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JUNE 16, 2016 - Driver Sylvain Filion, the reigning Lampman Cup title holder, is off to another quick start in the Ontario Sires Stakes harness racing program, padding his early season lead with a pair of Grassroots victories at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday evening. Filion opened the program, which featured six $18,000 divisions for the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings, with a sharp 1:51.4 win aboard Spirit Shadow. "I didn't know him at all," said Filion of the first-time OSS starter. "I know the trainer, he's a buddy of mine, Jacques Dupont, and he said he liked him. I just went with my feeling and he left the gate real good, and then we got covered up by the favourite and when I moved him down the lane he just exploded. That was a nice surprise, I didn't really expect that." Leaving from Post 8, Filion rolled Spirit Shadow to the front before the :27 opening quarter, but quickly picked up cover from Vegas Dream who led the field to the :56 half and 1:25 three-quarters. Able to slip out of the pocket in the stretch, Spirit Shadow laid down a :26.2 final quarter to claim the Grassroots trophy. Vegas Dream settled for second, with Chalk Player earning the third-place finisher's share. Unraced at two, the Shadow Play son now has four wins and two thirds in eight sophomore outings for Dupont and owner Denis Goyette of Laval, QC. Filion's second victory came in the third division with Xpert Bayama, who controlled the tempo en route to a 1:51.2 score over last year's Grassroots champion St Lads Moonwalk. Solo Story finished well behind the duelling leaders in third. "I thought he was a little flat last time he raced and Stephane (Larocque) told me he done some vet work on him and he was much better tonight," noted Filion, a three-time OSS driving champion. "I could feel in the post parade he was livelier, and he was way more aggressive, so I just turned him loose and he responded well." Also unraced at two, Xpert Bayama improved his record to three wins and one second in six starts for trainer Stephane Larocque of Carlisle, ON and owner-breeder Bayama Farms Inc. of Saint-Andre-D'Argenteuil, QC. The Up The Credit son took three full seconds off his personal best with Thursday's effort. Another three-time Lampman Cup winner, Moffat, ON resident Jody Jamieson, also scored a Grassroots driving double at Mohawk on Thursday, guiding Continual Hanover to a win in the second division and Imsporty to victory in the fifth. Jamieson put Continual Hanover on the front just past the sharp :26.3 opening quarter put up by Filion and Azul Pool, but was immediately challenged by Baddestnbestest. Both Jamieson and Filion quickly circled out around the longshot leader, with Continual Hanover grabbing the rail by the :55.3 half. Azul Pool pressed hard through the 1:24.1 three-quarters, but Continual Hanover stayed game to secure the two length victory in 1:52.2. Tango Star sprinted home to be second, leaving Azul Pool to settle for third. "I really couldn't have driven Continual (Hanover) much worse in his first start of the year," admitted Jamieson. "I used him too many times and he still bailed me out with a great performance. I've always thought he is barely a notch lower than the Gold division." Jamieson steers Continual Hanover for owner-trainer Jack Darling of Cambridge, ON and piloted the colt to a Gold Series win and two Grassroots division wins last season. The Bettor's Delight son boosted his lifetime earnings to $117,400 with Thursday's win, his sixth in 13 lifetime starts. Staring from Post 1 with Imsporty in the fifth division, Jamieson settled the Sportswriter son on the rail early and waited until the final turn to take aim on the leaders. On top by just over three lengths at the three-quarter pole, Imsporty stayed game to the wire and earned his first Grassroots trophy with a 1:52.2 effort. Speedling and Daylight Rush completed the top three. "Imsporty is a super little guy," said Jamieson, who steers the gelding for his father, trainer Carl Jamieson of Rockwood, ON, and Thomas Kyron of Toronto. "He's always had lots of talent, but he just hasn't had a lot of luck. Hopefully this win tonight has ended that string of luck and started a new one." The other two Grassroots divisions