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Thursday night marked the end of the Grassroots regular harness racing season for the three-year-old trotting fillies and Whip N Neigh Neigh wiggled up the inside and right into the post season with her first-ever Grassroots win. "The trip worked out perfect," said top Woodbine Mohawk Park driver Doug McNair. "She's been knocking at the door, so it was nice to get a win." Kicking things off in the first $18,450 division, McNair and Whip N Neigh Neigh got away fourth and sat tight as Galary Girl took the field to a :28 opening quarter and :58.1 half. Around the final turn McNair tipped Whip N Neigh Neigh into the outer lane and the filly was making steady gains on Galary Girl and pocket-sitter Melanie G as they passed the 1:28.3 three-quarters. In the stretch McNair sent Whip N Neigh Neigh up the inside and the filly hustled home to a three-quarter length victory in a personal best 1:58.4. Fan favourite Melanie G took the right hand route around Galary Girl, who went off stride as she was being flanked, and finished second. Hay Darlene completed the top three. "With a win today she should be in the Semi-Finals. So she'll be there, race the Semi-Final, and hopefully the Final," said Per Henriksen, who trains the daughter of Cornaro Dasolo for Adv Racing Stable LLC of Pawling, NY. "She's just a sweetheart to be around and never do nothing wrong basically, and she came a long way since the beginning of the year." Whip N Neigh Neigh started the season with a tenth-place result in the June 7 event and followed that up with a fourth on July 8 and a sixth on July 21. In the August 27 event at Grand River Raceway she was sitting third when she made a late break and had to settle for fifth. Heading into Tuesday's contest she was tied for 24th, just shy of qualifying for the post-season, but the victory boosted her point tally to 66 and will see her start in a Sept. 21 Semi-Final. Joining Whip N Neigh Neigh will be the other two division winners, Pretty N Well and Hopes Solo. Pretty N Well took full advantage of an early miscue by heavy favourite Sorceress Seelster, winding up in the pocket spot behind Gotta Pay To Play just past the :28.4 quarter. Content to follow the pacesetter through the 1:00.1 half, driver Bob McClure sent Pretty N Well up the outer lane heading by the 1:29.3 three-quarters and then shifted the filly into high gear in the stretch. Pretty N Well reeled in Gotta Pay To Play and held off a late charge from Stormont Charlotte to record the neck victory in a personal best 1:58.2. Stormont Charlotte, who had also made an early error, finished second and Gotta Pay To Play settled for third. "She's a handy filly, she does everything right," said McClure. "She's really nice to drive and was able to capitalize on some breakers tonight." McClure crafted the win for trainer Mark Johnson and owner-breeder Denise Ball of Bailieboro, Ontario. The win was the Kadabra daughter's second in Grassroots action this season and puts her in fifth spot in the standings with 101 points. Fan favourite Hopes Solo also scored her second Grassroots victory on Thursday, stepping out of the pocket to catch pacesetter Magics Lucky Charm at the wire in 1:57.1. A scant neck separated the top two fillies and Miss Adam T was only one-half length back in third. "She got a nice two-hole trip and fought hard in the stretch to win," said driver Chris Christoforou, who steered the filly to her first Grassroots win in the August 27 event at Grand River Raceway. "I was very happy with her considering she had been battling some minor issues all week." The victory, the Cornaro Dasolo daughter's third in a row, gives Hopes Solo a total of 125 points and second spot in the standings behind Ezee Tiguan. Christoforou pilots the filly for his father, trainer Charalambos Christoforou, and owner Carolyn Polillo and said they will wait to see how the filly bounces back from Thursday's effort before deciding whether she will make an overnight start before the Sept. 21 Semi-Final. The top 20 point earners will advance to the Semi-Final, with the top five finishers from each Semi-Final advancing to the Sept. 29 Grassroots Championship at Woodbine Mohawk Park. On Friday night the three-year-old pacing colts and gelding will arrive at Woodbine Mohawk Park to wrap up their Grassroots regular season. The pacers will raise the curtain on the evening's festivities at 7:10 pm in the first race and will also compete in Races 6 and 10. From the Ontario Sire Stakes  

JULY 21, 2018 - Georgian Downs hosted both the Gold and Grassroots legs for the thee-year-old trotting fillies on Saturday evening and Illusioneesta took sole control of top spot in the Gold Series standings with her second straight victory in the provincial program. Starting from Post 3 in the second $95,600 Gold division, Illusioneesta and driver Chris Christoforou, Jr. employed their usual come-from-behind tactics, getting away in the middle of the pack and allowing Magical Lady to ring up fractions of :28, :59.1 and 1:28.4 before shifting into high gear and sprinting home to a one length victory in 1:58. Magical Lady settled for second and pocket-sitter Gotta Pay To Play was third. "That's what she do, she don't like to go early, she likes to race at the end of it, and that's where the money is," said trainer Per Henriksen of the fan favourite. She's nice, very nice, and she's made a pile of money so far this year, and quite a few Golds and the Super Final left, if everything goes right." Norwood resident Henriksen conditions Illusioneesta for Harbor Racing Stable LLC of Aurora and Asa Farm of Norwood, Ontario. Through eight sophomore starts the Kadabra daughter has tallied four wins and three thirds for earnings of $191,546. "And you know, she's just such a pleasure to be around and don't have no issues or nothing," added Henriksen. "The only thing we've got to watch with her is that we don't feed her too much, because she'd look like a drum if you'd let her." With two wins and one second through the first three Gold events Illusioneesta has accumulated 125 points, putting her almost 50 points ahead of the competition with two events remaining. In the first Gold division, Collateral Beauty earned her first-ever Ontario Sires Stakes victory with a come-from-behind trip that saw her reel in the leaders through the stretch and trot under the wire in 1:58. Apprentice M finished two and three-quarter lengths back in second and Town Hall Justice was third. "She raced phenomenal for me, I was extremely happy. She's very nice to drive," said reinsman Rick Zeron, who drove the filly to the win for trainer Herb Holland and owner Carolyn MacIsaac of Milton, Ontario. "She seems to be just getting better and better every week, and I was extremely happy for Herb and Carolyn, because they're hard-working people and they love their horses." The win was the Kadabra daughter's first through six starts this season and boosts her lifetime earnings to $79,504. Seventh in the Gold Series season opener, the win also bumped Collateral Beauty up to 52 points, putting her among the top 10 point earners. All three Grassroots divisions were also captured by first-time OSS winners. Fan favourite Stormont Charlotte led off with a 1:57.3 victory in the first $19,150 division for driver Scott Coulter and owner-trainer Alan Fair of Ancaster, Ontario. The Justice Hall daughter bested Hopes Solo and Power And Grace. In the second division Robert Shepherd steered fan favourite Pretty N Well to a 2:00.4 score for trainer Mark Johnson and owner-breeder Denise Ball of Bailieboro, Ontario. Northern Lightning finished second and Gradabra was third, giving Ontario trotting sire Kadabra a sweep of the top three spots. The final Grassroots division saw Sharpes Summer Series winner Superlative retain her hold on the Georgian Downs winner's circle. Making her Ontario Sires Stakes debut, Superlative allowed P L Layla to control the early tempo, leading the field through fractions of :28.1, :57.4 and 1:27 before kicking into gear in the final quarter and storming home to a three length victory in 1:57.3. P L Layla settled for second and Frick was third. Thornton resident Stephen Byron was in Superlative's race bike for the win, as he has been for all five of her lifetime starts. After a bobble in her May 21 debut the Holiday Road daughter has been flawless, sweeping both legs and the final of the Sharpes Summer Series and Saturday's Grassroots division. Rob Walker, Jr. of Sharon trains Superlative for his partners Brilo Farms of Sharon and A J Cachia Sales Ltd. of Newmarket, Ontario. Superlative and her peers will have an opportunity to add to their Grassroots point tally in the fourth event on August 27 at Grand River Raceway, while the Gold Series fillies will compete in their fourth event at Woodbine Mohawk Park on August 16. Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Georgian Downs next Sunday, July 29 with the second Gold event for the two-year-old trotting colts. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

