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MILTON, ON - SEPT. 17, 2019 - Splurge On Me tallied her third Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots win on Tuesday evening as the three-year-old harness racing trotting fillies wrapped up their regular season at Woodbine Mohawk Park. With regular reinsman Trevor Henry in the race bike Splurge On Me powered to the front from Post 6 and never looked back. The Kadabra daughter cruised through fractions of :28, :57.4 and 1:27.1 and then opened up six lengths on her peers in the stretch, trotting under the wire in 1:55.1. Favourite Rebellious Lady settled for second and Galaxy Seelster was six more lengths back in third. "She's a nice filly. She doesn't do much wrong," said Henry. "She was stronger tonight at the wire." With three wins, one third and one seventh in her five regular season Grassroots appearances, Splurge On Me leads the three-year-old trotting fillies into the Sept. 28 Semi-Finals at Woodbine Mohawk Park with 164 points. The top five finishers from each Semi-Final will advance to the Oct. 5 Grassroots Championships at the Campbellville oval. "I think there's three good fillies probably and I think she's one of them. It will just depend on post position and how things work out," said Henry about Splurge On Me's post season prospects, ranking Halo Its Me and Lefkada as the other top fillies. Henry steers Splurge On Me for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor, ON and his co-owner C S X Stables of Liberty Center, OH. The partners also bred the filly, who boosted her sophomore record to eight wins, one second, two thirds and earnings of $82,885 through 15 starts. A two-time Grassroots winner last season, Splurge On Me finished fifth in her Semi-Final and seventh in the Final and Henry would like to see the filly improve on those results this season. "She's a bigger filly now of course, but she always had good manners and everything. She's just bigger and more mature," said the Arthur, ON resident. "She can race any way, but she's better out of a hole actually. Where it might fit better is if she gets to the final and somebody's got some speed that she can follow; she's better that way actually than off the front." The other two division winners, Lefkada and Petro Hall, also advanced to the post season. Starting from Post 1, fan favourite Lefkada got away fourth as Witches N Angels led the field of seven to a :27.3 opening quarter. Witches N Angels continued to lead by the :57.1 half, but driver Scott Wray had Lefkada on the move, circling three-wide around a parked Order Mattie. On top by two lengths at the 1:26.4 three-quarters, Lefkada cruised home to a three length victory in a 1:56 personal best. Cambridge Kate finished second and Angelic Speed was third. The win was Lefkada's second in Grassroots action and her third lifetime. The E L Titan daughter was unraced at two and now has seven starts under her belt for trainer Jack Wray of London and his partners Thomas Wray of Schomberg and Douglas Dunbar of Woodstock, ON. With two wins and one eighth in three Grassroots appearances the filly wraps up the regular season with 101 points, putting her third in the point standings. Petro Hall earned her first Grassroots win in a roundabout manner when favourite Halo Its Me went inside two pylons coming off the final turn and was placed from first back to second. Petro Hall, who did all the work through fractions of :27.1, :56 and 1:25.1 and trotted under the wire in 1:55, was driven to the win by Louis-Philippe Roy. "She's a little bit of a weird filly. She's not the most consistent, but when she's good she can be among the top Grassroots fillies, like she proved tonight," said Roy. "It depends on how she feels." The Guelph resident steers the Angus Hall daughter for trainer Victor Puddy and owners Lloyd Stone of Portland, James Ruhl of Tara, Dr. Charles Hall of Erin and Michael Kwietniowski of Guelph, ON. In four Grassroots starts she recorded one win, two thirds and one fifth for a point tally of 79 and seventh spot in the standings. Grassroots action continues at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Thursday night as the two-year-old trotting fillies wrap up their regular season. The freshman fillies will kick things off at 7:10 pm in the first race and also compete in Races 6 and 8. Complete results from Tuesday's program are available at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0917wbsbsn.dat. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