went to New Talent and Piranha. Guelph, ON resident Paul MacDonell steered New Talent to his first OSS win for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor and his partners C S X Stables of Liberty Center, OH and Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington, ON. The Mach Three son stopped the teletimer at 1:51.2, besting Derecho and Bad Gamer. Driver Trevor Henry of Arthur, ON used a come-from-behind strategy to guide Piranha to a 1:52 win for trainer Raymond Farmer and owner-breeder John Turigliatto of Temperance, MI. The Badlands Hanover son reeled in Red Dog Saloon and B Fast Eddie with a :26.3 final quarter. The three-year-old pacing colts and geldings will return to Mohawk Racetrack on July 1 for their second Grassroots start. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at the Campbellville oval this week as the three-year-old pacing fillies kick off their Grassroots season on Friday, June 17. The fillies will be featured in Races 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, and 10, with the first race going postward at 7:30 pm. Ontario Racing

Harness racing reigning Ontario Sires Stakes champion Caprice Hill picked up where she left off last season, capturing the three-year-old trotting filly Gold Series season opener at Mohawk Racetrack on Monday evening. In rein to Milton resident Randy Waples, fan favourite Caprice Hill took command before the quarter-mile marker and led the field of seven through fractions of :28, 56.2, and 1:25.2 before sailing under the wire a five and one-half length victor in 1:53.3. Major Muscle trotted into second, while Celebrity Eventsy finished third in her Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) debut. Tom Hill of Hamilton, ON owns Caprice Hill, who won four of five Gold events as a two-year-old, including the season ending Super Final. The Kadabra daughter also triumphed in her division of the Champlain Stakes and the elimination and final of the Peaceful Way Stakes, banking $593,295 during her freshman campaign. Through three sophomore starts the Tony Alagna trainee now has two wins and one second for an additional $108,582. Caprice Hill The second $105,000 division saw Kadabra daughter Emoticon Hanover and driver Sylvain Filion waltz home to a three and three-quarter length victory in 1:57 after stealing easy mid-race fractions. The fans’ second choice, Emoticon Hanover bested Tymal Tempest and Dottie, with fan favourite Catch A Mission settling for fourth. “It turned out to be an easy race for her, which I like,” said Milton resident Filion. “It’s a long season, so when you can get an easy race like this it’s a bonus.” Filion engineered the win for trainer Luc Blais of Lochaber Ouest, QC and owner Determination of Montreal, QC. The win was the second in three sophomore starts for Emoticon Hanover, who was a two-time Gold Series winner at two and also captured her Champlain Stakes division on the way to a  $219,258 season. “This year she seems way more handier than last year. Last year she was a little tricky, you know, but this year she’s more mature and she looks a lot stronger,” added Filion. “She didn’t grow much, but she is a lot stronger I think.” Emoticon Hanover The three-year-old trotting fillies make their second Gold Series start on July 16 at Mohawk Racetrack, and Campbellville area fans will get a look at their Grassroots counterparts on Tuesday, June 14 when they compete in six $18,000 divisions. The Grassroots fillies will battle in Races 1, 2, 4, 7, 9, and 10 on the Tuesday evening program, which gets under way at 7:30 pm. For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

Mohawk Racetrack’s 2016 Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) season got off to a rousing start on Saturday evening as harness racing fans were treated to a pair of thrilling miles by the three-year-old pacing fillies. The first $105,000 division lined up behind the gate in Race 2 and less than two minutes later Frank Cirillo was holding a trophy he has been trying to win for over a decade. “Finally, after 11 years; I’m losing my voice already; it’s been fantastic,” said an ebullient Cirillo from the winner’s circle after cheering Cracklin Rosie home. “It’s been one of our dreams to win an OSS Gold for the longest time and it finally happened.” When favourites Good