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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

JULY 21, 2016 - Mohawk Racetrack hosted the second Grassroots event for the two-year-old trotting fillies on Thursday evening and harness racing fans welcomed three first-time Ontario Sires Stakes winners back in front of the grandstand. In the first $18,000 Grassroots division, Mohawk fans wisely overlooked the mistake made by Inner Drive in the July 10 season opener and sent the Bob McIntosh trainee off as their top choice. The Kadabra daughter trotted smoothly away from Post 2 and was sitting second when Parkhill Nocredit hit the opening quarter in :29.4. Driver Paul MacDonell opted to send the favourite to the front, but Inner Drive was only in command briefly before Hab Faith came calling. Hab Faith took control just past the 1:00 half and continued to lead the field to the 1:29.1 three-quarters, but once the fillies squared up in the stretch Guelph resident MacDonell tipped Inner Drive out of the pocket and the long-legged lass was able to reel in Hab Faith and secure a neck victory in 1:59.4. Parkhill Nocredit was two and one-quarter lengths back in third. "She's a nice big filly with a great pedigree who should improve with each start," said trainer McIntosh of Inner Drive, whose mother, Urge To Splurge, is a half-sister to former Ontario Sires Stakes superstar Text Me, who was the Super Final champion in both 2010 and 2011 and earned $931,853 in his career. Windsor resident McIntosh bred and shares ownership of Inner Drive with Dave Boyle of Bowmanville, ON and C S X Stables of Liberty Center, OH. In three starts the filly has tallied one win, one second and $12,500. Inner Drive The second Grassroots division saw the fan's second choice, Powerful Mission, reel in fan favourite Man Shes Hot to earn her first victory. The Manofmanymissions daughter and driver Phil Hudon sprinted down the stretch to a 1:59.2 clocking, three lengths ahead of Man Shes Hot and pacesetter Whole Lot Of Sugar. "She's a nice filly. She run last week, but I liked her a lot," said Guelph resident Hudon, who salvaged a fifth-place finish in an overnight event at Mohawk on July 14 after the filly made an early miscue. "She has a great attitude and trots nice, she was well in hand." Michigan-based trainer Kevin St. Charles conditions Powerful Mission for owner E C S Racing LLC of Rockford, MI. Thursday's outing was Powerful Mission's second start and her first appearance in the Grassroots program. Powerful Mission The final Grassroots trophy went home with Anikadabra, who got a confident steer from driver Rick Zeron. Starting from Post 7, Zeron sent Anikadabra straight to the front and never looked back, cruising through fractions of :28.4, :59.2 and 1:29.4 en route to a 1:59.3 victory. Fan favourite P C Pipe Dream was three lengths back in second and Late Shift was another length back in third. "She's a real nice filly, very, very nice," said Oakville resident Zeron, who pilots Anikadabra for trainer Rob Fellows of Rockwood, ON. "Very sensible, very knowledgeable, very smart, everything you ask her to do she does. "Rob had said to me that he was really, really high on this filly. He really likes her a lot, and it showed tonight that Rob was right, that she's a real nice filly," the reinsman added. "She just does everything you ask her to do. She can leave the gate like a pacer, which is great because you're never going to get yourself in any trouble, and you know every time she heard a horse behind her coming, and the guys barking at their horses, she just took off by herself. I was just sitting in the cart with her tonight." A Kadabra half-sister to $1.2 million winner Resolve, Anikadabra is owned by her breeders, Edward Wilson of Seagrave, ON and Michael Pozefsky of Saratoga Springs, NY. The filly is a second generation product of the partner's breeding program. Her mother Anikawiesahalee is a half-sister to their former Gold Series winner Wilsonator ($496,049) and Grassroots champion Legzy ($277,660). Anikadabra Thursday's outing was Anikadabra's second; she finished fourth in the Grassroots opener at Georgian Downs on July 10. The freshman trotting fillies will make their third Grassroots start at Grand River Raceway on Friday, July 29. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Mohawk Racetrack on both Friday and Saturday evening. Friday's program features six $18,000 Grassroots divisions for the three-year-old pacing fillies and Saturday's card will see the third Gold Series battle between the three-year-old pacing colt titans. Post time for both events is 7:30 pm. Ontario Racing