MILTON, SEPT. 16, 2019 - For both Night Watchman and Mayhem Hanover, Monday night's harness racing Grassroots event at Woodbine Mohawk Park was a must win situation. Both two-year-old pacing colts sat below the cut off for a berth in the post season and to ensure their Ontario Sires Stakes campaign lasted another week they needed to grab the lion's share of the points in their respective divisions. Night Watchman kicked things off in the first $23,500 division and got away sixth from Post 3 as Delightful Terror led the field to a :27.3 opening quarter. Heading for the :56.1 half driver Trevor Henry tipped Night Watchman into the outer lane behind fan favourite National Sport and Wilsons Vinner. By the 1:24.2 three-quarters National Sport was leading the way and Night Watchman was circling out three-wide and shifting into high gear. One-half length ahead turning for home, Night Watchman opened up a two and one-half length lead on his peers by the 1:52 finish. Early leader Delightful Terror closed hard to be second, leaving National Sport to settle for third. "We had high hopes for him, but he qualified really well and then he got sick on me so I missed the first two Sires Stakes," said trainer Craig Barss. "And then he had a couple little gait issues, he was putting in steps and we couldn't figure it out, but now he's finally put it all together." Monday's win was the He's Watching son's first in six lifetime starts. Combined with a second and third from his other two Grassroots starts Night Watchman finished the season with 87 points, boosting him from twenty-fourth in the standings into a tie for sixth. Cobourg resident Barss and his partner Nurko Sokolovic of Waterloo, ON bred and own Night Watchman. The colt is the first foal from their former race mare Midnight Jet, whose siblings include $778,474 winner Stolen Car and $502,290 winner Ideal Jet. "His mother we raced and raised her, his grandmother I raced and she's been very good to me, so we decided to breed one of the daughters that wasn't that successful as a racehorse and got him," said Barss. "He's a very good size. He's very relaxed, super easy to get along with, he really doesn't do anything wrong." Night Watchman All four of Monday's winners made at least one start in the Gold Series this summer, but Mayhem Hanover spent an extended stretch battling the top colts in the province. After a runner-up effort in the Grassroots season opener the Sportswriter colt made three appearances in the Gold Series, finishing sixth twice and fifth once. Facing the prospect of not advancing to the Gold Series post season, trainer Gregg McNair opted to return the Sportswriter son to the Grassroots level for the regular season finale. Lining up at Post 2 in the last division Mayhem Hanover tucked into third as Better B Swift and Day Delight battled to a :27.1 opening quarter, but was soon aiming at the lead. On top by one and three-quarter lengths at the :55.1 half, Mayhem Hanover and driver Doug McNair maintained a comfortable advantage through the 1:24.2 three-quarters and then shifted into a bigger gear as Day Delight revved up on the outside. Mayhem Hanover refused to yield, pacing under the wire one-half length ahead of Day Delight in a personal best 1:52. Better B Swift was two lengths back in third. "He's been a nice colt all along. I just didn't want to beat him up too much when I raced him in the Golds," said Guelph, ON resident Doug McNair of the fan favourite. "He keeps getting better every start. I hope he continues it next year." Scott and Clay Horner of Toronto, ON own Mayhem Hanover, who moved from thirty-second in the standings into a tie for ninth with 75 points. The colt has tallied three wins and one second in seven lifetime starts for earnings of $36,905. Mayhem Hanover The other two divisions saw point leaders Quick Tour and My Land cruise to their third Grassroots victories. In spite of starting from the outside Post 10, Quick Tour and driver Louis-Philippe Roy carved all the fractions in the second division, ringing up a :26.4 quarter, :56 half and 1:25.2 three-quarter on their way to a one and one-quarter length win in 1:53.3. Mission Bay finished second and Better Take It rounded out the top three. "He's super gaited, just wears a pair of shin boots, and he's real smart, and mental maturity for a two-year-old is a big thing," said trainer Mark Horner. "To go race he's like an old racehorse. Some two-year-olds, it holds a lot of them back, they're not mentally mature enough to handle it." St. Mary's resident Horner conditions the homebred son of Mach Three for his partner R A W Equine Inc. of Burlington, ON. In four Grassroots starts the gelding delivered three wins and one second for a division leading 175 points. Quick Tour My Land took command of the $23,850 third division from the start and led the field through fractions of :27, :55.1 and 1:23.4 on his way to a 1:52.3 victory. Tabloid Writer finished three lengths back in second, just ahead of Bettorbuckleup. Phil Hudon piloted the fan favourite to the win for trainer Gerard Demers and owner La Ferme Tag Inc. of Papineauville, QC. With three wins and one fourth in Grassroots action, Badlands Hanover son My Land finished second in the standings with 158 points. The top 20 point earners will now battle in Semi-Final action at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept. 27, with the top five finishers from each Semi-Final returning to the Campbellville oval for the Oct. 5 Grassroots Championship. The three-year-old trotting fillies will wrap up their Grassroots regular season at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Tuesday evening, competing in Races 2, 6 and 8 on the 7:10 pm program. Complete results from Monday's program are available here OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

