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As he often does on the Ontario Sires Stakes program's biggest nights, driver Sylvain Filion made multiple trips to the Woodbine Mohawk Park winner's circle on Saturday evening as the best Grassroots competitors gathered for their $400,000 season finale. The Milton resident opened the Grassroots Championship program with a win, guiding two-year-old trotting filly At Will to a two and three-quarter length score over Nifty Trick and Eramosa Magic in 1:58.4. "She raced awesome tonight. She had to go first-over, which I didn't really like, but she raced her guts out. That's her best race so far this year," said Filion of the fan favourite. "They've done a really good job with her, keeping her sound and healthy, and having her in top form for tonight." Filion drives At Will for trainer Julie Walker of Carlisle and her partners, breeder Layhoon Chan Brunner of Etobicoke, and Ron Piers of Georgetown, Ontario. The Kadabra filly's win was Walker's first in the Grassroots Championships and just her second in post-season action, the first coming in last week's Semi-Final. Filion, the reigning Lampman Cup champion as the leading driver in the Ontario Sires Stakes program, was back in the winner's circle after the fourth $50,000 Grassroots Final. The reinsman piloted two-year-old pacing filly point leader Sports Flix to a 1:54 victory, two and three-quarter lengths ahead of Shadow Sparks and Freya Seelster. "I drove her last week for Gregg McNair for the first time. I ended up first-over, but she really impressed me the way she did it and I knew if I could get her in a position to win, she had a good shot," said Filion. "When I saw the nine-hole I said, oh my god, that will be tough, but she left the gate good, we got a two-hole trip and she just win easy. "It is always nice to win for Gregg McNair, we go way back, it's a good feeling," the reinsman added. Guelph resident McNair conditions Sports Flix for James Fraleigh of Dresden, who purchased the daughter of Sportswriter and former Gold Series competitor Moving Pictures at last fall's London Selected Yearling Sale for $13,000. Filion completed the Grassroots Championship hat trick in the second last final, steering three-year-old trotting filly Stormont Charlotte to a front-end victory in 1:56.2. Magics Lucky Charm finished one and three-quarter lengths behind the favourite and Zorgwijk Sophia was five more lengths back in third. "She raced awesome last week, sat in the two-hole and she just moved by them when I got clearance. So tonight with the six-hole I thought if I could ease her off the gate and try to get to the front and control the pace I had a really good shot, and that's exactly what happened," said Filion, who steers the Justice Hall filly for trainer John Gouveia and owner Alan Fair of Ancaster, Ontario. "It doesn't happen often that it goes the way you think it's going to go, but that's exactly how I wanted it to go." Driver Jonathan Drury scored two victories on the championship card, with the most meaningful coming in the three-year-old pacing colt and gelding final with Pretty Handsome. The pair was awarded the Grassroots title last season when one of their competitors committed interference and was placed from first to ninth, but on Saturday they commanded the race from the start to the 1:50.3 finish. Casimir Richie P was three and one-half lengths back in second, and Luka Shenko was five lengths behind in third. Andrew McCabe trains the Mach Three gelding for Glenview Livestock Ltd. of Wallenstein, Ontario and says the pacer will make a few more sophomore starts before beginning preparations for his four-year-old campaign. "JD (Drury) seems to think he can maybe race against some of these aged horses here with the miles he's been putting up," said McCabe. "One race that would maybe be in his backyard would be the Confederation Cup I think. He's got gate speed and he gets around a half really well." Drury's second victory came with three-year-old pacing filly Machnhope, who bested Azure Seelster and I Shadow U in 1:53.1. The Guelph resident crafted the win for trainer Bill Robinson, owner-breeder CMR Farms of Hagersville, and co-owners David Serwatuk of Hamilton and BC Reichheld Stables of Caledonia, Ontario. Driver Scott Young scored his first-ever Grassroots Championship victory with two-year-old trotting gelding Lariat Seelster. The Kadabra son got a head in front of Bob McIntosh trainees Judge Ken and A Royal Line to record the 1:58.1 score. "First time ever in the Finals, so to get a win on one that's awesome," said Young, who also piloted Rebellious Lady to a fifth-place result in the two-year-old trotting filly final. "I said at the beginning of the night if I could get money with both I'd be happy, so a win sure is nice." Guelph resident Bob Young conditions Lariat Seelster for his partners Robert Deveau of Toronto, Frank Chiaravalloti of Downsview and Jaftica Stable of Guelph, Ontario. Trainer Mark Steacy finished first and second in the three-year-old trotting colt and gelding final with Jammin Jack and Majestic Fire, who were separated by a head at the 1:55.4 finish. TBarrr rounded out the top three. "At the start of the year I wouldn't have gave a whole lot for either one of them horses. They were a lot of work. They didn't show a whole lot, they didn't even show a lot of speed early on, especially Jammin Jack," recalled Steacy, who trains Angus Hall son Jammin Jack for Hutt Racing Stable of Paoli, PA. "But as the year progressed he just got more confidence and he showed speed and he's got a good kick coming for home. James (MacDonald) got to know him really good, that really helped too." Century Farroh and driver Trevor Henry captured the two-year-old pacing colt and gelding final in commanding style, going straight to the front from Post 4 and cruising home a seven length winner in 1:53. Wager On Me and The First Step finished second and third behind the fan favourites. Dr. Ian Moore conditions Mach Three son Century Farroh for Ratchford Stable NS of North Sydney, Nova Scotia. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Woodbine Mohawk Park next week as the two-year-old trotters and pacers wrap up their Gold Series regular seasons in preparation for the Oct. 13 Super Finals. The trotters will compete in their last regular season Gold event on Thursday, Oct. 4 and the pacers will wrap things up on Saturday, Oct. 6. Post time for both programs is 7:10 pm. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