Harness racing trainer Per Henriksen is old enough to know that you're never too old to take a shot in the Breeders Crown. The 70-year-old native of Norway, who is based out of Norwood, Ontario, is back in this year's Breeders Crown presented by Mullinax Ford at the Meadowlands in New Jersey on Saturday night, seven years since he last raced in the championship event. He sends out Muscle Hustle in the $500,000 Three-Year-Old Colt Trot, a race stacked with some solid contenders, including Bar Hopping, Southwind Frank and Marion Marauder, each of whom has won some prominent stakes races this season. Muscle Hustle has been a topnotch horse this season on the Ontario Sires Stakes circuit, including setting a Canadian and OSS record on a five-eighths mile track, banking almost US$200,000 in 14 starts. The horse was sent to Henriksen as a two-year-old by Robert Bergh, Sweden's top trainer, who was having some issues with the son of Muscle Mass. Henriksen is considered somewhat of a horse whisperer because of his ability to figure out the head cases. In the case of Muscle Hustle, Henriksen decided to put trotting hopples on the colt early in his career. This will the last time Henriksen harnesses the colt, who is scheduled to be sent back to Sweden after the Breeders Crown. "If I didn't think my horse had a shot to win, I would not spend $7,500 for to go in the race," he said. "It's always a pleasure going back to the Breeders Crown when you have horses that you think are good enough to compete. I thought I had three that were good enough to compete, but I got one to the final and he qualified really good (with driver Chris Christoforou) and Chris said he's as good as any of these horses with the right trip. We drew the five hole, which is good, so we're optimistic." Henriksen has had 22 previous starters in the Breeders Crown for $1.2 million in earnings and has won three times, all in the Three-Year-Old Filly Trot: Expressway Hanover in 1993, Oolong in 1999 and Southwind Serena in 2007. Expressway Hanover and Oolong won at short prices, Southwind Serena at 50-1. She is notable for being Yannick Gingras' first Crown win and is also the dam of the world champion and Breeders Crown freshman winner Mission Brief. "Any time you can win a Breeders Crown it means a lot, there's no doubt about that," Henriksen said. "That's something special. Yes, I'll take a new owner if they pop up with a good horse, don't misunderstand me. Not that I need it, that's not the point. I'm 70 years old. I just don't want to live in a tent when I'm done doing this. "I just had a (physical) and the doctor said he couldn't find anything wrong with me. He said, 'Per, you're like a 55-year-old - your heart rate, everything. You don't have any aches or pains. You're so lucky, you don't know how lucky you are.' "If I can win the Breeders Crown, it will be such a pleasure, most of all for the people around me who support me all the time - my owners, my support staff. It's not going to change my lifestyle, let's put it that way, but it's a joy. "It would mean a lot to me to win, especially with Robert Bergh," he added. "He's my friend. I've sent horses to him in Sweden as four-year-olds when I thought they were better off there than in North America. Muscle Hustle struggled with an allergic problem all summer and all fall. He was supposed to go to the Hambletonian and I thought I had a really good shot, but he got an allergy. We got him on some serum but it didn't help him enough. I think this horse is good enough to go with any of them. If he's 100 percent and on his game and gets the right trip, he can beat any of them." This has been an interesting year for Henriksen. He won the Ahlsells Invitational driver championship for legends of the sport in Sweden. "That's a sign that you're getting old when you get invited to a legends' race," he quipped. He also posted his 1,000th career training win in North America. "It feels good (winning 1,000). At my age, everything feels good," he said. "I had the two best three-year-old trotting colts in Ontario this year with Muscle Hustle and Bee In Charge. I had another one, Blenheim, that was knocking on the door in the Grand Circuit. How often do you get a trio of three-year-old trotting colts that can compete on the Grand Circuit? One won $300,000 and the other one about $200,000. I can't complain. "To get those kind of horses to train is just a pleasure. Two of those horses were ones that other people couldn't get going and that gave me even more joy." Henriksen came to North America from Europe in the 1980s and won the 1986 Hambletonian with Nuclear Kosmos. He was voted the O'Brien Award for Horsemanship in Canada in 2009 when he won more than $1.6 million as a trainer - his third $1 million season in a row - and almost $700,000 as a driver. He has been cutting back on his drives in the last two years, steering young horses to figure them out and then turning them over to catch drivers. "I like to drive my two-year-olds for awhile to take care of them," he said. "In my opinion a horse is like a bar of soap. There's only that many washes in it. If you use it too hard early, there's nothing left at the end. Anybody can correct me if they think I'm wrong, but I think I can keep some of these horses trotting when they may break stride with catch drivers. I might not be able to make them go that fast. I might lose a fifth of a second, but most of the times you're better off going a fifth of a second slower and keep them trotting." The complete field for the $500,000 Breeders Crown 3-year-old Colt and Gelding Trot with named driver and trainer is as follows: 1 - Waitlifter K - Muscles Yankee - Kakaley - Harris 2 - Marion Marauder - Muscle Hill - S. Zeron - Wellwood 3 - Bar Hopping* - Muscle Hill - Tetrick - Takter 4 - Sutton* - Donato Hanover - A. Miller - J. Miller 5 - Muscle Hustle - Muscle Mass - Christoforou - Henriksen 6 - Double L Lindy - Muscles Yankee - Svanstedt - Svanstedt 7 - Love Matters - Explosive Matter - Sears - Takter 8 - Winter Harbor - Muscle Hill - D. Miller - Alagna 9 - Southwind Frank - Muscle Hill - Gingras - Burke 10 - Lagerfeld - Yankee Glide - D. Miller - Takter AE1-Blenheim- J. Campbell - Henriksen AE2-Southern Cross - A. Svanstedt-Svanstedt *Designates elim winner By Perry Lefko for Breeders Crown

