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OCT. 12, 2016 - Mohawk Racetrack hosts the $2 million Ontario Sires Stakes Super Finals on Saturday, Oct. 15 and trainer Mark Steacy will cap off a career best year in the harness racing program by sending out starters in four of the eight division championships. With 263 points, Steacy is poised to capture his first Johnston Cup title as the top trainer in the Ontario Sires Stakes program. Heading into the season finale Steacy has a 39 point lead on reigning title-holder and eight-time winner Robert McIntosh and sits 42 points ahead of three-time winner Gregg McNair. He and his staff have harnessed 128 starters in the provincial program to date for 14 wins, 13 seconds, 20 thirds, 28 fourths, 12 fifths and earnings of $573,540. "I'm pretty proud of that," said Steacy of his career-best statistics. "Again, that's not just me, that's the staff too. "First of all you've got to have the great owners and then you've got to have the great help," the horseman added. "These guys work hard, and if it wasn't for them the results wouldn't be the same." In addition to his season-long Ontario Sires Stakes success, Steacy achieved a major milestone in August when his career earnings surpassed $20 million. Both accomplishments are part of a decade-long evolution in Steacy's operation that started when son Shawn joined the business. "It all happened probably in the last 12 years; we were kind of low key until about 12 years ago," said Steacy, a lifelong horseman who was introduced to harness racing by his father Clarke, Sr. "After Shawn graduated out of school and came on with me I was able to keep horses and race them rather than sell them, which I used to do before. I used to develop them, race them a few times in Ottawa or Montreal, and then sell them." For several years Shawn supervised a temporary operation near Mohawk during the peak months of the Ontario Sires Stakes season, but last fall father and son decided it was time to establish a more permanent base at the First Line Training Centre in Nassagaweya, ON. "Shawn was up here all winter this year. We've come up before with half a dozen or 10 horses and stayed for three or four months, and we've done that for 10 years or so, but we've never stayed all winter until this year," explained Steacy, who was honoured with the O'Brien Award for Horsemanship in 2007. "We're going to be here again all winter. I'll do my babies at home in Lansdowne, but we'll keep the older horses up here." Steacy has already acquired 18 yearlings and expects that number to climb as high as 25 before the sales season wraps up. While Shawn, who now makes his home in Guelph, ON, handles the older horses, Steacy will have the support of his younger son Clarke, Jr. when it comes time to start the yearlings. "I have Clarke on board too," said Steacy, adding that Clarke, Jr. has decided to switch his focus from catch-driving to training for the time being. "He's actually running the Lansdowne outfit right now, and so I think that's going to help us to even get to another level." All three men are currently focussed on finishing the Ontario Sires Stakes season on a high note, ensuring Dream Massive, Sass, Royal Charm and Nocturnal Bluechip are in peak shape for their respective $250,000 Super Finals on Saturday. Two-year-old trotting colt Dream Massive will kick things off from Post 6 in the first Super Final, and his connections are hoping the son of Muscle Mass minds his manners after making breaks in his last two Gold Series starts. "We trained him this morning (Wednesday), and he trained good, so hopefully," said Steacy, who conditions the colt for Michael Soehnlen of Dalton, OH. "I thought we had him sorted out there and he went out and made a mistake again last time. He just got bully in the hole. Off and on he's showed that he does have quite a bit of ability, but he can be his own worst enemy." Three-year-old trotting colt Sass gets Post 3 in the fifth Super Final of the card and Steacy is hoping the Kadabra colt has bounced back from a viral infection that showed up after the Oct. 6 Gold Leg at Mohawk. "He still got fourth, but that was his worst start," noted Steacy, who put the colt on a course of antibiotics after the race. "Hopefully he'll be good to go on Saturday; I think a healthy Sass has got a shot. Obviously you've got to have that thing called luck on your side, but if it is then I think he's got a shot." Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC bred and owns Sass, who has earned $177,980 in his career to date. Sophomore trotting filly Royal Charm landed Post 4 for her last Ontario Sires Stakes start and will be looking to continue the hot streak she has been riding through the last six weeks. After a pair of third-place finishes in the Simcoe Stakes and her Elegantimage Elimination, the daughter of Steacy's former superstar Majestic Son scored an upset win in the $436,000 Elegantimage Final and then finished second in the last Gold Leg. "She's finally coming together for us. We always knew she had a lot of go to her, and she's been behaving herself, touch wood, lately," noted Steacy. "As long as she does that, she's not a big horse getting off the gate, but she can always kick home good. "If she races respectable I think then she is eligible to the Breeders Crown, and I think the Matron, so it's possible that we could finish the year off with that," added the trainer, who conditions the winner of $341,462 for David McDonald of Cornwall, ON, Shelly MacMillan of Waterloo, ON, Hudson Standardbred Stables Inc. of Hudson, QC and Bridle Path Stables Ltd. of Ossining, NY. "We'll just have to see how Saturday goes first." Steacy's final entry comes in the three-year-old pacing colt showdown with Nocturnal Bluechip lining up at Post 9, alongside the reigning division champion Betting Line, who gets the outside Post 10. "He's got a tough post and he probably needs a better post more than them all," said Steacy of the Bettors Delight son. "He's been kind of a letdown this year, you know, a horse that's got lots of speed but just hasn't done what we expected of him. The way he's going, he's going to have to trip out really well." Landmark 8 Racing Stable of Kingston, ON, Jane Phair of Thornbury, ON and NLG Racing Stable of Wallkill, NY share ownership of Nocturnal Bluechip, who heads into the Super Final with lifetime earnings of $225,901. Guelph resident James MacDonald will steer Nocturnal Bluechip, Dream Massive and Sass, while Paul MacDonell, also of Guelph, pilots Royal Charm. Mohawk Racetrack's first race goes postward at 7:30 pm on Saturday, with the eight $250,000 Super Finals slated as Races 2 through 5 and 7 through 10. In addition to the on track excitement, Mohawk fans will receive an Ontario Sires Stakes ball cap when they purchase a program and can play the fun-filled OSS Trivia Spin and Win game for more great prizes. Ontario Racing

SEPT. 14, 2016 - Carl Jamieson has decades of experience preparing horses for the Ontario Sires Stakes post season and the harness racing trainer says three-year-old pacing filly Noone To Depend On is in peak form heading into Friday's Grassroots Semi-final at Mohawk Racetrack. "She should be shaping up real good," said Jamieson. "She's ready to rock and roll." Noone To Depend On scored three wins and one third in her four regular season Grassroots outings for a division leading 162 points and has a sophomore record of four wins, two seconds and one third in 14 starts. The daughter of Santanna Blue Chip and Tipsy Taters has added $49,810 in earnings to the $48,480 she earned as a two-year-old, when she finished second in her Semi-final and fourth in the Grassroots Championship. "I think she's a lot better than she was last year," noted Jamieson. "She had some growing problems last year and this year she's been sound all year and racing really good." The Rockwood resident shares ownership of Noone To Depend On with his daughter Brandy Jamieson, who makes her home in Milton, ON. A one-quarter share in the filly was Brandy's birthday gift last year, an annual tradition Jamieson admits comes packaged with an ulterior motive. "I usually give her a piece for her birthday. Means I don't got to pay no paddock fees on them then," said Jamieson with a chuckle. "She usually paddocks her own horses." Making it a full-on family affair, Moffat, ON resident Jody Jamieson drives the filly for his father and sister and will steer Noone To Depend on from Post 6 in Friday's $20,000 Semi-final. She heads into the test off a mini-vacation following her win in the August 21 Grassroots event at Rideau Carleton Raceway. "I told him, you've got to take this filly, she's on the top of her game," said Jamieson, who has had to find substitute reinsmen in seven of the filly's 14 starts. "We've been keeping her pretty fresh all year really. We didn't race her a lot, just trying to keep her right and sound for the Grassroots Final." Once the Grassroots post season wraps up Jamieson will give Noone To Depend On one start against the Gold Series fillies, on Sept. 30 at Mohawk Racetrack, before sending her to Harrisburg for the November mixed sale. The horseman typically sells his three-year-olds to make room for yearlings, although he has scaled back from the days when he would send out 20 to 30 starters per year in the Ontario Sires Stakes program. "We only had eight babies all last year, to start with. We qualified six, one we stopped with, and then a couple others I made the decision we had to turn out, they weren't good enough," noted the trainer, who added that he will start shopping for this season's yearlings at the Sunday, Sept. 18 Canadian Yearling Sale. Noone To Depend On goes postward in the second three-year-old pacing filly Semi-final on Friday, slated as Race 4. The top five finishers from each Semi-final will return to Mohawk on Saturday, Sept. 24 for their $50,000 Grassroots Championship. The three-year-old trotting fillies will kick off the sophomore Grassroots Semi-final battles at 7:30 pm on Friday, competing in Races 1 and 6. The trotting colts wage their battles in Races 2 and 8, while the pacing fillies go back-to-back in Races 3 and 4. The three-year-old pacing colts wrap things up in Races 9 and 12. Friday's event completes the Semi-final round - the two-year-old finalists will be determined on Thursday evening - which advances the top five finishers from each Semi-final into the $400,000 Grassroots Championship Night at Mohawk on Sept. 24. Ontario Racing

