“He impreses me every time I sit behind him, I can’t ask any more than what he does. He’s very efficient. I love this horse; he’s very easy to drive and that makes my job a lot easier.” That was driver Sylvain Filion praising Harper Blue Chip moments after their victory in the second of three $70,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold divisions for three-year-old trotting colts tonight at Rideau Carleton Raceway Thursday, the home track for Harper’s ownership group and trainer Mark Steacy. In fact it was at Rideau where Harper Blue Chip made his first start in June of last year. The colt earned his victory this night, over a track rated sloppy from heavy rains during the afternoon at the Ottawa oval. He was parked until after the opening quarter, reached in :27.4 by Ole Jack Magic, and took over command before the :58 half. Down the backside Muscle Matters came up to challenge and that pair reached the three-quarters in 1:26.3. Harper Blue Chip repelled that challenger and opened up down the lane to win by more than four lengths in 1:56.1. Muscle Matters took second while Sheer Flex was third. It was the fourth win in nine starts, and second straight Gold victory, for the son of Majestic Son owned by Landmark 6 Racing Stable of Kingston, David McDonald of Cornwall, David Reid of Glenburnie and George Judson of Athens, Ontario. The first Gold test also found Filion posing in the winner’s circle. It was Verdi and Steve Byron first off the gate and they hit the opening quarter in :29.3 and the half in a sedate 1:02.2. Entranced passed the leader before the three-quarters in 1:31.1 but he was quickly passed by Mr Lover and Filion who pulled away in the stretch to win in 2:00.1. Lucky Mass closed well to get second while Verdi held for third. Filion’s father, Yves, trains the winner, a son of Deweycheatumnhowe for owner/breeder Ecuries Belanger of Laval, Quebec. It was Mr Lover’s first win in four tries this year. Yves had also trained Mr Lover’s dam, Norway No Day, a winner of $337,000 in her career. The third and final Gold division saw heavy favourite Maximuscle make a break leaving. Meanwhile Jack Litten and Doug McNair hit the quarter in :28.3 and the half in :58.4 where he had company in the form of Warrawee Promesse on the outside. That colt had a slight lead past the 1:27 three-quarters and held off Massive Talent to win in 1:57.1. Jack Litten was right there for third. Trainer Wayne Henry was up behind the winner, a son of Windsong Espoir he co-owns with Fred Brayford of Alliston, Ontario. Warrawee Promesse now has five wins in nine attempts. Tonight’s effort was his fifth consecutive win. The first of three $18,000 Grassroots events for three-year-old trotting colts saw Tyrone Haji control the tempo for Trevor Henry through splits of :28.3, :59.3, 1:29.3 and hold on to win in 1:59.3 over Massacaia and American Superman. Bob McIntosh trains and co-owns the winner with breeder Dave Boyle of Bowmanville, Ontario. A gelded son of Kadabra, Tyrone Haji was recording his third win in a dozen starts this year. “He’s been a lot of first up trips, if I could get to the front earlier he’d be one of the best,” noted Henry afterwards. The second Grassroots test saw favourite Totally Ripped gain control well before the :57.3 half. Jody Jamieson had Justcallmeronald on the move before the 1:26.3 three-quarters and that colt and Totally Ripped raced as a team through the stretch with Justcallmeronald getting up for the win in 1:57.2. Windsun Cobra took third. Tony O’Sullivan trains the winner, a son of Muscle Mass owned by Patrick Ryan of London, Ontario. “He was a little tired at the wire. His former trainer was here telling me how to drive him so that helped,” said Jamieson of the colt’s former conditioner and Rideau regular Robert Robinson. Jamieson also captured the final Grassroots event of the evening, using a three wide move on the final turn with Massive Pockets to win by open lengths in 1:57.3 and defeat Stonebridge Rich and Kremlin. Owned by breeder MT Pockets Stables of Florida and trained by Chantal Mitchell, the son of Muscle Mass was recording his second win in 11 tries. This was Rideau Carleton’s turn to celebrate the OSS’s 40th anniversary and the trotting colts put on a good display of the talent in the Program for the fans. The next Gold event for this group goes postward on September 22 while the Grassroots boys will hook up on September 1. Both events are at Mohawk. To view the full results from tonight, please clickRideau Results - August 21. From the Ontario Sire Stakes
Veteran gelding Thundering Bay survived a long first over journey to take the $6,500 Winners Over Handicapped Pace featured on Sunday night's harness racing card at Rideau Carleton Raceway. Thundering Bay ($8.70) advanced first over to wear down free-legged pacesetter Zambuca Gass and the pylon-skimming If I Remember in a three-across finish. The time of the mile was 1:54.3 with Thundering Bay prevailing by a quarter length. If I Remember edged by Zambucha Gass for the runner-up honours. Darcy Clancy trains and drives the 11-year-old son of Albert Albert, who earned his 21st lifetime win for owner/breeder Walter Clancy of Odessa, Ont. The victory was Thundering Bay's third in his last five starts and pushed his career bankroll to $134,591. To view the rest of this story click here.