Fraserville, ON --- Kawartha Downs' Per Henriksen, lauded for his expertise with harness racing trotters, will make a rare appearance at The Raceway at Western Fair District with a horse that is the perfect example of why he is called ‘the fixer.’ Countless trainers, frustrated with trotters who refused to trot, have sent Henriksen their problem horses over the years. One of the latest is the 3-year-old trotting colt St James Gate. A son of Majestic Son, the horse had two trainers prior to heading to Henriksen’s barn a couple of months ago. As a 2-year-old he made three qualifying attempts and broke stride and was distanced in each one. He headed to a new barn for his sophomore season which saw him attempt to qualify five times, all with the exact same result, a miscue at some point in the mile. Henriksen worked with the horse and his first charted line without a break anywhere in the mile came in a qualifying race at Mohawk on Sept. 6 where Henriksen drove him to a fifth place finish. It was the horse’s first start for Henriksen. St James Gate made his first pari-mutuel start on Sept. 28 at Grand River Raceway where he won with Henriksen in the bike in 2:02. He’ll make his second career start Friday night (Oct. 14) at London where he’s drawn post five in the first race. Jeff Ruch and Alan Richardson bred and own the trotter who is a full brother to $351,093 winner Rock Of Cashel. This is just the fifth time this year Henriksen has made the trip from his Norwood, Ontario base to London. Before that he’ll start five horses Thursday night (Oct. 13) at Mohawk, three in the Ontario Autumn Series, and one at Flamboro Downs. In addition to St James Gate, he also has Cheer For The Cats racing at London Friday night along with Marquis Volo racing at Mohawk. Saturday night at Mohawk he’ll harness three starters in the C$250,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Super Finals. Bee In Charge and Muscle Hustle are in the 3-year-old trotting colt division and Jangone is in the 3-year-old filly trot split. Henriksen will be back in London on Monday where he’ll start Covert Operative, a winner of $186,215 in his career. He finished second, by a head, in Kawartha’s signature race, the Goodtimes Invitational, to Ramas Last Son. An O’Brien Award winner as Horseman of the Year in 2007, Henriksen is enjoying one of his best seasons ever this year with $910,695 in earnings to date in 2016. His all time best in terms of purses was 2008 when his charges took in $1.53 million. The native of Norway has a total of 1,040 wins lifetime for $14.3 million in purses. Kawartha Downs

OCT. 6, 2016 - After finishing third in five straight Ontario Sire Stakes Gold Series starts, stretching back to September 2015, three-year-old trotting gelding Dia Monde grabbed a win in the last regular season harness racing event of his career at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday evening. In rein to Milton resident Randy Waples Dia Monde left smartly from Post 6 and landed second behind early leader Dunvegan Don, who led the field to a :27 opening quarter. Waples continued to sit on the rail as fan favourite Bee In Charge took control heading for the :57.1 half, and then tipped Dia Monde into the outer lane heading by the 1:26.1 three-quarters. With a clear look at the finish line, Dia Monde shifted into overdrive and powered under the wire a one and three-quarter length winner in 1:54. Tony Soprano also closed well to be second, leaving Bee In Charge the third-place finisher's spoils. "He raced good, we're pretty tickled with him finally getting that win," said Puslinch resident June Durand, who shares ownership of Dia Monde with her husband, trainer Tom Durand, and Allan Smith of Oakville, ON. The victory boosted Dia Monde into fourth spot in the division standings, with 98 points, heading into the Oct. 15 Super Final. Through all 13 of his sophomore starts the son of Deweycheatumnhowe and Lady Bar has three wins, two seconds, five thirds and earnings of $163,612. Dia Monde is the second foal out of Lady Bar - a half-sister to former Durand trainee Clarice Marie ($313,400) - that Smith and the Durand's have owned, and it was their long familiarity with the family that first drew the partners to Dia Monde. "We had Littlejack Hanover and he was small, he was a Donato (Hanover), and then when we went to look at this colt he was twice the size, a big, strong colt," recalls June Durand. "And the thing we liked about him is, Looking Hanover ($1,125,136) was the other good horse out of the family and he's a Muscles Yankee and Deweycheatumnhowe is out of Muscles Yankee, so it's kind of going back to that same cross, and he's a big beautiful horse. We paid lots for him, but I think he was worth it." The gelding was a $70,000 purchase at the 2014 Harrisburg Yearling Sale, and Smith says he has repaid their investment in ways that cannot be reflected on a balance sheet. "We've been fortunate enough we've had some good stakes horses and done well financially, but it's more the fun of winning," said Smith. "Being with Tom and June - all the work they do to pick out the right horses and get them where they do with a small stable - I'm pretty impressed with what they do and I've always supported it and always will." Dia Monde The partners will be hoping Dia Monde can continue his winning ways into the $250,000 Super Final, where he will face division point leader Muscle Hustle, the winner of the other $105,000 Gold division on Thursday. Sent off as the fan favourite, and also in rein to Waples, Muscle Hustle took control just after the :28 opening quarter and rolled through a :58.1 half and a 1:26.3 three-quarters without facing a challenge. Muscle Hustle hit the wire one length ahead of Holiday Party and two more up on Will Take Charge in 1:54.1. "Muscle Hustle, he was awesome, last quarter :27.3, won fairly handy, and everything is good with him," said trainer Per Henriksen of the division point leader. "He's healthy and everything." Thursday's outing was Muscle Hustle's first in just over a month, he was sidelined with his second bout of sickness this season following a third-place result in the Sept. 3 Simcoe Stakes, but Norwood resident Henriksen expects the colt to be in top shape for next week's finale. "He didn't race for four weeks, but his race here should make him even better," said the horseman, who conditions the son of Muscle Mass and Crown Laurel for Ecurie Bergh Inc. of Norwood. In his five Gold Series starts Muscle Hustle logged three wins, one second and one fifth for 180 points, and trotted to an Ontario Sires Stakes record 1:52.2 over the five-eighths mile surface at Georgian Downs. Through 12 starts this season he has tallied seven wins, two seconds and one third for earnings of $239,832. Henriksen also trains Bee In Charge, who finished third behind Dia Monde, and said the fan favourite tested sick after the race. "Bee In Charge didn't race as good as I thought he was gonna do, and we scoped him and he had some mucous so he is obviously a little sick," said Henriksen. "We've just got to get him healthy for the Super Final." Muscle Hustle Heading into the Super Final off wins aboard both Muscle Hustle and Dia Monde puts Waples in the difficult position of choosing between two horses that appear to be prime shape for the post season. "They're both really nice horses. I really haven't made up my mind. It'll probably just go by post position, I think that's the way it will go anyways," said Waples. "We'll see what happens, see how they come out of it. "I was really happy with the pair of them you know. I thought Muscle Hustle was the best in his class as long as things went his way and he was healthy," the reinsman continued. "And Dia Monde, I know that horse can beat anybody out there, but he just hasn't really been putting it all together his last couple, but tonight he really showed up, he put a big, big effort in tonight." Waples is also the regular reinsman for superstar sophomore pacing filly L A Delight and trotting filly Caprice Hill. Both fillies were victorious in their freshman Super Finals and both head into this year's test undefeated in regular season Gold Series action. With a total of $2 million up for grabs in eight divisions, Super Final night gets under way at 7:30 pm at Mohawk on Saturday, Oct. 15.. Ontario Racing