With the continued strength of the Ontario Sires Stakes program and the $2 million Owners’ Bonus beginning in 2017, Ontario Sired harness racing colts and fillies will once again be hot commodities at the fall yearling sales. Between the Grassroots Series and Gold Series, the Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) program will pay out an estimated $13 million in 2017. In 2016 horses in each Grassroots division raced for $18,000, while Gold Series competitors in each leg split $210,000 between divisions. Post season action will see the Grassroots contenders compete in $20,000 Semi-finals and a $50,000 Championship for each age-sex-gait category, while the Gold Series Super Finals go postward for $250,000. “The OSS program continues to offer owners a great avenue to maximize the earning potential of their OSS eligible two and three-year-olds,” said Walter Parkinson, president of the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association. “The incentive to buy Ontario Sired and/or Ontario Bred yearlings has never been better,” Parkinson continued. “Without leaving the province to race, owners will be eligible to earn a pro rata portion of a $2 million Owners’ Bonus, based on their earnings in overnight races.” Starting in 2017 owners of Ontario Sired or Ontario Bred two and three-year-olds will share in the $2 million purse bonus. Owners of horses that are both Ontario Sired and Ontario Bred will receive double the bonus. In addition to the clear benefits of racing in Ontario, throughout 2016 Ontario Sired horses once again demonstrated their ability to compete on the North American stage. Three-year-old pacing colt Betting Line captured his Somebeachsomewhere division, the North America Cup, Carl Milstein Memorial and Battle of the Brandywine, in addition to four Gold Series legs, and three-year-old pacing filly L A Delight won the Nadia Lobell. Three-year-old trotting fillies Caprice Hill and Emoticon Hanover swept their Casual Breeze and Simcoe divisions, while Celebrity Eventsy won her Hambletonian Oaks elimination and the Moni Maker, and Flowers N Songs captured the Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial. The 2016 aged pacing mare division has been dominated by Ontario Sires Stakes graduates Lady Shadow and Solar Sister. Lady Shadow claimed victory in the Golden Girls and Lady Liberty, while Solar Sister captured the Sam ‘Chip’ Noble III Memorial Pace and the Artiscape. Both mares, in addition to Betting Line, Caprice Hill and L A Delight, surpassed the million dollar mark in earnings in 2016. “Ontario Sired horses continue to excel in Grand Circuit action on both sides of the border,” said Parkinson, “Continually proving the quality of the Ontario Sired product.” Buyers hoping to acquire one of next season’s Ontario Sired superstars can find them at the following yearling sales: The Canadian Yearling Sale: Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016 Forest City Yearling Sale: Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale: October 4 to 8, 2016 The Black Book – Harrisburg: November 7 to 11, 2016   Shape the future, become an SBOA Director All those interested in helping the SBOA work toward a healthy and sustainable Standardbred breeding industry are invited to submit a nomination for the position of director. The SBOA Board is comprised of 12 members, with four directors elected each year for a term of three years. All voting members are eligible for nomination as a director, with elections taking place at the Annual Meeting in January 2017. Complete details and nomination forms are available at www.standardbredbreeders.com or from any current director and must be received at Box 371, Rockwood, ON N0B 2K0 no later than 5:00 pm on December 1, 2016. (SBOA/Sandra Snyder)

SEPT. 7, 2016 - Facing the end of his Ontario Sires Stakes career, three-year-old trotting gelding Windsun Missile came up with his first Grassroots win of the harness racing season at Grand River Raceway on Wednesday evening. Starting from Post 5, trainer-driver Per Henriksen dropped Windsun Missile onto the rail in fourth as fan favourite Wildwild Men stepped out to a :28.1 opening quarter and a :58.3 half. Heading for the 1:27.4 three-quarters Henriksen was able to follow driver Steve Byron and Rose Run Rudi up the outer lane, and rolling off the final turn he shifted Windsun Missile into overdrive. The gelding fired around the leaders and hit the wire three-quarters of a length on top in a personal best 1:57.2. JLs Bad Moon Risin and Mass Balance also closed well to be second and third. "He's pretty quick off of cover like that, especially when he's good," said Henriksen. "When he's no good, he's absolutely no good, but right now he's very good." The wayward trotter picked the perfect time to improve, as Wednesday's win boosted his Grassroots point total to 71, good enough for a top 20 spot in the standings and a berth in the Sept. 16 Semi-finals. "He's just not a very smart horse," said Henriksen. "In a race he's perfect, two fingers in the race, but home training he can be a little aggressive and warming up he can be aggressive. You just put him on the gate, turn him loose, let him take care of himself, and in the race he's two fingers, absolutely perfect." Through 11 sophomore starts Windsun Missile has accumulated two wins, one second, one third and earnings of $26,280 for owners Steve Organ of Aurora, Asa Farm of Norwood and Darryl Drain of Tweed, ON. The partners acquired the son of Kadabra and Windsun Hampton from the 2014 Harrisburg Yearling Sale for $40,000 as a result of Henriksen's long association with the gelding's maternal family. "The family, I love this family," Henriksen explained. "I had three or four sisters and brothers to the mother, and they keep on going forever. So I think he'll be a horse that you want to try to keep, because they seem to make money all the time, and just keep on plugging and keep on plugging." While Windsun Missile's connections were celebrating his first Grassroots win, Golden Son captured his fourth and moved to top spot in the point standings with 205 points. Starting from Post 7 in the midst of a downpour, driver Sylvain Filion sent Golden Son straight to the front and the fan favourite rang up fractions of :29.1, :59.4 and 1:30.4 on his way to a three length victory in 2:00. V For Victory finished second and Asterix was third. "To me he is the best," said trainer Richard Moreau of his star pupil. "I drove from Montreal to Grand River today and he didn't disappoint me. We are looking forward to the next one." Golden Son will lead the top 20 point earners to the Sept. 16 Semi-final at Mohawk Racetrack, where he will look to finish in the top five and advance to the Sept. 24 Grassroots Championship. Puslinch, ON resident Moreau conditions the Majestic Son gelding for Gary and Fay Clark of Oriskany Falls, NY. The other two division winners captured their second Grassroots trophies of the season at Grand River Raceway on Wednesday, assuring them both of a post season berth. Dynamic Edge and driver Doug McNair went gate-to-wire in the first $18,000 division, trotting across the finish line in a personal best 1:57.1. Dewy Dont Cheat finished two lengths back of the favourites in second and Chestnut Schofield was two more lengths back in third. "He's a nice gaited, big, strong trotter," said Guelph resident Doug McNair. "He went a big trip tonight. He's been getting sharp the last three starts." The reinsman's father Gregg McNair of Guelph conditions Dynamic Edge and shares ownership of the Muscle Mass gelding with numbered company 1187422 Ontario Inc. of Ottawa, ON. Muscle Ave captured his second straight Grassroots victory in the other division, taking command just after the half and cruising home to a one and one-half length victory in 1:56.1. Fan favourite Makers Mass finished second and Tough Get Going was well back in third. Mississauga resident Roger Mayotte piloted Muscle Ave to the win for trainer Ben Wallace of Puslinch and his partner Larry Ainsworth of Petrolia, ON. The win improved the Muscle Mass gelding's sophomore record to three wins, two seconds and one third in 14 starts for earnings of $48,370. The top point earners will now begin preparations for the Sept. 16 Semi-finals, in hopes of advancing to the $50,000 Grassroots Championship on Sept. 24. Both the Semi-finals and the Championship take place at Mohawk Racetrack. Grand River Raceway fans have one more opportunity to catch some of Ontario's finest in action when the Elora oval hosts the fourth Gold Series division for the two-year-old pacing colts and pacing fillies on Monday, Sept. 19. Ontario Racing