JULY 20, 2016 - Long before two-year-old trotting colt Kitarro made his Grand River Raceway debut in the second of four Grassroots divisions on Wednesday evening, trainer Kyle Reibeling thought the youngster might find success on the Elora harness racing oval. "Once he got rolling and we got him working in our sets, I thought this is kind of a nice little half-mile type horse," recalled Reibeling. "He's handy, he's a professional. I'm not going to say he's a world champion, but he's a handy little horse that's going to produce and make some money." Kitarro proved Reibeling right on Wednesday, adding a Grassroots win to the third-place result he posted in the July 9 season opener. In rein to Puslinch resident Paul Mackenzie, Kitarro left smartly from Post 4 and settled into third as Northern Dazzle and fan favourite Critical Mass tussled through a :31.1 opening quarter. The pair continued to sit third as Critical Mass led the field of five to a 1:02.3 half, but joined driver Alfie Carroll and My Big Kadillac in the outer lane heading for the 1:33 three-quarters. As Mackenzie tipped Kitarro out three-wide for the stretch battle, My Big Kadillac's race bike wheel snagged Critical Mass's wheel, which took both colts out of the running. Clear of the confusion, Kitarro coasted home an eight length winner in 2:03.2. Northern Dazzle was second and Critical Mass third. "Paul did an excellent job, he had him in position, he was right up tight on Alfie's (Carroll) back and he was swelling up around the last turn," noted Reibeling, whose late father Norman served as the long-time paddock blacksmith at Elmira and Grand River Raceways. "It's hard to say what would have happened had they not hooked up, but he was in full flight when he tipped him off Alfie's back and he kind of looked like he was going to go on by anyway, and he was pretty well in command once he did." The win gives Kitarro a total of 62 points in the race toward a Grassroots post season berth and ups his earnings to $11,160, more than recouping the $8,500 BenBar Stables of Oakville offered up to bring the Southwind Lustre son home from the 2015 Canadian Yearling Sale. "The BenBar Stables, they actually picked him out as a yearling, and they're good guys," said Reibeling, who acquired a share in the colt before his first start. "It's really nice to produce results for such good people." Kitarro and his peers will make their next Grassroots start on July 28 at Mohawk Racetrack, and while Reibeling anticipates that the colt will deliver his best results over smaller ovals, he is confident the trotter will be ready for battle. "I expect this colt will get a little better as he goes on. I'm not sure Mohawk, his next sires stakes, will be his forte because he's a small colt that's quite handy," said the Campbellville resident. "But we'll just have to race him accordingly over the big track." Two of Wednesday's Grassroots divisions went to colts that had already acquired Ontario Sires Stakes trophies for their owner's display cases. Rosberg scored his second straight win in the first division, going gate-to-wire in 2:01.3 for driver Jack Moiseyev of Moffat, trainer Julie Walker of Carlisle and her partners Ronald Piers of Georgetown and Layhoon Chan Brunner of Etobicoke, ON. Zorgwijk Rocket and Mr Marshmellow finished behind the fan favourite in second and third. Manofmanymissions son Rosberg has also repaid his purchase price of $13,000 US from the Lexington-Selected Yearling Sale, netting a total of $19,000 with his Grassroots victories. In the third division Themanofmydreams made his second appearance in the Grassroots winner's circle with a front-end effort that saw him hit the wire in 2:03.3. Little Lion Man and Lexus Gilmore rounded out the top three. Denis St. Pierre drives Themanofmydreams for trainer Tiffanee Staley of Guelph, ON and her partners Alexandre and Christian Pilon of St-Eustache, QC and Jesse Legault of Lorraine, QC. The Muscle Mass son was a $22,000 acquisition from the Canadian Yearling Sale. The final Grassroots division went to the colt that finished fourth behind Kitarro in the July 9 season opener at Georgian Downs. Starting from Post 1 in Wednesday's test, Tougher Than Ever sat third through the first half of the mile, following Dontcrampmystyle and favourite Warrawee Shipshape, then stepped into the outer lane and powered past the leaders to a two and one-quarter length victory in 2:02.2. "He was very good," said Guelph resident James MacDonald, who engineered the Kadabra colt's first victory for New Jersey-based trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman and owners Mel Hartman of Ottawa, ON, Herb Liverman of Miami Beach, FL and David McDuffee of Delray Beach, FL. "He is very green, but he has a big motor. He didn't seem to mind being first up and was strong right to the wire." Warrawee Shipshape settled for second and pacesetter Dontcrampmystyle was third. Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Grand River Raceway on Friday, July 29 with Grassroots action for the two-year-old trotting fillies. Ontario Racing