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

AUGUST 27, 2016 - Trainer Per Henriksen and driver Chris Christoforou, Jr. had a golden map to the winner's circle at Georgian Downs on Saturday evening, sweeping both $105,000 Ontario Sire Stakes Gold Series divisions for the harness racing three-year-old trotting colts and geldings. First off the gate from the Henriksen stable was Bee In Charge, who was sent to the front from Post 5 by Christoforou. The pair hit the quarter in :29 and then sailed on through a :57.4 half and 1:26.2 three-quarters. Reigning division champion Tony Soprano pressed the pace through the final quarter, but Bee In Charge dug in and trotted under the wire one and one-half lengths on top in 1:54.3 Tony Soprano finished second and fan favourite Sass was third. "Bee In Charge has raced well this season and continued that tonight," said Campbellville, ON resident Christoforou. "He got off the gate well, made the front and was a very strong winner. He's a very smart colt and has a strong pedigree. He has improved quite a bit in the last three months." Melvin Hartman of Ottawa, ON and David McDuffee of Delray Beach, FL share ownership of Bee In Charge, who is a Manofmanymissions half-brother to their $3.9 million winning mare Bee A Magician. Saturday's win was the gelding's second in Gold Series action this season, he and Christoforou were also victorious at Mohawk Racetrack in the June 27 season opener. From five wins, two seconds and one third in 10 sophomore starts Bee In Charge has earned $153,940. On the advice of Henriksen, Christoforou employed similar tactics in the second Gold division, sending Muscle Hustle to the front from Post 1. The colt roared through fractions of :27, :55.4 and 1:23.3 and stayed game to the wire for a head victory in a track, Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) and Canadian record 1:52.2. Warrawee Roo was a game second and Dia Monde was just one-half length back in third. "I knew I had two good horses and I thought the first one (Bee In Charge), I thought he was going to win, and the second one (Muscle Hustle), I talked to Chris and I said, I think this horse is very good, I said send him to the front and park them, you've got no friends out there," said Henriksen of the front-end effort. "I knew that Muscle Hustle was a very good horse." Muscle Hustle's 1:52.2 mile lowered the 1:53.4 OSS and Canadian record B Strike Three had set at Georgian Downs in a Gold Final in June 2008. "I don't think any horse every trotted faster, any three-year-old, trotted faster on a five-eighths mile track," noted Henriksen. "I got him last year and understood quite early that he had quite a bit of talent." Henriksen conditions Muscle Hustle for Ecurie Bergh Inc. of Norwood, ON. In 10 sophomore starts the Muscle Mass son boasts a record of six wins and two seconds for earnings of $174,850. He was also victorious in Gold Series action at Mohawk Racetrack on July 11. Through the first four Gold Series events Bee In Charge and Muscle Hustle sit atop the three-year-old trotting colt division standings with 133 and 130 points, respectively. The colts will make their last Gold Series start on Oct. 6 at Mohawk Racetrack and the top 10 point earners from the five regular season events will then compete in the $250,000 Super Final at Mohawk on Oct. 15. So long as they remain healthy, Bee In Charge and Muscle Hustle will spend their Gold Series break competing against the best trotters in North America. On Saturday, Sept. 3 Mohawk Racetrack hosts the Simcoe Trot, and eliminations for the Canadian Trotting Classic are slated for Saturday, Sept. 10 with the $700,000 Final going postward on Saturday, Sept. 17. "They were sick when the Hambletonian went so we've just got to look forward and hope they stay healthy, and then they will make pretty good money," said Henriksen. "They are both pretty big size, good looking horses, and with a nice gait to them both, and they don't have very many issues health-wise." Both colts had abbreviated two-year-old seasons due to sickness, two starts for Bee In Charge and three for Muscle Hustle, but Henriksen said their limited number of starts and future schedule are the extent of the similarities between the two trotters. "They're different horses. Bee In Charge you can do anything to. He don't care what you do to him, he's laid back, and the other one is a little more high strung and wants to have it his way, and that's also the reason he is a little ignorant and stubborn sometimes," noted the Norwood, ON resident. "That's the reason he is heading for that opening in the first turn sometimes." Muscle Hustle made a break in the August 10 Gold event at Grand River Raceway, attempting an early return to the paddock on the first turn and making a break when driver Randy Waples disagreed with the plan. Christoforou said the colt was flawless on Saturday and expects big things from the trotter through the last two months of stakes action. "Muscle Hustle was tremendous tonight," said the reinsman. "He does have a tendency to try and pull himself up at times, but was all business tonight. Hopefully he's getting over that now and will finish off the season minding his manners. I think he's going to go some big trips before the year is over and proved tonight he is a top flight colt, and not just in the OSS." In addition to Muscle Hustle's three-year-old trotting colt record, Georgian Downs fans also witnessed an all age track and Canadian record in the Honourable Earl Rowe Memorial Trot. Lookslikeachpndale, in rein to Paul MacDonell, scorched under the wire in 1:51.3 to win the $100,000 contest for trainer Luc Blais and owner Determination of Montreal, QC. Former Ontario Sires Stakes competitor Charmed Life was second and Il Sogno Dream was third. Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Georgian Downs on Sunday evening, with five $18,000 Grassroots divisions for the three-year-old trotting fillies. The fillies kick off the Aug. 28 program at 6 pm and will also compete in Races 4, 6, 8, and 9. Ontario Racing

Trotters young and old were in the harness racing spotlight Monday night at Mohawk Racetrack and fittingly trotting master Per Henriksen recorded a milestone victory. Bee In Charge, the three-year-old half-brother to $3.8 million winner Bee A Magician, gave Henriksen a very special victory Monday at Mohawk. Not only was it the youngster's first lifetime win, but it was also the 1,000th North American training victory for Henriksen, who was also in the sulky for the milestone. In the second-race, $14,000 Maiden Trot, Henriksen put Bee In Charge on top by the 1:01.4 half, was two lengths the best by the 1:31 three-quarters and had more than three lengths on their foes by the wire reached in 1:58. It was just the fourth lifetime start for the Manofmanymissions son, who sold as a yearling for $130,000. Richard 'Nifty' Norman started out with the colt, who had difficulty making breaks as a rookie and was sent to Henriksen at the end of his two-year-old season. A native of Norway who came to the US in 1980 and Canada, specifically Norwood, Ontario, 20 years later, Henriksen qualified Bee In Charge in early April and then guided him to a third place finish two weeks later. The trotter is owned by Mel Hartman of Ottawa and David McDuffee of Florida, two of the partners on his famous big sister. Bee In Charge is the latest talented trotter to emerge from Henriksen's care. Other standouts include Hambletonian winner Nuclear Kosmos, Hambletonian Oaks winner Oolong, Breeders Crown winner Southwind Serena and $800,000 winner Clerk Magistrate among many others. Bee In Charge Also on Monday's card, Henriksen's Asa Farm got a victory with Exemplar in the $34,000 Preferred Trot. A solid group of seven competed in the weekly top trot and Preferred mainstay Fearless Man found his usual spot on the front and led the field by the half in :56.2. The Rick Zeron trainee reached the three-quarter pole in 1:25.1, but several rivals were ready to challenge in the lane. In the stretch, Fearless Man battled tough, but O Narutac Perfetto edged by in deep stretch and appeared to have a victory in sight. However, Richard Moreau trainee Exemplar and driver Sylvain Filion trotted up a storm on the far outside and powered by late to win by a neck in 1:54.1. Fearless Man held on for third. Exemplar, who was sixth turning for home, now has two wins in 11 starts this season. The six-year-old gelded son of Andover Hall has earned $47,440 this season for owners Andrea Lea Racingstables Inc. and Asa Farm Monday's victory was the 12th career triumph for Exemplar, who has spent time in both the Henriksen and Moreau stables this season. The veteran trotter has career earnings of over $237,000. Exemplar paid $19.60 to win. The $24,000 Mares Trot also saw an upset winner, but this time in gate-to-wire fashion. Seven-year-old Can I Say went coast-to-coast through fractions of :27.1, :56, 1:24.2 and 1:53.4 for a 25-1 upset. The daughter of Fourth And One was returning to the WEG circuit after four starts at Flamboro. Co-owned and trained by Jim Whelan, Can I Say was guided to her second win of the season and 28th overall by Jody Jamieson. Monday's victory pushes her career earnings over $400,000 for owners Whelan and Terry & Clarence Devos. Muscle Baby Doll, who was the 1-5 heavy favourite, finished second in her second start of 2016. The Tony O'Sullivan trainee trotted along fourth throughout the early going and was situated second-over on the back of Rockin With Dewey turning for home. A four-year-old daughter of Muscle Mass, Muscle Baby Doll tried her best to track down the leader, but ultimately came up a length short. Can I Say paid $55.30 to win. Live racing resumes Thursday night at Mohawk Racetrack. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie (With Henriksen files from Kawartha Downs)

