seelster for Hall of Fame horseman Keith Waples, his wife Eileen Waples and their daughter Karen Hauver of Durham, ON. The Waples family purchased the half-sister to $824,150 winner Kendall Seelster for $127,000 from last fall's London Selected Yearling Sale and in her first five starts she has banked $155,251. "A bunch of the owners were out there. I'm not sure if it was grandkids, but they were cheering for her and stuff before, so that was a lot of fun," added the driver, who stopped by the rail before the race so Karma Seelster could acknowledge her fans. "They had a fan club there." The fans cheered Karma Seelster on to her first win in Gold Series action which, added to the second and third she recorded in her first two provincial starts, puts her in second spot in the two-year-old pacing filly standings with 87 points. Driver Bob McClure won the other two Gold Series divisions, the first boosting Off The Press into top spot in the standings and the second earning P L Notorious her first Ontario Sires Stakes victory. Starting from the advantageous Post 1 in the first division, McClure allowed fan favourite Sound Idea to take early control and settled Off The Press in second. Sound Idea carried on through fractions of :28, :57.4 and 1:26.1 while Off The Press watched comfortably from the pocket. In the stretch McClure sent Off The Press up the inside and the filly powered home to a one and one-half length victory in 1:55.3. Sound Idea settled for second and Keystone Kalimba was third. "Bobby gave her a great trip," said Paul Reid, who trains Off The Press for owner-breeder Robert Key of Leechburg, PA. "He's a good young driver. It's always good when you can get somebody that's hot, it definitely helps the game. And it's always nice to see one that we had all winter do well. We've had luck in the past couple of years with picking up horses when we got up here that did well for us, but it's nice to have one that's good for Bob Key." Off The Press finished a disappointing seventh in the Battle Of The Belles elimination won by Karma Seelster, but Reid said the Sportswriter daughter came up sick after the race. After a bit of rest and a round of antibiotics the filly rebounded and a training mile over the Woodbine Mohawk Park oval assured Reid that she would be ready for Wednesday's test. "She trained back good there last weekend, I took her into Mohawk and trained her and she trained real well so I was pretty confident coming in that she was back to herself, but you still never know what everybody else is going to be up to," said the horseman, who is based in Florida through the winter. "There's plenty of racing, there's no doubt, so to miss one here and there is not the end of the world," he added. In addition to the remaining regular season Gold events on Aug. 30 and Sept. 30, and the Oct. 12 Super Final, Off The Press is eligible to all of the open stakes at Woodbine Mohawk Park in the coming weeks - the Eternal Camnation on August 24, Champlain Stakes on Sept. 7 and Shes A Great Lady eliminations and final on Sept. 14 and 21. In the last division McClure once again lined up at Post 1 with P L Notorious and the Rockwood resident sent the fan favourite straight to the front. P L Notorious sailed through fractions of :28.3, :58.3 and 1:27 and then held off Rose Run Vantage for a three-quarter length win in 1:55.4. Lady Natasha rounded out the top three. "She is a big, fast filly with a really nice gait," said McClure of the Sunshine Beach daughter. "And she continues to get smarter." Rod Hughes of Dunsford trains P L Notorious for owner-breeder Prince Lee Acres of Uxbridge, ON. Wednesday's win was the filly's first in Gold Series action after a fifth and a sixth-place result in the first two legs. She was also a winner in overnight action at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Aug. 5. Complete results for Wednesday's program are available at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0814grvrn.dat. Ontario Sires Stakes excitement returns to Grand River Raceway on Monday, Sept. 4 with the fourth Grassroots Leg for the two-year-old trotting fillies. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

INNISFIL, ON - AUG. 13, 2019 - Three-year-old trotting filly Teddys Littleangel made the second trip of her career to Georgian Downs on Tuesday evening and delivered the same result as she did in last summer's harness racing debut, an open length victory in Ontario Sires Stakes Gold action. "She likes this track. She's always raced good up here," said trainer Ted MacDonnell. "She won her first lifetime start up here." Driver Doug McNair fired Teddys Littleangel away from Post 6 and led the field of seven Gold Series hopefuls to a :27.4 opening quarter. Carrying on to a :57.2 half and a 1:26.1 three-quarters, Teddys Littleangel was never seriously threatened and she opened up a three and one-half length margin on her peers in the stretch before stopping the clock at 1:55. Royal Esteem closed well for second, just ahead of third-place finisher Royal Rhythm and fan favourite Bright Eyes M, who settled for fourth. "Dougie (McNair) said that's the best she's been. She was exceptional tonight," said MacDonnell, who trains the filly for owner-breeder Leonard Gamble of Etobicoke, ON. "That was a good trip. She had to work pretty hard to get front and then she had enough left. We're really happy with her." The win was the Archangel daughter's third straight in Gold Series action. She was also victorious at Grand River Raceway on July 3 and Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 18. Unlike most of her peers, Teddys Littleangel did not race in between Tuesday's start and the July 18 Gold Series event. MacDonnell gave the filly some time off and then qualified her at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Aug. 6. "I didn't want to race her in with old horses and that's the only place that she could race. We tried to get her in at Mohawk and the class, three-year-old fillies, didn't fill," explained Allenford, ON resident MacDonnell. "It worked out fine. I really wasn't too concerned with the lay off because she keeps herself pretty fit." MacDonnell also opted for the lay off because, if she stays happy and healthy, Teddys Littleangel is looking at an action-packed schedule at Woodbine Mohawk Park over the coming weeks. The Simcoe Stakes goes postward on Sept. 6, followed by the Elegantimage on Sept. 14. The last Gold Series event is slated for Sept. 26 and the top 10 point earners from the five regular season events will compete in the Super Final on Oct. 12. With Tuesday's win Teddys Littleangel has 158 points and currently shares top spot in the Gold Series division standings with Bright Eyes