Will Hanover and Thatsoveryverynice made early miscues, the first division was thrown wide open. Starting from Post 7, lightly regarded Cracklin Rosie and driver Phil Hudon of Guelph, ON were sitting well back in sixth when Lady Marina hit the opening quarter in a sharp :25.3, but had rolled up the outside to draw within five lengths of the leaders by the :55.4 half. Continuing to roll along on the outside, Cracklin Rosie was just one-quarter length behind pacesetter Lay Lady Lay at the 1:24.2 three-quarters, and as her connections roared their encouragement she sprinted home in :27 to claim a half-length victory in 1:51.2. The win was Cracklin Rosie’s first in Ontario Sires Stakes competition and her first for Kleinburg resident Cirillo and his partners Aaron Waxman of Carlisle, ON, Alan Alber of Thornhill, ON and Terri Lynn McNair of Guelph. Waxman, Cirillo and McNair bought into the Badlands Hanover daughter just two weeks ago, acquiring their share from trainer-breeder Luc Ouellette while Alber retained his ownership, and the group sent the filly to trainer James Ciaran Morrison of Harley, ON. “Aaron just absolutely loved the horse and said, ‘Frank, I think we have a really good Grassroots horse, but we’ll start her off in the Gold and see what happens,’ and she’s just turned out to be a fantastic acquisition,” said Cirillo. “She’s just been a dream come true.” Finishing behind Cracklin Rosie in the first division were Lay Lady Lay and Southwind Tango. Cracklin Rosie The second $105,000 division featured last season’s champion L A Delight, who was looking for a return to the winner’s circle after being upset by Good Will Hanover in the May 28 SBOA Final. Starting from Post 7, driver Randy Waples of Milton, ON sent L A Delight straight to the front and wasted no time sitting in the pocket when fan favourite Mayhem Seelster circled around to take control just after the :26.4 opening quarter. Waples looked completely confident in his charge through fractions of :55.4 and 1:24.3 and L A Delight cruised home a one length winner in 1:51.4. Bad As Leader and Mayhem Seelster finished in a tight battle for second and third. “She looked like a different filly this week,” said Al McIntosh, who shares ownership of L A Delight with trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor, ON and C S X Stables of Liberty Center, OH. “Maybe she just needed a race or two to get back in the groove. You can train and you can qualify and everything, but racing is racing.” The win was L A Delight’s thirteenth in 15 lifetime starts and it boosted her earnings to $783,201. And while Al McIntosh and his partners have a two-year-old full sister to the champion in the barn, the Leamington, ON resident was not about to make any predictions about her prospects in this year’s freshman OSS program. “I don’t get too high on them,” said the long-time owner and breeder. “This filly last year was the biggest surprise I’ve had in all the years I’ve been in business, because when she trained she was very lackadaisical and the day she saw the starting gate everything changed. So you never know.” L A Delight and Cracklin Rosie will look to defend their early season crowns when the sophomore pacing fillies return to Mohawk Racetrack for their second Gold Series start on July 9. Next up on the Campbellville oval’s OSS schedule is the Gold Series season debut for the three-year-old trotting fillies on Monday, June 13. L A Delight Ontario Racing   OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: OSS Program Administration   Ontario Racing 10 Carlson Court, Suite 400, Toronto, ON M9W 6L2 416-213-1800

CAMPBELLVILLE, May 31 - A talented group of 19 harness racing three-year-old pacers have been split into two $75,000 divisions for this Saturday's Somebeachsomewhere Stakes at Mohawk Racetrack. A stacked 11-race card has been assembled for Saturday and, along with the Somebeachsomewhere, will also feature a leg of the Graduate Series for four-year-olds and an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold event for sophomore pacing fillies. The Somebeachsomewhere Stakes (previously known as The Burlington) serves as the final prep before the Pepsi North America Cup eliminations (June 11). Of the 19 horses in this year's Somebeachsomewhere Stakes, 17 are eligible to the 'Cup'. The first division