Trotters were in the spotlight Monday night at Mohawk Racetrack with the Tie Silk Series Final headlining the 10-race harness racing card. A field of ten three-year-old trotting colts and geldings clashed in the $32,200 Tie Silk Series Final. The sophomore trotters not only had to deal with each other, but also rainy and windy conditions. Eddie Green trainee Donicus, 6-5 favourite, was aiming for a series sweep from post-five, but right to his inside was Per Henriksen trainee Muscle Hustle, the 8-5 second choice. Henriksen opted to skip the second leg with Muscle Hustle after the son of Muscle Mass won a leg one division. Donicus and Muscle Hustle trotted out quickly at the start with the Green trainee grabbing the lead and posting an opening-quarter of :27.2. Muscle Hustle and driver Randy Waples sat patiently in the two-hole, as the favourite posted fractions of :58.2 and 1:28.2. Waples pulled on the right line to set up a stretch duel at the top of the lane. Muscle Hustle found top gear quickly and surged by to record a two-length victory in 1:56.2. Donicus' bid at a series sweep was denied, as he finished second. Greg Peck trainee Merchandiser, who won a leg two division, finished third from post-ten. Muscle Hustle was making just his second start of 2016 and fifth overall Monday. The Henriksen trainee now has three career victories and over $33,000 earned for owners Ecurie Bergh Inc. The clocking of 1:56.2 shaved nearly a second off Muscle Hustle's previous career-best. He paid $5.30 to win. Muscle Hustle Three-year-old trotters, who were non-winners of $30,000 in 2015, were eligible to the Tie Silk. The weekly $34,000 Preferred Trot saw yet another older trotter find the winner's circle Monday. Charlie Is A Joker benefited from breaks by the two favourties, Fearless Man and Flanagan Memory, to win in 1:55.3 for driver Trevor Henry and trainer Ben Baillargeon. The eight-year-old gelded son of Angus Hall grabbed the early lead, before surrendering the front to Zeus Lightning in the second-quarter. Charlie Is A Joker sat in the two-hole until the top of the lane and surged by in the stretch to win by a length at odds of 9-1. Zeus Lightning held on for second, while Hldontghttoyurdrms finished third. Charlie Is A Joker now has back-to-back victories to improve his season's record to four wins in 13 starts. The veteran trotter has banked $71,000 this season for owners Thomas & Elizabeth Rankin. Monday's victory was the 32nd career score for Charlie Is A Joker and pushes his career earnings over $443,000. He paid $20.50 to win. Charlie Is A Joker While the older male trotters battled early in the card, the Late-Double started with a $24,000 Mares Trot. Many familiar older trotters, including Charmed Life, Rockin With Dewey and Bax Of Life, headlined the field, but a daughter of Muscle Mass making her four-year-old debut stole the show. Muscle Baby Doll shot through late for driver Sylvain Filion with great final-quarter speed to win in 1:54.4 at odds of 10-1. The Tony O'Sullivan trainee was making her debut against older rivals after winning eight of 15 as a three-year-old and banking over $451,000 in her first two seasons on the track. Charmed Life, who took command in the second-quarter, surrendered the lead late and had to settle for second, while Rockin With Dewey finished third. Muscle Baby Doll trotted along fourth for the majority of the mile and used a :27.1 final-quarter to win by a length and a quarter. The daughter of Muscle Mass is owned by F Bellino And Sons LLC and now has 13 career victories. Muscle Baby Doll returned $23.60 to win. Muscle Baby Doll Live racing resumes Thursday night at Mohawk Racetrack. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

TORONTO, January 29 - Winning is never easy in harness racing, but Betit To Getit and Marquis Volo have been making it look effortless this winter at Woodbine Racetrack. Betit To Getit, a six-year-old pacing mare, and Marquis Volo, a four-year-old trotter, came to Woodbine Friday riding respective win streaks. However, only one was able to head home with their win streak intact. Trained by Rick Zeron, Betit To Getit entered Friday night's $30,000 Mares Preferred on a three-race win streak. The daughter of No Pan Intended had won eight of her last nine starts. Driven by Zeron, Betit To Getit got away third in the early stages, while Ms Mac N Cheese cut out an opening-quarter of :26.3. Waasmula was quickly moved from second to first entering the backstretch, which led to Zeron pulling on the right line to send his mare towards the front. After being parked by the half in :54.4, Betit To Getit cleared to the front and marched the field by the three-quarter pole in 1:23.2. In the stretch, Ms Mac N Cheese came off the pylons from third and was able to power by Betit To Getit to score a neck victory in 1:52.1. Sandbetweenurtoes unleashed a strong final-quarter to edge out Betit To Getit for second. A four-year-old daughter of Badlands Hanover, Ms Mac N Cheese is trained by Richard Moreau for owner L David Ratchford. Friday's victory was her first of 2016 and 15th overall. Ms Mac N Cheese pushed her career bankroll over $400,000 with the victory. Although Betit To Getit saw her win streak snapped, the Rick Zeron trainee has now hit the board in 10 consecutive starts. Ms Mac N Cheese Earlier in the card, Per Henriksen trainee Marquis Volo scored his third consecutive victory and 10th in his last 12 starts in a Non-Winners of Three or $75,000 lifetime event. The four-year-old son of Credit Winner got away fourth, but was quickly moved to the front by driver Randy Waples. The second-quarter move was the winning move, as Marquis Volo went on to win comfortably in 1:55.4. Marquis Volo is owned by Tor Jan Larsen, Gerald Stay, Mac Nichol and Big Als Stable Inc. The Henriksen trainee broke his maiden in his fourth career start last August and has since gone on to win 10 of 12 starts. Marquis Volo now has $91,794 in career earnings. Marquis Volo Friday night's card also featured a $114.80 winner. Lucky Cocktail and driver Anthony MacDonald were first to the line in the evening's fifth-race to score a 56/1 shocking upset. The Louie Eftimiadis trainee finished 10th in the same class a week ago, but the four-year-old daughter of Camluck was able to flip the script for the major upset. Co-favourites Badlands Delight and Frosty Delight failed to hit the board adding to the impressive payouts. A $2 Exactor with Lucky Cocktail and Big Tsunami returned $1,173.90, while the $2 Triactor rounded out by Santannas Gal paid $3,660.50. The $0.20 Superfecta paid $8,280.53. Lucky Cocktail Live racing continues Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack with another 10-race card. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

CAMPBELLVILLE, May 4 - Covert Operative tracked down a drifting out Hemi Seelster to win the harness racing 'Tie Silk' final Monday night at Mohawk Racetrack. A field of ten three-year-old trotting colts and geldings contested the $34,000 Tie Silk final Monday evening. Tarot came into the final with a chance at a series sweep, while Covert Operative, Hemi Seelster and Duh Bubbees entered the final with a win and a second-place finish in the opening legs. Hemi Seelster, who was sent off as the slight 2/1 favourite, sprinted off the gate to grab the early lead. Tarot and driver Jack Moiseyev had to overcome post position ten and were parked around the opening turn before clearing to the lead down the backstretch. After a half of :57.1, Tarot brought the field around the final turn with Hemi Seelster and driver Steve Byron in the pocket and Covert Operative and driver Randy Waples coming first up from fifth. Byron was able to pull the pocket nearing the three-quarter pole, as Tarot reached that station in 1:26. In the stretch, Hemi Seelster overtook the lead from Tarot, who finished seventh, and opened up a few lengths of separation on Covert Operative, who trotted up into second. However, Hemi Seelster would drift out as they made their way down the lane and this allowed Covert Operative to edge in on the lead and nail Hemi Seelster at the wire to win by a neck in 1:55. A son of Deweycheatumnhowe, Covert Operative is trained by Per Henriksen, who also sent out third-place finisher In Secret. Covert Operative now has a record of four wins from six starts this season. The Tie Silk final victory pushes the gelding's career earnings to $53,400 for owners Andrea Lea Racingstables Inc. and Asa Farm. Covert Operative also established a new lifetime mark with the victory. The Henriksen trainee paid $7.30 to win. In order to be eligible to the Tie Silk, the three-year-old colt and gelding trotters had to be non-winners of $30,000 in 2014. Mark McKelvie