Run Director wrapped up the three-year-old harness racing colt trot regular season with his third Gold Series victory on Thursday evening, circling the Woodbine Mohawk Park oval in 1:54.1. Starting from Post 8 driver Sylvain Filion eased the heavy favourite away from the starting gate and trotted along in the outer lane waiting for a wind break. Just past the :27.4 quarter rung up by Joeys Bats, driver Phil Hudon obliged by tipping second choice Stormont Ventnor out of the four-hole. Heading by the :56.3 half Winning American edged out in front of Stormont Ventnor, who skipped off stride as the colts advanced toward the 1:25.3 three-quarters. After powering out three-wide around a stalled Winning American, Run Director swung off the final turn in lock-step with pocket-sitter Jula Downtown. The colts waged a fierce battle all the way down the stretch with Run Director prevailing by a head in 1:54.1. Perfetto finished four and one-half lengths back in third. "I thought tonight he had to work, especially after the two run in the last turn, I thought it would have been a little easier. He won the race, but he had to work hard tonight," said trainer Ben Baillargeon. "I have to say that I was a little surprised. I thought it would have been easier, but they made us earn our money tonight. He raced tough." Guelph resident Baillargeon conditions Run Director for owner-breeders Tom and Elizabeth Rankin of St. Catharines, Ontario. Thursday's win boosted the colt's sophomore record to five wins, four seconds and one third in 14 starts for earnings of $282,455. In five regular season appearances, the son of Kadabra and Keep The Spirit won three Gold events and finished second in the other two, giving him a division leading 200 points. In addition to his Ontario Sires Stakes appearances, Run Director also tackled the best sophomore trotting colts in North America on four occasions this season. Following his August 26 Gold Series win at Rideau Carleton Raceway Baillargeon sent the trotter out against open company in the Simcoe Stakes and Run Director finished a hard-closing second. While it had not originally been part of the trainer's plan, Run Director's Simcoe result earned the colt a shot in the Sept. 15 Canadian Trotting Classic where he finished sixth. "He raced so good in the Simcoe we gave him a shot in the Canadian Trotting Classic," explained Baillargeon. "He raced good, but bad posts, he always gets bad posts." In his four open stake appearances Run Director has drawn Posts 6, 7, 8 and 9, a trend Baillargeon hopes will not extend to the Oct. 13 Super Final. The top 10 point earners from the five regular season Gold events will return to Woodbine Mohawk Park for the $225,000 Super Final. With just over two weeks until the lucrative season finale, Baillargeon says Run Director will likely make one more start before he wraps up his Ontario Sires Stakes career. "I'll probably have to do something with him. He likes to race," said the trainer. "I cannot leave him off two and a half weeks, I'll have to get him in a race somewhere." Woodbine Mohawk Park continues to showcase the Ontario Sires Stakes program this week, hosting the fourth Gold Series event for the two-year-old pacing colts and fillies on Friday, Sept. 28 and the $400,000 Grassroots Championships on Saturday, Sept. 29. Post time for both programs is 7:10 pm. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

MILTON, ON -  September 11, 2018 – Dancer Hall flexed his muscles to win Tuesday’s $34,000 Preferred Trot at Woodbine Mohawk Park. A deep field of 10, featuring Maple Leaf Trot finalists Ariana G, Dancer Hall, Pinkman and Warrawee Roo, clashed in this week’s edition of the top-level trot. Paul Reid trainee Dancer Hall, making his first start since finishing fourth in the Maple Leaf Trot, came first-up on the far turn for driver Sylvain Filion after a relatively soft opening-half and grinded his way to a 1:53.3 score. Longshot B Yoyo sprinted off the wings of the gate from post-10, securing the early-lead and posting a :28 opening-quarter. Double-millionaire Ariana G floated away from post-eight and worked her way to the top, clearing entering the backstretch. After posting a :57 half, Ariana G carried the lead around the far turn and by the three-quarter pole in 1:25.4, while Dancer Hall was working his way closer after committing first-up from fifth. In the stretch, Ariana G tried to fight off Dancer Hall, but surrendered the lead entering the final-eighth of the mile. Several others put themselves in the mix for a top spot, as B Yoyo slipped up the rail, while Dunbar Hall, who got a three-hole trip, was searching for room behind the leader and Warrawee Roo was on the far outside after being second-over. Dancer Hall reached the wire first to win by three-quarters of a length. Dunbar Hall found room late to finish second, while B Yoyo and Warrawee Roo were third and fourth, respectively. Owned by 1187422 Ontario Inc, Dancer Hall scored his ninth win of the season and fifth in the Woodbine Preferred. The four-year-old son of Deweycheatumnhowe has had a breakout season, earning $247,372 in 16 starts. Tuesday’s victory was the 17th career win for Dancer Hall and pushes his career earnings to $347,022. He paid $4.60 to win. Live racing resumes Thursday at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Post time is 7:10 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications  