SEPT. 4, 2016 - Flamboro Downs kicked off its 2016 Ontario Sires Stakes schedule on Sunday evening with the Grassroots regular season finale for the harness racing three-year-old trotting fillies. The first $18,000 Grassroots division rolled in behind the Flamboro Downs starting gate in the sixth race and Sunrise Avenue powered straight to the front from Post 3 and never looked back, ringing up fractions of :29.1, :59.4 and 1:29.4 before reaching the finish in 1:58.4. The Power Of Many and Anneli Hanover were two and one-quarter lengths back in second and third. The reason why I dropped her back down into the Grassroots is she hasn't been strong enough for me this year," said trainer-driver Rick Zeron. "I've really struggled with keeping her strong and that's the reason why she was back in the Grassroots tonight, because she can handle the Grassroots." Sunrise Avenue started her sophomore campaign at the Grassroots level, posting one sixth and one second-place result, then moved up to the Gold Series level for two starts, where she finished seventh in both efforts. Zeron conditions the daughter of Kadabra and Miss Wisconsin for his partners Millar Farms of Newmarket, James Walker of Port Perry and Noblock Racing Stable of Collingwood, ON, and says the partners are confident the filly will eventually mature into a stronger trotter. "I will move horses from time to time, put them in sales and stuff like that, and I really want to keep this filly, because I think, if she can develop over the winter, I think she's going to be an open trotting mare for me next year as a four-year-old," the Oakville, ON resident explained. In the short term, Sunday's victory extended Sunrise Avenue's Ontario Sires Stakes season through the Sept. 16 Grassroots Semi-final at Mohawk Racetrack. All three of Sunday's winners will compete in the Semi-finals in spite of spending time competing at both the Gold and Grassroots levels this summer. In the second division, Could It Be Magic returned to the Grassroots after one start at the Gold level and picked up her second Grassroots win. The Kadabra daughter powered out to the front from Post 2 and led the field through fractions of :28.3, :58 and 1:27.2 on her way to a season's best 1:57.1. Fan favourite Magical Valentine settled for second, six and one-quarter lengths behind Could It Be Magic, and Moonlight Cocktail was two more lengths back in third. Trainer-driver Wayne Henry of Arthur shares ownership of Could It Be Magic with Fred Brayford of Alliston, and the partners have been disappointed that the filly has not regained the freshman form that saw her win six of 10 starts and bank $195,156. "She didn't come back this year the way that we'd hoped," said Brayford. "I think she's got a couple of wins in the Grassroots, but that's about it." Through eight sophomore starts Could It Be Magic has tallied two wins and two seconds and earned $27,000. She wraps up the Grassroots regular season with 125 points, good enough for a top 10 ranking in the division standings. Myretirementticket went to the top of the standings with her third Grassroots win of the season in the last division. In rein to Paul Mackenzie the Cornaro Dasolo daughter controlled the tempo through fractions of :28.4, 1:00, 1:28.2 and sailed home a one length winner in a season's best 1:57.4. Windsong Magic and Roadmapper rounded out the top three. "You go out, you parade her, you score her down, she's good, and put her nose on the gate and she knows what it's all about," said Mackenzie. "So she's not hard to drive, she's really good for a trotter to drive, she's very consistent, and if you ask her to leave she can leave, or you take her back, do whatever you like, she's handy. She's just a real nice filly in that class." Like Sunrise Avenue and Could It Be Magic, Myretirementticket dabbled in the Gold Series, making two starts and netting two fifth-place cheques from her battles against the division's top tier fillies. "He said he tried her in the Golds, but she can't go with Caprice Hill and them, so he put her back in the Grassroots, she's real competitive here," said Puslinch resident Mackenzie, who piloted the filly to victory for trainer-owner-breeder Eli Wagler of Ingersoll, ON. "She's been really good to him from a two-year-old right up to now." The other 17 top point earners will join Sunrise Avenue, Could It Be Magic and Myretirementticket in the Sept. 16 Semi-finals, with the top five finishers from each Semi-final earning a berth in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 24. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Flamboro Downs on Thursday, Sept. 8 with the last regular season Grassroots event for the exciting two-year-old pacing colts. Racing gets under way at the Dundas oval at 6 pm. Ontario Racing

AUGUST 30, 2016 - When harness racing trainer Ben Wallace lost eight two-year-olds in the January 4 barn fire at Classy Lane Training Centre, the Puslinch resident expected to spend the summer stakes season watching from the sidelines. Thanks to the support of his owners and other members of the harness racing industry, that has not been the case and on Tuesday evening at Mohawk Racetrack Wallace posted his first Ontario Sires Stakes victory of the season. In rein to Mississauga resident Roger Mayotte, who also lost four horses in the fire, three-year-old trotting gelding Muscle Ave made his way up the outer lane from Post 9 and then sprinted down the stretch to catch pacesetter Mass Balance by a neck. Mission Man finished third in the 1:56.1 mile. "It was a bit of a surprise to be honest. He's kind of been a bit of a disappointment for the last three or four races - and I don't put that all down to his fault, there were some things that I may have done that I shouldn't have and changed some things on him - but he's come around and he looks like tonight he's the horse that I actually bought into, so I'm pretty happy," said Wallace. "I mean he was out the whole mile and I think he came a pretty good quarter finishing too." The 1:56.1 clocking was a personal best for Muscle Ave, who has tallied two wins, two seconds and one third in 13 starts this season for earnings of $39,370. The victory, along with a pair of fourth-place finishes in his first two Grassroots outings, gives Muscle Ave 66 points and puts him among the division's top 20 with one regular season event remaining. The top 20 point earners at the end of the six regular season events will advance to the Semi-finals at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 16, with the top five from each Semi-final earning a berth in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship at Mohawk on Sept. 24. "He's got one more (Grassroots) start I guess next Wednesday (Sept. 7), I don't think he's even in the hunt to get in the final, but if he wins again I think he might be," said Wallace. "Another win and that would put him right into the mix, and then who knows what happens. We're pretty happy with him anyway, he'll be a nice useful for horse for a couple years to come I think, so we're looking forward to it." Wallace shares ownership of the Muscle Mass son with Petrolia, ON resident Larry Ainsworth, who moved the trotter into Wallace's barn as soon as the trainer resumed operations. "Larry's great, I mean I lost everything last winter and he was one of the first guys on board," said Wallace, who lost 17 horses in the fire, along with all of his equipment. "I'm very thankful to Larry Ainsworth for helping me out, to get started back up again. He was one of the very first phone calls I received, and I certainly appreciated it, and he dropped me off a couple of nice horses, and well, the rest is history, as they say." Thanks to the support of people like Ainsworth and long-time owner Brad Grant of Milton, among others, Wallace has built his stable back up to 15 horses and competed in both the Ontario and Pennsylvania Sires Stakes programs this summer. Tuesday's victory was one small milestone in the trainer's journey back to full operating capacity. Muscle Ave In addition to Muscle Ave, Golden Son, Gonna Fly and P L Jerico all posted Grassroots victories at Mohawk on Tuesday. Golden Son delivered his third Grassroots win and eighth victory of the season in the first $18,000 division, going gate-to-wire from Post 1 for driver Trevor Henry. The Majestic Son gelding stopped the teletimer at 1:55.3, reaching the wire one-half length ahead of Agent Dinozzo. Innovative Force was two more lengths back in third. Arthur resident Henry piloted Golden Son to the win for trainer Richard Moreau of Puslinch, ON and owners Gary and Fay Clark of Oriskany Falls, NY. Golden Son Division point leader Gonna Fly sprinted from eighth to first in the final quarter of the third Grassroots division, hitting the wire in 1:57. Dynamic Edge and Zlatan were one length back in second and third. Milton resident Steve Condren drove Gonna Fly to his third Grassroots win for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor and his partner Earl Hill, Jr. of Ohsweken, ON. In 10 sophomore starts the Kadabra colt has four wins and two seconds for earnings of $44,900, and leads the three-year-old trotting colt standings with 175 points. Gonna Fly The final Grassroots trophy was awarded to P L Jerico, who took control before the half and cruised to a three and one-quarter length victory in 1:55.4. French Bastille and JLs Bad Moon Risin completed the top three. It was the first Grassroots win for P L Jerico, who is trained by Matthew Dupuis for owner-breeder Prince Lee Acres of Uxbridge, ON. Campbellville resident Mike Saftic engineered the victory, the Manofmanymissions gelding's fourth. P L Jerico The three-year-old trotting colts will wrap up their regular season at Grand River Raceway on Wednesday, Sept. 7. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday, Sept. 1 with the last regular season Grassroots event for the three-year-old pacing colts. The colts will battle for a post season berth in Races 4, 7, and 9. Post time at the Campbellville oval is 7:30 pm. For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