M. Last year's Gold Series champion HP Titania Runner scored her second win of the season in the other $106,400 division on Tuesday. Starting from Post 6, driver Louis-Philippe Roy eased HP Titania Runner away from the starting gate and settled in sixth as Mattys Smilin reached the opening quarter in :28. Mattys Smilin handed off to Champagne Jane before the :56.3 half and Roy sent HP Titania Runner up the outer lane, beginning their advance on the leaders. Fan favourite Haveoneforme circled from third to first heading by the 1:26 three-quarters and Roy hit the accelerator on HP Titania Runner. Coming off the final turn Haveoneforme and HP Titania Runner were bridle-to-bridle, but HP Titania Runner pulled away in the stretch to a one-half length victory in 1:55.3. Haveoneforme settled for second and Angies Luckeylady closed well to be third. "I think she's coming back to what she was last year. Her last few starts were good and tonight she raced large," said Guelph, ON resident Roy. "Credit to her and the team that's working with her every day." Roy drove the E L Titan filly to the win for trainer Raphael Bourassa of Fergus, ON and owner-breeders Claude Hamel of Ayer's Cliff and Michel Damphousse of Louiseville, QC. Georgian Downs wraps up its 2019 Ontario Sires Stakes schedule this Sunday, Aug. 18 with the fourth Gold Series Leg for the three-year-old pacing colts. The colts will be part of the Family Day program, which is highlighted by the annual Hon. Earl Rowe Trot. Post time for Sunday's card is 6 pm. Complete results from Tuesday's program are available at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0813geodfn.dat. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

MILTON, ON - AUG. 9, 2019 - Two-year-old harness racing trotting fillies took centre stage at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday and for the second straight evening driver Sylvain Filion and trainer Ake Svanstedt struck Gold with a first-time Ontario Sires Stakes starter. On Thursday night Filion guided Svanstedt trainee Moon Bridge to victory in freshman trotting colt Gold Series action and on Friday the Milton resident teamed up with Winter Olympics. The fan favourites left smartly from Post 6 and settled into third as Jula Shes Magic rolled out to a :29.1 opening quarter. Feeling confident in Winter Olympics through the opening stages, Filion pointed her toward the front heading for the :58.3 half and the filly carried on unchallenged through the 1:27.4 three-quarters. Turning for home She Rocks Kemp shifted into high gear and started to reel in Winter Olympics, but the tempo setter had enough left in the tank to secure a three-quarter length victory in 1:56.3. She Rocks Kemp finished second and Jula Shes Magic was two more lengths back in third. "I was just being extra careful leaving the gate, I didn't want to get caught in a speed duel," said Filion. "I just waited until things settled down to re-move to the front, and from there she did the rest on her own." Both Winter Olympics and Moon Bridge made one start south of the border before shipping to Woodbine Mohawk Park for this week's Ontario Sires Stakes action. Sarah Svanstedt briefed Filion on the duo Thursday afternoon and the driver said both youngsters lived up to their advance billing. "She told me that they were pretty high on them, and I guess they were right," said Filion. "That's a very nice filly. Big and strong, and she can do everything right. She was a little green on the front end, but there was still lots left," he added. "She really impressed me the way she travels. She looks like she's walking out there and she's still going pretty fast." Wrightstown, NJ resident Ake Svanstedt also owns Winter Olympics, who is a daughter of Muscle Mass and Olympic Dreams. Intense Justice clocked the second fastest mile of the three Gold Series divisions Friday, touring the Woodbine Mohawk Park oval in 1:56.4. The filly and regular reinsman Chris Christoforou got away third from Post 2 and watched heavy favourite Warrawee Vicky lead the field to a :28.3 opening quarter. Warrawee Vicky continued to lead at the :58.4 half, but Christoforou had circled around pocket sitter Jasmine Volo and dropped in behind the pacesetter, who reached the three-quarters in 1:27.3. In the stretch Christoforou angled out around Warrawee Vicky and asked Intense Justice for a burst of speed. The Justice Hall daughter responded and pulled away to a one and three-quarter length victory. Warrawee Vicky finished second, her first loss in five lifetime starts, and Wine Rack Hanover was third. "She showed me a lot of talent the first time I sat behind her," said Christoforou, who has driven the filly in all of her starts, beginning with a June 8 qualifier. "She has a great turn of foot and a very nice gait. She's a very good feeling filly and once the gate opens she's all business." Dany Fontaine of Terrebonne, QC trains Intense Justice for owner-breeder Ecurie Gaetan Bono Inc. of Montreal, QC. Friday's win was the filly's second in Gold Series action this season and boosted her lifetime earnings to $103,182. The filly's elder brother Only For Justice is also a two-time Gold Series winner this season. "Dany does a fantastic job with her and all his horses, he's patient and a very intelligent horseman," said Christoforou, who makes his home in Campbellville, ON. "I'm very happy for her owner-breeder Mr. Bono. If you look at the numbers, he is an excellent judge of pedigree and has done a brilliant job with his breeding program. It's been an absolute pleasure to drive for them." The other $73,067 Gold Series division went to Sheer Energy, who went gate-to-wire from Post 6, stopping the clock at 1:58.1. Modern Mass was three and one-quarter lengths back in second and Th Present was two more lengths back in third. Guelph, ON resident Louis-Philippe Roy engineered the win for trainer George Ducharme of Norfolk, MA and owner W. J. Donovan of Delray Beach, FL. The filly, a half-sister to $1.2 million winner Manofmanymissions, was the $187,000 sale topper at last fall's London Selected Yearling Sale and now has two wins to her credit through three starts. The two-year-old trotting fillies will make their fourth Gold Series start on Sept. 24 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Complete results from Friday's program are available at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0809wbsbsn.dat. On Monday, Aug. 12 Woodbine Mohawk Park will host Gold Series action for the three-year-old trotting colts. The colts will square off in Races 2 and 8 on the program, which gets under way at 7:10 pm. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