Trois Rivieres, QC - It's Super Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R this Sunday, September 9 with the tracks richest harness racing program of the year, $512,000 in total purses headlined by eight Quebec Championship Finals. The Breeders Cup Series for three-year-old trotters and pacers has four finals, each with a purse of $65,000. The two-year-old's also will compete in four finals, each with a purse of $55,000. Plus, there are two $8,000 Invitational events, one for trotters and one for pacers. For this rich days of racing, world class drivers Sylvain Filion, Jody Jamieson, Louis Philippe Roy and James MacDonald are coming in from Ontario to compete with H3R's top drivers. Here is a brief overview on each of the special races on Sunday. 2nd Race $55,000 2YO Colt Trot - Cesar Duharas is the race favorite and rightly so. Last week the son of Muscle Massive tied the track record for colts at H3R with a 2:01.3 triumph in the third round of the Future Stars Series. He will start from post five for trainer/driver Stuart Sowerby and breeder/owner Haras De Estrie, Inc. of Dunham. Cesar Duharas has three wins this season, the fastest a 1:58.3 record at Mohawk Park. Competition will come from Yves Filion's Money Hill (post eight), who has his son, Sylvain, driving the son of Muscle Hill and the entry of Only For Justice (post one) and Clevisse (post four) for trainer Dany Fontaine. 3rd Race $55,000 2YO Colt Pace - YS Sunshine (post six) gets the call in here off his last start, a very impressive 1:53.4 lifetime mark last week at Mohawk Park. The Sunshine Beach geldings other two wins this season came in legs of the Future Stars Series with driver Stephane Gendron back in the sulky for trainer Michel Allard and breeder/owner Yves Sarrazin of La Presentation. Second choice is the undefeated D Gs De Vito (post eight) with driver Jonathan Lachance. This unbeaten son of Sportswriter is going for his fifth straight win, all at H3R and he has a record of 1:58 taken last week. Other contenders include Guinness Panic (post five) and GA Speed Gaby (post three). 4th Race $65,000 3YO Filly Trot - Provided they can stay on stride, Montanaalaska (post four) and Kinnder Prediction (post three) both have good chances of winning. Montanaalaska won two starts back for driver Guy Ganon 2:00.2 and 2:02.4 the prior week, but also shows tendency to break stride too. Sired by Angus Hall, Montanaalaska is trained by Alain Martin for owner Michel Grenier of Gastineau. Kinnder Prediction broke last week for driver Justin Filion. The prior week was first placed ninth and the week before won in 2:02.4 over Montanaalaska. The daughter of Northern Escort is trained, owned and bred by Denitza Petrova of Melbourne. 5th Race $65,000 3YO Filly Pace - The entry of BG (post four) and Katniss S BG (post 8) loom over the field. Katniss S BG is the stronger of the entry. This daughter of Mach Three has four wins this year, the fastest in 1:53 for driver Louis Philippe Roy and has won three of her last four starts for trainer Richard Moreau and co-breeders and owners Sylvain Desvheneaux and Gaston Bibeau of Sorel-Tracy. Lit De Rose (post seven) might have been made the betting favorite if not for her starting from an outside post. This daughter of Leader Bayama has been first, second or third in her last six starts with a record of 1:57 taken two starts back. She will be driven for the first time by Sylvain Filion. 6th Race $8,000 Invitational Pace - Hard to believe that four of nine horses in this race, Cee Pee Panic, HP Patriote, Atomic Million AM and Wildriverbumblebee, are all prior Championship winners. Cee Pee Panic (post three) is the oldest at age 9 and Wildriverbumblebee (post nine) the youngster at age 4 and the race favorite with Sylvain Filion in the sulky. Wildriverbumblebee is coming off a 1:54 triumph at H3R in his last start for trainer Francis Richard. UFdragons Rocket (post two) is the fastest return winner in the field, coming off a 1:52.1 triumph for driver Louis Philippe Roy. Other contenders include Atomic Million AM (post five) and Windsun Cheyenne (post eight). 7th Race $55,000 2YO Filly Trot - Kenogami Darling (post four) has dominated this division with back to back wins in the series and is going for her fourth straight win. The daughter of Justice Hall has been super for trainer Dany Fontaine and driver Guy Gagnon. Her record this year is 1:59.2 taken at Mohawk Park. She was bred and is co-owned by Jean Francois Reid of Anjou with Claude Reid of Jonquiere. Although Kenogami Darling has beaten everyone else in the field, watch for Kinderunbelievable (post five) and Claudi P V (post six) to be on the board. 8th Race $55,000 2YO Filly Pace - Better Now (post 3) is the race favorite having won two of the legs at H3R and also coming off a strong second in the Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots last week at Clinton Raceway for trainer and co-owner Pierre Ouellette. The filly by Betterthancheddar has Jody Jamieson in the sulky and can race well from on or off the pace. Second choice is the top filly Hurryupatthebeach (post five). This daughter of Up The Credit was undefeated in her first five wins for trainer Pierre Leclerc, getting beaten for the first time in the third leg of the series. She will again be driven by Pascal Berube. Also watch for Flower Sena (post eight), who was able to beat Hurryupatthebeach in her last start for driver Jocelyn Gendron, but the outside post position will hinder her chances somewhat. 9th Race $8,000 Invitational Trot - What a top-notch race this will be. There are three Quebec Series Champions in the field, Capteur De Reve (post five), who just won his second straight title, former track record holder Seeyou Men (post seven) and Holiday Party (post eight). Capteur De Reve with Pierre Luc Roy in the sulky is the race favorite, having won the Open Handicap last week and with a record of 1:58.4 at H3R for trainer Maxime Velaye. Seeyou Men has Guy Gagnon in the sulky after they won last week at Rideau Carleton in 1:58.4. Others to watch include the return of Rocky Boy (post three), Broadway Maija (post four) and Windsun Hugo (post nine). 10th Race $65,000 3YO Colt Pace - Great field of competition headed by race favorite Kinnder Jackson (post four) who has seven wins in ten starts, all at H3R for breeder, owner and trainer Deniza Petrova. This son of Allamerican Native has two wins in the series and will be driven for the first time by Louis Philippe Roy. Hudson Phil (post six) may show poor finishes last three starts for driver James MacDonald, but this son of Shanghai Phil was raced timed last week in 1:51.4 and has a record of 1:51.3 for trainer Mark Steacy. Play Jet Play (post seven) is part of an entry for trainer Dany Fontaine with last year's Champion, Stock (post five), who won a leg of the Series back in July in 1:54.2. 11th Race $65,000 3YO Colt Trot - SG Goliath King (post two) could be part of a double ­on the day for Hall of Fame trainer Yves Filion. This son of Lucky Fool has three wins in his last six starts and will have son Sylvain in the sulky. Other contenders include Yankee Photo (post four) for trainer Gerald Woodberry and driver Pascal Berube, Orlys Fury (post three) and Nobodynojustice (post one). Post time is 12:50 pm Sunday and for a free race program, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club  

Trois-Rivieres, QC - The Quebec Jockey Club will host the richest day of harness racing in 2018 at the Hippodrome 3R this Sunday with C$512,000 in purses headlined by the championship finals of both the Breeders Cup and Future Stars Series for two and three-year-old trotters and pacers. World renowned harness drivers Sylvain Filion, Jody Jamieson and Louis Philippe Roy will be leaving Toronto for Quebec to compete in the rich Super Sunday afternoon program. First race post time is 12:50 pm. Of the 12 races on the program, eight are the finals of the Breeders Cup Series for three-year-old's and the Future Stars Series for two-year-old's. Each of the four Breeders Cup finals go for C$65,000 each and the four Future Star final races for a purse of C$55,000. In addition, there is an $8,000 Invitational Trot and Pace, and for the first time there are two $8,000 consolation races, one for the Breeders Cup and one for the Future Stars. For a free race program, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club  