Saturday is headlined by several of last year's standout rookies and OSS top stars. OSS Super Final champion Betting Line (PP2, Jonathan Drury) is looking for his second win in three starts this season. The Casie Coleman trainee won his last start on May 21 at Mohawk in 1:49.4 and paced a :52.2 back-half. Voracity (PP5, Brett Miller), a winner of over $298,000, and Nvestment Bluechip (PP9, Jody Jamieson), third-place finisher in last year's Breeders Crown and winner of over $368,000, join their OSS rival in the first split. Trainer Tony Alagna not only sends out Voracity in the first division, but also Grand Circuit winner American Passport (PP3, Scott Zeron). The son of American Ideal posted three consecutive victories last season in Grand Circuit events, including a pair at The Red Mile. Michaels Victory (PP7, Sylvain Filion) and Magnum J (PP10, Doug McNair) are both coming off Sires Stakes victories in New Jersey and Ontario. Stonebridge Beach (PP1, Sylvain Filion), Flaherty (PP4, Trevor Henry), Dreamfair Mesa (PP6, Randy Waples) and Some Gold (PP8, James MacDonald) complete the field of ten for the first division. Metro Pace and O'Brien Award winner Control The Moment (PP4, Randy Waples) headlines the second division. The Brad Maxwell trainee is making his 2016 debut after a pair of qualifiers at Mohawk. The son of Well Said won eight of nine starts last season, banked over $461,000 and took a mark of 1:49.4 at Mohawk. Also in the second split, Alagna trainee Highlandbeachycove (PP9, Scott Zeron) will look to improve to three for three to start his sophomore season; Mark Silva trainee Lyons Snyder (PP3, Sylvain Filion) is coming off a Pennsylvania Sires Stakes victory in 1:49.4 at Pocono; and Dave Menary trainee Major Hill (PP6, Jody Jamieson) is entering off a 1:50.4 winning performance last week at Mohawk. The field of nine is completed by Bettor Memories (PP1, Chris Christoforou), Arsenic (PP2, Doug McNair), Nocturnal Bluechip (PP5, Paul MacDonell), Cruise Patrol (PP7, James MacDonald) and Brookdale Sonny (PP8, Sylvain Fillion). The Somebeachsomewhere divisions have been carded as races six and eight. Also on Saturday, the Graduate Series makes a stop at the Campbellville oval. A field of 11 four-year-old trotters will compete in the Graduate Trot, while a group of seven four-year-olds will battle in the Graduate Pace. Each race goes for a purse of $98,250. Local standout Musical Rhythm (PP5, Mario Baillargeon) stars in the Graduate Trot. The Ben Baillargeon trainee had his 11 race win streak snapped in the first leg of the series on May 21 at The Meadowlands. However, the son of Cantab Hall has won 13 of his last 14 starts on the WEG Circuit. The Graduate Trot field also includes Ron Burke trainee Crazy Wow (PP8, Matt Kakaley), a winner of over $1.3 million, and first leg winner Crazshana (PP10, James MacDonald) from the Jeff Bamond barn. The Graduate Pace is headlined by Breeders Crown champion Freaky Feet Pete (PP5, Scott Zeron). The Larry Rheinheimer trainee has won 27 of 31 career starts and will be making his first trip back to Canada since his Crown triumph at Woodbine last October. Freaky Feet Pete, a winner of over $1.2 million, has won three of four starts this season and is entering the Graduate off a third-place finish in the Battle of Lake Erie at Northfield. The field of seven also includes last year's Adios winner Dudes The Man (PP4, Jody Jamieson). The Howard Okusko Jr. trainee won his season debut Monday afternoon at Vernon Downs in 1:49.4. Dudes The Man hit the board in almost half of his 21 starts last season and earned over $715,000. The Graduate Trot has been carded as the fifth-race, while the Graduate Pace is the evening's ninth-race. The first OSS Gold event of the season at Mohawk will also highlight Saturday's card. A group of 16 sophomore pacing fillies have been split into two $105,000 divisions. Fresh off a victory in the S.B.O.A Stakes, Dr. Ian Moore trainee Good Will Hanover will look to keep her momentum rolling in the first split. O'Brien Award winner L A Delight, who suffered her first loss in 12 starts last Saturday, will look to get back on track in the second division for trainer Bob McIntosh. Not to be overshadowed by all the stakes action, an impressive group of older pacers will square off in the $34,000 Preferred (Race 4). State Treasurer, Nickle Bag, Shamballa and Evenin Of Pleasure are just a few of the notables in the field of nine for the Preferred. Post time for Saturday's stakes-packed card of racing is 7:30 p.m. The program pages (without final changes) for Saturday's card can be accessed by clicking here. Mark McKelvie