MILTON, ON -  AUG. 8, 2019 - Port Perry took sole control of top spot in the two-year-old harness racing trotting colt standings with his second Gold Series victory at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Thursday evening. The long-legged Port Perry moved sharply away from Post 6 and once he took control the outcome was never in doubt. Rolling through fractions of :29.1, :59.3 and 1:28.4 Port Perry and driver Bob McClure were never threatened and in the stretch the colt hit a whole different gear, pulling away to a seven and one-half length victory in 1:56.2. Blue Cupertino finished second, edging out fan favourite Horse Trader who settled for third. "He's improved amazingly in the last few weeks. He was bionic tonight," said McClure of the Kadabra colt. "In the last 100 feet he pulls away, reminds me of Warrawee Roo." McClure steers Port Perry for trainer Luc Blais of Campbellville, ON and owner Determination of Montreal, QC, who also train and own top aged trotter Warrawee Roo, a winner of $781,640 in his racing career. In spite of his success however, Warrawee Roo is not the most celebrated horse in the Blais-Determination stable at present. That honour belongs to Kadabra son Forbidden Trade who captured the $1 million Hambletonian Final at The Meadowlands on Aug. 3. "It was an exciting moment that's for sure. It's a big event, the Hambo," said Blais. "Everything - you know Bob (McClure) drove him good, the horse was feeling good - I think that day you need to be perfect everywhere if you want to win." Forbidden Trade, last year's Ontario Sires Stakes champion, was flawless in three starts leading up to the Hambletonian and will be looking to add to his win tally when he returns to Woodbine Mohawk Park for Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series action on Monday, Aug. 12. Port Perry's commanding victory in Thursday night's Gold Series test might have some dreaming of the 2020 Hambletonian, but Blais said he was not looking much further ahead than Friday morning with the strapping youngster. "I'm going to see tomorrow, see how he comes back from that," said the trainer. "He looked good again today, looked like he was strong today. He's a big strong horse, you know, he needs lots of room, and I think he feels comfortable on that track (Mohawk Park)." Thursday's win was Port Perry's second in Gold Series action. He also captured a division of the July 4 season opener at Woodbine Mohawk Park, and then finished second by a head to Blue Cupertino in the July 23 leg at Georgian Downs. An $85,000 yearling purchase at last fall's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, Port Perry has banked $133,200 in his first three lifetime starts and sits atop the freshman trotting colt Gold Series standings with 125 points. The other $105,600 Gold division was captured by Moon Bridge in near identical fashion. Taking control from Post 6 the fan favourite and driver Sylvain Filion rang up fractions of :28.1, :57.1 and 1:27.3 before drawing away to a five length victory in 1:57. HP Royal Theo finished second and Scamp was another length back in third. "He was a little green, he never raced on the front probably," Filion told Woodbine Mohawk Park's Chad Rozema in the winner's circle. "He was looking at stuff, birds and stuff, but he kept racing to the wire, and he was trotting through it, and he was real strong." Thursday's appearance was Moon Bridge's first in Ontario Sires Stakes action, but the E L Titan colt logged a runner-up finish in a July 26 overnight event at The Meadowlands before making the trip north. Ake Svanstedt trains Moon Bridge for breeders Esa Lahtinen and Janne Korpi of Cambridge, ON and their partner Jussi Hietalahti of Turku, Finland. The two-year-old trotting colts will make their fourth Gold Series start over the Grand River Raceway half-mile on Sept. 23. On Friday evening (Aug. 9) Woodbine Mohawk Park welcomes the two-year-old trotting fillies for their third Gold Series event. The fillies will battle in Races 3, 6, and 8 on the Friday evening program, which gets under way at 7:50 pm. Complete results from Thursday's program are available at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0808wbsbsn.dat. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

MILTON, JULY 6, 2019 - Twenty-one harness racing freshman pacing colts launched their Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series careers at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Saturday night and it was Bettor At Hightide and YS Mathis who emerged triumphant. In the first $108,000 division Bettor At Hightide got a confident steer from trainer-driver Paul MacDonell to secure the victory. Starting from Post 2 MacDonell and Bettor At Hightide got away fourth and watched Sylvain Filion and Denali Seelster grab the early lead. When the fan favourites put up a tepid :28.1 first quarter MacDonell opted to take command of the race and Bettor At Hightide rang up a :56.4 half and 1:25.3 three-quarters. Denali Seelster launched an attack in the stretch, but went briefly off-stride, leaving Bettor At Hightide to cruise home a one and three-quarter length winner in 1:53.1. Velocity Rukkus finished second and Noch Ten edged out Lottery Winner for third. "We've been happy with his progress so far. He's come along the right way," said MacDonell. "He's the kind of colt that learns quick, and it makes your job easier when you've got a good pupil like that. He learns and aims to please, I guess is the main thing he wants to do. Guelph, ON resident MacDonell trains and drives Bettor At Hightide for owner-breeders Schooner II Stable of Truro, NS. Saturday's outing was the Bettors Delight son's second lifetime, he finished third in a June 29 two-year-old race at Woodbine Mohawk Park after a pair of qualifying outings at the Campbellville oval. "I thought he qualified really well two weeks ago and then he raced exceptional last week, I thought. He got a little check around the last turn and still came a pretty nice last half," noted MacDonell, who also drove the colt's mother, Queensland Beach, and his grand-sire, the great Somebeachsomewhere. "Brent MacGrath and Schooner Stables, they had the mare and they had the grandmother," MacDonell told Woodbine Mohawk Park's Chad Rozema in the winner's circle. "This colt, he was trained in Florida by Brent, he did a great job. I just got him in May so I've got to give a lot of credit to what he's done with him." Bettor At Hightide While Bettor At Hightide did his racing on the front end, YS Mathis took a radically different path in the second division. Starting from Post 5 with Louis-Philippe Roy in the race bike, the Sportswriter colt got away fourth as Southwind Dredge hustled out to a :26.4 quarter. Southwind Dredge soon