AUGUST 29, 2016 - Georgian Downs will wrap up its 2016 live harness racing schedule on Tuesday by giving fans an opportunity to visit the Ontario Sires Stakes winner's circle. Fans can select their favourite horse in the third two-year-old pacing filly Grassroots division by placing their "Be A Winner" contest ballot in the horse's ballot box. One "Be A Winner" finalist will be selected from each ballot box and each finalist will receive an Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) t-shirt, ball cap and lanyard badge, along with a $15 win-place-show wager on their chosen horse. After cheering home the sixth race contestants, the finalist representing the victorious filly will join in the winner's circle celebrations for a commemorative photograph. The winning finalist will also receive a trophy, an OSS jacket and golf shirt, and a $50 wagering voucher. Among the fillies hoping to be part of the "Be A Winner" celebrations is Sheer Talent, who will start from Post 6 in the third $18,000 Grassroots division. The Badlands Hanover daughter heads into the race off a locked-in sixth-place result in the August 22 Grassroots event at Mohawk Racetrack, and trainer Carmen Auciello believes she is poised for a big outing. "Actually, I think she's good enough to win," said the Stouffville, ON resident. "Last week, if she gets room anywhere, she's probably in the top three easy. So I'm looking forward to seeing her at Georgian, because she can get around any size track, and I think she's a real nice filly." Robert Burgess of Cedar Valley, ON owns Sheer Talent, who was a $20,000 purchase at last fall's Forest City Yearling Sale. The filly was a 1:56.2 winner in an overnight event at Mohawk on August 4, but has yet to crack the top three in three Grassroots outings. "Two of the Grassroots at Mohawk she was locked in, and never had a chance to get out, I think we had a fifth and a sixth, and the one time we did give her a shot she came up sick," said Auciello. "So if you look at her lines, she's a lot better than her lines show." Jonathan Drury will steer Sheer Talent in the sixth race, and the Guelph, ON resident will also be aboard her stablemate Mystical Moon from Post 1 in the second Grassroots division. "She kind of needs it, she has a bit of gate speed, but not quite enough to overcome a tough post," said Auciello of the filly's advantageous starting position. "Looks like she's going to be right beside the favourite (Anderson Seelster) and hopefully follow her all the way around, that would be nice." After a second-place result in the July 8 Grassroots season opener at Mohawk Racetrack, Mystical Moon tested the Gold Series waters, finishing eighth in the July 18 event at Mohawk. Back at the Grassroots level the Mach Three daughter made a break and finished ninth at Mohawk on August 11 and was sixth in the August 22 event at the Campbellville oval. "She's a racehorse," said Auciello about Mystical Moon, a $14,000 yearling purchase from the Forest City Yearling Sale who he co-owns with Stephen Klunowski of North York, ON. "I mean she's never been real flashy, she's a little bit lazy, but she looks like she's one that might develop into a nicer three or four-year-old once she fills out. Right now, she has the speed; she's just still learning what it's all about. "Sheer Talent's a better filly right now, she's just a lot more developed and a lot more mature," added the trainer. "If you look at her, she looks like a four-year-old, whereas the other one (Mystical Moon) looks like a two-year-old, so physically she's a lot more developed. I wouldn't say mentally she is, that's kind of what's holding her back. She can look at something and jump over it or just make breaks for no reason, that's her only downfall." Tuesday's test is the fifth on the two-year-old pacing filly Grassroots calendar, with the regular season finale slated for Sept. 8 at Flamboro Downs. The top 20 point earners at the conclusion of the regular season will advance to the Sept. 15 Semi-finals at Mohawk Racetrack, with the top five finishers from each Semi-final earning a berth in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship at Mohawk on Sept. 24. The fillies will compete in Races 3, 5 and 6 on Tuesday's program, with the first race rolling in behind the Georgian Downs starting gate at 7:15 pm. In addition to the Grassroots and "Be A Winner" excitement, Georgian Downs will also announce the winner of the season-long Habitat for Humanity 50/50 draw and treat fans to $1 hot dogs and pop starting at 6 pm. Ontario Racing

AUGUST 28, 2016 - The second straight night of Ontario Sires Stakes action at Georgian Downs featured five $18,000 Grassroots divisions for the harness racing three-year-old trotting fillies. Windsong Magic opened the festivities with her first ever Grassroots victory, taking control of the race before the halfway marker and sailing home one and one-quarter lengths ahead of her peers. The 1:57.4 clocking was a personal best for Windsong Magic, who was piloted to the victory over Treasure Gifts K and Stonebridge Peace by Thornton, ON resident Steve Byron. "She's a lineman, not a wide receiver," said trainer John Bax. "So she can go all day, but she's not going to go any 26 second quarters, that's for sure. "She's just had a lot of bad luck and had a few issues," Bax added. "But things worked out finally." In the five starts prior to Sunday's outing, Windsong Magic had drawn three Post 10s and two Post 7s at Mohawk Racetrack and finished no better than fourth. Sunday's victory vaults the daughter of Kadabra and Diamond Image up the point standings and with one regular season event remaining, Bax hopes the sister to $765,386 winner Windsong Espoir can earn a berth in the Grassroots post season. "I don't know how that does with the points, but we'll try to get in the top 20," said the Campbellville, ON resident, whose other four starters all finished third. "The next Grassroots is at Flamboro, and if she draws the rail, that'll help." Breeder Paulette Loyens of London shares ownership of Windsong Magic with Kristine Hill of Ohsweken, ON. Through 17 starts the filly has tallied five wins, two seconds and one third for earnings of $46,240. The quickest mile of the five Grassroots divisions was clocked by Magical Valentine in Race 4. In rein to trainer Jack Moiseyev, Magical Valentine powered to the front just past the half and accelerated away from the field to a 10 and one-half length victory in 1:56.2. P C Cantore and Bax trainee Windsongmusclelady finished second and third. "She impressed me tonight," said Moffat, ON resident Moiseyev of the filly's first start on Lasix. "She made a big move up the backside and kept trucking." The win was Magical Valentine's second in Grassroots action this season and moved her into second spot in the division standings with 138 points. The daughter of Kadabra and Renees Pockets is owned by breeders M T Pockets Stables of Pompano Beach, FL and improved her record to three wins, two seconds and one third in eight sophomore starts, for earnings of $36,520, with Sunday's win. "She's learned how to settle down and sit in a hole a little better and learned how to be a racehorse," said Moiseyev of the filly, who made just one start as a two-year-old. "She's a pleasure to be around all week, nice on the track, just a good attitude." Magical Valentine could make her next start against open stake competition in the Sept. 2 Simcoe Trot at Mohawk Racetrack, which would leave the door open for several of her peers to pad their point totals in the Sept. 4 Grassroots event at Flamboro Downs. In addition to Windsong Magic, Roadmapper, Traviata and Trumpets all scored their first Grassroots victories at Georgian Downs on Sunday evening. Roadmapper and driver Rick Zeron of Oakville took control just after the half and then held off fan favourite Magical Steph in the stretch to secure the one-half length victory in 1:57.2. Bax trainee Miami Magic was four and three-quarter lengths back in third. Zeron engineered Roadmapper's first Grassroots win, in just her second provincial start, for trainer Robert Robinson and owners Jacqueline Dinelle of Metcalfe, ON and David Reid of Briarcliff Manor, NY. In 22 starts the Holiday Road daughter has five wins, three seconds and five thirds for earnings of $33,846. In the fourth division Traviata benefitted from a pocket trip behind True Muscle, stepping out in the stretch to best the pacesetter by one-half length in 1:58. Bax trainee Very Classy was six more lengths back in third. Norwood resident Per Henriksen piloted Kadabra daughter Traviata to the first Grassroots win of her three-year-old campaign for trainer Ann Karin Larsen of Norwood and her partners Steve Organ of Aurora, Tor Jan Larsen and Stig Westrum of Norwood. The final Grassroots trophy was awarded to Trumpets, who pulled away from the field at the half and trotted home to a four and one-quarter length victory in 1:57.3. Pointe Shoes and Bax trainee Moonlight Cocktail finished second and third. Joe Pereira conditions Trumpets for The Merks Stable of New York, NY and Arthur, ON resident Trevor Henry piloted the Holiday Road daughter to her second win of the season. The three-year-old trotting fillies will wrap up their regular season at Flamboro Downs on Sept. 4, with the top 20 point earners at the end of the six regular season events advancing to the Sept. 16 Semi-final at Mohawk Racetrack. The top five finishers from each Semi-final will compete in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship at Mohawk on Sept. 24. Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Georgian Downs on Tuesday, Aug. 30 with three Grassroots divisions for the two-year-old pacing fillies and the "Be A Winner" contest. The first race goes in behind the gate at 7:15 pm and the freshman pacing fillies will compete in Races 3, 5, and 6. Ontario Racing