Mohawk Racetrack offers a stakes laden harness racing card Saturday evening anchored by the $682,000 Canadian Trotting Classic which has two top Ontario-sired colts taking on five very talented sophomores. The card also features the $385,000 Peaceful Way final with several OSS fillies in contention, the $390,000 William Wellwood Memorial with one lone Ontario-sired colt, and the $409,000 Elegantimage final with four OSS girls vying for their turn in the winner’s circle. In addition to those great trotting races, the program will also headline the top pacing mares in North America in two eliminations for the Milton Stakes which feature three OSS graduates including a Breeders Crown winner. In the showcase event Harper Blue Chip will attempt to duplicate his sire, Majestic Son’s, 2006 Canadian Trotting Classic victory. Mark Steacy of Lansdowne, Ontario, trained Majestic Son, who won the ’06 CTC by more than six lengths over a very talented field, and also conditions Harper Blue Chip. A son of Angus Hall, Majestic Son was a dominant force in the OSS during his sophomore season, winning seven of 10 OSS events. In total, he won $622,000 in the provincial program during his career. Majestic Son now stands at Tara Hills Stud Farm in Port Perry, Ontario, and Harper Blue Chip, with $547,000 in earnings, is his second richest performer to date, behind only Charmed Life ($592,000). So far this year Harper Blue Chip has a summary of 4-2-2 in 10 starts and although he’s won two OSS Gold events and swept the Canadian Breeders, he’s best known for finishing third in the $1,006,125 Hambletonian last month at the Meadowlands. The Hambletonian winner, Trixton, is also slated to start in the CTC final, with post five. Trainer Jimmy Takter will drive the colt who has won eight of 10 starts this year. Tatker’s other talented colt in this division, Father Patrick (also eight for 10) is right alongside in post six. It’s a formidable duo facing Harper Blue Chip whose driver Sylvain Filion is cautiously optimistic, especially given that the colt has finally drawn a decent starting position, post two, compared to post 10 in the Goodtimes final and post nine in the Hambletonian. “He’s been drawing real bad all year and he finally gets a good post,” Filion noted earlier this week. “We’ve got a tough bunch of horses to race against, but he’s very good right now. I’m hoping for a good, close to the front trip and hopefully some top horses won’t be on their game, because we’ll need a lot of luck to beat those horses. It’s a very high quality group.” The other OSS colt joining Harper in the CTC final is Muscle Matters, a son of Muscle Mass who will start beside Harper Blue Chip in post three. Mario Baillargeon will be at the lines for his brother Ben who handles the colt’s training. Yet to win a race this year, Muscle Matters has been close, with five second place finishes in six starts, three of those to Harper Blue Chip. The CTC final goes as race nine on the card. In the third race, the $385,000 Peaceful Way final, there are six OSS fillies in the mix including a pair trained by John Bax, Stubborn Belle (post one, Paul MacDonell) and Juanitas Fury (post nine, Steve Condren). Both fillies have two OSS wins to their credit this season and both finished second in their respective Peaceful Way elims. Stubborn Belle was aptly named according to Bax. “She’s always been a lot like her name, that’s why she was named Stubborn Belle. She’s been a little hard to get to do it the way we want her to.” Despite that the Taurus Dream daughter, owned by Bax of Peterborough and Al Libfeld of Pickering, Ontario, has set two records so far this year – a track record at Rideau Carleton (1:55.4) in an OSS Gold event and a stakes record in a Champlain stake (1:54.2). Bax also starts the Muscle Hill filly Southwind Champagne in the Peaceful Way final. She has post six with Steve Byron at the controls. The other OSS rookies attempting to capture the event named for one of the greatest Ontario-sired trotting mares of all time, $3.2 million winner Peaceful Way, include Daneille Hall (post two, Jody Jamieson), Elegant Serenity (post four, Roger Mayotte), Amoureuse Hanover (post eight, Doug McNair) and Lady Caterina (post 10, Phil Hudon). The dam of Elegant Serenity, Elegantimage, is the namesake for the seventh race on the program. A star of the OSS in the late 1990s, Elegantimage earned just shy of a million dollars during her impressive racing career. A quartet of three-year-old Ontario-sired fillies will attempt to capture the $409,000 event including Bax’s Riveting Rose (post three, Paul MacDonell), Tosca (post two, Per Henriksen), Sweetie Hearts (post eight, Randy Waples) and Muscle Babe (post 10, James MacDonald). The other major trotting stake on the program is named for one of Canada’s most respected horsemen of all time, the late William Wellwood, a member of Canada’s Horse Racing Hall of Fame and a successful participant in the OSS since its inception 40 years ago. The only Ontario-sired rookie colt in contention for this event is a son of Infinitif, Dont Rush who has drawn post four with Chris Christoforou in the bike. The colt captured a division of the first Gold event for this group in early July which surprised his trainer/owner and breeder Dustin Jones of Waterdown, Ontario. “If you had told me in October he was going to win a Gold the first week of July I don’t think I would have believed you,” laughed Jones. “He’s exceeded my expectations since I brought him in the barn.” The OSS graduates competing in the two Milton eliminations are Monkey On My Wheel, a Breeders Crown winner at three and 10-2-6 in 24 starts this year for owner/breeder Mac Nichol of Burlington, Ontario. The winner of $1.5 million to date in her career has post seven in the sixth race which also features the Camluck mare Camille ($1.1 million to date) in post four. Voelz Hanover ($1.5 million lifetime) is the lone Ontario-sired distaffer in the second Milton elim, race 10. In addition to all of the on-track action, Mohawk is also celebrating their fans with Fan Appreciation Night Saturday featuring a first bet on the house, giveaways after each race and a $5 food voucher to the first 1,000 fans. To view the full card please click Mohawk Entries - September 13.