HANOVER, ON -  Driver Guy Gagnon and trainer Dany Fontaine teamed up to win two divisions of the two-year-old trotting colt Grassroots harness racing season finale at Hanover Raceway on Saturday night. Gagnon and Fontaine kicked off their successful outing in the second $22,450 division with Kenogami Coco. Starting from Post 3 Gagnon sent the Wheeling N Dealin son straight to the front and never saw a challenge, cruising through fractions of :30, 1:02 and 1:32.3 on their way to a three and one-half length victory in 2:03.3. Les Nessman finished second and Marbellos rounded out the top three. "Coco is a nice colt," said Fontaine, adding that he was not surprised by the young trotter's victory. "All winter he trained good, all the time." Fontaine trains Kenogami Coco for owner-breeders Jean Francois and Marie Claude Reid of Anjou, QC. Saturday's win was the gelding's first in the Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) program and boosted him from thirty-third in the division standings to eleventh with 62 points. The top 20 point earners will compete in the Sept. 27 Semi-Finals at Woodbine Mohawk Park, with the top five finishers from each Semi-Final advancing to the $50,000 Grassroots Championship on Oct. 5. In addition to the OSS program Kenogami Coco also spent the summer competing in the Future Stars Series at Hippodrome Trois-Rivieres where he won two legs and finished second in the Sept. 8 final. In seven starts he boasts a record of three wins, two seconds and one third for earnings of $38,462. Gagnon and Fontaine recorded their second Grassroots win in the third division with Laval Titan, who got away second from Post 6 and took command just after the :30.2 opening quarter. Comfortably in command through a 1:01.2 half and a 1:31.4 three-quarters, Laval Titan dug in down the stretch to secure a one-half length victory over fan favourite Ripped And Ready in 2:02.2. Franks Angel was well behind the duelling leaders in third. "He's a big horse and I knew he was good on a half, the only thing I was not sure is if he run at the gate, but when I saw him starting at the gate and he take the front, for sure the race is finished," said Fontaine of the gelding, who made early breaks in three of his first four lifetime starts. "He's starting to come mature now at the end of the season." Ecurie Gaetan Bono Inc. of Montreal, QC bred and owns Laval Titan, who hit the board for the first time in the Sept. 3 Grassroots event at Woodbine Mohawk Park and finishes just above his stablemate in tenth spot with 67 points. Fontaine is hoping the E L Titan son can maintain his steady form through the Semi-Final and deliver on the promise he demonstrated through his early lessons. "I'm very happy about him; about both you know, but him because all winter he showed me he was good - we staked him everywhere that horse. He has very nice conformation, big horse, everything, but he takes some time to come mature," said Fontaine. "He's coming, he's not perfect, but he's coming; just in time for the finals." Former Walkerton resident Mark Etsell won the last division with Secrets Justice, who was also making his first appearance in the winner's circle. Starting from Post 3 Etsell settled the gelding in fourth as Mr Arch rolled out to a :30.3 quarter and then sent Secrets Justice up the outer lane heading for the 1:01.2 half. The pair remained in the outer lane as Mr Arch trotted by the 1:31 three-quarters, but in the stretch they succeeded in wearing the pacesetter down. At the 2:01.2 finish it was Secrets Justice with a head in front, leaving Mr Arch to settle for second and fan favourite Awesomedabra well back in third. "He toughed it out today," said Etsell. "When I saw the draw I said we're in the toughest division - the horse that beat us last time (Awesomedabra) and then the two-horse (Mr Arch), he beat us in Georgian - but it all worked out so that was good." Etsell trains and drives Secrets Justice for owner-breeder Dave Husul, Arlene Husul and Nancy D'Hulster of Langton, ON. With one win and one third in Grassroots action the Justice Hall gelding wraps up the regular season tied with Kenogami Coco for eleventh in the standings. The other division went to Enduring Strength, who carved out fractions of :31, 1:03 and 1:33.3 and then battled down the stretch to a nose victory in 2:04.2. Remember Titans finished second but was placed back to fifth for causing interference in the stretch, so Youboozeyoulose was elevated to the runner-up spot with Northern Flame moving up to third. Mario Baillargeon trains and drives Angus Hall son Enduring Strength for fractional ownership group TheStable.ca's Enduring Strength group of Guelph, ON. Complete results for Saturday's program are available at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0914hnvrn.dat. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