MILTON, ON - August 11, 2018 - Dr J Hanover was all business winning Saturday evening's $34,000 Preferred Pace at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The Tony Alagna trained five-year-old did the heavy-lifting en route to a 1:50 score over seven rivals. Driven by Sylvain Filion, Dr J Hanover blasted out to the lead and hung up a :26.3 opener. Fine Diamond flashed good speed at the start from the outside post, but ended up parked until grabbing the lead at three-eighths. Dr J Hanover immediately came back around to retake the lead before the half and proceeded to post fractions of :54.3 and 1:22.1. In the stretch, Dr J Hanover opened nearly four-lengths on his rivals and paced home in :27.4 to secure the victory by a length and a quarter. Carmen Auciello trainees Physicallyinclined and Always A Hotshot finished second and third, while Continual Hanover rallied from eighth to just miss hitting the board. Sintra, last year's Canadian Pacing Derby champion, finished seventh after racing mid-pack most of the mile. It was his first start since the Haughton Memorial on July 14 at The Meadowlands. Dr J Hanover has now won two of three starts since returning from a mini-holiday of more than a month and a half between starts. The Alagna trainee picked up his fifth win in 13 starts Saturday, increasing his 2018 bankroll to $164,680 for owners Brad Grant, Robert LeBlanc, Steven Wienick and Irwin Samelman. Dr J Hanover's career numbers now sit at 18 wins and $677,416 earned. He paid $7.10 to win. Live racing resumes Monday evening at Woodbine Mohawk with a new post time of 7:10 p.m. The $39,000 Dream Maker Series final headlines a 10-race card. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications

MILTON, ON - July 28, 2018 - A freshened up Dr J Hanover returned to the races Saturday to capture the $34,000 Preferred Pace at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The five-year-old Tony Alagna trainee was making his first start since June 9 and got the better of seven-rivals to post a 1:49.4 victory. Driven by Sylvain Filion, Dr J Hanover paced out to the early lead and posted sensible opening fractions of :27.1 and :56. Easy Lover Hanover, the 3/5 favourite, angled out from fourth nearing the half and made a strong rush towards the lead, hooking up with the early-leader for a far turn battle. Easy Lover Hanover finally cleared the lead after five-eighths of a mile was completed and posted a huge individual third-quarter of :26.1 to reach the third-station in 1:22.2. In the stretch, Dr J Hanover showed no signs of being short and came to the outside in the final-eighth to power by Easy Lover Hanover for a length and a half score. Nirvana Seelster finished third, while Traceur Hanover was fourth. The one-two finish by 'Dr J' and 'Easy Lover' gave owner Brad Grant the Exacta, as he co-owns the winner and is the sole owner of the runner-up. Robert LeBlanc, Steven Wienick and Irwin Samelman share ownership of Dr J Hanover with Grant. A five-year-old gelding, Dr J Hanover was making his 11th start of the season Saturday. The Alagna trainee now has four wins and $143,600 earned this season. Dr J Hanover, a now 17-time winner with over $650,000 in career earnings, made headlines last season at Mohawk Park when he won a division of the Graduate Series in 1:46.4, the fastest mile in Canadian harness racing history. A $2 win ticket on Dr J Hanover returned $14. Live racing resumes Monday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The opening-leg of the Dream Maker Series for two-year-old pacers highlights an 11-race card. Post time is 7:30 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications

Milton, ON - JUNE 26, 2018 - When the harness racing trotter Run Director crossed the finish line at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Tuesday evening, the three-year-old colt did more than just collect an Ontario Sires Stakes blanket and a share of the $97,200 Gold division purse. "I named him after this lady, Mary Ann Edwards, she is our run director. We have a run for cancer and we've made $8.5 million in the last 13 years - we made $1.05 million this year - and she's the dynamic person behind it," explained owner-breeder Tom Rankin. "So I'm very happy for her, I named the horse after her." The Rankin Cancer Run, which was founded by Edwards and supported from the start by Rankin Construction, is held annually in St. Catharines and is unique in that all of the money raised remains in the community. With his first stakes win Run Director paid a fitting tribute to Edwards and the impact that the run has had on cancer care in the Niagara Region. Run Director's victory was also meaningful for the Rankins because he is a fourth generation product of their breeding program. Tom and his wife Elizabeth acquired the colt's great-grandmother Armbro Mink in 1992 and the mare and her offspring have given the St. Catharine's residents nine $100,000-plus winners over the last 26 years. "We've had some good horses out of the family, but this guy might be the best," stated Rankin, adding that he was a little nervous before the race after watching his US-bred colt Alarm Detector make a costly break in a stake race in Pennsylvania on Saturday. "Tonight I'm on pins and needles after one horse makes a break - and he went off as the second favourite. You never know in horse racing." Fortunately heavy favourite Run Director was easy on Rankin's nerves as he took command of the race before the halfway marker and never faced a challenge, cruising home a four and one-quarter length winner in a personal best 1:55. May 28 Gold Leg winner Tinas Majesty finished second and early pacesetter Henderson Seelster was third. Milton resident Sylvain Filion drives Run Director and Ben Baillargeon of Guelph conditions the son of Kadabra and Keep The Spirit. The win was the second lifetime for the colt and boosted his career earnings to $86,160. Run Director's next start will come in the third Gold Leg at Grand River Raceway on July 18, but after finishing third in his elimination and sixth in the final of the Goodtimes Stakes in just his sixth and seventh lifetime starts the colt will have a few more opportunities to pit his skills against North America's best. "I didn't stake him to the Hambletonian. Ben said, 'Do you want to race against Alarm Detector?' and I said, 'No'," recalled Rankin with a chuckle. "But I've got him in the Canadian Trotting Classic and I think he's in the Breeders Crown, so I do have him staked, because I had (Super Final winner) R First Class last year and I didn't have him staked to anything, and I said I'm not making the same mistake." Unlike Run Director, Stormont Ventnor will have to settle for competing against his Ontario Sires Stakes peers for the remainder of the season. Coming off a fifth in his elimination and a second in the final of the $266,000 Goodtimes, last year's two-year-old Grassroots champion laid down a sharp 1:54.2 effort in the second Gold division on Tuesday, but does not have any other open stakes engagements on his schedule this summer. "He just has pretty much the Sires Stakes now. We paid him into the Goodtimes just in case he stepped up to be a Goodtimes horse, which he did," said trainer Kevin Benn with a chuckle. "But we didn't pay him into anything else." Caught in the outer lane after starting from Post 7, Stormont Ventnor powered to the lead heading for the :57.3 half and never relinquished control on his way to the 1:54.2 victory. Perfetto closed hard to be second, one and one-half lengths behind the fan favourite, and early pacesetter Mister Magic was third. Guelph resident Phil Hudon drives Stormont Ventnor for Napanee-based Benn and owner-breeder Eric Baker of Long Sault, Ontario. Tuesday's win was a satisfying result for the son of Justice Hall and Lady Grenville, who made an early and uncharacteristic break in the Gold Series season opener and finished eighth. "He got too hot on the gate. He was on it too long and he just got mad," said Benn of the May 28 miscue. "So we just brought him in a little bit later, he should be no problem, I hope." Never worse than second in six Grassroots starts at two, Stormont Ventnor will be looking to replicate that record in the three remaining Gold Series events and the season-ending Super Final. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday, June 29 with four Grassroots divisions for the three-year-old pacing colts, slated as Races 3, 5, 7, and 10 on the 7:30 pm program. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