As part of The Raceway at Western Fair District's Molson Pace night festivities, the province's top harness racing three-year-old pacing colts and geldings kicked off the 2016 Ontario Sires Stakes season in front of an enthusiastic group of supporters on Friday evening. Under balmy skies and with fast track conditions the colts rang up sharp miles, culminating with a track record equalling performance by Sintra in the third $70,000 Gold Series division. The Mach Three son was driven to the 1:52.4 victory by Jody Jamieson of Moffat, ON, who said the result came as no surprise to the gelding's connections. "All I can tell you is that Dave Menary, tonight, was as confident in a race as I've ever seen. He wasn't worried about Gerries Sport, he wasn't worried about anybody. He said this horse will win and he'll set the track record. And he did that," said Jamieson, who piloted Sintra to the win for trainer Dave Menary of Rockton, ON and his partners Brad Gray of Dundas, ON and Michael Guerriero of Brampton, ON. "He was actually three-fifths of a second off his prediction, but it was still pretty impressive to see how good the horse was." Sintra bested fan favourite Gerries Sport by two and one-quarter lengths, with Flaherty seven and a half lengths back in third. The win was Sintra's third in three starts this season and Jamieson is confident that it will not be his last. "I schooled him before I qualified him and I knew what kind of horse he was. He was just deadly qualifying and his first two starts were a laugh, 1:51, just jogged," said the reinsman. "Obviously the half-mile track is a bit of an equalizer for some horses, but he just proved right there that he can go with anybody on any size track." Sintra raced just three times as a two-year-old, and was the second lightly raced youngster to emerge victorious in Gold Series action on Friday. Magnum J, who went behind the gate four times last season, captured the first Gold division in 1:53.2. Magnum J and driver Doug McNair carved out fractions of :27.2, :57.1 and 1:25.4 on their way to the two and one-quarter length win over Brookdale Sonny and Bettor Memories, and McNair is also expecting a strong sophomore campaign from the Big Jim gelding. "He cut it home in 27 and a bit, and he did that on his own, so it's scary how big of a mile he probably could have went if he had to," said Guelph, ON resident McNair. "He's fast, he can come off a helmet. It's tough to say how good he is. He only had four starts last year," added the driver. McNair's father Gregg, also of Guelph, conditions Magnum J and shares ownership of the gelding with Tony Lawrence and William Brown of Hanover. The other Gold Series trophy went home with Print Media, who upset the favourites with a 1:54.1 front-end effort engineered by Sylvain Filion. The Vintage Master gelding finished one length in front of War N Munn and Semi Automatic to score his first win of the season. "This year they had him ready a little bit earlier so I think they caught those Gold horses off guard tonight," noted Filion, last year's leading driver in the Ontario Sires Stakes program. "He was ready and there were a few here that weren't quite ready to roll, you know, and I think that gave him an edge." Milton, ON resident Filion engineered the win for trainer Richard Moreau of Puslinch, ON and owner Saverino Spagnolo of Ottawa, ON. The three-year-old pacing colts and geldings will make their second Gold Series start at Mohawk Racetrack on July 2. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues on June 4 with the first Gold Series Leg for the three-year-old pacing fillies going postward at Mohawk Racetrack. In addition to the Gold Series divisions, London area fans were also treated to four City of London Series Finals and two Alliance Series Finals, all leading up to the $150,000 Molson Invitational Pace. Filion and Moreau combined for a second upset in the Molson Pace, as the lightly rated Evenin Of Pleasure sprinted home to a track record 1:50.3 triumph. Sunfire Blue Chip finished a neck back in second and McWicked was hot on their heels in third. Ontario Racing