JULY 18, 2016 - From the moment Soiree Seelster arrived in Tony O'Sullivan's barn she was so laid-back the Puslinch resident occasionally wondered if something was wrong with the harness racing two-year-old pacing lass. "I was actually talking to Sylvain (Filion) about it tonight, she's, you know, she's just really, really relaxed, she always has been. She just takes everything in stride; she doesn't shy away from anything," O'Sullivan explained. "She worries me sometimes, because she's so quiet at home you think there's something wrong with her, but there's not. "When she gets to the races she sharpens up a bit, but even then, she's just very, very professional," he added. "Her attitude is really, really good." On Monday evening Soiree Seelster did her best to calm all of O'Sullivan's worries with a victory in her $70,000 Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) Gold Series division at Mohawk Racetrack. In rein to Milton resident Filion, Soiree Seelster eased away from the centre of the starting gate and was sitting fifth when Royal Point paced by the quarter pole in :27.3. Heading for the :57.1 half Soiree Seelster stepped into the outer lane behind fan favourite Sir Native and Thorne Seelster, and the trio of fillies made steady gains on the leader through the 1:25.4 three-quarters. Turning for home Soiree Seelster was less than two lengths behind the leader and a sharp finishing kick propelled the filly to a two length victory in 1:54.2. Thorne Seelster finished second and Royal Point was five more lengths back in third. "Sylvain's taught her how to race in both the qualifiers, plus her two races," noted O'Sullivan. "Obviously we got the win tonight, but I love the way he's bringing her along." Monday's outing was Soiree Seelster's second in the Gold Series. The daughter of Big Jim and Smilesplace finished a hard-closing third in her July 5 OSS debut after logging a second in qualifying action on June 25 and a third on June 10, all three over the Mohawk Racetrack oval. O'Sullivan shares ownership of Soiree Seelster with Domenic Chiaravalle of Hamilton and Lorne Keller of Exeter, ON. The group purchased the filly out of the 2015 Forest City Yearling Sale for $53,000 and have recouped $47,600 through two starts. "She was a really good looking strong filly, as you can see on the track, and we kind of liked the pedigree and the cross and decided to just take a swing on it," recalled O'Sullivan. "She never really had a bad day - I mean I never get very high on them until they qualify - but we liked her all winter." Soiree Seelster will make her third lifetime start in the August 12 Gold Series event at Mohawk. Soiree Seelster The other two Gold Series divisions on Mohawk's Monday evening program were captured by Future Headlines and Blameitonthenight, both piloted by Milton resident Randy Waples. Sent off as the favourite in the first division, Future Headlines took command heading by the three-quarters and powered home a one and one-half length winner in 1:55. Windy Sport and Bid Writer rounded out the top three, making it a sweep for daughters of Sportswriter. Waples engineered the win for trainer Colin Johnson of Repentigny, QC and his partners Thomas Kyron of Toronto and David Heffering of Port Perry, ON. Monday's outing was Future Headlines' first, coming after a 1:54.4 win in a July 8 qualifier at Mohawk. Future Headlines Blameitonthenight captured the third Gold division, controlling the tempo for much of the mile and then waging a fierce duel with Yaris Bayama in the stretch, hanging on for a neck victory in 1:53.2. Out Of Sight finished third, three lengths behind the duelling leaders. Trainer Tony Alagna of Manalapan, NJ shares ownership of Blameitonthenight with Crawford Partners LLC of Syracuse, NY and Donna Ozment, also of Manalapan. The Mach Three daughter is now two-for-two after capturing an overnight event at Mohawk on July 12. Blameitonthenight Many of the fillies in Monday's Gold Series event will make their next start in the Battle of the Belles eliminations at Grand River Raceway on July 25, with the final slated for Aug. 1. The freshman pacing fillies will return to Gold Series action, and Mohawk Racetrack, on Aug. 12. On Tuesday, July 19, the Campbellville oval will welcome the two-year-old trotting fillies for their second Gold Series start. The fillies will face off in Races 2, 3, and 8, with racing getting under way at 7:30 pm. Ontario Racing