Rideau Carleton’s track record for two-year-old trotting fillies took a beating tonight first by Danielle Hall then Stubborn Belle in two harness racing $105,000 Ontario Sires Stakes divisions, the track’s first OSS events of the year. In the first division Railee Priti grabbed early control for Steve Byron but she was covered up before the :28.2 first quarter by Danielle Hall. That filly trotted by the half in a sedate :58.2 and had company in the form of Muscle Baby Doll at the 1:27.3 third quarter. Danielle Hall was up to the challenge though and held strong through the stretch to win in 1:56.2 over Muscle Baby Doll and Juanitas Fury. It was the third win in four lifetime starts for Danielle Hall, a daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe owned by trainer Carl Jamieson of Rockwood, Ontario along with Winnipeg Racing of Concord, Ontario. “Carl told me she was a nice filly; he was right,” praised Mario Baillargeon who guided the filly to the victory. “We got a little breather from the quarter to the half. She felt pretty good in the last turn, I tried to get away from Dougie (McNair aboard Muscle Baby Doll) and I did just enough to keep him at bay in the lane.” Bred by Walnut Hall Ltd. Of Kentucky, the filly was a $21,000 yearling purchase. Tonight’s win put her over $100,000 in earnings in her young career. She is the third foal from the $247,000 winner Debbie Hall, and a full sister to Danica Hall who earned $108,000 from just six starts last year at two. The time took almost a full second off the previous track standard of 1:57.1 set two years ago by Seeuinthespring but it didn’t last two races as Stubborn Belle reduced it further in the second OSS test. In that division it was Allies Gift and Trevor Henry showing the way past the opening quarter in :27.1 and the half in :57 but up came Stubborn Belle who took over before the 1:26 three-quarters for Paul MacDonell and never looked back to win by more than five lengths in 1:55.4. Bistrobistro Taj was second followed by Youre Majestic. “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. I think Paul let her do her own thing tonight,” noted trainer John Bax who shares ownership of the Taurus Dream daughter with Al Libfeld of Pickering, Ontario. “I set a world record here with Goodtimes many years ago in the Frank Ryan so I always like coming back here,” he added. Goodtimes’ mark of 1:53.3, set in 1999, still stands at the Ottawa track. As for the plans for the filly bred by Hanover Shoe Farms and sold for $85,000 last year at Harrisburg, Bax said: “I think she’ll take on the Grand Circuit back at Mohawk in September and if everything goes well I’m hoping to start her in the Breeders Crown.” The next Gold event for this group is set for August 18 at Mohawk. To view the complete results from tonight’s program at Rideau, please click Rideau Results - August 10. Ontario Sire Stakes
For the next seven days Peterborough, Ontario harness racing horseman John Bax will be spending a lot of time in his second office, behind the wheel of his truck. Starting Friday he has colts and fillies racing in Ontario Sires Stakes events for seven straight days, then there’s a break of one day and then right back at it. “I used to complain that the OSS season was too long when it went into November, so I guess I shouldn’t be complaining now that it’s too short. There’s an upside and downside to the way its structured now (going from late May to mid October),” noted Bax. “If your horse is ready there’s a lot of opportunity but if you have one that’s injured or sick, you can miss a lot just being off a month. Ideally I think it could be spread out just a bit more.” Bax currently sits in third in the trainers’ standings in the OSS program. He’s had 18 starters to date, 11 of which will be going postward over the next four days. Tonight he starts three colts among the six $18,000 Grassroots divisions for two-year-old trotting colts at Mohawk, a two hour trek from his farm south of Peterborough. Among those is Parkhill Lancelot, a homebred son of Muscle Mass he owns along with son Marshall. Bax trained his dam, a daughter of Duke Of York (another of his former top trotters) named Harlequin Seelster. “She had a :55 hind end and a 2:10 front end,” the trainer laughed. “But she had the pedigree so we bred her. I try to have a couple of broodmares around.” Parkhill Lancelot will be making his fourth lifetime start on Friday night where he’s drawn post one in the eighth race. The colt has finished a close second in his previous two efforts, both Grassroots