AUGUST 15, 2016 - A moment of pique almost cost Stuck In My Spanks a Grassroots trophy at Mohawk Racetrack on Monday evening, but the harness racing  two-year-old trotting filly mounted a remarkable recovery to earn her first Ontario Sires Stakes win. Starting from Post 7 in the second $18,000 Grassroots division, Stuck In My Spanks went off stride soon after the gate had pulled away from the field of nine. As Jilona took the fillies by the quarter in a sharp :27.4, Stuck In My Spanks and driver Paul MacDonell were 30 lengths behind the leader. By the :58.1 half they had gained back seven lengths and by the 1:29 three-quarters they were just seven lengths behind leader Inner Drive. Turning for home Stuck In My Spanks was three and three-quarter lengths off the pace, but when Guelph resident MacDonell asked her for another gear she dropped into overdrive and powered to a one-half length win in 1:59.1. Early leader Jilona was second and Hilarious Honey was three more lengths back in third. "She's scary fast; she's just got a little bit of an attitude. She gets a little mad, and that's what she did tonight," said trainer Scott McEneny. "It's very frustrating, because I know I didn't give much money for her, but I know she's one of the top fillies, I think, because she's got tons of speed. She just gets kind of a little silly with her mouth, and she got a little mad and shook her head and just made a break." McEneny acquired Stuck In My Spanks from last year's Harrisburg Yearling Sale for a bargain $3,500. Through four starts the daughter of Manofmanymissions and Puta Ring On It has recorded two wins and banked $19,500, but the trainer thinks she has the potential to accomplish much more. "Hopefully we can get her figured out here, because I think she's got some big money to go for, and I think she can go with the good ones," said the Waterdown resident. "We're going to try and do a couple little things here, but in a couple weeks we'll hopefully race her in the Champlain and then the Peaceful Way, if she behaves herself and gets on the right foot." McEneny trains Stuck In My Spanks for his wife Michelle McEneny of Waterdown and Teresa Davidson of Milton, ON. The filly started her Ontario Sires Stakes career at the Gold Series level, posting one fifth and one seventh. Stuck In My Spanks The other three division winners also arrived at Monday's test from the Aug. 2 Gold Series event at Mohawk, where they enjoyed varying levels of success. Powerful Mission won her Grassroots debut at Mohawk on July 21, and then moved up to the Gold Series for the Aug. 2 event, where she made a late break and finished eighth. Back in the Grassroots on Monday, the filly floated away from Post 9 and cruised up the outside until she took control heading by the halfway marker. From there the outcome was never in doubt as Powerful Mission reached the finish four and one-half lengths on top in a personal best 1:58. McEneny trainee and fan favourite You Cant Afford Me finished second and Late Shift was third. "She's a nice filly with a great attitude. I scored her out and had her on the bit more, because last start I didn't have her on the bit, and the track was also a little deeper, and I asked her too quickly," said driver Phil Hudon of Guelph, ON. "I believe she has a lot of potential." Hudon steers Powerful Mission for trainer Kevin St. Charles and owners E C S Racing LLC of Rockford, MI. In four starts the daughter of Manofmanymissions and The Power Of Magic now has two wins and earnings of $18,700. Powerful Mission Like Powerful Mission, Anikadabra won her Grassroots division on July 21 and moved up to the Gold level for the Aug. 2 event. Anikadabra finished third against the Gold fillies, but trainer Rob Fellows opted not to repeat the experience and returned the daughter of Kadabra and Anikawiesahalee to the Grassroots on Monday. Starting from Post 6, Anikadabra took control before the half and cruised to a five and three-quarter length win in a personal best 1:59. The heavy favourite bested Crystal Gumdrop and Stritch. "She's a very versatile filly. I could have sat her in a hole and moved her, but I saw that Sylvain (Filion and Crystal Gumdrop) got up to the front, so I just kind of floated up and cleared around him and man, she did the rest by herself," said driver Rick Zeron. "She's getting to be, she's not green anymore, she's smart, she's like driving an aged three-year-old filly now, you know, she just does everything that you ask her." Rockwood resident Fellows conditions Anikadabra for owner-breeders Edward Wilson of Seagrave, ON and Michael Pozefsky of Saratoga Springs, NY. In four starts the filly now has two wins and one third for earnings of $27,840. Anikadabra The final division went to Magic Presto, who also has one win and one second in Gold Series action to her credit. The daughter of Kadabra and In The Mean Time sprinted by the leaders to a 1:58.2 victory, four and three-quarter lengths ahead of Royal Witch and Northern Oath. "She looked very comfortable and professional," noted trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman. "She's heading in the right direction." New Jersey resident Norman trains Magic Presto for Melvin Hartman of Ottawa, ON, breeder Herb Liverman of Miami Beach, FL, David McDuffee of Delray Beach, FL and Little E LLC of New York, NY. Arthur resident Trevor Henry has piloted the filly to her two and one record. Magic Presto The final two-year-old trotting filly Grassroots event will go postward at Mohawk on Sept. 5, but several of Monday's competitors could appear in the Sept. 1 Champlain Stakes at the Campbellville oval. Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday, Aug. 18 with two $105,000 Gold divisions for the three-year-old trotting fillies. Post time is 7:30 pm.   Ontario Racing