Trois-Rivieres, QC - Even before the first race was held, the festivities at the Hippodrome 3R for the inaugural Ben Hur Cup, were well underway.   There was a live Standardbred race horse to greet race fans as they came into the grandstand entrance.   Both Sylvain Filion and Louis-Phillipe Roy came early to the track to meet and greet the hundreds of race fans that came to see them compete.   From the Quebec Jockey Club    

Trois-Rivieres, QC - The stage is set for the inaugural Ben Hur Cup at the Hippodrome 3R on Sunday and both harness racing drivers in this classic face-off, have agreed to a "gentleman's wager" for the event. The Ben Hur Cup will pit the champion, Sylvain Filion, against the challenger, Louis-Phillipe Roy in eight tournament races, the 2nd through the 9th on the 10-race program. The first and tenth races are the second round of the Quebec-Bred Series for four and five-year-old pacers and it was decided that stakes races should not be used for the competition. After the post position draw on Tuesday, both drivers took turns selecting the horses they wanted to drive. They also had to make their selections insuring that they each had one of the eight post positions for the eight races, which was no easy task. "First of all," Roy said. "I want to thank my scouting team and everybody that helped me with the draft of horses I will drive. I'm very confident with all the selections we've made. Among the selections, I would say that Loves A Challenge is my best bet while Akoya is my spot play." “I feel very confident that I will win the tournament,” Filion said. “I like the horses I got. I under rated about difficult it would be to select the horses I am driving. I did not think it would be that hard. But this was the best way to do it, very fair for both of us.” The point system for the Ben Hur Cup will be as follows: First place - 8 points Second place - 7 points Third place - 6 points Fourth place - 5 points Fifth place - 4 points Sixth place -3 points Seventh place - 2 points Eight place - 1 point Race fans from across the world via Facebook were asked what the "gentleman wager" between these two great drivers should be. The wager agreed upon by Filion and Roy that was suggested by the race fans is that the loser of the competition will have to pull a jog cart up and down in front of the grandstand with the winner aboard holding the Ben Hur Cup. "I just hope for Sylvain that he has good shoeing," Roy laughed. "I don't want him to make a break while pulling me around in the race bike." “I have told him (LPR) that I was fine with the wager,” Filion laughed. “But I told him I weigh a little bit more than you and that he might have a hard time carrying me all around. I don’t know if he could make it a whole mile.” We are sure this will make for some great video and photographs and a lot of laughs and cheers from the race fans. First race post time is 12:50 pm. Both Filion and Roy will be in the grandstand at 11:30 am for a special meet and greet autograph session. There is also the special video done by H3R for the Ben Hur Cup at https://youtu.be/v4LachSZyTo. For a free race program for Sunday's card, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club    

Trois-Rivieres, QC - This Sunday, June 24, the Hippodrome 3R will host its inaugural Ben Hur Cup driver challenge tournament pitting two drivers in eight tournament harness races. What makes this challenge unique is that the two drivers will alternate selecting the horses they will drive in each of the eight races and they must each select a different post in each race so that they will both start from posts 1 through 8 by the end of the tournament. The two drivers are household names not just on the Quebec harness racing circuit, not just in Canada, but in all of the industry. The Champion is two-time O'Brian Award winner, Sylvain Filion. The Challenger is currently Canada's leading money winner and dash winner in 2018, Louis-Philippe Roy. The draw for post positions took place on Tuesday and the drivers have selected their horses. They will compete in races 2 through 9 for the Ben Hur Cup. And both drivers have agreed to make a "friendly" wager between them on who will win the tournament, but they want to hear from race fans around the world what the wager should be. Wager ideas cannot be lewd or crass or in any form of bad taste and if they are they will be tossed out. Please go to the Hippodrome 3R Facebook Page to submit your idea on what the wager should be between Sylvain Filion and Louis-Philippe Roy. Also check out the great video for the event at https://youtu.be/v4LachSZyTo Both Sylvain Filion and Louis-Phillipe Roy will be at the Grandstand for a meet and greet with race fans at 11:30 am Sunday. From the Quebec Jockey Club  