events. The following day Bax’s team will be making another two hour truck, this time to Georgian Downs, for six $18,000 OSS events for rookie trotting fillies where he has a pair of starters. Fiery Eyes, who has a first and second in her last two Grassroots races, has post eight in race four. Flexceptional, who has one Grassroots victory in as many lifetime starts under her harness, leaves from post four in race six. Both will be driven by Steve Byron. On Sunday Bax’s rig will be headed east for a change for the first OSS event of the season at Rideau Carleton Raceway near Ottawa, an approximate six hour round trip from their base. There he starts a pair of fillies in both $105,000 Gold divisions for three-year-old trotting misses. In the fourth race he has Juanitas Fury (post two) and Railee Priti (post four). In the second division it will be Desis Dream (post three) and Stubborn Belle (post five) carrying the Bax colours. Monday finds the Bax brigade in Elora, Ontario, for Grassroots for three-year-old trotting colts where he has a pair of entrants, Illseeuincourt in race two and Kiwi Pres in the sixth and final of the six $18,000 divisions, race nine. “When you see a week like this one coming up you don’t feel so bad about spending a few months of the winter in Florida during the off season,” joked Bax whose barn consists solely of young horses. “I certainly wouldn’t mind another Goodtimes or Define The World,” he said of former stable stars raced well beyond their OSS seasons and earned $2.2 million and $1.7 million respectively. “But for the most part it just makes sense to stay with the young horses. “The Ontario Sires Stakes program is still better than most others, and I think you get the best bang for your buck in Ontario,” he added. Which is a good thing as he’ll be seeing a lot of the province and the OSS Program over the next few days. The entries for the upcoming OSS events at Mohawk, Georgian Downs, Rideau Carleton Raceway and Grand River are available through the links below. Mohawk Entries - August 8. Georgian Downs Entries - August 9. Rideau Carleton Entries - August 10. Grand River Entries - August 11. Ontario Sire Stakes
Poppys Bucky Boy made up a 10 length deficit in a season's-best performance to win the featured $6,500 Winners Over/Not Listed Preferred Pace for trainer/driver Stephane Pouliot at Rideau Carleton Raceway on Sunday night. Favourite Poppys Bucky Boy, handicapped outside his five rivals and gaped off the gate, trailed the field for the first three-quarters of the mile. The fractions were :27.3, :56.1 and 1:25. He was spotted third over turning for home and rallied wide for a clear path to unleash his :28.4 closing kick. Poppys Bucky Boy prevailed in 1:54.2 by two and three-quarter lengths. In a photo finish for second-place, the front-stepping Red Bugler held off first over challenger Onyx V A and Beautiful Soul, who closed from second over. To read the rest of this story click here.
Stephane Pouliot had the hot hands at Rideau Carleton Raceway on Sunday night as he stole the show with fives winning drives (three-for-three from his stable) during the 11-race program. Pouliot set the tone for the night in capturing Sunday's first race aboard Sestina ($3.60) for Brian Gibson. His next victory came in the fourth race with his own trainee Guard Dog ($4.20) and he went back-to-back winning the fifth dash with Richard Sullivan's Thats The Life ($6.70). Pouliot completed his five-win night with two more winners from his barn, Marty Tyme ($3.80) in the seventh and Out Of The Hat ($2.30) in the ninth. One of the top trainer-drivers at Rideau, the Ottawa horseman has sent out 19 winners from his stable and has driven a total of 44 winners so far this year. To read the rest of the story click here.
The Ontario Racing Commission has released a Notice to the Industry announcing the decision to approve the schedule of 2014 race dates for Kawartha Downs and Dresden Raceway. This announcement brings the total of 2014 approved race dates to 939 across Quarter-Horse, Thoroughbred and Standardbred breeds. In addition the Director approved September 1 as a make-up date for Rideau Carleton Raceway (RCR). During the 2013-2014 period, RCR cancelled two race dates: January 14 and March 20, where no races were run due to unsafe track conditions. The Transfer Payment Agreement with government allows for one cancellation during the period of the contract, leaving one cancelled race date that RCR had to make-up. To read the rest of this story and view the race calendars click here.