MILTON, ON - SEPT. 12, 2019 - Southwind Frost picked up his second straight harness racing win in Grassroots action as the three-year-old trotting colts and geldings wrapped up their regular season at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Thursday evening. Sent off as the heavy favourite from Post 3, Southwind Frost watched from fourth as A Royal Line led the field to a :27.2 opening quarter. As Royale Elite took over heading for the :56.1 half, trainer-driver Michael Vanderkemp sent Southwind Frost up the outer lane behind Gold Edition. Gold Edition made steady progress forward and had a one-half length lead by the 1:24.4 three-quarters, but once Vanderkemp gave Southwind Frost a clear look at the wire the colt powered away from his rivals to a two length victory in a personal best 1:54.1. Gold Edition would settle for second but finish atop the division point standings, and P L Matt closed hard to be third. "He was pretty good there tonight," said Vanderkemp, who trains Southwind Frost for Michael Andrew of Gorham, ME. "He won pretty easy, actually probably the best he's been." Southwind Frost won his first Grassroots division on Aug. 19 at Woodbine Mohawk Park and followed that up with a third-place effort in an overnight event at the Campbellville oval on Sept. 5. Although the E L Titan colt hit the board in last week's prep race, Vanderkemp was not entirely satisfied with the youngster's effort and was looking for improvement on Thursday. "As far as last week, he was just so-so, but the track was very dry and loose last week and he couldn't really grab it in the turn, and in the stretch he kept getting pushed wider and wider," said the Fergus, ON resident. "His line was still good, but he didn't look that good. But he had a couple little excuses. "He should be good from here on in, stay good for another two hopefully," added Vanderkemp. With two wins and one second in three Grassroots appearances, Southwind Frost finished second in the division standings with 125 points and will advance to the Sept. 28 Semi-Finals at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The top five finishers from each Semi-Final will return to the seven-eighths mile oval on Oct. 5 for the Grassroots Championships. Vanderkemp noted that the quirky youngster will likely go straight to the Semi-Final from Thursday's start. "I think it's two and half weeks, so, he seems to go better fresh, so maybe we'll save it for the elimination and final," said the trainer. Wings Of Speed squeaked into a spot in the Semi-Final with a victory in the second $23,150 division, reeling in pacesetter Priceless Ruler on the final turn and accelerating away to a three and one-quarter length victory in 1:55.4. Northern Tailwind finished second and CT Conabra was third. The win was the Archangel son's first lifetime and boosted him from fifty-second in the point standings to sixteenth. Acton resident Mario Baillargeon engineered the timely victory for his brother, trainer Ben Baillargeon of Guelph, ON, and owners Legendary Standardbred Farm of Mt. Morris, NY. Magical Winner K captured the first division with a 1:54.1 personal best, trotting under the wire three-quarters of a length ahead of Judge Ken and Esa. Milton resident Sylvain Filion piloted the Kadabra colt to his fifth win of the season on behalf of trainer Rod Boyd of Cambridge and owner-breeder Robert Key of Leechburg, PA. After a pair of starts at the Gold Series level, Thursday's appearance was Magical Winner K's first in the Grassroots program, which makes him ineligible for the post season. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday, Sept. 13 with a $155,600 Gold Series contest for the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings. The first race goes postward at 7:50 pm and the talented pacing colts and geldings will face off in Race 6. Complete results from Thursday's program are available at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0912wbsbsn.dat. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

ELORA, ON - SEPT. 9, 2019 - Driver Trevor Henry and trainer Bob McIntosh teamed up to win two of five Grassroots harness racing divisions at Grand River Raceway on Monday evening. Henry and McIntosh captured the first $23,150 two-year-old pacing filly division with Miss L A, who powered up the outer lane to take on early leader Tuggingoncredit and then dug in down the stretch to hold off fan favourite Queso Relleno and Trizzle Trazzle. Miss L A won her Grassroots debut by half a length in 1:56.4. "She's a great big filly. She's kind of like a six foot six kid in Grade 8, and I look for her to be much better next year, but she's improving every start, so who knows what might happen this fall," said McIntosh of the daughter of Bettors Delight and West Of L A. "She's a big filly - she's going to be over 16 hands - and kind of rangy. Once she gets muscle on that frame, then she's going to be serious. I hope so anyway." "She definitely will be better next year, but if she can get some points in the next one (Grassroots), she will definitely be tough in the Semis," added Arthur, On resident Henry, who padded his lead in the Lampman Cup race for the leading driver in the Ontario Sires Stakes program with Monday's driving double. McIntosh shares ownership of Miss L A with Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington, ON and Deo Volente Farms LLC and Cool Cat Racing Inc. of Flemington, NJ. The Hall of Fame horseman also bred Miss L A and her illustrious siblings; Somewhere in L A and L A Delight, who have both amassed $1.7 million in their racing careers, and current three-year-old Ontario Sires Stakes star Sunny Dee. "She's different than the rest of her