Trois-Rivieres, QC - Due to an insufficient number of horses entered, management at the Hippodrome 3R has cancelled the live harness racing card for Tuesday, June 19. The race program will be made up on Sunday, November 25, 2018. Coming up this Sunday, June 24, is the inaugural Ben Hur Cup featuring two of Quebec's top drivers in head to head competition. The Champion is none other than two-time O'Brian Award winner Sylvain Filion. The Challenger is Canada's leading dash and money winning driver this year, Louis-Phillipe Roy. After Wednesday's draw, each driver will take turns selecting a horse to drive in the eight-race competition. There will also be a special meet and greet with both world-class drivers in the Grandstand at the Hippodrome 3R beginning at 11:30 am. Post time on Sunday is 12:50 pm. For more information, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club      

Trois-Rivieres, QC - It's only eleven days until the inaugural Ben Hur Cup driver tournament takes place at the Hippodrome 3R on Sunday, June 24, where the Champion Sylvain Filion will face-off against the Challenger, Louis-Philippe Roy. These two outstanding harness racing drivers will compete in eight races where the two drivers will take turns selecting the horses they want to drive in each of the races and by post positions so that each driver starts from post one through eight in the competition. The marketing staff at the Hippodrome 3R has come up with a special video commemorating the debut of the Ben Hur Cup with highlights of both Filion's and Roy's careers in harness racing. It's less than three minutes long and well worth viewing. To view the video click https://youtu.be/v4LachSZyTo. For more information, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club      

Trois-Rivieres, QC - Two of the top harness racing drivers in all of Canada, Louis-Philippe Roy and Sylvain Filion, will face-off in the inaugural Ben Hur Cup at the Hippodrome 3R on Sunday, June 24. Check out the specia video by clicking here.  Roy is the currently the leading money and dash winner in all of Canada. The young driving sensation hails from H3R where he started off his great career. Filion, the two-time O'Brien Award winner as the top driver in Canada, is always in the top leader board on the WEG Circuit. Both drivers will compete in eight races that afternoon. Each driver will get to choose the horse they will drive in each race and each driver must chooses a number from 1 to 8 so that they will have a different post position in each of the eight races. The Ben Hur Cup plus bragging rights throughout all of Canada will be won by either Roy or Filion. Roy was very candid how he felt about this tournament. "Not only do I feel confident, I know I will win," bragged Roy. "I don't want to take anything away from Sylvain as he is a great driver, but I'm a way better half-mile driver than he is." Being both drivers started out their careers driving at H3R, who might have the home field advantage at H3R? "I think it will be divided," Roy said. "Sylvain is a charismatic man and I do not know any people that do not like him, so I would say he might have a few more people rooting for him, but I also know that I have a lot of fans that supported me the last few years. How does it feel for Roy, going back home to H3R. He has planned to return but not until July for Breeder's Cup Series. "I'm happy to be there (H3R) and would never expect to be there that soon," Roy explained. "And there will be pressure to perform well, when you do that good in the country, people expect you to do that good forever, but you have to understand that you've been doing that good because you drove good horses, and that you need good horses to keep doing so well." When asked if there may be a wager made between the two drivers on the outcome of the tournament, Roy was talking a little "trash" to Sylvain. "If Sylvain is listening to me, and he better," Roy boasted. "I'm open to any kind of bet, as long as it doesn't involve my significant other Michelle. Even though I know I will win, there is still a very small amount of doubt about it." And what does Sylvain Filion have to say about all of this? "I am very confident I can beat him," Sylvain said with authority. "I think my overall experience says it all. I heard somewhere that he said he was a better half-mile driver than I am. I got some news for him. I was born on a half-mile track. When I first started and got my license it was at the Hippodrome 3R so I am very familiar with the track." Who does Filion feel the fans will side with at the Hippodrome 3R? "That is a good question." Filion replied. "Every time I go there I have so many fans come up to me and talk to me and they are so happy when I come to drive. I think the rooting will be half and half for us as Louie has made a lot of fans the past few years. Maybe the older fans will cheer more for me, the younger crowd for Louie. We will see come race day. "I have such great memories of driving at Three Rivers," Filion added. "I really looking forward to coming there June 24." This reporter then read Roy's statement to Filion about a possible wager on the competition and after he burst out laughing, Filion replied. "That was a good one," Filion said. "I will have to talk with Louie about this. I am open to anything he has to offer. Maybe it is a good idea to ask the race fans what the wager should be." No matter what the wager is between these two great drivers, the action in their eight Ben Hur Cup races will be fast and furious, just like it was between Ben Hur and his Roman adopted brother, Messala. There will be more to come on this great driver competition Sunday, June 24 at the Hippodrome 3R. Post time is 12:50 pm and there will be a meet and greet with both Louis-Philippe Roy and Sylvain Filion for the racing fans at 11:30 am in the Clubhouse. Also, on the race program June 24, will be the second round of the Quebec-Bred Series for four and five-year-old pacers. For more information, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club