handed the lead over to Sports Obsession and MacDonell, who dialed things back to a :56.3 half and 1:26.3 three-quarters. While Sports Obsession did the work up front, YS Mathis continued to sit on the rail in mid-pack and appeared to be locked in tight as a parade of horses powered up the outer lane. However, as the field squared up in the stretch the horses directly in front of YS Mathis found a bit of racing room to the right and pacesetter Sports Obsession started to drift off the rail. The opening was small, but Roy was able to squeeze YS Mathis through and after bursting into open space the colt sprinted off to a one and one-half length victory in 1:54. The Amazingsando and Aneta also closed hard from the back of the pack to claim the second and third-place share of the $108,000 purse. "He doesn't need a lot of racetrack to show his talent. He's pretty quick for a little piece," said Roy, who drives the colt for trainer Jacques Dupont and owner-breeder Yves Sarrazin of La Presentation, QC. "I just hope he keeps on improving and turns into a really nice colt." Saturday's outing was the second for YS Mathis, who also finished third in his debut, a June 27 two-year-old race at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Prior to that he made two appearances in qualifying action at the Campbellville racetrack, a third on June 14 and a win on June 22. "Last week he was a little too aggressive and he wouldn't relax during the mile," noted Roy. "Jacques did a few adjustments on him and he was way more relaxed this week." YS Mathis Bettor At Hightide, YS Mathis and their freshman pacing colt peers will be back at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 15 for their second Gold Series event. On Monday, July 8 the two-year-old pacing fillies take over the spotlight at Woodbine Mohawk Park, competing in a trio of Gold Series divisions. The evening's first race goes postward at 7:10 pm and the fillies will be showcased in Races 3, 4 and 6. Complete results for Saturday's program are available at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0706wbsbsn.dat. Ontario Racing  

JUNE 29, 2019 - Century Farroh delivered his second Ontario Sire Stakes Gold Series victory of the season with an impressive harness racing effort at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Saturday evening. In spite of starting from Post 12 in the second tier, driver Sylvain Filion was able to map out a clear path to the winner's circle for the three-year-old pacing colt. With Stag Party ahead of them at Post 2, Filion and Century Farroh were able to follow the fan favourite off the starting gate and into the flow up the outer lane. When Fast N First tucked onto the rail heading by the :26.4 half and left him an open lane, Milton resident Filion sent Century Farroh after pacesetter Best In Show, reaching the lead by the :54.2 half. No Ordinary Man applied pressure from the outside on the way to the 1:22.1 three-quarters and Best In Show mounted a challenge in the stretch, but Century Farroh battled to a one-half length victory in 1:49.4. Best In Show finished second and No Ordinary Man earned the third-place share of the $159,600 purse. "He got a very masterful driver from Sylvain, there's no doubt about that. That had to happen in order to win that race tonight," said trainer Dr. Ian Moore, who conditions the colt for Ratchford Stable NS of North Sydney, NS. "He was all out at the end - with that kind of trip they're going to be - but he dug in and hung on, so you can't ask for anything more." The win was the Mach Three son's second straight and his sixth in seven sophomore starts. Century Farroh's only off-the board finish came in his June 8 elimination for the North America Cup where he finished seventh, failing to advance to the final. The youngster restarted his win streak in the North America Cup Consolation on June15, but Moore said it may be a while before he attempts to extend that streak to three. "We'll have to race at some point in July, but I'm just not sure where or what," said the Cambridge, ON resident, noting that the lightly staked Century Farroh's next scheduled engagement is the August 2 Gold Series event at Woodbine Mohawk Park. "We'll have to figure out a plan what we're going to do here with him over the next month. There's going to be some time off there somewhere for sure, I'm not too sure where. It's a shame he doesn't have any stake races, but that's the way it goes." Following the August 2 Gold event, Century Farroh has been invited to the Carl Milstein Memorial at Northfield Park on August 10, then it would be back to Gold Series action on August 18 at Georgian Downs before wrapping up the month with the Simcoe Stakes at Woodbine Mohawk Park on August 31. While Century Farroh's schedule will be busy through August, Moore said they do not intend to miss any of the Gold Series events. The trainer is confident the pacer will be able to handle the full slate of races, noting that there is a first-class team working to keep the colt in top physical shape. "He's a tough colt and his groom Dustin Boyd, he's done a great job with him this year," said the trainer. "And Sylvain has done a great job of driving him. It takes a team to put a horse on top, to be good, and we've got a good team going there I think, so it's all worked out." Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Woodbine Mohawk Park on Thursday, July 4 with the first two-year-old event of the season. The two-year-old trotting colts will compete in Gold Series action on the Thursday evening program, which gets under way at 7:10 pm. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

Louis-Philippe Roy won his first Super Final at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Saturday and then won two more to lay emphatic claim to the Lampman Cup title as the leading driver in the Ontario Sires Stakes program. A joyful group met the 28-year-old in the winner's circle after his first victory, as he guided two-year-old trotting filly HP Titania Runner to a narrow 1:57.4 score over Champagne Jane and favourite Presto Change O. "Those owners are maybe not the first ones, but among the first people that got me stake drives in Quebec," said Roy of owner-breeders Claude Hamel of Ayer's Cliff and Michel Damphousse of Louiseville, Quebec. "So the fact that they put confidence in me and now they are kind of rewarded with that win, I am happy for them." Woodbine-Mohawk Park fans sent the division point leader off as the second choice from Post 5 and HP Titania Runner charged from seventh to first in the last quarter to secure the championship. The E L Titan daughter wrapped up her freshman season with a record of four wins in eight starts