Three-year-old pacing fillies lined up in five $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series divisions on Friday night at Mohawk Racetrack, and it was a host of fillies who had yet to taste Ontario Sires Stakes success in 2014 emerging with victories. Mea Lilley Mark (Mike Saftic), who hadn’t been to the winner’s circle since last November, was the fastest winner, turning in a 1:52 spin of the seven-eighths mile oval in the Grassroots finale. After a first-over trip in the final three-eighths of the mile, Mea Lilley Mark wore down leader and favourite Artful Impulse (Steve Condren) to post the victory by half a length. An Angel Shes Not (Paul MacDonell) finished third. Sue Marie Gangell trains the victorious Whosurboy filly for owner/breeder Kimberly Mark of Simcoe, Ont. Mea Lilley Mark is a two-time winner from 21 career starts and she has earned $39,368. Driver Chris Christoforou scored a pair of off-the-pace wins, guiding Dana Dearest to a 1:53 triumph in the first Grassroots test and then overcoming post 10 to get a 1:54.4 tally with Shadows Wonder in the fourth split. Dana Dearest, a daughter of Jeremes Jet, was making her first start in the Casie Coleman stable for owner/breeder Charalambos Christoforou of Campbellville, Ont. Dana Dearest was winless in four starts last year, but she’s turned it around in her sophomore campaign, going five-for-nine. She has a career bankroll of $48,148. Trainer Dr. Ian Moore of Guelph, Ont. also bred and co-owns Shadows Wonder, a filly by Shadow Play, with partners R G McGroup Ltd. of Bathurst, N.B. and Hockey Hall of Famer Serge Savard of Saint-Bruno, Que. Shadows Wonder, who won last year’s Grassroots Championship for two-year-old pacing fillies and this year’s Kin Pace at Clinton Raceway, picked up her sixth career win and she has now put away $107,020. Murrayfield (James MacDonald) and Badlyinclined (Jack Moiseyev) were the other winners, and both of them stopped the clock in 1:53. Murrayfield, who was positioned eighth at the half and sixth at three-quarters, rallied through the lane and got up in the final stride to nail leader Alibi Seelster (MacDonell) to win by a neck while Badlyinclined led through panels of :27, :55.3, and 1:24 on her way to a half-length decision over Nefertiti Bluechip (Jody Jamieson). Ben Wallace trains Murrayfield, a Jeremes Jet filly, for owner Holland Racing Stable of Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ont. She has seven wins from 15 career tries and she has now pocketed $78,964. John Kopas handles the training of Badlyinclined, a daughter of Badlands Hanover, for co-owner/breeder Big Als Stables Inc. of Woodbridge, Ont., Glengate Farms of Campbellville, Ont., and LLK Stable of Mississauga, Ont. She has won four times from 19 attempts in her racing career and she has banked $98,994. Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series action for three-year-old pacing fillies will take place next on August 3 at Clinton Raceway. From the Ontario Sire Stakes
Elora, ON --- A total of seven $16,740 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series divisions for 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers were featured on Monday night (July 21) at Grand River Raceway and they saved the fastest split for last as Single White Sock toured the half-mile oval in 1:56. With Scott Coulter at the lines, Single White Sock was in front through fractions of :27.4, :58, and 1:27.3. Single White Sock turned away a big three-wide bid by Twin B Scandal (Joe Hudon) past three-quarters, and he then kicked clear in the lane to prevail by 2-1/4 lengths. Twin B Scandal wound up second with Pan Street USA (Bob McClure) back in third. It was the second win in three starts for Single White Sock, a Badlands Hanovercolt trained by Barry Treen for owner Len Gamble. Tanya Prescott bred Single White Sock, who was purchased for $24,000 at the 2013 Canadian Yearling Sale. Single White Sock, an earner of $17,281, is the fifth foal out of the Apaches Fame mare Love You Dear, making him a half-brother to millionaire and former Ontario Sires Stakes winner Ramegade Bruiser. Camluck, the long-time stalwart sire of the Ontario Sires Stakes program, had a pair of winners with Big Moment winning the second division in 1:56.1 with Alfie Carroll handling the driving assignment and Mike's Powerhouse picking up a 1:56.4 victory in the third section for driver Trevor Henry. Big Moment broke his maiden in his second attempt for trainer Bob McIntosh, who also bred the colt with CSX Stables. McIntosh and partner Max Newham own Big Moment, the fourth foal out of the No Pan Intended mare Breathtacular. Breathtacular is related to two six-figure earners in Breathdefying and Lucky Encounter. Mike's Powerhouse, who is out of the Artsplace mare Michelle's Jackpot, making him a full brother to the likes of 2012 Little Brown Jug champion and millionaire Michael's Power and millionaire Michelle's Power, is trained by Casie Coleman for owner-breeder Jeff Snyder. Mike's Powerhouse was victorious at first asking after finishing fourth and first in two qualifiers at Mohawk Racetrack. Coleman was right back in the winner’s circle in the next race after Mike's Powerhouse’s victory as her Sportskeeper (Jody Jamieson) romped to a an 8-1/4 length decision in 1:56.3. Coleman also bred and co-owns Sportskeeper, a Sportswriter colt, with partner Merlin Howse. Sportskeeper, who was also making the initial start of his racing career, is the third foal out of the Nuclear Flash mare Keeper Flying, which means Sportskeeper is a half-brother to former Ontario Sires Stakes competitor Keepers Destiny (Intrepid Seelster, $702,855). Sportswriter had another siring credit with Half A Billion, who was a 1:57.3 victor in the sixth Grassroots flight. Mike Saftic drove the colt for trainer Marcel Barrieau. Half A Billion is a homebred for the Hudson Standardbred Stable and he is a perfect two-for-two in his career