siblings," noted the Windsor, ON resident. "It's hard to think of what she's going to do, because she's got a big motor, I just think she'll be a better three-year-old." After settling for second with So Delightful in the second division, won by Coco Beach De Vie and driver Jody Jamieson in 1:57, Henry and McIntosh were back in the winner's circle with Even Louder. Starting from Post 1 Henry sent Even Louder straight to the front and controlled the tempo through fractions of :27.1, :56 and 1:26 on their way to a 1:57 personal best. Fan favourite Ms Brampton Beast was one length back in second and Chasethecloudsaway rounded out the top three. "The thing with that filly, she's maybe not the fastest filly in Canada, but she's the most honest filly. And Trevor gave her a hell of a drive, because he had them all kind of where he wanted them at the three-quarter pole. That was a great drive," said McIntosh, who bred and owns the daughter of Thinking Out Loud. "When he hit the half in :56 I went 'Whoa', but he got the next quarter in 30 seconds and he had them all stacked up and where he wanted them," the trainer continued. "She's the most honest filly you'd ever draw a line over, she's really good that way and super gaited, good mannered, but great drive too." Mach My Kiss and driver Doug McNair delivered the quickest mile of the five Grassroots divisions, tracking Mystic Shadow through fractions of :27.1, :56.2 and 1:25.1 before zipping up the passing lane to a one-half length victory in 1:55. Mystic Shadow settled for second and Wiggle Delight was six lengths behind the leaders in third. Monday's outing was Mach My Kiss's debut at the Grassroots level after three starts with the Gold Series fillies and trainer Robert Fellows is hoping the Mach Three daughter can deliver another strong effort in the last regular season Grassroots event at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept. 20 to finish among the top 20 point earners and advance to the post season. "She did nothing wrong all the way down, trained good, and then I started her in the Gold and that teased me, because she finished third in the first one and I left her there for a couple," said Fellows. "Now I've got to hope I can get some points in the last two here, just to try and salvage her year. She's a nice little filly." The Rockwood, ON resident trains Mach My Kiss for his wife Yolanda Fellows and Erna Corbeil of Beaumont, AB. Jody Jamieson piloted Coco Beach De Vie to her 1:57 win in the second division for trainer Daryl Roberts and owners Walter and Ruth Ann Parkinson of Lucan and Rachel Roberts of Dorchester, ON. The win was the Sunshine Beach daughter's first and Jamieson said she is finally delivering on the promise she showed when he drove her in qualifying action in June. "Daryl has been really patient with her," said Jamieson. "She was real quick in June and needed most of July to learn to handle the speed. Tonight she raced tough and rewarded Daryl for his patience." The other Grassroots division went to Siochan, who captured her first lifetime victory with a 1:55.2 effort for driver Paul MacKenzie and owner-trainer Deb O'Brian Moran of Carlisle, ON. Lady Natasha finished one and three-quarter lengths back in second and Century Gianna was well back in third. Grand River Raceway will wrap up its 2019 Ontario Sires Stakes schedule on Monday, Sept. 23 with the fourth Gold Series event for the two-year-old trotting colts. Complete results from Monday's program are available at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0909grvrn.dat. From the Ontario Sire Stakes  

ELORA, ON - SEPT. 4, 2019 - Scorched Romance kicked off the Ontario Sires Stakes harness racing action at Grand River Raceway on Wednesday evening, cruising to a three and three-quarter length victory in the first of five $22,800 Grassroots divisions for the two-year-old trotting fillies. "She's been coming up to a good mile like that," said driver Paul MacDonell. "She's been knocking at the door pretty much every week, so I expected a good race out of her tonight." Starting from Post 4 MacDonell and Scorched Romance landed in third as Validation led the field of eight to a :29 quarter. Heading for the :59.4 half the reinsman moved Scorched Romance to the outside and the fan favourites started to advance on the leaders. Scorched Romance had taken command by the 1:30.2 three-quarters and from there she simply pulled away from her peers, reaching the wire in 2:01. Peppas Angel finished second and Validation was third. "I had lots left there, she was trotting really strong at the wire even though she went kind of a tough trip," noted Guelph, ON resident MacDonell. "There's not much to her really, she's pretty automatic. Makes my job easy, that's for sure." MacDonell piloted the Kadabra daughter to her first lifetime win for trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman and owners Melvin Hartman of Ottawa, ON, Herb Liverman of Miami Beach, FL and David McDuffee of Delray Beach, FL. Driver James MacDonald won the next two divisions, piloting both Th Present and Moana to victory from Post 4. Making his first appearance in Th Present's race bike, MacDonald eased the Royalty For Life daughter away from the starting gate and watched from fifth as Queen M and fan favourite Aphrodite Duke battled to a :29.14 opening quarter. Still fifth as Aphrodite Duke trotted by the :59.1 half, MacDonald tipped Th Present out three-wide around a stalled Expelliarmus heading by the 1:30.1 three-quarters and the filly kept on rolling, catching Aphrodite Duke and then holding off Chelseas Magic to claim a head victory in 2:00.4. Chelseas Magic was second and Aphrodite Duke finished two lengths back in third.   