Rideau Carleton Raceway's leading driver Guy Gagnon dominated Sunday evening's harness racing card steering home six winners out of his 10 drives. Among Gagnon's winners was Viper Select ($2.20) in the featured $6,500 Winners Over Handicap. The class-climbing pacer earned his third straight victory in front-end fashion, stopping the clock in 1:53.4. The nine-year-old Dauntless Bunny gelding is trained by Regent Guindon and owned by Denis Guindo of Carleton Place, Ont. The rest of the field spread across the track four lengths behind in a five-way finish for the runner-up honours. If I Remember won the battle for second-place while Thats Ideal completed the triactor. To read the rest of the story click here.
Michelangelo produced a fifth straight work of art, running his winning streak to five in a row in the $10,000 feature race at Vernon Downs on Friday night. That streak has now stretched over two different tracks, with Michelangelo winning three straight at Rideau Carleton Raceway in Canada before crossing the border and picking up two straight wins at Vernon Downs. The betting favorite in the feature, House Money, actually set the pace on a very windy night at Vernon Downs. The first quarter-mile, which went with the wind, was trotted in 27.4. The field then turned into the backstretch and faced the gale, which resulted in a slower second quarter of 30 seconds flat. House Money continued to dictate the pace through three-quarters in 1:27.2. It appeared that setting the pace in the blustery conditions took quite a toll on House Money, as the favorite was passed first by Michelangelo and then by A Penny Earned for second. House Money had to settle for third. Michelangelo's final time for the mile was 1:54.3. The favorite finishing out of the top two triggered an exacta payout of $100.00. Michelangelo was driven to victory by Truman Gale. Gale kept Michelangelo tucked in behind the leader throughout the first three-quarters and perfectly timed his move to the front in the stretch. Michelangelo is owned and trained by Chelsea Knapp of Brockville, Ontario, Canada. The complete order of finish for the field of five was Michelangelo, A Penny Earned, House Money, Pine Credit, and Sand Top Gun. by Michael Chamberlain, for Vernon Downs
After a narrow loss in last week’s top class at Rideau Carleton Raceway, Bestofbest Hanover took his game to another level and posted a decisive victory in Sunday’s $6,500 Not Listed Preferred for pacers. Thats The Life supplied the field with speed intervals of :27.4, :57.3 and 1:26.2, but he couldn’t last on the lead. Spartacus Jim applied first-over pressure on the leader in the final half of the mile, and tracking his live cover from second-over was Bestofbest Hanover. Owner/driver Melanie Plourde called on the classy campaigner to sprint over the final quarter, and a :28.3 closing quarter was more than enough for him to win by 2-1/4 lengths over Thats The Life in 1:55.3. Spartacus Jim held on for the third prize. To read the rest of the story click here.
North America's 2014 win leader Rockin Rambaran continued his current streak on Sunday night at Rideau Carleton Raceway for trainer and owner Luc Loyer. Rockin Rambaran ($2.60) front-stepped his way to a 1:57.4 victory -- his seventh in a row -- in the evening's ninth race with Guy Gagnon in the sulky. With his ninth of the year, the four-year-old Rambaran gelding emerged from a five-way tie to take sole ownership of the top spot in the North American win standings. To read the rest of the story click here.
Trainer Gary McDonald and his partners from the Three Gees Stable enjoyed another successful Sunday night of harness racing at Rideau Carleton Raceway. McDonald and team won four of the evening's 11 races. Three of his stable's five winners from last weekend's race card put forth repeat performances over a sloppy track. Pacing mare Cheap N Easy (Ted McDonald, $3.40) stepped up to give McDonald his first win of the night in the second race. Pacing mare Taras Jet (Dennis St. Pierre, $5.30) and trotter Luke But Dontouch (Ted McDonald, $3.40) then gave McDonald back-to-back wins in the fourth and fifth races and pacer Allamerican Extra (Ted McDonald, $5.50) later won the ninth race by a nose -- all picking up their second straight victories. To read the rest of the story click here.
Trainer Gary McDonald gave his 2014 win count a big boost on Sunday evening as he sent our five winners from his barn during the 12-race card at Rideau Carleton Raceway. McDonald opened the Sunday program by sweeping the early Daily Double as pacing mare Taras Jet ($3.50) romped to a four length victory in rein to Denis St. Pierre and trotter Love Is Strong ($8.40) recovered from an early miscue to prevail by more than two lengths. The winning duo combined for a $2 Daily Double payout of $17.10. Driven by Ted McDonald, Luke But Dontouch ($10.80) also trotted to victory lane in the fourth race and Woodbine invader Allamerican Extra ($5) won the sixth race pace in his debut for the McDonald stable. Pacer Hopetobefirst ($6.20) concluded McDonald's five-win night with a narrow score in the following dash. To read rest of story click here.