OCTOBER 14, 2017 - At the last possible moment, Milton resident Sylvain Filion pulled a rabbit out of his hat at Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday night to secure his third straight and fifth overall Lampman Cup title as the leading harness racing driver in the Ontario Sires Stakes program. Heading into the $1.8 million eight race Super Final showdown, Filion was tied with Trevor Henry for top spot in the standings with 348 points. The lead seesawed between the two men through the first five races, with Filion winning one contest and Henry finishing second in two, and a second victory by Filion put them back level at 362 points with two races remaining. Capturing the second last race with two-year-old pacing filly Percy Bluechip, Henry appeared to have secured his third Lampman Cup title, but Filion came back in the last battle to score a win with lightly rated Tymal Peacemaker and knock Henry out of top spot by a single point. "It's not over yet, we'll keep going at it," said Filion, prophetically, after knotting things up in the sixth race. "It's a good competition me and Trevor, I think whoever wins deserves it. Trevor's having a good go, he's working hard at it, we're both working hard at it, and it's fun to watch." Filion drove in all eight races and scored a trio of victories with three-year-old trotting gelding R First Class, three-year-old trotting filly On A Sunny Day and three-year-old pacing gelding Tymal Peacemaker, adding 20 points to his total. Arthur, ON resident Henry drove in seven races and, in addition to the win with Percy Bluechip, finished second twice and third once for 19 points. While Tymal Peacemaker was a longshot, both R First Class and On A Sunny Day were heavily favoured and delivered commanding victories over a rain-soaked surface that started the evening rated "Good" with a one second variance, but was downgraded to "Sloppy" with a two second variance by the ninth race. From Post 3 in the evening's second $225,000 Super Final Filion put R First Class on the front before the halfway marker and the Kadabra son was never threatened, trotting home to a two and one-quarter length victory over LMC Mass Gem and Tycoon Seelster in 1:54.4. Guelph resident Ben Baillargeon trains the gelding for owner-breeders Thomas and Elizabeth Rankin of St. Catharines, ON and the group is excited about what the future holds for the trotter, who wrapped up his 12 race sophomore campaign with seven wins, four seconds and earnings of $307,246. "I hate that it's time to stop with him, but we'll be back next year," said Baillargeon. "He's awesome, I mean, he's getting stronger and stronger you know," added Filion. "I'm anxious to see him as a four-year-old. He's such a nice horse, big, strong, I'm just fortunate to drive him." R First Class Four divisions later the reinsman expressed similar sentiments about On A Sunny Day, who took command before the half and cruised to a four and one-half length triumph in 1:55.2. Winter Sweet Frost was second and Majestic Kat was another four and one-half lengths back in third. "I thought she was the best one in there and I didn't want to try to be fancy or anything you know, I wanted to avoid road trouble, so I decided to race her on the front end," noted Filion. "She's probably not her best on the front, but it was good enough tonight." The regular season point leader, On A Sunny Day is trained by Luc Blais of Lochaber Ouest and owned by Determination of Montreal, QC. The talented daughter of Muscle Mass boosted her career earnings over $546,000 with the victory, her tenth lifetime. On A Sunny Day With the Lampman Cup title on the line, Filion also opted for front-end tactics with Tymal Peacemaker in the last Super Final. Starting from Post 9, the Mach Three gelding went after the lead heading by the half and, once he reached the front end, simply pulled away from the field, powering under the wire nine lengths on top in 1:51.2. Red John finished second and Sports Column was third. "He was good tonight, and he did it on his own, I was just a passenger," said Filion. "Leaving the gate he was a little more aggressive than he is usually and I just took a shot down the backside, I didn't really know what to do, and I just cleared the front and from there he was on his own." The reinsman steers Tymal Peacemaker for his father Yves Filion's Bayama Farms Inc. of Saint-Andre-D'Argenteuil, QC and Stephane Larocque of Carlisle, ON conditions the gelding, who was the Grassroots champion as a two-year-old. Tymal Peacemaker Henry's victory with two-year-old pacing filly Percy Bluechip put him within a whisker of claiming the Lampman Cup title and may have caused trainer Dr. Ian Moore to extend her freshman campaign through next weekend's Breeders Crown Eliminations at Hoosier Park in Indiana. Sent off as the second choice behind her division co-leader Kendall Seelster, Percy Bluechip returned to her dominant early season form on Saturday, reaching the wire three and one-quarter lengths on top in 1:53.4. Play The Bell finished second and Kendall Seelster was third. "I'm just going to talk to Trevor and see how she was," said Moore. "We might go to the Breeders Crown maybe, I don't know, she's only had eight starts, so we've been kind of saving her a bit." Moore shares ownership of the daughter of Shadow Play with his partners in the Shadow Two Stable of Puslinch, James and Wilma Mackenzie of Ennismore, ON and Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC. The filly's fifth victory of the season was the first Super Final win for both Moore and Henry. Percy Bluechip Mark Horner also hoisted his first Super Final trophy when The Joy Luck Club captured the three-year-old pacing filly title, sailing home four lengths ahead of stablemate Action Majesty and Dudesalady in 1:51.2. Guelph resident Gregg McNair conditions the filly for owner-breeder Horner of St. Marys and R A W Equine Inc. of Burlington, ON, and Doug McNair piloted the Camluck daughter to the victory. "We're just elated right now," said Horner, who trained the filly until late June when he decided to hand her over to McNair. "She's always been really good, well mannered, well natured. She was meant to be a champion, and she is." The Joy Luck Club Doug McNair recorded a second Super Final win in the two-year-old pacing colt division, guiding Western Passage to a 1:51.3 score for trainer Casie Coleman of Cambridge. Jimmy Freight and Sports Legend rounded out the top three. Coleman shares ownership of the Sportswriter gelding with her long-time partner in the West Wins Stable, Ross Warriner of Burlington, along with John and McKinlay Fielding of Toronto and Calhoun Racing Ltd. of Chatham, ON. Western Passage Local filly Kadabra Queen capped off her near perfect Ontario Sires Stakes season with an impressive come-from-behind score in the two-year-old trotting filly final, reeling in Henry and pacesetter Smoke And Mirrors for a one-half length victory in 1:57.3. Illusioneesta also closed well to be third. Brantford resident Scott Coulter crafted the win for trainer Chad Milner of Campbellville, owner-breeder Mileo Monte's Harness Horsepower Inc. of Campbellville and his brother Frank Monte of Markham, ON. "She went one, two, three, four, with a little bit of luck we would have had a fifth one, she just broke stride at the top of the stretch at Flamboro," said Mileo Monte of the division leading daughter of Kadabra and Queen Street. "I have got to give all the credit to Chad and his wife Kajsa, they have done a fantastic job for us. And I've got to give Georgie (Antonio) a lot of credit for looking after this horse and Scott Coulter for believing in the horse and coming out every time to race." Kadabra Queen Finally, the two-year-old trotting colt trophy went home with Kadabra colt Draft Year, who got a front-end steer from Milton resident Randy Waples to reach the wire three and three-quarter lengths ahead of T Barrr and Perfetto in 1:57.1. Guelph resident Brad Maxwell conditions Draft Year for Doug Millard of Woodstock, ON, Timothy Murray of Shawville, QC, Ben Mudry of Toronto, ON and Howard Taylor of Philadelphia, PA. Draft Year OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