JULY 14, 2016 - Conditions were not ideal for their third Grassroots event, but Ontario's three-year-old trotting fillies still turned in some impressive harness racing performances at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday evening. The 11 fillies in the third $18,000 division paraded onto the racetrack in the driving rain, but neither the weather nor Post 9 kept Myretirementticket from picking up her second straight Grassroots trophy. In rein to Moffat resident Jody Jamieson, the fan favourite watched from the outer lane while second choice Powerful Glare carved out the mile, then powered down the stretch to a one and one-quarter length win in 1:59.3. Powerful Glare stayed game for second and Silky Flashy Nfast closed hard to be third. "I actually went over after the race to say 'Hi' to her and she wasn't happy to see me at all. I think it was because of the trip I gave her," quipped Jamieson. "She didn't see the rail the whole way, but I was never more confident in a horse as she sloshed along in the pouring rain." Eli Wagler of Ingersoll bred, owns and trains Myretirementticket. The daughter of Cornaro Dasolo and Shine Again was also victorious in the July 1 Grassroots event at Dresden Raceway and finished second in the June 14 season opener at Mohawk, giving her 125 points and top spot in the division standings. In seven sophomore starts the filly now has two wins, one second, two thirds and earnings of $24,468. As a two-year-old Myretirementticket was a three-time Grassroots winner, including her Semifinal, and finished third in the season-ending Championship. "She's a sweetheart to drive and I'm hoping Eli (Wagler) gives the Gold a try soon," Jamieson added. Myretirementticket Two races later, Haileysgonedancing jumped up the point standings with her very first Ontario Sires Stakes win. Although the rain had stopped, the racing surface was still rated sloppy, three seconds slower than normal, but that fact did not deter driver Sylvain Filion from sending Haileysgonedancing straight to the front from Post 9. The Manofmanymissions daughter slogged through fractions of :28.3, :58.4 and 1:28 on her way to a one and one-half length win in 1:58 over Sunrise Avenue. Very Classy finished third. "She's a good honest filly, she gives everything she's got," said trainer Tony O'Sullivan. "She's honest as the day is long." The Puslinch resident shares ownership of Haileysgonedancing with Kirk McKinnon of Brampton and Lorne Keller of Exeter, ON. Although she missed the board in the Grassroots season opener, the filly was a hard fought second in the Dresden event and Thursday's victory moves her into fourth spot in the division standings with 78 points. "The Grassroots is a good spot for her," noted O'Sullivan. "She's done a good job." Haileysgonedancing Flanking Haileysgonedancing in the point standings are Could It Be Magic and Magical Steph, who also captured their Grassroots divisions on Thursday. Could It Be Magic kicked things off in the first $18,000 division, reeling in pacesetter Trumpets in the stretch and reaching the wire in 1:59.4. Majestic Mistress closed hard to finish second, one and one-half lengths behind the fan favourite, while Trumpets held on for third. Wayne Henry of Arthur drives, trains and shares ownership of Could It Be Magic, who was a three-time Gold Series winner at two, with Fred Brayford of Alliston, ON. Thursday's win was the first of the season for the Kadabra daughter, and combined with her runner-up finish in the Grassroots season opener gives her a total of 75 points. Could It Be Magic Henry's brother Trevor piloted Magical Steph to victory in the second division, sending the heavy favourite to the front before the halfway marker and cruising home in 1:59.2. Pocket-sitter Stonebridge Peace finished one and three-quarter lengths back in second and Profound Patience recovered from an early break to be third. It was the second straight Grassroots win for Magical Steph, who is trained by Gary Lance for GL Racing Inc. of Port Perry, ON. The Kadabra daughter currently sits second in the standings with 108 points, 17 behind Myretirementticket. Magical Steph The evening's final Grassroots contest went to Anneli Hanover, who sprinted down the stretch to reel in favourite Magical Valentine and Traviata in a personal best 1:58.1. Guelph resident James MacDonald engineered the two and three-quarter length win for trainer Mark Steacy of Lansdowne and owners Katherine Steacy of Lansdowne, Landmark 8 Racing Stable of Kingston, David McDonald of Cornwall and Barry White of Ottawa, ON. "I didn't really want to cut it, because I saw she got beat a couple times on the front," said MacDonald, who was making his first appearance in the Majestic Son daughter's race bike. "So I landed in the two-hole, and I ended up in the three-hole, but around the last turn she felt good and when she got room she just flew, she won very easily." The win was the filly's first in Ontario Sires Stakes action, but her fourth on the season. After going winless at two, Anneli Hanover boasts a sophomore record of four wins and one second in nine starts for earnings of $22,500. Anneli Hanover The sophomore trotting fillies will return to Mohawk Racetrack for their fourth Grassroots start on August 9. On Friday's program Mohawk puts the spotlight on the two-year-old pacing colts, who will wage their second Grassroots battles in Races 2, 7, and 8. Post time for the first race at the Campbellville oval is 7:30 pm. Ontario Racing