and earnings of $248,650. While his first victory paid tribute to the past, Roy's second Super Final win had him looking toward the future. The reinsman teamed up with Keystone Concrete to deliver a giant-slaying upset in the two-year-old pacing colt and gelding division, laying down a :26.3 final quarter to collar Bettors Wish and Metro Pace winner Stag Party in 1:52. All three colts are by sire Bettors Delight. "For a while I was saying to myself, 'I will be third' and I would have been happy with a third, but then I seen Stag Party get a little tired so I said, 'I will probably get there for second', but that horse -sometimes horses they'll fight until the last one to pass, they'll just get to their head and kind of hang on a little bit, but this one he just kept going and he even went by the last horse," said Roy. "He's a really nice horse. I can't wait, if I have the opportunity, to drive him again at three." Roy drove Keystone Concrete to his fifth win in seven starts for trainer Rob Fellows of Rockwood, his wife Yolanda Fellows, and her co-owners Arpad Szabo of Bradford, Ontario and Blair Corbeil of Beaumont, Alberta. The win boosted the colt's earnings to $214,850 and Szabo was already looking forward to spending his share. "Maybe I can buy some more yearlings now because I am going to the sale tomorrow to spend the money I made. It's not going to stay in my pocket very long," said Szabo with a laugh, adding that Keystone Concrete had been something of a Cinderella story for his owners. "I never thought he was going to make it this far. He started in the Grassroots and he wound up in the Gold, and win the Gold, and beat a horse like Stag Party." Roy's third Super Final victory was the perfect end to his 2018 Ontario Sires Stakes season, coming with three-year-old pacing colt Jimmy Freight, who took him to open stake races across North America this summer. On Saturday night the pair battled harder than they had all season in the provincial program, using a late kick to nab stablemate and pacesetter Backstreet Shadow in the stretch for a one-half length victory in 1:50.2. St Lads Neptune was awarded third-place when The Downtown Bus was placed back to fifth for causing interference. "I knew I was going to float, I didn't want to rush him to go in the lead," said Roy of his strategy from Post 9. "Last start he raced really good, and the start before he got, I think, a little bit tired of racing on the front, and I really wanted not to end the season that way, like end it on a good note. He's been so much dominant in the Ontario Sires Stakes this year that I think he deserved that win." The soon-to-be Guelph resident drives Jimmy Freight for trainer Richard Moreau of Puslinch and owner Adriano Sorella of Guelph, Ontario. The Sportswriter son went undefeated through the Gold Series this season, winning four legs and the Super Final. His sophomore record stands at nine wins, four seconds and three thirds in 17 starts for earnings of $691,239. Three-year-old trotting colt point leader Run Director also wrapped up his season with a Super Final victory and owners Tom and Elizabeth Rankin of St. Catharines, Ontario were delighted to be joined in the winner's circle by the colt's namesake, Rankin Cancer Run director Mary Ann Edwards. "He emailed me one day and said, 'Would you mind if I named a male horse after you?'" recalled Edwards. "So it was an honour to be here tonight for this and this man is unbelievable, it's unbelievable what he does in our community." "She keeps saying karma, you know you'll get repaid back, so I named the horse after her and he's done nothing but win," said Tom Rankin, who was certain the colt was going to finish second at the head of the stretch. After a breather behind pacesetter Stormont Ventnor around the final turn, Run Director and driver Sylvain Filion powered down the stretch to a one and one-half length victory in 1:54.2 Stormont Ventnor settled for second and Jula Downton was well back in third. Guelph resident Ben Baillargeon conditions the Kadabra colt for the Rankins. Three-year-old pacing filly Percy Bluechip repeated as Super Final champion, going gate-to-wire in 1:52 for driver Yannick Gingras. Kendall Seelster and Quints Dream finished one length back in second and third. "I wanted to race her on the front, I really did," said Gingras of the Shadow Play daughter. "That was the game plan." The New Jersey-based reinsman drove Percy Bluechip to the win for trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable LLC of Fredericktown, PA, Weaver Bruscemi LLC of Canonsburg, PA, Purnel And Libby LLC of Delray Beach, FL and Donald Emond of Taunton, MA. Gingras picked up a second Super Final victory with two-year-old pacing filly Summer Charm, who scored a 1:52.3 upset over division point leader Better Single and Quebec Blue Chip. Dave Menary trains the Bettors Delight daughter for Thomas Dillon of Anson, ME. Kadabra daughter Smoke And Mirrors kicked off the $1.8 million night with 1:55.3 victory in the three-year-old trotting filly division, hitting the wire two and three-quarter lengths ahead of Superlative and Illusioneesta. Trevor Henry crafted the win for trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman and owners Melvin Hartman of Ottawa, David McDuffee of Delray Beach, FL and Little E LLC of New York, NY. Forbidden Trade claimed the two-year-old trotting colt and gelding crown with a 1:56.2 triumph over Southwind Avenger and Only For Justice. Bob McClure drove the Kadabra colt to the win for trainer Luc Blais and owner Determination of Montreal, Quebec. "When you got a season like that you want to win the final," said Blais, who trained the colt to a division leading four regular season victories. "That's a lot of pressure believe me, but it is an amazing feeling." From the Ontario Sire Stakes  