Three divisions of three-year-old pacing colts and geldings will kick off the 2016 Ontario Sires Stakes season Friday, May 27, on what promises to be a spectacular night of harness racing action at The Raceway at Western Fair District. The three $70,000 Gold Series divisions are part of the track's signature Molson Pace program, which features top flight racing, countless opportunities to win great prizes and a variety of ways to get close to the action. "It's a night where we want to make it a lot of fun and a great atmosphere on track, but the program itself, we want that to be the focal point and I think we've put another really strong card together," said Raceway Manager Greg Blanchard of the event, which features total purses of over $550,000. "And the OSS Golds for the colts, it's nice to really kick off the OSS season, especially in that division, on this night. These are great three-year-old colts that we're going to get to watch." One colt hoping to claim a share of the spotlight on Friday is War N Munn, who has dominated the early season stakes action on the Woodbine Entertainment Group circuit. The Stonebridge Regal son - bred by Arva, ON resident Angie Stiller - will be looking to add a Gold Series trophy to a collection that already includes the Count B, Diplomat and Youthful Series hardware. Jonathan Drury of Guelph, ON will steer War N Munn from Post 2 in the second OSS division for trainer Carmen Auciello of Stouffville, ON and owner George Munniksma of Washington, NJ. Among the colts hoping to keep War N Munn out of the Race 8 winner's circle are Voracity, a two-time Gold Series winner at two, and Semi Automatic, who earned one Gold Series trophy last season. Voracity will start from Post 3 for trainer Tony Alagna of Manalapan, NJ and his partners Brad Grant of Milton, ON and John Fodera of Staten Island, NY. Semi Automatic will be looking for his top gear from Post 5 for trainer Tony O'Sullivan of Puslinch, ON and his partners Let It Ride Stables Inc. of Boca Raton, FL and J And T Silva Stables LLC of Long Beach, NY. Fans can get in on the OSS winner's circle celebrations by casting their ballot in the "Be A Winner" contest. Finalists will be drawn to represent each colt in the "Be A Winner" contest race and each finalist will receive an OSS t-shirt, ball cap and a $15 win-place-show wager on their chosen colt. Finalists will watch the contest race from the trackside winner's circle area, and the winning colt's finalist will join in the post-race victory celebrations, receiving their own trophy, an OSS jacket and shirt, winner's circle photo and a $50 wagering voucher. An up-close view of the action will also be offered by the Wanna Drive program, which puts fans on the racetrack in a double-seated jog cart, and through the Molson Pace Infield Party contest, which will give a limited number of lucky fans an opportunity to watch the racing from the infield. "We are really working with a lot of our close partners on this night - HPI, OLG, the Alliance tracks, Standardbred Canada, the Ontario Sires Stakes - and of course Molson, our title sponsor, it's great to have that partnership continue," noted Blanchard. "It's nice because they all add a lot to the night. It enhances the whole experience." The first race of the evening will be called to the post at 7:05 pm, but an earlier arrival will allow fans to take in all the trackside activities. "I would say, if you want to sort of beat the crowd, anytime from 5:30 pm on," said Blanchard, adding that there will be a guest horse greeting fans and a special giveaway for early arrivals. The $70,000 Ontario Sires Stakes divisions will be featured in Races 5, 8 and 9 and the $150,000 Molson Invitational Pace will bring the evening to a close in Race 12. Further details about Molson Pace Night can be found at OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing  