OCTOBER 11, 2017 - Eight harness racing division champions will be crowned on Saturday during the $1.8 million Super Finals at Mohawk Racetrack and the Ontario Sires Stakes season finale will also determine the 2017 Lampman Cup winner. Drivers Sylvain Filion and Trevor Henry are tied atop the Lampman Cup standings with 348 points, meaning the fight for top spot could extend all the way through the final race of the season. "I didn't think I was near the front, I didn't think I had enough points," said Milton, ON resident Filion, who made a late run up the standings in the final weeks of the regular season to catch early leader Henry. "We'll give him a run for it. I'm sure he thinks the same way too." Reigning title-holder Filion has amassed a record of 27 wins, 24 seconds and 15 thirds from 138 Ontario Sires Stakes starts and Henry has scored 24 wins, 17 seconds and 28 thirds from 145 starts. Henry's mounts have earned $1,310,532, while Filion's have banked $1,289,859. Filion has prevailed in the driver race four times, in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016, while Henry captured his first title in 1996 and added a second in 2007. "It's always nice to be on top, that's always good. If you're not up there you're not making any money," said a pragmatic Henry. The Arthur, ON resident has mounts in seven of the eight Finals while Filion will appear in all eight. Bolstering both men's chances of adding another Lampman Cup to their resume are commitments to division point leaders, with Henry steering three-year-old pacing filly leader Action Majesty, two-year-old pacing colt leader Shadow Moon and two-year-old pacing filly co-leader Percy Bluechip and Filion piloting three-year-old trotting filly leader On A Sunny Day. Heading into the $225,000 Super Final off a track, Ontario Sires Stakes and Canadian record set at Grand River Raceway on Sept. 27, On A Sunny Day will be among the heaviest favourites on Filion's dance card and the reinsman is optimistic about her chances of landing the division title. "She drew pretty good. I think if we get the right trip she has a really good shot," said Filion of the Luc Blais trainee who will start from Post 3 in the eighth race. "She comes in on top form, and she's been trotting really good." While Henry has been aboard division leaders Shadow Moon and Percy Bluechip for all of their Ontario Sires Stakes starts, and will send the Dr. Ian Moore trainees after their respective division titles from Post 6 in Race 5 and Post 5 in Race 9, Saturday will mark his first appearance in Action Majesty's race bike. "Gregg had asked me to drive the one," said Henry of the Gregg McNair trainee, who will start from Post 8 while her stablemate The Joy Luck Club lines up at Post 6 with Doug McNair in the bike. "She looks all right, but that's a tough bunch too." Among the horses Henry expects to put up a fight in the three-year-old pacing filly showdown is reigning Super Final champion Yaris Bayama, who will start from Post 10 with Filion at the helm. "Two of my father's didn't draw so well, Tymal Peacemaker and Yaris Bayama," noted Filion. "But he came down this week and trained them on Tuesday before the qualifiers and he said that they trained really good. He was a little disappointed with that draw, but he said that they were going in in top form so hopefully we get a good trip." Yves Filion's Bayama Farms owns Yaris Bayama and Tymal Peacemaker, and both horses are trained by Stephane Larocque. Three-year-old pacing gelding Tymal Peacemaker will line up at Post 9 in the tenth race, the only Super Final in which Henry does not have a mount. Henry will also spend some time on the outside of the starting gate Saturday, beginning with two-year-old trotting filly Smoke And Mirrors, who gets Post 10 for trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman in the second race. "She raced really well there (Mohawk) her last start (Sept. 25), come from a long ways out. She's in good shape I think," said Henry of the Kadabra daughter. "She has the ten-hole though, which will be tough." Henry will also pilot two-year-old trotting gelding Perfetto for Norman from Post 4 in the sixth race, the only contest that will see him start elbow to elbow with Filion, who steers Jimmy Takter trainee Cousin Rickard from Post 5. In the three-year-old trotting colt battle Henry will steer On First from Post 9 for his wife, trainer Shannon Henry, and his co-owners David Darocy and James Fleming, while Filion has R First Class for trainer Benoit Baillargeon. "He's been racing really, really good and his last start there (Sept. 25) he really won easy," said Filion of R First Class, who drew Post 3 in the third race. "I was talking to Ben yesterday, he said he trained good this week and he's all ready for Saturday. We drew good and I just cross my fingers I'm able to avoid traffic and troubles. If we get a clear track I think we've got a good shot." In addition to Action Majesty Henry also picked up a drive aboard three-year-old trotting filly Paradise Image (Post 8) for trainer Mike Keeling and Filion landed Allerage Stargazer (Post 2) in the two-year-old trotting filly division for trainer Paul Reid, St Lads Neptune (Post 4) in the two-year-old pacing colt division for trainer Carl Jamieson and two-year-old pacing filly Machnhope (Post 10) for trainer Bill Robinson. Reid, who will also start two-year-old trotting gelding Torches Pirate (Post 7), three-year-old trotting filly Sweet Of My Heart (Post 5) and two-year-old pacing fillies Just Her Luck (Post 1) and Kendall Seelster (Post 2) on Saturday, has worked with both Filion and Henry this season and says it is no surprise they are in a battle for top spot in the driver standings. "I have utmost respect for both of them. I would put them on any horse of mine, either one of them," said Reid. "I think Trevor's the more aggressive guy and seems to get along with any trotter or pacer, whereas Sylvain is more relaxed, he seems to create the same speed, but in a more relaxed way." Whether making their first appearance behind a horse or guiding one of their regular mounts, both Filion and Henry will be battling to the wire in every race on Saturday, hoping to deliver a Super Final trophy to each horse's connections. "It's going to be a big day for the breeders and the owners," said Filion, noting the Lampman Cup race is of secondary concern. "They've been watching their horses all year and cheering for them all year and now they get to see them in the Final. That's a big night for them." Mohawk Racetrack's first race goes in behind the gate at 7:30 pm on Saturday, with the eight $225,000 Super Finals going postward in Races 2 through 6 and 8 through 10. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

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