Cambridge, ON resident Marcel Barrieau trains Th Present for his partner Gestion Mastel Inc. of Longeuil, QC. The filly was also a narrow winner in the July 14 Grassroots opener at Georgian Downs. With Moana, MacDonald went straight to the front and stole fractions of :30.1, 1:02.3 and 1:32.1 before kicking home to a 2:01.3 victory. Zakarina was one and one-half lengths back in second and Jayport Echo was for more lengths behind in third. MacDonald drives the Muscle Mass daughter for trainer Shawn Steacy of Guelph and fractional ownership group Landmark 12 of Lansdowne, numbered company 1187422 Ontario Inc. of Ottawa, ON and Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC. The win was Moana's first in four lifetime starts. "Th Present raced great. I just wanted to be careful with her leaving the gate, because I saw she had made some breaks, but she was all business tonight and when I showed her some racetrack, she knew what to do with it," said Guelph resident MacDonald. "Moana just crushed tonight. I was able to get her to the front easy, get easy fractions, and she was full of trot when I needed her." Zebs Flur also got her first lifetime win in the fourth $23,150 division. Starting from the advantageous Post 1, driver Stephen Byron went straight to the front and never looked back, cruising through fractions of :29.1, :59.3 and 1:30 on the way to a 2:00.1 victory. Fan favourite Canadian Titan was two lengths back in second and Emily Antoinette was seven more lengths back in third. "I was pretty happy with her. I was hoping for those results actually. I thought she was due," said trainer John Bax. "She's game, she really wants to, I love her attitude." Bax trains the Muscle Mass daughter for his Bax Stable of Campbellville, Don Allensen of Wyoming and Goin To The Show Stable of Peterborough, ON. The last division went to Yen and driver Trevor Henry of Arthur, ON, who got away third from Post 3 and watched Muscles Aplenty ring up a :29.1 quarter before swinging to the outside heading for the 1:00 half and taking control. One and one-half lengths ahead of her peers by the 1:29.3 three-quarters, fan favourite Yen hit the wire two and one-half lengths the best in 2:00. Enjoyin My Life was second and Kads Kiss was third. "It's always been there, she just, she's figuring it out," said trainer Julie Walker. "She's always had the head for it. All the drivers say her big quality is how smart she is." Walker trains the E L Titan filly for owner-breeder Overseas Farms Ltd. of Cambridge and the Carlisle, ON resident said there was never any pressure on Yen, who has not been worse than third in her four Grassroots appearances and was also victorious at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 30. "She is a late foal (early June) and we always had that in our head, that she didn't have to race at two, or we didn't have to race her early, but every time we trained her she did her job and just kept going," explained Walker. "That's kind of why we're still in the Grassroots." The two-year-old trotting fillies will make their last regular season Grassroots start at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept. 19. From there the top 20 point earners will advance to the Sept. 27 Semi-Finals, with the top five finishers from each Semi-Final moving on to the $50,000 Grassroots Championship at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Oct. 5. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Grand River Raceway on Monday, Sept. 9 with the fourth Grassroots Leg for the two-year-old pacing fillies. Complete results for Wednesday's program are available at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0904grvrn.dat. From the Ontario Sire Stakes  

MILTON, ON - SEPT. 2, 2019 - Ontario's talented harness racing three-year-old pacing colts wrapped up their Grassroots regular season at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Monday night and Sugartown picked up his fourth win in the provincial program to finish atop the division standings. Starting from Post 3 with Louis-Philippe Roy in the race bike, Sugartown got away sixth as Silver Beast sprinted out to a :26.4 opening quarter. Through the :54.3 half and 1:22 three-quarters clocked by HP Napoleon the heavy favourite was advancing up the outer lane behind Silas Seelster. Turning for home Sugartown was four lengths behind the leader, but a sharp finishing kick propelled him to a two and one-half length victory in a personal best 1:50.4. HP Napoleon hung on for second and The Regulator came on to be third. "Sugartown is a beautiful horse. He probably could have been a Gold, but his life is easier in the Grassroots," said trainer Richard Moreau. "I really liked Louis's drive for that win." "I was expecting