Six $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots dashes for harness racing rookie trotting colts and geldings were the marquee events on Saturday night (August 16) at Georgian Downs. The first three races on the card were all Grassroots races, and driver Trevor Henry won all of them to get his night started off on the right foot. Henry won the opener with Kadabrasnewrecruit in 2:01.4. Racing over a surface left sloppy and two seconds off due to rain, Kadabrasnewrecruit came from well off-the-pace to gain the lead in the stretch and then stepped away to win by two and a half lengths over Angels Kid (Keith Oliver). Muscles All Over (Eddie Green) finished third. Trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor, Ont. owns Kadabrasnewrecruit, a gelded son of Kadabra. Kadabrasnewrecruit, who was bred by Tymal Farms, broke his maiden in his second attempt, and he has now earned $13,500. He’s the fifth foal out of the Mr Lavec mare Keystone Alberta, who was third in the $100,000 Grassroots final when she was a two-year-old. Olympic Son then gave Henry the double, leading through panels of :30, 1:01.2, and 1:32.1 on his way to a four and three-quarter length victory in 2:02.1. Parkhill Lancelot (Steve Byron) crossed the finish line in second, but was off-stride in doing so, and following a judges’ inquiry, he was moved back to third, elevating original third-place finisher Covert Operative (Per Henriksen) to runner-up status. Paul Reid trains Olympic Son, a colt by Majestic Son, for owner/breeder Bob Key of Leechburg, Pennsylvania. Olympic Son picked up his first win from three attempts and he has now put away $13,320. The winner is the second foal out of the Yankee Glide mare Graceful Sister ($104,714). Snapshot Springs overcame post nine to give Henry the hat trick. Snapshot Springs had command through splits of :29.4, 1:01.4, and 1:33.1 en route to a 2:03.1 triumph. Numbers Game (Kevin Sizer) came in second, beaten a length and a half by the winner, and Jayport All Muscle (Keith Oliver) nabbed third. The Striking Sahbra-Spring Photo gelding is owned and bred by trainer Richard and Regina Beinhauer of Venetia, Pennsylvania. The win was his second (consecutive) in five starts and lifted his earnings to $22,500. In other action, Mandeville now leads the Grassroots point standings for the group after a 2:01.3 tally in the fifth Grassroots flight with Scott Coulter driving. He also went all the way on the lead, clicking off fractions of :30.4, 1:02, and 1:31 before he trotting a :30.3 final kicker to prevail by one and a quarter lengths over Stormont Wizard (Oliver). Top Dollar (Byron) collected third. Trainer Wayne Langille of Harley, Ont. also co-owns the victorious Majestic Son gelding with Brett Burleigh of Paris, Ont. Mandeville, who has won three times in Grassroots competition and banked $31,500, was bred by Dr. John Brown of Granton, Ont. and was purchased for $10,000 at last year’s Canadian Yearling Sale. Mandeville is the fifth foal out of the Yankee Paco mare My Charmer, making him a half-brother to Grassroots winner Momentous (Mr Lavec). Coulter also clicked in the Grassroots nightcap with Call Me Richard. Call Me Richard circled from third to first after the :30-second opening quarter, and after he reached the half in :59.1 and the three-quarters in 1:30.3, he romped to a 12 length decision in 2:01.3. Ontheroad De Vie (Robby Robinson) was next, followed by Concept (Oliver). Call Me Richard, who picked up his other career win in Grassroots action on July 12 at Georgian Downs, is trained by Clare Bradshaw. Andrea Arthur of Scotland, Ont. owns Call Me Richard, whose dam is Andover Hall mare Olympic Dreams. Call Me Richard, now an earner of $23,940, was bred by Tri Star Farms Ltd. of Brantford, Ont. and was hammered down for $11,500 at last year’s Canadian Yearling Sale. The other Grassroots winner was El Diablo Hall and Keith Oliver, who led at the :29.4 opening quarter, the 1:00.2 half, and the 1:31 three-quarters in the fourth Grassroots race. He had a stern challenge from pocket-sitter Freddie (Trevor Henry) through the lane, but El Diablo Hall held sway, prevailing by a head in 2:00.4. Now Thats Scary (Wayne Henry) finished third. Tony Montini trains the winner, a Windsong Espoir gelding, for Ontario owners Albina Montini of Acton, Paul Giammichele of Burlington, and Rick Podolinsky of Alvinston. Dale Hunter of London, Ont., the former head coach of the National Hockey League’s Washington Capitals, also co-owns El Diablo Hall, who has now won six times from seven tries and banked $26,000. He’s the third foal out of the Andover Image mare EL Mistress Chesea, meaning he’s a half-brother to multi-time Grassroots winner Erin Hall. The next Grassroots event for two-year-old colt and gelding trotters will take place on September 6 at Hanover Raceway. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

The three-year-old trotting fillies of the Ontario Sires Stakes are back in harness racing action in both Gold and Grassroots action over the next two days. Six $18,000 Grassroots divisions highlight tonight's night’s card at Mohawk Racetrack. The following evening two $105,000 Gold divisions will be part of Grand River’s Wednesday night program. Making her OSS debut tonight at Mohawk is Acapulco Hall, a daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe who has post five in race five. A winner in her only lifetime start, on July 29 at Pocono Downs, in 1:57.4 for former trainer Fred Grant, the filly has been transferred to the Rick Zeron barn for her Ontario stay. What makes her appearance notable is the fact that she’s a half-sister to 2003 Hambletonian winner Amigo Hall, the second Ontario-sired horse to ever win the coveted event. Ontario trainer Blair Burgess orchestrated that Balanced Image horse’s career which saw him earn in excess of $1 million lifetime. In addition to being a top Grand Circuit performer, Amigo Hall was also dominant in the Ontario Sires Stakes program during his sophomore season, earning over $270,000 from just five starts. Amigo Hall’s baby sister Acapulco Hall is owned by breeder Walnut Hall Limited of Kentucky. She is the 11th foal from the Meadow Road daughter Alis Cat. Amigo Hall stood stud at Tara Hills Stud in Port Perry. He has one starter in the Grassroots event in Valencia Sol who has post one in race 11. Another filly with a brother who was very successful in the Hambletonian is Tosca who has post four in the first of the two Gold splits at Grand River Wednesday. Trainer Per Henriksen of Norwood, Ontario, trains the Muscle Mass daughter he co-owns with Steve Organ of Aurora, Ontario. Tosca’s half-brother Guccio came within a whisker of winning the 2012 Hambletonian, finishing a neck back in second to winner Market Share. Ironically their dam, Southern Senorita, is sired by Yankee Paco, who was the first Ontario-sired horse to win the Hambletonian. He accomplished the feat in 2000 for trainer Doug McIntosh. Both Amigo Hall and Yankee Paco, the only two Ontario-sired colts to capture the Hambletonian to date, were sired by the late, great Balanced Image, a member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Tomorrow’s divisions at Mohawk Racetrack go postward as races two, three, five, six, 10 and 11 while the two Gold divisions at Grand River on Wednesday are in races one and three. The programs for each may be viewed through these links.  Mohawk Entries - August 12.  Grand River Entries - August 13. Ontario Sire Stakes

Harness racing three-year-old trotting colts bred and raised by Dr. Mike Wilson’s Warrawee Farm of Rockwood, Ontario, captured two of the six $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots divisions tonight at Grand River Raceway. The fastest victory of the night was recorded by Warrawee Promesse who was on top through every fraction, :28.4, :58.4, 1:28.2, and was home with more than three lengths to spare in 1:57.2. Striking Hurricane was second followed by Enthusiast. Trainer Wayne Henry was in the sulky behind the Windsong Espoir gelding he co-owns with Fred Brayford of Alliston, Ontario. It was the fourth consecutive victory for Warrawee Promesse who came into tonight’s contest fresh from a sweep of the Dream Of Glory series at Hanover Raceway. Warrawee Promesse’s former stablemate at the farm, Warrawee Preferred, used different tactics to capture his division for trainer Per Henriksen. They watched as Passed Dat Point carved out fractions of :29, :59 and 1:30.1 but were first at the wire reached in 2:01.3 over Tymal Showman and Passed Dat Point. Henriksen’s Asa Farm of Norwood, Ontario, shares ownership of son of Federal Flex with breeder Mike Wilson of Rockwood and Darryl Drain of Tweed, Ontario. This was the first victory in seven starts this year for Warrawee Preferred whose dam is a half-sister to $1.8 million winner Here Comes Herbie. Henry’s brother Trevor captured the first division with Aventure in 1:58 over Oliver Slik and Massacaia. Aventure finished second to Warrawee Promesse in the Dream Of Glory final after winning an elimination. He is trained by Bill Bud for owner Orville Rursch of Illinois. This was the fifth win in 14 tries this year for the Muscle Mass colt. Another Muscle Mass winner came in the second division when Phil Hudon and R Choochoo Charlie connected for a 1:57.3 score to defeat Stonebridge Rich and Redemption Road. Elizabeth and Tom Rankin of St. Catharines, Ontario, own the winner trained by Mark Steacy. The remaining two divisions were captured by Hetties Commander (The Pres) in 1:58.3 for Bruce Richardson and trainer Michel Rivest who co-owns with Gary Silliphant and Denis Rivest and Me The Boss (Keystone Nordic) and driver Scott Coulter in 1:59.1 for trainer Steve Charlton and owner Larocque Racing Stable of Thornhill, Ontario. The next Grassroots test for this group goes August 21 at Rideau Carleton Raceway. The full results from tonight’s contest Ontario Sire Stakes