Harness racing trainer Dr. Ian Moore said winning a fourth straight Molson Pace with his pupil State Treasurer would be almost beyond comprehension. “It’s been fun just to win it once. A second was a bonus and the third was just unreal last year,” Moore said. “A fourth time would be unbelievable.” State Treasurer, the 2015 Horse of the Year in Canada owned by Sally and Allan MacDonald of Prince Edward Island and their nephew, Paul MacDonald of Toronto, has drawn the rail for Friday’s $150,000 invitational at The Raceway at The Western Fair District in London, ON. The pacer’s regular driver, Chris Christoforou, will be in the sulky. Moore, a PEI native who is based in Guelph, ON during the summer, acknowledged it won’t be easy for State Treasurer to become the first horse to win four Molson Pace titles in the race’s 44-year history. Race secretary Ian Fleming has assembled a crack field of eight tough older pacers, many coming in from the United States. The field has combined earnings of nearly $9 million. That includes the $1.96 million earned by State Treasurer, who is winless in his three 2016 starts since returning from wintering at Southern Oaks Training Center in Florida. “He hasn’t been quite as good his first few starts, obviously, this year,” Moore said. “It sort of was the same thing last year. It wasn’t until about the third start that he was good at Mohawk and I really think that the first three Saturdays that we’ve been back in Ontario since April 30th the (race nights) have all been very cold. In fact, 37 degrees Fahrenheit and wet snow the last time we raced. I think some of our horses had a little trouble acclimatizing to that.” Moore said State Treasurer had some mild sickness a few weeks ago and was given five days off after his last start — a fifth-place finish in the $34,000 preferred on May 14 at Mohawk Racetrack — but the seven-year-old son of Real Desire—Ideal Treasure seems fine this week and should be raring to go Friday in London. “He seems good in every other way. He’s been sound and everything and he’s steering well this year. We hope he’ll appreciate the return to London and away we go,” Moore said. “He obviously likes that track and has done well there in the past. Hopefully, he’ll be ready to roll for the fourth time.” State Treasurer is currently tied with Jambo Dancer for the most Molson Pace victories. Jambo Dancer also won the race three straight years, taking the title in 1976, 1977 and 1978. Post positions for the Molson Pace field are as follows: 1. State Treasurer – Chris Christoforou 2. Bettor Rock On N – Jody Jamieson 3. Sunfire Blue Chip – Mark MacDonald 4. Evenin Of Pleasure – Sylvain Filion 5. Machtu N – Trevor Henry 6. Mcwicked – Randy Waples 7. P H Supercam – James MacDonald 8. All Bets Off – Matt Kakaley The Molson Pace program will also feature the Ontario Sires Stakes for three-year-old colt pacers, a quartet of City of London Series finals, a pair of Alliance Claiming Series finals and an added-purse Junior Invitational Pace as part of the undercard. Total purses for the night will be more than $550,000. There will be a number of promotions on the night, including Scratch and Win program prizes, OSS ‘Be A Winner Contest,’ Party on the Patio, a Molson VIP infield event and much more. The wagering menu has been bolstered to include a $5,000 guaranteed early Pick-3, $10,000 guaranteed early Pick-4, $15,000 guaranteed late Pick-4 and the addition of a third Super Hi-5 – all low 15 per cent takeout wagers. For more information, visit Greg Blanchard

Just a week away from the start of the Ontario Sires Stakes season, three-year-old pacing colt Gerries Sport put his harness racing rivals on notice with a sizzling 1:49.2 performance Friday night at Mohawk Racetrack. The Richard Moreau trained colt competed in a non-winners of three-races or $75,000 lifetime event Friday night, which featured three Pepsi North America Cup eligibles, Arsenic, Bettor Memories and Nocturnal Bluechip. Gerries Sport entered Friday's race with two victories in three starts this season. His only defeat was a gritty fourth-place effort in The Diplomat Series final on May 7. Driven by Sylvain Filion, Gerries Sport left from post-five and found a spot in third, while four-year-old Asap Hanover blasted to the front just ahead of Arsenic. There was little movement early on, as Asap Hanover posted solid fractions of :26.3 and :54.2. Approaching the three-quarter pole, Filion pulled on the right line to send Gerries Sport after the leader. The challenger pulled to within less than two-lengths of the lead at the third-marker, as Asap Hanover reached that station in 1:22.1. In the stretch, Gerries Sport powered by Asap