JULY 14, 2016 - Two-year-old pacing fillies take centre stage at Clinton Raceway on Sunday as the Ontario Sires Stakes program makes the first of three stops at the half-mile oval. Trainer Gregg McNair will harness two fillies in the Grassroots contest, and Loves Angel has already tested her skills over the Clinton surface. "I qualified them about a week earlier than we normally do so I was kind of looking for a race for her," explained the trainer. "I knew she was going to race there, so I thought I'd just see how she got around the place." In spite of competing against a group of older fillies and mares, and starting from the outside Post 7, Loves Angel finished second in the June 26 test. The filly's next start came in the July 8 Grassroots opener at Mohawk Racetrack where she led for most of the mile before fading to eighth in the stretch. "She really didn't race that good. We were kind of disappointed in her, but we've had some sickness going through our barn," explained McNair, adding that the filly seems to have bounced back from her bout of sickness and should be back on form for Sunday's test. "She trained down good, she's a good bred mare too," noted McNair, who purchased the half-sister to $292,179 Sir Lehigh Z Tam from the 2015 Harrisburg Yearling Sale for $20,000. "She's on the small side, but she done everything pretty good all winter." The Guelph, ON resident shares ownership of Loves Angel with Jim Newton of Thornhill, ON and Kenneth Newton of Biggar, SK. McNair's son Doug will steer the filly from Post 6 in the first $18,000 Grassroots division. McNair's second entry, Shewearsthepants, will start from Post 3 in the second division. A recent arrival in Ontario, the Big Jim daughter was sent to McNair from Pennsylvania-based trainer Roly Mallar. "I asked him how she'd be in Clinton, and he said he always trains over a half. He said it shouldn't be a big problem with her," says McNair, who will get his first good look at the filly's ability on Sunday. "She's flighty enough, she'll likely be worked up fairly good there Sunday, so I hope she does all right. Time wise she looks like she's got enough speed to maybe contend with them." Before shipping north Shewearsthepants clocked a 1:55.1 mile in a July 8 two-year-old event at The Meadowlands. Anatolia Farm LLC of New Holland, PA bred and owns Shewearsthepants, a half-sister to $136,164 winner Gymokee Jerry. Fans can get involved in Sunday's Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) action by entering the "Be A Winner" contest. One finalist will be selected from each of the "Be A Winner" ballot boxes representing the horses in the contest race. Finalists receive an OSS t-shirt, ball hat, and lanyard badge along with a $15 win-place-show wager on their selected horse, and will gather trackside to cheer home their chosen filly. The finalist representing the winning filly will join her connections in the winner's circle celebrations and receive a trophy, an OSS jacket and golf shirt, a commemorative photo and a $50 wagering voucher. In addition to playing the "Be A Winner" contest and watching the freshman fillies battle in Grassroots action, fans can also enjoy the barbecue and bake sale being hosted by the major atom and major peewee Huron Perth Lakers. The Huron Perth Lakers Day at the Races also features a raffle and 50-50 draw. The first race on Clinton Raceway's action-packed Sunday afternoon program goes behind the starting gate at 1:30 pm and the two-year-old pacing fillies will star in Races 2, 6 and 9. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

JULY 11, 2016 - Less than two weeks after they made their 2016 Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) debut, Mohawk Racetrack welcomed back the harness racing three-year-old trotting colts on Monday for two $105,000 Gold Series divisions and crowned a pair of first-time OSS winners. Impressed with his runner-up effort in the season opener, fans sent Muscle Hustle off as their top choice from Post 3 in the first division. The colt and driver Randy Wales responded with a confident move to the front just past the :27.4 quarter, a spot they refused to relinquish when pressured by last year's division champion Tony Soprano heading for the :56.4 half. Having dealt with the initial challenge Muscle Hustle pulled away from the field by the 1:24.2 three-quarters and powered across the wire one and one-half lengths ahead of Sass and Smoke Monkey. The 1:52.4 clocking lowered the colt's personal best by almost two full seconds. "He's never been there before, and that's a big mile for any three-year-old trotter this early in the year," said Milton, ON resident Waples from the winner's circle. "He just seems to be getting a little bit better each week too. He started out good, but each week he seems to get even a little