a lot of early speed in the race, so it helped us that he can race good off the pace on a helmet," added Guelph, ON resident Roy. "He's turning into a nice racehorse this year." Puslinch, ON resident Moreau trains Sugartown for W. J. Donovan of Delray Beach, FL. The Sportswriter gelding won four of his five Grassroots starts and finished second by a neck in the other one. Through 19 sophomore starts the pacer has netted seven wins, two seconds and three thirds for earnings of $88,355. Moreau also trained the winner of the first $23,150 division. Late bloomer Legion Seelster made his Ontario Sires Stakes debut from Post 6 and got away smartly, taking a brief turn on the lead before settling in third behind favourite Cliffhanger and Better Moonon Over. As the colts straightened up in the stretch Legion Seelster looked like he was pinned on the rail, but when both Cliffhanger and Better Moonon Over drifted to the right, driver Sylvain Filion sent the gelding through the opening and Legion Seelster hit the wire one length the best in a personal best 1:51.3. Cliffhanger held on for second ahead of Prestige Seelster. The win was Legion Seelster's fifth in five lifetime starts. The Sunshine Beach gelding made his career debut at Grand River Raceway on July 31 and had been flawless in four overnight starts before taking his first crack at the Grassroots colts. "I figured that in his winning streak he deserved a try in the OSS Grassroots," said Moreau. "At the same time it makes him eligible to the class 'horses who participated in the Grassroots' for the rest of the year. To be honest I didn't expect to win in 1:51.3." Legion Seelster learned his early lessons under the tutelage of Gaston Bibeau of Sorel-Tracy, QC, who shares ownership of the gelding with Ecurie CSL, also of Sorel-Tracy. Dreamfair Moxy scored his third Grassroots win with a 1:52 effort in the second division. The Bettors Delight son and driver Travis Cullen took control early and held off a surging Sportsline for the three-quarter length victory. Fan favourite Priceless Beach settled for third. Jodie Cullen of Dundas trains Dreamfair Moxy for John Lamers of Ingersoll, ON. With three wins and one second in four Grassroots starts, Dreamfair Moxy will head into the Sept. 28 Semi-Finals ranked second with 175 points. The last Grassroots division of the sophomore pacing colts' season went to fan favourite Fast N First who took control early and made it look easy, cruising home a three and one-half length winner in 1:52. Loud Splash closed well to be second and Carsons Shadow rounded out the top three. Campbellville resident Chris Christoforou drove Fast N First to his second straight Grassroots win for trainer Blake MacIntosh of St. George and his partners Ridgeway Racing of Ridgeway and Steve Heimbecker of Conestogo, ON. The Bettors Delight colt started his season with a pair of starts at the Gold Series level before finding his footing in the last three Grassroots events. He heads into the post season ranked fourth with 125 points. "He's just borderline Gold and racing those three top guys up there is pretty tough so we dropped him down and he's gotten brave again and seems good," said MacIntosh. With almost four weeks between Monday's event and the Semi-Finals, Fast N First and his peers will be looking for prep races and MacIntosh said the colt might take a step back up the stakes ladder for his interim effort. "I just read an article where the top five Jug horses aren't going," explained the trainer, who won the 2018 Little Brown Jug with Courtly Choice. "He might go to the Jug, because he's eligible. We might take him there or we might just overnight him, we haven't decided yet. It's a big step up, but when you read the top five Jug horses aren't either eligible or aren't interested in going, you sort of think about that." The Little Brown Jug goes postward in Delaware, Ohio on Sept. 19. Sugartown is also eligible to the historic event. No matter where they do their preparations, the top 20 point earners will return to Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept. 28 for two $20,000 Semi-Finals. The top five finishers from each Semi-Final will then advance to the $50,000 Grassroots Championship at the Campbellville oval on Oct. 5. Complete results from Monday's program are available at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0902wbsbsn.dat. From the Ontario Sire Stakes  

CLINTON, ON - SEPT. 1, 2019 - Clinton Raceway wrapped up its 2019 season on a high note Sunday afternoon with the 39th annual Charity Driver's Challenge and four OSS $22,800 Grassroots divisions for the two-year-old harness racing pacing colts. The first seven races were dedicated to the driver's challenge, which benefitted the Royal Canadian Legion branches in Clinton, Seaforth, Wingham and Brussels. The top four drivers from Clinton Raceway, Colin Kelly, Scott Wray, Natasha Day and Ryan Holliday, competed against four of the top drivers from Woodbine Mohawk Park, Sylvain Filion, Louis-Philippe Roy, Jonathan Drury and Jody Jamieson, with each driver looking to amass the most points through seven starts Louis-Philippe Roy got off to a quick start, winning the first two races, and finishing second to defending