Hanover to grab clear command with an eighth of a mile to go. The Moreau trainee cruised home confidently in :26.4 to win by two-lengths in 1:49.2. Asap Hanover finished second, while Arsenic was third in his season debut. Pepsi North America Cup eligibles Bettor Memories and Nocturnal Bluechip finished fifth and seventh, respectively. A son of Mach Three, Gerries Sport competed primarily in the OSS Grassroots as a two-year-old, but appears more than ready to tackle the Gold level this season. Moreau trains the sophomore pacing colt for owner Gerrie Tucker of Montreal, Quebec. Gerries Sport's third win in four starts this season brings his career record to six wins in 16 starts for earnings of $71,453. The son of Mach Three is now North America's fastest three-year-old of 2016. His clocking of 1:49.2 lowered the previous mark of 1:50.2 set by War N Munn in The Diplomat Final on May 7 at Mohawk. Gerries Sport paid $5.90 to win. Live racing continues Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack with a special post time of 6:45 p.m. in place for Fireworks and Family Fun Night. Mark McKelvie

A top-notch group of seven older pacers put on a harness racing show Saturday night in a thrilling edition of the $34,000 Preferred at Mohawk Racetrack. Plenty of action and hot fractions on a chilly and windy May evening led to Nirvana Seelster coming through for a 17-1 upset victory The Bill Budd trainee left quickly from post-six to grab the lead and post an opening-quarter of :26.3. State Treasurer, who was the 8-5 favourite, was parked around the first turn and charged up to try and wrestle command away from Nirvana Seelster. State Treasurer ultimately cleared to the front approaching the half, but grabbing clear command forced him to pace a :53.4 opening-half. There was no breather for the public's choice, as Nickle Bag, the 9-5 second choice, popped out from fourth and came charging first up to engage in a final turn battle. The two favourites waged war to the three-quarter pole in a hot 1:21.1. In the stretch, Nickle Bag took the lead and showed tremendous grit trying to hold off several challengers. Nirvana Seelster and driver Phil Hudon never left their spot along the rail and shot up late to steal away the victory from Nickle Bag by half a length in 1:50.3. Reverend Hanover got up for third in his four-year-old season debut. State Treasurer dropped back to finish fifth, while the popular Shamballa finished seventh in his season debut. A five-year-old gelded son of Camluck, Nirvana Seelster scored his fifth win in 16 starts this season on Saturday night. His 1:50.3 victory gives him 21 career visits to the winner's circle. Owned by Bruce Davy, Nirvana Seelster has earned $128,000 this season to bring his career bankroll to over $434,000. The Budd trainee now has three victories in the WEG Preferred this season. Nirvana Seelster paid $37.70 to win. Also on Saturday, a pair of Ontario Sires Stakes notable three-year-olds turned in solid performances. Sophomore pacing colt Betting Line came off cover to finish second in his season debut. The Casie Coleman trainee was competing against older horses and used a :26.3 final-quarter to come up half a length short in an impressive first start. Betting Line won six of 12 starts last year and earned over $540,000 in his rookie season. The son of Bettor's Delight is a top contender for next month's Pepsi North America Cup. On the trotting side, Will Take Charge crushed his opponents in a non-winners of three event by six-lengths. The John Bax trainee bounced back beautifully from a break last week for his second win in three starts this year. A gelded son of Kadabra, Will Take Charge had just a single win in 13 starts last year at age two, but his lone victory came in an OSS Gold event at Mohawk. The Bax trainee followed up his only win with a second-place finish in the OSS Super Final. Will Take Charge hit the board in eight of his 13 starts last year and banked over $196,000. He is expected to be a top contender on the OSS scene once again and is eligible to several Grand Circuit events. Live racing resumes Monday night at Mohawk Racetrack. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Nirvana Seelster   Mark McKelvie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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