bit more better than he was, so it'll be interesting to see what he does down the road." Waples drives the son of Muscle Mass and Crown Laurel for trainer Per Henriksen and owner Ecurie Bergh Inc. of Norwood, ON. In seven sophomore starts Muscle Hustle has tallied five wins and one second for earnings of $112,100. The trotter made just three starts last season, posting one win and one third-place result. Muscle Hustle The second division saw June 27 winner Will Take Charge established as the heavy favourite and driver Paul MacDonell also chose to the put the colt on the front, leaving strongly from Post 6 and taking command just after the :27 quarter. Will Take Charge went unchallenged through a :56 half and 1:24.4 three-quarters, but Warrawee Roo had been stalking the pace from the outer lane and when the field squared up in the stretch and driver Sylvain Filion asked for another gear, Warrawee Roo sprinted by the pacesetter to a 1:53.3 victory. Will Take Charge settled for second and Dia Monde was third. "Tonight I thought he was maybe second best with the nine-hole, but it turned out he raced really huge and he dug in," said Filion. "He's a really, really nice horse." Warrawee Roo looked poised to win his division in the opening leg of the Gold Series, but skipped off-stride and finished seventh. He also made a mistake in his sophomore debut, but in between he was flawless, scoring three victories between May 19 and June 16. Milton resident Filion pilots Warrawee Roo for trainer Luc Blais of Lochaber Ouest, QC and Determination of Montreal, QC and gives high praise to Blais for the work he has done on the colt. "Luc's working very hard with him and trying to figure him out, all his little problems," noted the reinsman. "If he ever gets him 100 per cent, he's the best in there, in that category anyway." Warrawee Roo The three-year-old trotting colts will square off in their third Gold Series event on August 10 at Grand River Raceway. On Tuesday evening the Grassroots colts will take over where their Gold Series peers left off, arriving at Mohawk Racetrack for five $18,000 divisions. Racing begins at 7:30 pm and the sophomore trotting colts and geldings will battle in Races 2, 3, 5, 6 and 9. Ontario Racing  

JULY 9, 2016 - Georgian Downs showcased the two-year-old trotting colts and geldings on Saturday evening and Innisfil area harness racing fans were treated to impressive performances by the Ontario Sires Stakes program's future stars. Three $70,000 Gold Series divisions and four $18,000 Grassroots divisions went postward and Mass Production kicked things off in the first race with a commanding 1:59 victory for trainer-driver Rick Zeron. The heavy favourites finished two and three-quarter lengths ahead of Lucys Man and Northern Major to earn the Gold Series trophy. "I was very confident in my colt," said Zeron after the front-end victory. "He's been a great colt since the day we put the harness on him. He's very versatile I can do whatever I like with him; I can go to the front with him, I can race him out of a hole, whatever it is, he just responds so well, he's like driving a four-year-old horse." The Oakville resident shares ownership of Mass Production with James Walker of Port Perry and Bruno Dipoce of Wasaga Beach, ON. The trio purchased the Muscle Mass son for $32,000 from last fall's Canadian Open Yearling Sale and he has already banked $42,000 in two starts, winning both. "I'm very pleased with him and I know he will step up in the near future and trot in 1:55," added Zeron. "I'm quite pleased with him and I'm real happy for my partners Jim Walker and Bruno Dipoce, really happy for them, because, you know, it's a long winter when you buy your yearlings and you take your time." Rose Run Speedster captured the second Gold Series division, with driver Anthony MacDonald employing come-from-behind tactics to land the Windsong Espoir son in the winner's circle. The colt sprinted down the stretch to a one and one-half length victory in 2:00.1. Life Well Lived was second, edging out favourite Uknow What To Do. "This colt has never had a shortage of speed, and has never had to be shown how to win," said MacDonald. "I'm very excited to race this colt all summer." MacDonald's wife Amy conditions Rose Run Speedster for the Rose Run Speedster Stable of Guelph, one of the fractional ownership groups in the couple's new business venture, thestable.ca. "Obviously Amy and I are very pleased to see thestable.ca get its first major stakes win," said the Guelph resident. "Rose Run Speedster was inexpensive in Harrisburg at $14,000, but he has shown just why fractional ownership is so important for horse racing - a large group of owners at the track and in the winner's circle who would have otherwise been at home tonight." Rose Run Speedster also has two starts under his belt, with Saturday's victory and a fifth in a June 21 overnight