AUGUST 13, 2016 - Hiawatha Horse Park celebrated the Ontario Sires Stakes program on Saturday, hosting three divisions of harness racing two-year-old trotting colts in their fifth Grassroots event. After two seconds and one third in his first three Ontario Sires Stakes outings, Zorgwijk Rocket finally found his way to the winner's circle with a 2:01.2 victory in the first $18,000 Grassroots division. In rein to trainer Joe Hudon, Jr., the gelding floated away from Post 7 and landed fourth on the rail as Critical Mass and Mr Marshmellow battled to a :29.1 opening quarter. Once the dust had settled, Hudon sent Zorgwijk Rocket to the front and the fan favourite cruised through a 1:01.3 half and 1:31.1 three-quarters on his way to a one and one-quarter length victory over Yo Yo Mass. Head Turning Jag was well back in third. "He's been pretty consistent," said Hudon. "He wants to be a trotter, he don't want to be a breaker or anything like that. "If I can get them around you know they're pretty good gaited," added the horseman, wryly. Zorgwijk Rocket made his debut in the July 20 event at Grand River Raceway, where he finished second, followed that up with a third-place result at Mohawk Racetrack on July 28, and then returned to the first runner-up spot in the Aug. 4 event at Rideau Carleton Raceway. A $13,000 purchase from the 2015 Canadian Yearling Sale, the gelding has banked $20,160 in his first five starts. "This horse has got a little bit of speed, but he's not a Gold, he's just a nice Grassroots horse," said Hudon, who shares ownership of Zorgwijk Rocket with R A W Equine of Burlington, ON. "He's got a big gait, his size - he's medium for a trotter. He'll grow, he's grew like six inches since we bought him probably," the Acton, ON resident continued. "He's not very mature yet, he's lean, so once the Sires Stakes are over we'll give him a good rest so he'll mature quite a bit." Saturday's win bumped Zorgwijk Rocket's point total to 112, putting him in fourth spot in the division standings with one regular season event remaining. The top 20 point earners will earn a spot in the Sept. 15 Semi-finals at Mohawk Racetrack. Also boosting his chances of landing a Semi-final berth was More Than Majestic, who posted a 2:03.3 victory in the second division. Starting from Post 4 with Clarke Steacy at the helm, More Than Majestic was third when fan favourite Kitarro reached the quarter in :29.2. Steacy tipped the gelding into the outer lane heading for the 1:03.2 half and continued to press the pace through the 1:33 three-quarters. Turning for home Steacy shifted More Than Majestic into another gear and the gelding powered by Kitarro to a one and one-quarter length victory. Charmbo Chrome was four lengths back in third. "He always showed some ability, but just needed some race luck," said trainer Mark Steacy of More Than Majestic's first lifetime victory. "I'm sure the Landmark 9 (Racing Stable) owners will be very happy." More Than Majestic is owned by the 42-member Landmark 9 Racing Stable of Kingston, ON, Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC and Bridle Path Stables Ltd. of Ossining, NY. The Majestic Son gelding was a $40,000 purchase from the 2015 Harrisburg Yearling Sale. The final Grassroots trophy of the evening was awarded to Santini, who grabbed control of the race just after the quarter pole and never looked back, sailing home to a four and one-half length victory in 2:02.1. Persuaded and LMC Mass Gem battled it out for second and third. Richard Simard crafted the win, the colt's second straight in Grassroots action, for trainer Stephen Oldford of Croswell, MI and his partner Gene Oldford Farms LLC of St. Clair, MI. A son of Kadabra, Santini was a $40,000 acquisition from the Lexington-Selected Yearling Sale, and he currently sits fifth in the division standings with 100 points. The two-year-old trotting colts will wrap up their regular season at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 5. The top 20 point earners after the six regular season events will advance to the Sept. 15 Semi-finals, and the top five finishers from each Semi-final will compete in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship on Sept. 24. Ontario Racing

AUGUST 12, 2016 - Ontario Sires Stakes action arrives at Hiawatha Horse Park on Saturday evening with three $18,000 Grassroots divisions for the harness racing two-year-old trotting colts and six OSS prize draws for fans. Mark Steacy will start colts in the first two divisions and the leading trainer in the Ontario Sires Stakes program is hoping for solid performances from both Majestic Streak and More Than Majestic. Majestic Streak will start from Post 2 in the first division and makes just his second start of the season after spending the month of July battling a virus. "I kind of liked him when I qualified him. We started him in the Gold and he was kind of border-line so we dropped him down, but unfortunately he got sick. Two times he had the rail and he got sick and I had to scratch him both times," recalled Lansdowne, ON resident Steacy. "And then, because of the two scratches, we had to re-qualify and start over again, but he seems to be healthy now so I'm expecting him to do well." Steacy shares ownership of Majestic Streak with David Reid of Glenburnie, ON, and the partners also bred the Majestic Son and Throw A Party colt. The trainer's son Clarke Steacy will steer both Majestic Streak and More Than Majestic, who gets Post 4 in the second division. "I think he had the eight-hole last time at Rideau, so he never really got into the race, before that he raced a nice fourth. I think he's got a decent shot," said Steacy of More Than Majestic. "I think he fits there nice, he just needs a couple breaks to hopefully finish up a little closer." In three Grassroots outings the son of Majestic Son and Hawaiian Viva has posted one second, one fourth and one sixth. Landmark 9 Racing Stable of Kingston, ON, Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC and Bridle Path Stables Ltd. of Ossining, NY share ownership of the gelding, who was a $40,000 acquisition from the Harrisburg Yearling Sale last fall. The freshman trotting colts will battle in Races 3, 6, and 9 on Saturday's program, and during breaks in the on-track action Hiawatha Horse Park fans will have six opportunities to win an official Ontario Sires Stakes jacket and ample time to enjoy the track's annual corn roast. In addition to the six prize draws and savoury corn, fans who purchase an official program will receive an Ontario Sires Stakes ball cap. Saturday's first race goes behind the Hiawatha Horse Park starting gate at 7 pm. Ontario Racing

AUGUST 11, 2016 - Six divisions of talented three-year-old pacing colts will battle at Kawartha Downs on Saturday and one lucky Ontario Sires Stakes fan will be in the centre of the harness racing action. By placing their "Be A Winner" contest ballots in the box representing their favourite horse in Race 7, eight fans will have a chance to win an Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) t-shirt, ball hat and lanyard badge, and a $15 win-place-show wager on their chosen horse. Those finalists will cheer on their horses from trackside and the finalist representing the victorious horse will join his connections in the winner's circle for a commemorative photo. The winning finalist will also take home a trophy, an OSS jacket and golf shirt, and a $50 wagering voucher. Among the colts hoping to be in the centre of the action on Saturday is Lock N Reload, who heads into the first $18,000 Grassroots division off a trio of victories over the Kawartha Downs oval. Peterborough resident David Gibson trains and co-owns Lock N Reload and says the son of Bettors Delight has flourished at his local oval in the last six weeks after starting his career with four starts at Mohawk Racetrack. "He's learning how to be a racehorse, which was very important," said Gibson. "Bringing him back to Kawartha was probably the best thing I did, because he got to race with horses that he could race with and beat, and he's gotten pretty cocky ever since." Lock N Reload will make his Ontario Sires Stakes debut from the outside Post 8, facing off against a field of seven Grassroots veterans, including three-time runner-up Derecho from Post 6. "Really, the reason he's even here is because it was at Kawartha and it's only 15 minutes down the road from where we stable, so we thought we'd give it a chance," explained Gibson. "Unfortunately, drawing the eight-hole, I'm not sure I'm going to really see what I really wanted to see." Gibson shares ownership of Lock N Reload with Glenn Tarver of Scarborough, ON. The long-time partners purchased the gelding from the 2014 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale for $20,000 and after qualifying him in the fall of his freshman season decided to postpone Lock N Reload's debut until this spring. "I qualified him, and both him and his training partner Bet Till Dawn got sick, and it was getting later in the season and I just decided that it was probably better just to quit with them and start fresh this year," recalled the horseman. "They both seemed like they had a little talent, so I thought instead of racing them if they were sick, and maybe causing some damage, I better just stop when I did." Since making his debut at Mohawk on May 30, Lock N Reload has tallied three wins in seven starts for earnings of $7,050. His personal best 1:57.2 came in his August 6 effort at Kawartha. Regular reinsman Reg Gassien of Lindsay will be in the race bike for the gelding's Grassroots debut on Saturday and Gibson says Gassien can map out whatever course suits him when the gate pulls away from the fourth race field. "He can race pretty much any way you want to," noted Gibson. "He's becoming a little more aggressive since he's actually gotten braver, but nothing that's going to hurt him or anything like that." The trainer said Lock N Reload's performance on Saturday will determine whether he follows the Grassroots program to Georgian Downs for the fifth leg, or remains at Kawartha Downs in overnight company. "I'll see how he races against this group and then decide from there," said Gibson. Lock N Reload and his peers will kick off the Grassroots action in Race 4, with the other five $18,000 divisions going behind the Kawartha Downs starting gate in Races 5, 7, 9, 10 and 11. First race post time at the Fraserville oval is 7 pm. Ontario Racing