Two years ago Louis-Philippe Roy watched the harness racing Super Finals on television, having made just four starts in the 2016 Ontario Sires Stakes program. On Saturday, Oct. 13, when the very best in the province once again gather at Woodbine Mohawk Park for the $1.8 million season finale, the reinsman has a starter in all eight races and will be looking to secure his first Lampman Cup title as the program's leading driver. "What I find special is that I got a drive in all eight races and all eight horses are from different trainers," said Roy. "I think it kind of proves how much support I had from all the trainers here in Ontario through the year." After a breakout season in 2016 that saw him top the driving ranks at both Rideau Carleton Raceway and Hippodrome Trois-Rivieres and garner the Future Star title at the O'Brien Awards, Roy made the move to the Woodbine Entertainment Group circuit. The move not only served as a rocket-launcher for the Mont-Joli, Quebec native's career - he would finish 2017 as one of the top three drivers in all of Canada - it gave him the opportunity to drive a wide variety of young horses for the first time since he climbed into a race bike as an 18-year-old on the Quebec Fair Circuit. "Last year I got a lot of experience because, especially the two-year-olds, when you start driving them early in the season it's quite different than the older horse," explained the now 28-year-old. "So I think last year I got a lot of experience and this year I kind of proved that I adjust my driving style to whatever horses, and whatever are the needs for the horses, especially for their development." Last season Roy finished in the top 10 among Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) drivers, appearing in 120 races and driving 21 winners, 11 second-place finishers and 13 third-place finishers to earnings of $777,308. With that experience under his belt, Roy made a serious commitment to the program in 2018, even giving up his spot in the National Driving Championship to steer three-year-old pacing filly Shower Play in a Sept. 25 Gold Series event, and that dedication has paid off. Heading into Saturday's season finale the reinsman has made 150 OSS starts and produced 33 wins, 20 seconds, 15 thirds and earnings of $1,313,507. He sits atop the Lampman Cup race with 372 points, 21 points ahead of two-time winner Trevor Henry and 23 ahead of five-time winner and reigning champion Sylvain Filion. Among Roy's Super Final mounts are three division point leaders, freshman pacing filly Better Single, two-year-old trotting filly HP Titania Runner and three-year-old pacing colt Jimmy Freight, and six of the eight head into Saturday night's test off wins in their most recent Gold Series start. "I will be disappointed if I don't win one Super Final this weekend because I think I've got a lot of good chances, maybe not big favourites, but a lot of horses that can do it," said Roy, who recently purchased a townhouse in Guelph, Ontario. "So I sure hope to get my first Super Final win on Saturday." Jimmy Freight was the heavy favourite in all four of his Gold Series starts this season and that is unlikely to change in spite of the colt's outside post. Roy will steer the Sportswriter son from Post 9 for trainer Richard Moreau of Puslinch and owner Adriano Sorella of Guelph, Ontario and is hoping the division leader can maintain his flawless record in OSS action. "I would have liked for sure to be inside of Backstreet Shadow because Yannick (Gingras) raced him on the front I think the four times he drove him," said Roy of Jimmy Freight's stablemate, who will start from Post 5. "Jimmy can do it from wherever, he doesn't really mind, but it sure is a little more work going from the Post 9 and trying to figure a trip." In addition to Backstreet Shadow and Gingras, Roy expects The Downtown Bus and driver Tim Tetrick to be tough from Post 4. The driver also anticipates that the $225,000 contest, slated as Race 10 on Saturday's program, will serve as an impressive closing act for the 2018 OSS season. "Jimmy Freight, like a few months ago, was, I would say, the king of the division and you couldn't expect almost anybody to beat him," said Roy. "But the way The Downtown Bus and Backstreet Shadow have been racing lately I think is going to give us a good show for the last race." Roy also expects the two-year-old pacing colts and trotting colts to serve up an exciting show for fans. With the favourites in both divisions drawing advantageously, the talented youngsters will be free to show off the full range of their skills. "Stag Party (Post 1), Bronx Seelster (Post 5), Bettors Wish (Post 6), they all drew good positions," said Roy of the freshman pacing colt contest, where he will steer Bettors Delight son Keystone Concrete from Post 3 for trainer Rob Fellows of Rockwood, his wife Yolanda Fellows and her co-owners Arpad Szabo of Bradford, Ontario and Blair Corbeil of Beaumont, Alberta. "Dream Nation, the whole year, has been very good and especially lately, the last two starts. He keeps improving a little bit, but I also know it's a good class of two-year-old trotters this year that they have in Ontario," said the driver of his two-year-old trotting colt mount, who will start from Post 4. "And the two other ones that I think are two of the best, Forbidden Trade (Post 2) and Okeanos (Post 5), they both drew good too. All of us three drew good, so I think it's going to be a good race." Roy steers Archangel gelding Dream Nation for trainer Jacques Dupont and owners Les Ecuries Dorleans Inc. of Repentigny, Ecurie CSL of Sorel-Tracy, Gestion C. Levesque 2005inc of St-Hyacinthe and Marc Camirand of Montreal, Quebec. Dupont and the owners of two-year-old trotting filly HP Titania Runner (Post 5, Race 6), Claude Hamel of Ayer's Cliff and Michel Damphousse of Louiseville, Quebec, are people that gave Roy opportunities to drive stakes horses when he was still developing his skills on the Quebec Fair Circuit, so a Super Final win with either of those horses would be especially meaningful for the driver. "They've been with me for a longer part; I've been racing for them in Quebec in stakes races," said the reinsman. "All the times you win with, like I would say smaller connections, it makes it a little more, not more exciting, but more rewarding." Roy's other shots at Super Final glory will come with three-year-old trotting filly Collateral Beauty from Post 7 in Race 2, three-year-old trotting gelding Barney Mac from Post 7 in the seventh race, and three-year-old pacing filly Big Thong from Post 2 in Race 9. Roy had expected to drive Fan Hanover and Simcoe Stake champion Shower Play in the sophomore pacing filly final, but her connections chose not to enter when she did not train as well as expected earlier this week. "Rene (Dion) called me on Tuesday morning when it was time to put her in and said he wasn't going to put her in because she wasn't exactly how he expected her to be," explained Roy. "He didn't want to take any chances. He wanted to make sure she was 100 per cent before they race her again." In spite of the filly's absence from his roster of mounts, Roy is hopeful that he will be able to strike 'Driving a Super Final Champion' off his bucket list on Saturday. Woodbine Mohawk Park's Saturday, Oct. 13 program gets under way at 7:10 pm and the eight $225,000 Super Finals will go postward in Races 2, 3 and 5 through 10. From the Ontario Sire Stakes  