event at Mohawk Racetrack giving him an earnings total of $9,700. The final Gold Series division saw trainer-driver Luc Ouellette go straight to the front from Post 1 with Speedycrest and sail through fractions of :29, :58.4 and 1:29.4 on the way to a 1:59 victory, six lengths ahead of One Of The Few and favourite Clarion Hall. "He minded his manners tonight, because he's shown a couple times that at the gate he could make a mistake, but I guess he's learning," said Ouellette. "He went a good mile, we're real happy with him." Owned by Ecuries Richelieu Inc. of Venise-En-Quebec, QC, Speedycrest learned his early lessons under the tutelage of Joliette, QC resident Claude Beausoleil. After a pair of qualifiers and one overnight test at Hippodrome Trois-Rivieres, making a break behind the gate and being pulled up on May 28, scoring a 2:00.3 win on June 14, and recovering from an early break to be second on June 26, Beausoleil sent Speedycrest to Ouellette's Campbellville, ON facility. "They've been mentioning to me for the last two months how good he's been training, and they were saying that he would do well in the first Gold, and they were right. They sent him, and he was ready, and he did well in the first Gold," said Ouellette. "He got here 10 days ago and he's done nothing but nice things, he's one of those horses that whatever you want to do, he's game for. "I think he's just learning all the time and good experiences will lead to better things," added the horseman. Angus Hall son Speedycrest and his peers will make their second Gold Series start at Mohawk Racetrack on July 25. In the Grassroots divisions, Tycoon Seelster opened the season with a 2:02.3 effort for driver Paul MacDonell of Guelph, trainer Scott McEneny of Waterdown and owner Chris Storms of Picton, ON. The Angus Hall son overcame an early break in stride to best Pennant Seelster by three-quarters of a length and Kitarro by two and one-quarter lengths. A $23,000 purchase at the Forest City Yearling Sale, Tycoon Seelster is a full-brother to $658,058 winner Traverse Seelster. The well-bred youngster had just one qualifier under his belt heading into Saturday's test, a third-place result at Mohawk Racetrack on July 1. The second Grassroots split saw trainer-driver Ondrej Gois and Mr Marshmellow go gate-to-wire in 2:02.1, hitting the finish five and three-quarter lengths ahead of LMC Mass Gem and six more ahead of My Big Kadillac in a race that was cut down to five starters due to scratches related to sickness. Rockwood, ON resident Gois also owns Mr Marshmellow, a son of Federal Flex and Ultra Chic. The colt made an error in his first qualifier on Jun 24 at Mohawk, then finished second in his July 1 effort, just ahead of Tycoon Seelster. Veteran reinsman Jack Moiseyev also chose to control the tempo with Rosberg in the third Grassroots division. The Moffat, ON resident put Rosberg on the front heading for the half and never needed to glance over his shoulder, sailing across the finish line two lengths the best in 2:02.2. More Than Majestic and favourite Motown Jackpot completed the top three. Moiseyev crafted the win for trainer Julie Walker of Carlisle and her partners Ronald Piers of Georgetown and Layhoon Chan Brunner of Etobicoke, ON. The Manofmanymissions son, a $13,000 purchase from the Lexington-Selected Yearling Sale, prepped for his Ontario Sires Stakes debut with June 24 and July 1 qualifiers at Mohawk Racetrack, finishing seventh and second, respectively. Fan favourite Themanofmydreams also cruised to an effortless victory in the last Grassroots division. The Muscle Mass son hit the wire in 2:02.3, four and three-quarter lengths ahead of Critical Mass and Yo Yo Mass, also sons of Muscle Mass. Denis St. Pierre of Guelph, ON piloted Themanofmydreams to the win for trainer Tiffanee Staley of Guelph and her partners Alexandre and Christian Pilon of St-Eustache, QC and Jesse Legault of Lorraine, QC. Like many of his peers, the Muscle Mass son had two qualifiers under his belt, both at Mohawk, a sixth-place result on June 24 and a 2:03 win on July 1. Themanofmydreams was a $22,000 purchase from the Canadian Open Yearling Sale. The two-year-old trotting colts and geldings make their second Grassroots start on July 20 at Grand River Raceway. Having enjoyed the freshman trotting colt showcase on Saturday night, Georgian Downs fans will get a look at the two-year-old trotting fillies on Sunday night as they compete in their first Grassroots event. Post time is 7:15 pm and the fillies will test their skills in Races 3, 5 and 7. Ontario Racing