AUGUST 8, 2016 - Driver Trevor Henry went on a tear at Mohawk Racetrack on Monday night, winning three of five Grassroots divisions for the harness racing three-year-old trotting colts. Henry kicked off his successful evening in the first $18,000 Grassroots division, guiding Nofear Blue Chip to a one length victory in a personal best 1:54.4. After getting away fourth from Post 4, Henry sent Nofear Blue Chip to the front heading by the halfway marker and the gelding sailed along unchallenged through the second half of the race. Fan favourite Muscles For Life finished second and Defi Normand was six lengths back in third. "I drove him last year, I thought he was always a nice colt," noted Henry. "He's coming around, he's had a lot of problems, but he's good right now." The win was Nofear Blue Chip's first in Ontario Sires Stakes action and comes in his first Grassroots start. The Deweycheatumnhowe gelding competed in the Gold Series as a two-year-old and made two starts at the Gold level this season, finishing third in the June 27 leg and eighth in the July 11 leg, both at Mohawk, before dropping down to the Grassroots level for Monday's start. "I guess they didn't figure he was good enough for the Gold so they dropped him down," added Henry, who crafted the win for trainer Paul Reid of De Leon Springs, FL and owner Norah Parks of New Lowell, NJ. "He raced really good tonight." Nofear Blue Chip The Arthur, ON resident returned to the winner's circle following the third Grassroots division, piloting Mass Balance to a hard fought gate-to-wire victory in 1:56.4. Fan favourite Mass Balance kept a nose in front of a hard-closing Asterix at the wire, and was one length ahead of third-place finisher Bow Ties N Bourbon. "He's kind of the same way, a nice colt, but he's just not good enough for the Gold," said Henry. "He's a big gaited horse, he's well mannered... he's a Grassroots horse." Rob Fellows of Rockwood conditions Mass Balance for Synerco Ventures Inc. of Toronto, ON. Like Nofear Blue Chip, Mass Balance started his sophomore campaign in the Gold Series, posting one fourth and one sixth in the first two legs. Monday's victory was the Muscle Mass son's first this season, and gives him a total of one Gold Series and two Grassroots victories in his two-year Ontario Sires Stakes career. Mass Balance Henry capped off his Grassroots driving hat trick in the fourth division with Muscles Bound, who powered out of the pocket to earn his first-ever Ontario Sires Stakes trophy. The Angus Hall son hit the wire one length ahead of Midnight Toker and French Bastille in a personal best 1:56.3. "I'd never drove the horse until a couple weeks ago. He raced good there against overnight horses, I knew he had a pretty good shot tonight," said Henry. "He got a good trip." Wayne Langille of Harley trains Muscles Bound for Randall Crosby of Princeton and Dale Sparks of Woodstock, ON. In 12 starts this season the gelding has tallied four wins, one second and three thirds for earnings of $35,450. Muscles Bound The other two Grassroots trophies went home with Golden Son and Manofmanyimages. Golden Son and driver Sylvain Filion of Milton, ON took control of the second division just after the opening quarter and never relinquished the lead, scoring a one length victory over P L Jerico and Are You In. The Majestic Son gelding halted the Mohawk teletimer at 1:56.1. "Touch wood, he seems like a sure bet," said trainer Richard Moreau of Puslinch, ON, who took over training duties from owner Gary Clark in late June. "He's a horse with a big heart. He knows his job and, just like me, he loves to win." Oriskany Falls, NY residents Gary and Fay Clark own Golden Son, who also won his Grassroots debut at Mohawk on July 12. In 12 starts Golden Son has only finished out of the top three on one occasion, logging seven wins, one second and three thirds for earnings of $41,500. Monday's win was the gelding's fifth straight. Golden Son The final division went to Manofmanyimages, who swept off the rail in the stretch to reel in the pacesetters and claim his third Grassroots victory in a personal best 1:55.2. Pacesetter Gonna Fly settled for second, one length behind the winner, and fan favourite Agent Dinozzo was two more lengths back in third. Guelph resident James MacDonald piloted the Manofmanymissions gelding to the win for trainer John Bax of Campbellville, ON and owners Richard Gutnick of Blue Bell, PA, T L P Stable of Kearny, NJ and Joseph Lozito Jr. of Wayne, NJ. Manofmanyimages has been flawless in Grassroots action this season and leads the division standings with 150 points. Manofmanyimages The three-year-old trotting colts will be looking to add to their Grassroots point totals when they make their fourth start on Sunday, August 21 at Clinton Raceway. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Mohawk Racetrack on Tuesday evening with the fourth Grassroots leg for the three-year-old trotting fillies. The fillies will wage their Grassroots battles in Races 2, 3, 5, and 7. Post time at the Campbellville oval is 7:30 pm. Ontario Racing

Saturday’s harness racing action including four divisions of two year old filly trotters competing in the Ontario Sires Stakes.  Saturday also includes a visit from the OSS staff who will conduct the “Be a Winner” contest.   Fans can fill out a ballot in their program and put it in a box associated with the horse they think will win Race 6.   Then after race 4, 1 person from each box will be selected and will receive a five dollar win place and show ticket on their horse, and if their horse wins, they’ll get another prize package including an OSS jacket and a $50 dollar betting voucher for the rest of the program. Saturday is also Country 93 day which means the finalists in the Survivor contest from July will be back trying to outlast each other and win a 55 inch High Def TV from Country 93 and HDTV in Walkerton. And if that’s not enough,  the Rotary club will be on hand conducting a 50-50 draw with a prize expected to be over 700 dollars.    Post time is 7:15pm.  