champ Jody Jamieson in the third. Canada's leading reinsman Sylvain Filion romped to an 11 length win in the fourth race and Natasha Day edged out Roy for the win in the fifth. Roy looked to have things well in hand, but the early leader finished last in the final two legs and Filion finished first. Filion took the win with 175 points through the seven races, Roy was second with 158 and Jamieson was third with 117. Once Filion had been crowned the winner of the Charity Driver's Challenge, which raised over $12,000 for the Royal Canadian Legion branches, the freshman pacing colts stepped to centre stage. Bettorbuckleup and driver Mike Saftic won the first $22,800 division with a sharp front end effort from Post 3, sailing home two and three-quarter lengths the best in 1:57.2. Usurper finished second and Twin B Watch Me was third. "He's been in the Gold a couple times, but he's just kind of a fringe payer in the Gold," said trainer Eric Adams. "He's got all kinds of go, but he's not quite a Gold horse so we're going to tackle the Grassroots and see if we can get to the Grassroots Semi-Final." Adams trains the son of Bettors Delight for Millar Farms of Stouffville, ON. The win was the colt's first in Ontario Sires Stakes action and his second through seven starts. In his three Gold Series appearances Bettorbuckleup's best finish was a second at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 15. Century Grizzly has competed in all four of the Grassroots Legs this season and earned his first provincial victory with a track record equalling effort at Clinton on Sunday. With Jody Jamieson in the race bike the fan favourite controlled all the fractions, cruising through a :28.3 quarter, :59 half and 1:28 three-quarters on his way to the 1:57 victory. Sundown Kid was one and one-half lengths back in second and Bee Two Bee was three lengths back in third. The mile matched the 1:57 track record set by Thinkofagameplan in Grassroots action on Aug. 31, 2014. "He's turned the corner a bit. He was a slow starter, but he's figuring it out," said Jim Ritchie, who trains the Sunshine Beach colt for Paul Ritchie of Mono, ON. "He was always fast but he was goofy, like playing around and whinnying at horses, but he's starting to figure it out." After finishing no better than third in his first four starts, Century Grizzly recorded his first victory on Aug. 22, touring Woodbine Mohawk Park in 1:54.1. Sunday's win bumped him up among the top 20 point earners heading into the last regular season Grassroots event at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept. 16. The top 20 point earners from the five regular season events will advance to the Sept. 27 Semi-Finals, with the top five finishers from each Semi-Final earning a berth in the Oct. 5 Grassroots Championship. In the third division, Doc Fanelli also took a front-end tour to the Grassroots winner's circle, battling down the stretch to a three-quarter length victory in 1:58.4. Fan favourite Gentry Seelster settled for second and Walk It Talk It rounded out the top three. Sunday's win was the Badlands Hanover son's second. He also won his career debut at Georgian Downs on June 29. "He was kind of lazy horse training down and after his first qualifier it just kind of clicked," said owner-trainer Kyle Bossence of Arthur, ON. "Great gaited, paced without the hopples right from Day 1, he just did what you asked him to do. He wasn't an overachiever, but he's kind of catching the hang of it now and wanting to go a little more." Colin Kelly, who finished the 2019 meet as Clinton Raceway's top reinsman, drove Doc Fanelli to the win. The reinsman - along with Clinton's leading trainer Andrew McCabe - was presented with his trophy just before he drove Doc Fanelli to the win. Captivate Hanover wrapped up the fourth Grassroots Leg and the 2019 Clinton meet with a 1:57.3 victory in the last division. The Bettors Delight son and driver Phil Hudon sat behind pacesetter Needless To Say through fractions of :29, :57.3 and 1:28.2 before sprinting down the stretch to a one and one-half length victory in 1:57.3. Mr Cheeseman finished second and Disneyman was third. "He put in a big effort, that's for sure. He got a little steppy from time to time, but he's quick and everything so he was able to make up for it," said trainer Shawn Steacy of the fan favourite. "He's just a nice horse. He comes to play all the time, so that's why we like him." Steacy trains Captivate Hanover for Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC, Stephen Klunowksi of North York, ON and James Feeley of Pine Bush, NY. The colt was also victorious in the July 5 Grassroots season opener at Woodbine Mohawk Park and currently sits second in the division standings with 116 points. In addition to supporting the Royal Canadian Legion through a bake sale, 50-50 draw and silent auction, fans wagered a total of $67,417 on the races, the biggest handle of Clinton Raceway's 2019 meet. Complete results for Sunday's program are available at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0901clntnn.dat. 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  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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