There was very little movement in the point standings as the two-year-old trotting colts and fillies gathered at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Thursday evening for their last regular season Gold event. Three of the four Gold Series divisions were captured by the favourites and the fourth went to the fans' second choice, Presto Change O. Starting from Post 3 driver Sylvain Filion eased the often fractious Presto Change O away from the starting gate and settled in third behind Cambridge Kate, who led the field of trotting fillies to a :28.4 opening quarter. Filion continued to sit third with Presto Change O as Cambridge Kate carried on to a :58.3 half, but heading toward the 1:28.1 three-quarters the veteran reinsman tipped his charge into the outer lane. Presto Change O stayed focussed on the wire and sailed home to a three and one-quarter length victory in 1:57.1. Pocket-sitter Mercedes Talma was second and Tommi Canu Hearme completed the top three. "Sometimes she loses her focus and she just jumps it off. She's learning, but she's a slow learner," said Filion. "She's full of potential though. If she stays at it and she keeps her focus she's probably the best in there, but it's always a question if she behaves you know. She keeps me on my toes." The Milton resident drives Presto Change O for trainer Paul Reid and owner-breeder Robert Key of Leechburg, PA. The pair was also victorious in the July 27 Gold event at Woodbine Mohawk Park and picked up a third in the Aug. 10 event at the Campbellville oval. As a result the Kadabra daughter heads into the Oct. 13 Super Final ranked third in the division with 115 points. "Paul Reid did a heck of a job to have her still going," said Filion. "I wouldn't think at the beginning of the year she'd be still going at this time, she was so big and immature, but he worked hard with her and it paid off." Driver Louis Philippe Roy captured the other $96,400 trotting filly division with fan favourite HP Titania Runner. Like Filion, Roy eased his filly away from Post 2 and settled in the middle of the pack as Petro Hall recorded a :28.1 quarter and :58.3 half. Roy send HP Titania Runner up the outside behind Teddys Littleangel and the challengers had overtaken the pacesetter by the 1:27.1 three-quarters. A strong finishing kick propelled HP Titania Runner to a narrow 1:56.4 victory over Teddys Littleangel, with Petro Hall five lengths back in third. "She's got as much talent as Dream Nation, for example, but she's always had something that happened to her that meant she couldn't show that talent," said Roy of the E L Titan daughter. "She win her two first Gold and then she got some breaking issues so Rene (Bourassa) finally decided to go with the trotting hopples, so I think that's what makes her a little bit safer." After the filly made breaks in three of her last four starts trainer Rene Bourassa added hopples to HP Titania Runner's equipment bag and qualified her on Sept. 27. The filly was flawless in the qualifier and Thursday's effort lowered her personal best by almost one second. Bourassa conditions HP Titania Runner for owner-breeders Claude Hamel of Ayer's Cliff and Michel Damphousse of Louiseville, Quebec. The filly will lead her peers into the $225,000 Super Final with 151 points. Roy also piloted two-year-old trotting gelding Dream Nation to a 1:55.3 personal best in the first $98,800 Gold division for the gents. As he did with HP Titania Runner, Roy settled the gelding in mid-pack from Post 5 and then made his way up the outer lane as Southwind Avenger and Only For Justice traded blows through the :27.2 quarter and :56.2 half. By the 1:26 three-quarters Dream Nation had drawn level with Only For Justice and he trotted down the stretch to a three-quarter length win in 1:55.3. Southwind Avenger finished second and Okeanos closed hard to be third. "From Day 1, from the first time I was at Jacques Dupont's farm training him, he never did anything wrong," said Roy. "He's actually I think as good, or probably the best he's been so far over the year, so he's not tired yet." Thursday's victory was Dream Nation's third in Gold Series action and puts him in second in the standings with 187 points. In nine starts the son of Archangel has finished no worse than third, scoring six wins and banking $187,290 for trainer Jacques Dupont and owners Les Ecuries Dorleans Inc. of Repentigny, Ecurie CSL of Sorel-Tracy, Gestion C. Levesque 2005Inc. of St-Hyacinthe and Marc Camirand of Montreal, QC. The last trotting colt Gold division went to Forbidden Trade, who also travelled up the outer lane and reeled in the pacesetters to record his fourth Gold Series win in 1:58.2. Fingals Wave and CT Conabra were two and one-quarter lengths behind the fan favourite in second and third. Bob McClure piloted Forbidden Trade to his sixth win in eight starts for trainer Luc Blais and owner Determination of Montreal, Quebec. The Kadabra son sits atop the division standings with 208 points and McClure is looking forward to taking on the best-of-the-best in the Oct. 13 Super Final "I couldn't feel better," said the driver. "He's in tip-top form and is a real professional." The top 10 point earners from both the trotting colt and trotting filly divisions will return to Woodbine Mohawk Park for their lucrative Super Finals on Oct. 13. Joining the trotters in the season finale will be the two-year-old pacing colts and fillies, who wrap up their regular season at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Saturday, Oct. 6. The colts will compete in Races 2 and 8, while the fillies battle in Races 3 and 6. Post time is 7:10 pm. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

Ten sophomore trotting fillies made the trip to The Raceway at Western Fair District on Tuesday evening to compete in a pair of $94,000 Gold Series divisions, and both races featured upsets as the favourites failed to live up to fan expectations. Apprentice M scored her first win of the season in the first division, inheriting the lead around the final turn when pacesetter Zorgwijk Sophia and fan favourite Illusioneesta made breaks as they battled for control. Unfazed by the chaos, the steady Apprentice M and driver Paul MacDonell simply carried on down the stretch to a 2:01 victory. Miller Time also delivered a flawless effort to finish three-quarters of a length back in second and Illusioneesta recovered quickly enough to claim third. "That's why they race horses," said the philosophical MacDonell. "She's pretty solid gaited, which helps on the half-mile track, and then as you saw, things worked out." MacDonell steers Apprentice M for trainer John Bax of Campbellville, Ontario and owner Menhammar Stuteri AB of Paris, Kentucky. In her four previous Gold Series starts the Kadabra daughter had recorded one second, one third and two fifths. Tuesday's victory pushed her point total to 97 and