Winning is the only thing L A Delight and Lay Lady Lay have in common. Saturday's Ontario Sires Stakes Gold divisions at Mohawk Racetrack were captured by two very different harness racing three-year-old pacing fillies. The first $105,000 division was captured by L A Delight, the Ontario Sires Stakes division and O'Brien Award winning freshman star that trainer Bob McIntosh calls a "truly professional race filly." The second division went to first time Ontario Sires Stakes winner Lay Lady Lay, a long-legged lass that trainer Chris Matthews refers to, affectionately, as "a pain in the butt." Both fillies used similar race tactics to accomplish their Gold Series victories. Leaving from Post 1, driver Randy Waples allowed rivals Chris Christoforou Jr. and Good Will Hanover to reach the quarter first, in :27, but then the Milton, ON resident sent L A Delight to the front. The fan favourites rolled to a :55.3 half and 1:23.3 three-quarters and then powered home to a three and one-half length victory in 1:51.2. Good Will Hanover and Party In Rome dead-heated for second. "She's rounding into mid-season form. We couldn't be happier with her at this point," said trainer Bob McIntosh, who shares ownership and breeding credit on the champion filly with Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington, ON and C S X Stables of Liberty Center, OH. "She makes us all look good." The victory was L A Delight's third in six sophomore starts. The Bettor's Delight daughter also captured her division in the June 4 Gold Series opener at Mohawk and has now banked $187,420 for her owners this season, adding to the $704,335 she amassed at two. L A Delight's next start will be in the Mistletoe Shalee at The Meadowlands on July 16, where she will once again take on North America's best. In the Fan Hanover Final at Mohawk on June 18 she finished a hard-closing third, just one length behind winner Pure Country, who is also expected to compete in the Mistletoe Shalee. L A Delight Three races later it was Christoforou who allowed his rivals a brief moment of pacesetting before sending Lay Lady Lay to the front. The filly was well in command before the :55.3 half and sailed through a 1:23.4 three-quarters before reaching the wire in a personal best 1:52. Fan favourite Cracklin Rosie finished one and one-quarter lengths back in second, two lengths ahead of third-place finisher Windsun Glory. Campbellville, ON resident Christoforou engineered the victory, Lay Lady Lay's first in Ontario Sires Stakes competition, for trainer Chris Matthews and his partners in the 1Posse2Steves4Brothers Stable of Guelph, ON. "He drove her twice last year, he's never been beat with her now, actually, so he knows the filly," said Matthews of Christoforou's race strategy. "She's a little bit easier to drive this year than she was last year, so yeah, he was full of confidence that's for sure." Lay Lady Lay made seven starts last season, appearing once in the Ontario Sires Stakes at the Grassroots level, and posted three wins and one second. This season she has emerged as one of the top fillies in the province, posting three wins, two seconds and three thirds in 10 starts for earnings of $153,029. "We always knew she had potential, we had a couple setbacks, but we knew she'd be better at three, she was so big and growthy," explained Matthews. "She hasn't had a lot of luck, but we always thought she'd be pretty competitive with this group of fillies." While it may be an advantage on the racetrack, Matthews notes that it is the Up The Credit daughter's size that has caused many of the issues for her long-suffering handlers. "She can be a handful," said the Guelph resident. "She's just so big, she doesn't even know what she's doing, she doesn't care." Any bumps and bruises the filly had inflicted in the days leading up to Saturday's victory were quickly forgotten when she captured her first Gold Series trophy, rewarding the creatively named ownership group that has waited patiently for her to display her true potential. "When we bought her I started getting phone calls that everybody wanted a piece of her," recalled Matthews. "The one posse is myself and two of my friends I grew up with (Jeff Bryan and Desmond Scott). My group of friends I grew up with they used to call us the Orangeville posse, so we went with that, and then two of my partners on the horse are Steve Bastead and Steve Byers, so that's two Steve's, and the three brothers are Gordie, Gary and Glen Lyon, so that formed the three brothers. "They all wanted in so we split her up between everybody, just to keep everybody happy, and they are," said the horseman. "Everyone is enjoying it and having some fun." Lay Lady Lay The three-year-old pacing fillies' Gold Series fun will continue on Civic Holiday Monday (Aug. 1) when they are part of the Industry Day celebrations at Grand River Raceway. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Mohawk Racetrack on Monday evening, when the Campbellville oval welcomes the three-year-old trotting colts and geldings for their second Gold Series event. Post time is 7:30 pm and the Gold Series battles will take place in Races 3 and 7. Ontario Racing

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