Defending Finlandia-Ajo champion Nesta Effe faces a stiff challenge to his crown from rising French star Univers de Pan and Swedish star Sanity at Vermo , Saturday night. The group one Finnish race is over the mile distance and Holger Ehlert will have his Italian-bred chestnut journeyman primed for a race in a country in which he has excelled. Neste Effe not only won this race last year,but he also won the Prix Etain Royal the first of the Scandinavian big spring races which was won this year by Warkentin mare Prussia in stunning fashion. She lines up again, but there is a feeling that on paper, last year's was a much stronger field, perhaps due to the untimely clash this season with the Copenhagen Cup. Mr Picolit, who ran third last year is defending his Copenhagen Crown, while Monster Drive who was fourth, chose a trip to Italy last weekend for the Lotteria where he made the final. Commander Crowe, who also appeared in both races last year, has not also reappeared for his 11th season. So this leaves the big three, really looking a class above the opposition in this race. Malin Lofgren's Sanity won four races in France over the lucrative winter period, and also finished second and third, and has a win and two second since he returned to Scandinavian racing. The son of Love You is just a super tough competitor and demands the ultimate respect here. Philippe Daugeard's Univers de Pan is one of the French elite ranks, and the fact that he is racing on the 1000m Scandinavian is something of a coup for the organizers of the race. A true French bred son of Kenya du Pont, the only American bloodlines in his pedigree ironically stem from his sireline, his great-great grandsire being Star's Pride. He is the only one of his fifth line 32 descendants who is American. Not one of the other five lines of pedigree is of US breeding. But that is of interest only to the breeding buff, he was second in the Prix de France and has no less than four group two victories. On a wide open track he'd street this field. The fact that he is putting his credentials on the line on a 1000m track, and an acknowledged hard track at that, speaks of a greater goal. A fast mile time, perhaps with the lucrative Swedish breeding market taking not of performance above such a "French" pedigree. This is a race which has been run since 1980, and is regarded as Finland's biggest trotting event. A few facts Horses with most wins 2 - Giesolo de Lou (1999, 2000) 2 - Napoletano (1988, 1989)[3] Drivers with most wins 3 - Jean-Michel Bazire (2005, 2008, 2009) 3 - Stig H. Johansson (1988, 1989, 2004) 3 - Jorma Kontio (1985, 1986, 2007) 2 - Olle Goop (1983, 1987) 2 - Joseph Verbeeck (1998, 2003) Trainers with most wins 3 - Fabrice Souloy (2003, 2008, 2009) 2 - Jean-Etienne Dubois (1999, 2000) 2 - Stig Engberg (1988, 1989) 2 - Olle Goop (1983, 1987) Sires with most winning offsprings 2 - Biesolo (Giesolo de Lou, Oiseau de Feux) 2 - Quick Pay (Atas Fighter L., Born Quick) 2 - Texas (Grades Singing, Copiad) 2 - Super Bowl (Davidia Hanover, Napoletano Countries, number of wins 10 - United States 9 - France 7 - Sweden 4 - Finland Fastest winners 1:10.6 (km rate) - Quarcio du Chene (2010) All winners of Finlandia-Ajo[edit] Year Horse Driver Trainer Winning horse's native country Winning time 2013 Nesta Effe Roberto Vecchione Holger Ehlert Italy 1:10.9 2012 Sebastian K Björn Goop Björn Goop Sweden 1:11.1 2011 Commander Crowe Jean-Michel Bazire Fabrice Souloy Sweden 1:13.7 2010 Quarcio du Chene Björn Goop Björn Goop France 1:10.6 2009 Igor Font Jean-Michel Bazire Fabrice Souloy France 1:11.8 2008 Oiseau de Feux Jean-Michel Bazire Fabrice Souloy France 1:11.3 2007 Opal Viking Jorma Kontio Nils Enqvist Sweden 1:10.8 2006 Hot Shot Knick Thomas Uhrberg Kari Lähdekorpi Sweden 1:11.5 2005 Kart de Baudrairie Jean-Michel Bazire Franck Leblanc France 1:12.2 2004 Rotation Stig H. Johansson Stig H. Johansson United States 1:12.5 2003 Kiwi Joseph Verbeeck Fabrice Souloy France 1:12.0 2002 H.P. Paque Trond Smedshammer Trond Smedshammer United States 1:11.7 2001 B.W.T. Magic Ahti Antti-Roiko Matti Salmi Finland 1:11.2 2000 Giesolo de Lou Jean-Etienne Dubois Jean-Etienne Dubois France 1:11.2 1999 Giesolo de Lou Pierre Vercruysse Jean-Etienne Dubois France 1:11.6 1998 Dryade des Bois Joseph Verbeeck Jean-Baptiste Bossuet France 1:12.5 1997 Zoogin Åke Svanstedt Åke Svanstedt Sweden 1:12.1 1996 Isla J. Brave Aki Antti-Roiko Petri Klemola Finland 1:12.5 1995 SJ's Photo David Wade David Wade United States 1:13.3 1994 Copiad Erik Berglöf Erik Berglöf Sweden 1:12.5 1993 Born Quick Tommy Hanné Tommy Hanné Finland 1:12.1 1992 Otto-Mani Antti Teivainen Esa Aronen Finland 1:13.7 1991 Atas Fighter L. Torbjörn Jansson Torbjörn Jansson Sweden 1:13.5 1990 Florida Jewel William Fahy John Holloway United States 1:13.3 1989 Napoletano Stig H. Johansson Stig Engberg United States 1:12.9 1988 Napoletano Stig H. Johansson Stig Engberg United States 1:14.1 1987 Grades Singing Olle Goop Olle Goop United States 1:14.1 1986 Davidia Hanover Jorma Kontio Per Eriksson United States 1:14.7 1985 Keystone Patton Jorma Kontio Antti Savolainen United States 1:14.1 1984 Shane T. Hanover Per Henriksen Per Henriksen United States 1:14.9 1983 Speedy Magnus Olle Goop Olle Goop Sweden 1:13.2 1982 Dartster F. Olle Hedin Olle Hedin Sweden 1:13.9 1981 Ideal du Gazeau Eugene Lefevre Eugene Lefevre France 1:14.3 1980 Ejakval Jean-Claude David Jean-Claude David France 1:15.6 by David Sanders, for Harnesslink.com

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