puts her in fourth spot in the standings heading into the Oct. 13 Super Final. "She just hasn't really kicked in like she probably should have, but again I think she's got $100,000 made, so it's hard to knock her," said Guelph, Ontario resident MacDonell. "It's late in the season and a few of the fillies are getting tired and stuff, so you can take advantage of that sometimes." Tuesday's victory pushed Apprentice M's 2018 earnings to $109,253 and put her less than $10,000 shy of $200,000 lifetime. MacDonell finished second with Bax trainee Magical Lady in the other division, following Collateral Beauty and driver Louis Philippe Roy as they went gate-to-wire in 1:59.2. Pocket-sitter Town Hall Justice settled for third, well ahead of favourite Smoke And Mirrors, who took herself out of contention with an early break. The win was Collateral Beauty's second in the Gold program. The Kadabra daughter was also victorious at Georgian Downs on July 21 for trainer Herb Holland and owner Carolyn MacIsaac of Milton, Ontario. "She's a little bit of a lazy filly, but looking at her lines, it seems like she takes her job a little more seriously when there's big money on the line," said Roy, who was making his first appearance in the filly's race bike. "Herb told me she's better when you put her into play right off the gate, so that was the plan today and it worked good." With two wins, one second and one seventh in four Gold Series starts, Collateral Beauty heads into the $225,000 Super Final tied for second with 127 points. Tuesday's win bumped the filly's sophomore earnings to $123,800. The top 10 point earners from the five regular season events will now head to Woodbine Mohawk Park for the Oct. 13 Super Final. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

When Wayne McGean was warming up Bronx Seelster at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday night the trainer figured the two-year-old pacing colt's win streak was going to be halted at two. The youngster was sluggish and did not seem keen to engage his Ontario Sired peers in the fourth Gold Series event of their season. "I'm telling you, I didn't like him warming up tonight," said McGean. "He was quiet and I told Trevor (Henry) that." Driver Trevor Henry lined up at Post 9 with the division leader and settled the colt in fifth as Fast N First led the field to a :27 opening quarter. Fast N First had a brief tenure on the lead before being overtaken by Better Than Cash, who in turn was quickly demoted by Bettors Wish heading by the :55.1 half. As the lead changed hands in front of him, Henry had tipped Bronx Seelster into the outer lane and once the colt caught the fading early leaders he was able to tuck in behind Bettors Wish through the 1:23.1 three-quarters and into the stretch. Sliding out from behind Bettors Wish well into the lane, Henry asked Bronx Seelster for another gear and the fan favourite delivered, powering home to a one length victory in 1:52. Bettors Wish settled for second and Perkins finished well behind the leaders in third. "I didn't think he was going to win it. At the third flag pole down he was still a length and a half off," admitted McGean. "Trevor got after him and he just got him out off the wheel, and he just dug in. He's got such determination. He's just so determined and he fights on, he doesn't take back. He's just one of them horses, they're hard to find." The win was Bronx Seelster's third straight over the Woodbine Mohawk Park oval and his third in Gold Series competition, putting him atop the division standings with 175 points. In 10 starts the son of Big Jim and Tarport Baccarat has netted seven wins and two seconds for earnings of $341,810. He posted his personal best 1:51.2 winning his Sept. 7 Champlain Stakes division against some of North America's best young pacing colts. "Myself, Brent Bradbury and Dave Mercer are on a big roll, we're on a roll we never ever dreamed of," said the Nova Scotia resident of his Capers 3 Stable partners. "And to cap it all off Better Single win the next race, the eighth race, and Dave Mercer, my partner, owns half of that one, so he had two Golds back-to-back." Mercer barely had time to finish celebrating Bronx Seelster's victory before he was heading back out to the winner's circle with two-year-old pacing filly Better Single, who parlayed a pocket trip into a neck victory in a personal best 1:53.4. Pacesetter Powerful Chris settled for second and Be Best was three lengths back in third. All three fillies are by sire Betterthancheddar. James MacDonald engineered the win for trainer Anthony Beaton of Waterdown and Sydney, Nova Scotia resident Mercer who share ownership of the consistent youngster. "She's picked up a cheque every time she's stepped on the track for us, and like I say, fingers crossed, hopefully she continues for the next two starts," said Beaton. "I'm pretty sure we're planning on the next start for next Saturday in the Gold, and then the Super Final, obviously." Friday's victory was Better Single's second in Gold Series action and boosted her to the top of the division standings with 117 points. In eight starts the filly now has two wins, one third, one fourth and four fifths for earnings of $157,885. Cafe Society won the other $98,000 pacing filly Gold division, getting up late for the 1:55.1 victory after the fans' top four choices got snarled up coming off the last turn. Turncoat was two and one-quarter lengths back in second and fan favourite Ideation Hanover finished third. Jonathan Drury piloted Café Society to her first-ever Gold Series win for trainer Casie Coleman and her partners in the West Wins Stable of Cambridge, Kevin McKinlay of Holland Landing and Jim Fielding of Toronto, Ontario. Like Better Single, Café Society is a daughter of Coleman's former trainee Betterthancheddar. The other $97,200 pacing colt division went to Sports Teen, who also closed from mid-pack in the wind and rain to claim the neck victory. The son of Sportswriter hit the wire in a personal best 1:53.1, just ahead of Twin B Watching and fan favourite Better Up. Louis Philippe Roy, who currently sits atop the Ontario Sires Stakes drivers' standings, crafted the colt's second straight win for trainer Paul Reid and owner Robert Key of Leechburg, PA. The two-year-old pacing colts and fillies will wrap up their Gold Series regular season at Woodbine Mohawk Park next Saturday, Oct. 6. This Saturday, Sept. 29 the Campbellville oval hosts the $400,000 Grassroots Championships, with eight division finals going postward in Races 1 through 3, and 5 through 9. The Championships get under way at 7:10 pm. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

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