On Sunday, harness racing's social media world exploded with outrage when Sydney Weaver's prized Standardbred Sydney Seelster was claimed at Flamboro Downs. The brown lass had been racing well in 2014 having won three of her four starts heading into Sunday’s race and had yet to miss the board in all of her races. It was learned after Sunday’s race that Sydney Seelster had been claimed by trainer Guy Gagnon. The resident of Gatineau, Que. is off to a strong start in 2014, as his stable has sent out 12 starters and has recorded five wins and four seconds, good for $12,865 in purse earnings and an impressive .601 UTR. The pride and joy of former ‘I Love Canadian Harness Racing’ fan club’s ambassador, Weaver was heartbroken with the news of her prized horse being claimed. Sydney Seelster and Weaver made headlines in 2012 when the mare was bought for Weaver so she could pursue her dream to become the trainer of a Standardbred. Gagnon told Trot Insider that he did not know of the story of Weaver and her mare and upon hearing about the young owner, agreed to allow the horse to be claimed back. "I never heard of her story before; I'm not on Facebook, I'm not on Twitter, I'm not a 'computer guy' and I didn't know the story before last night." The father of two kids and a hockey coach for young boys, Gagnon clearly meant no harm in claiming the pacing mare from the young fan and felt bad for the situation. He merely saw a horse in for a claiming tag that he thought would race well at Rideau Carleton Raceway after recently having a horse claimed from his barn. After the races, fans of harness racing were irate with the situation and posted numerous messages on Facebook and Twitter -- much like Gagnon, without knowing the entire situation. With a plan now in place to allow Weaver to get Sydney Seelster back, Gagnon added that he would like to meet Weaver one day and hopes that the same predicament doesn't happen again, fearing that someone else will come along and simply see a horse in for a claiming price. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca
Driver Guy Gagnon stole the show on Sunday night at Rideau Carleton Raceway, dominating the 12-dash season opener with seven wins between races two and nine. The Gatineau, Que. horseman earned three wins with his own trainees Keeping Optimistic ($11.80), Xexy ($5.10) and Ivanhoe Diamant ($27.30). Gagnon teamed up with trainer Ronald MacDonald for a pair of victories aboard Sauble Liz ($12.10) and Lucky Taryn ($7.80). He also scored with Ronald McPhee trainee Rainbow Lilly ($6.30) and Zambuca Gass ($5.60) for conditioner Stephen Gassien. With 141 wins at the Ottawa oval last season, Gagnon ranked second on the local leaderboard behind Denis St. Pierre (160). Sunday's featured $6,400 Winners Over Handicap Pace was won by favourite Savannah Splendor ($3.30), who front-stepped his way to a three length victory in 1:58.3 over the snowy track with Gord Brown aboard for trainer Randy Van Meer and owners Donna Van Meer and Brian Evans of Bowmanville, Ont. To view Sunday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Sunday Results - Rideau Carleton Raceway. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca
Four-year-old pacer Ok Ebury stole the spotlight on Sunday evening at Rideau Carleton Raceway winning the featured $6,400 Winners Over Handicap Pace in front-stepping fashion for driver Stephane Pouliot and owner/trainer Luc Loyer. Leaving from post two, Ok Ebury retook the lead over favourite D Gs Woodstock (Denis St. Pierre) past the :27.1 first quarter mark. Once in control, he raced by the half in :57.3 and three-quarters in 1:26.1 with Draconian (Gord Brown) looming first over before that rival eventually faded to seventh in the stretch. Ok Ebury then held off the closing Woodrock Nation (Kyle Forgie) for the three-quarter length victory in 1:56 flat over the 'good' surface. Keyed Entry (Truman Gale) came from last to show, one length behind. Ok Ebury returned $15.40 for the mild 6-1 upset. The win was the Modern Art ridgling's third this year and eighth all-time, pushing his bankroll to $109,398. In other racing action, sophomore pacing gelding Brother John kept his Rideau record perfect for owner/trainer Gary McDonald. Driven by Gord Brown, the son of Stonebridge Regal earned his sixth win in a row since shipping to the Ottawa oval in November. His Sunday score was his second fastest, clocked in 1:57.2. To view Sunday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Sunday Results - Rideau Carleton Raceway Reprinted with permission by www;standardbredcanada.ca