JULY 30, 2016 - With four divisions settled by a margin of one length or less, Ontario's talented three-year-old pacing colts did their part to warm-up the big harness racing crowd gathered for Hanover Raceway's signature event, the Dream Of Glory Trot, on Saturday evening. The colts kicked things off in the first race and Kokanee Seelster found his way to the Grassroots winner's circle for the first time this season with a head victory over Spirit Shadow in 1:56. Perseverant finished one length back in third. Alfie Carroll of Iona Station engineered the narrow win for trainer Richard Moreau of Puslinch and owners Edmund Lui of Parkhill, ON and Ming Siu of Richmond, BC. "A big win thanks to Sir Alfred Carroll," quipped Moreau. "The horse is honest and game, he had some issues at first, but he seems to be good now. I'm happy for the owners." A three-time Grassroots winner as a two-year-old, including his Semifinal, Kokanee Seelster's best Ontario Sires Stakes finish prior to Saturday's victory was a fourth-place effort at Mohawk Racetrack on July 1. Through 12 sophomore starts the son of Camluck and Kiddie Cocktail now has four wins, two seconds and earnings of $59,590. The second $18,000 Grassroots division went to Daylight Rush, who scored his first ever Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) win with a gate-to-wire effort that saw him hold off Mayfield Duke by a neck. The colts hit the wire in 1:55.4, with Chalk Player one and one-quarter lengths back in third. "About a month ago I wasn't sure he was going to win any races, now he's reeled off like three this year, so I can't complain," said trainer Blake MacIntosh of Cambridge, ON, who shares ownership of the gelding with Hutt Racing Stable of Paoli, PA. "He was sort of a bridesmaid for a long time, but he's come around and started to learn how to win, so we're pretty happy with him." Billy Davis Jr. of Guelph piloted the fan favourite to the win, boosting his sophomore record to three wins, two seconds and five thirds in 13 starts. The son of Art Colony and Pass With Caution adds Saturday's Grassroots win to one third and one fifth-place finish in the first two legs, giving him a total of 67 points in the race for a berth in the Sept. 16 Semifinal. Blue Zombie set the tempo in the third division and held off a surging Derecho at the wire to earn his first Grassroots trophy of the season. The Bettors Delight-Queen Of Blues son and driver Brad Forward halted the teletimer at 1:55.1, a head in front of Derecho and one length up on Bad Gamer. "He's been racing just fair this year. I thought he would have done better, but sickness hit my barn the worst I ever had this year, and it really took its toll on him," said trainer Casie Coleman. "Saying that, he seems to be coming around for the second half of the season, and he loves the half also, so that helps him." The Cambridge resident shares ownership of Blue Zombie with her partners in the West Wins Stable of Cambridge, ON and Howard Taylor of Philadelphia, PA. Through nine sophomore starts the gelding now has four wins, one second and earnings of $24,740. St Lads Moonwalk and driver Mike Saftic of Campbellville, ON clocked the quickest mile of the five Grassroots divisions, leading the field through fractions of :28.1, :58.1 and 1:26.3 before powering home to a 1:54.3 score. Day Trade Hanover finished one and one-quarter lengths behind the fan favourite and Sporty Mercedes was five more lengths back in third. "If they were all like him it would be a lot more fun," said owner-trainer Jack Darling of Cambridge, ON. "He tries every time and he's just a very honest horse, which is all you can ask out of a racehorse." The Grassroots champion last season, St Lads Moonwalk finished second in the first two legs, by one-half length on June 16 and a neck on July 1. The son of Mach Three and Warrawee Cammy currently sits second in the point race, just 12 points behind his stablemate Continual Hanover, who finished third in the last division. OK Iceman upset the favoured Continual Hanover with a front end effort that saw him hit the wire one length the best in 1:56.3. Big Yellow was a gritty second and Continual Hanover closed hard to be third. Billy Davis Jr. got his second Grassroots win of the evening with OK Iceman, piloting the Mach Three-Fanciful gelding to his first OSS victory for trainer Mark Steacy of Lansdowne, ON and owners Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC and Conrad Leber of Montreal, QC. "Iceman has been a very pleasant surprise this year," noted Steacy. "He was very lazy at two, but has become handy this year." The three-year-old pacing colts will make their fourth Grassroots start at Kawartha Downs on August 13. Two races after the pacing colts had waged their last Grassroots battle, the finalists for the Dream Of Glory trot paraded in front of the enthusiastic Hanover Raceway fans and, in short order, fan favourite Wildwild Men was back in front of the grandstand being crowned the 15th winner of the half-mile oval's marquee race. An eight length winner in their elimination last Saturday, Wildwild Men and driver Robert Shepherd went straight to the front from Post 4 and never looked back, hitting the wire one and one-half lengths the best in 1:58.2. P C Cantore, owned and trained by Dobbinton, ON resident Peter Clements, finished second and Very Classy was third. Wildwild Men is trained by Isabelle Darveau for delighted owners Catheline Pelletier of Mirabel, QC and Chantal Gravel of St-Cyrille-de-Wendover, QC. Gravel also bred the son of Muscle Mass and Seeyouinthecircle, who extended his win streak to four with the Dream Of Glory triumph. Ontario Racing

JULY 29, 2016 - It took longer than expected, but Delcrest Magicstar finally made her debut at Grand River Raceway on Friday and the two-year-old trotting filly went home with a harness racing Grassroots trophy and the fastest clocking of the three Ontario Sires Stakes divisions. Starting from Post 1 with co-owner James MacDonald in the race bike, Delcrest Magicstar eased away from the starting gate and was sitting fourth when Late Shift reached the opening quarter in :30.3. The filly continued to watch from fourth as fan favourite Hab Faith took over top spot, leading the field to a 1:00.4 half, but heading for the 1:31.4 three-quarters MacDonald tipped Delcrest Magicstar to the outside and the filly had a chance to show off her skills. Powering around the final turn Delcrest Magicstar grabbed control from Hab Faith and accelerated down the stretch to a one and one-half length victory in 2:02.1. Late Shift stepped out of the pocket to claim the second-place share of the $18,000 purse and Hab Faith settled for third. "We were really happy with her," said MacDonald, who was joined in the winner's circle by the victorious "Be A Winner" contest finalist. "She trots beautiful, she's built like a tank, she looks like a good horse when you look at her, so hopefully she keeps progressing." Friday's outing was Delcrest Magicstar's first, following a win and a second in qualifiers at Mohawk Racetrack on June 16 and July 1. The filly was originally heading for the Grassroots season opener at Georgian Downs, but a bout of sickness pushed her debut back by three weeks. "She got brutal sick," said MacDonald, who shares ownership of the filly, a $30,000 purchase from the Canadian Yearling Sale, with trainer Johnathan McKinnon of Guelph and Peter Porter of Port Dover, ON. "She was yellow snot pouring out of her, and coughing, and it was two weeks before he (McKinnon) could get it cleaned up, two different kinds of antibiotics, and she was off her feed. It was horrible." The filly finally started to rebound from the sickness last week and when they trained her in preparation for Friday's test McKinnon and MacDonald knew she was back on her game. "She trained awesome the other day," said the Guelph, ON resident. "I trained with Johnny and she blew by me down the lane and so we were kind of hoping she'd put together a good performance." Now that she is healthy, the only obstacle standing in Delcrest Magicstar's way could be her attitude. MacDonald said the daughter of Majestic Son and Stars Balance has a beautiful gait, but is not naturally inclined to give the extra effort that often separates the top horses from those in the lower tier. "She's got a bit of an attitude. Johnny always went with her and he was really high on her, but she just doesn't do anything extra," explained MacDonald. "After she qualified, I said, 'She's right on the verge of being a real nice horse, or not a very good horse.'" The second Grassroots division also saw a filly making her debut trot into the winner's circle. Starting from Post 6 with fan favourite Crystal Gumdrop, Grand River Raceway's leading driver Bob McClure employed a strategy similar to MacDonald's. The pair sat fourth as Parkhill Nocredit reached the quarter in :30.1, and had rolled to the outside before the 1:02.2 half. By the 1:33.2 three-quarters Crystal Gumdrop had pulled to within one length of the pacesetter and when McClure asked her for another gear the Angus Hall miss powered away to a three and one-quarter length victory in 2:03.3. Parkhill Nocredit settled for second and Man Shes Hot was four more lengths back in third. "She's a nice filly. She behaved very well for her first lifetime start," said Elora, ON resident McClure. "I didn't push her until late, but she had a lot of pop when I did." McClure crafted the win for trainer Jeff Gillis of Everett and his partners Mac Nichol of Burlington, ON and Gerald Stay of Buffalo, NY. The trio acquired the daughter of Angus Hall and Crystas Dream for $13,000 from last fall's Harrisburg Yearling Sale. The last division saw Inner Drive record her second straight Grassroots win with a gate-to-wire romp in 2:07.1. Hopeswishesndreams finished two and one-half lengths back in second and Oh Miss Sophie recovered from an early break to take third. Alfie Carroll of Iona Station engineered the win for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor and his partners Dave Boyle of Bowmanville, ON and C S X Stables of Liberty Center, OH. The homebred daughter of Kadabra and Urge To Splurge boasts a record of two wins and one second in four starts for earnings of $21,500. She sits atop the two-year-old trotting filly Grassroots standings with 102 points. The freshman trotting fillies make their fourth Grassroots start at Hanover Raceway on August 6. Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Grand River Raceway on Monday, Aug. 1 as part of the track's signature Industry Day program. The three-year-old pacing fillies will battle for Gold Series glory in Races 2 and 6, warming up the crowd for the $107,800 Battle of the Belles Final for two-year-old pacing fillies in Race 10 and the $159,500 Battle of Waterloo Final for two-year-old pacing colts in Race 11. The afternoon's festivities kick off at noon, with the first race going to the gate at 1:30 pm. For more information about Industry Day visit http://grandriverraceway.com/industry-day-2/. Ontario Racing

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