and in Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series competition. Half A Billion, the fifth foal out of the Western Hanover mare Racey Miss, is a half-brother to multiple OSS winner Racey Miss ($214,571) and Petite Courageuse ($195,733). Also picking up victories were: Bridge Of Stone, a Stonebridge Regal-Dreamlands Sachi (Western Hanover) gelding, who halted the clock in 1:57.3 for driver Scott Coulter, trainer Carmen Auciello, and owners Denarben Stables and Rocco Auciello. He has won both of his Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series tries The Fire Within, a gelding by Whosurboy and out of the Big Towner mare Mollie Hanover. The half-brother to Illusionist ($893,246) picked up his second win from three attempts for driver Jody Jamieson and breeder/owner/trainer Fred Drouillard. The next time the 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers of the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series will be in action is August 15 at Mohawk Racetrack. For full results of Monday’s night’s events, click here. From the Ontario Sire Stakes
O’Brien Award-winning trainer Richard Moreau enjoyed a profitable Monday evening at Grand River Raceway thanks to a three-win performance on the 11-race card. Moreau, a native of Quebec who now resides in Puslinch, Ontario, got the ball rolling in Race 3 with Inbox Hanover. The filly went wire-to-wire for driver Trevor Henry in a time of 1:58.4. Scott Coulter then guided Galarina to a come-from-behind score in Race 7 in a sharp clocking of 1:56.4 to give Moreau his second winner on the program. He then completed the hat trick when Tail R Swift powered to a 1:54.3 triumph two races later in the $7,000 Fillies & Mares Preferred 3. Trevor Henry mapped out the winning trip for the daughter of Whosurboy. To view the rest of this story click here.
Ed Mullinax probably would be happy if UF Rockin Dragon turns out to be a little bit like his mother. A longtime harness racehorse owner, Mullinax campaigned UF Rockin Dragon's dam, Up Front Dragonfly, and saw her win 28 races and earn $579,718 despite sitting out her 2-year-old season. She was lightly staked, with her most lucrative victory coming in the $100,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship in 2005. Otherwise, her wins came in the opens and upper level conditioned classes. "She was probably the best mare I ever had," Mullinax said. "My trainer didn't think much of her as a 2-year-old, so she wasn't eligible to a whole lot. She made her money the hard way." Less than three weeks after Up Front Dragonfly won the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final, Mullinax watched P-Forty-Seven capture the $569,032 Little Brown Jug. Mullinax co-owned P-Forty-Seven, who defeated a field that included eventual Horse of the Year winner Rocknroll Hanover. "That was one of the best years I ever had," Mullinax said. "It was quite an adventure." Rocknroll Hanover, incidentally, is the father of UF Rockin Dragon, who faces eight rivals in Saturday's $30,000 Bobby Weiss Series final for 3- and 4-year-old male pacers at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. UF Rockin Dragon, who won two of four starts in the series and never finished off the board, drew post No. 1 for the final. He will be driven by Mark MacDonald for trainer Mark Ford. Getitoffyourchest, who has three wins in the series, drew post seven and two-time Weiss winner Somewhere With You got post six. A 4-year-old gelding, UF Rockin Dragon has won three of 11 races and $32,425 this season. Hampered previously by multiple ankle issues, he won just one of 17 starts combined at ages 2 and 3. Mullinax purchased UF Rockin Dragon under the name Uriel Hanover for $65,000. He is a half-brother to Uffizi Hanover, who won last season's Breeders Crown for 2-year-old filly pacers. Uffizi Hanover, in the stable of trainer Jimmy Takter, sold for $100,000. "I was interested in her, but the price got me out," Mullinax said. UF Rockin Dragon won his first start in the Weiss Series in a lifetime-best 1:51.3, followed by a second and third. Last week, he won again, overcoming traffic trouble heading into the final turn when the horse he was following went off stride, to score in 1:51.4. For his career, UF Rockin Dragon has won three of 11 races at Pocono Downs and finished off the board only three times. "It's still a dream of mine that this horse is going to be a real good one," said the 81-year-old Mullinax, whose list of standout horses also includes million-dollar-earners Dragon Again and Whosurboy. "He's a pretty exciting horse. In some of his early races, he would have a quarter (mile) that was really good, but he's going to have to do a little better going four quarters instead of just one big one. I've got a lot of hope. We'll find out." by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
CAMPBELLVILLE, ON — The three-year-old pacing fillies were upset minded at Mohawk Racetrack on Monday evening, as only one favourite emerged victorious from four Grassroots divisions. Upfrontwhosurlady was the only top choice to get the job done, rolling home to a three and three-quarter length victory over Lyonssweetie and Hippie Chic. The 1:51.2 clocking — engineered by Moffat resident Jody Jamieson — matched the Whosurboy daughter’s personal best. Hillsburgh resident Jeff Gillis trains Upfrontwhosurlady for Up Front Racing LLC of Amherst, OH. Monday’s appearance was the filly’s first of the season in the Grassroots program, coming after four Gold Series starts. Driver Scott Zeron of Oakville captured the next two Grassroots divisions, guiding lightly rated Raise Your Glass to a hard closing nose victory over Senorita Santanna and favourite Western Empress in the fifth race, and third choice Betit To Getit to a front end score over division leader Mattys Big Day and Godiva Seelster in the seventh. Raise Your Glass stopped the Mohawk teletimer at 1:52 for her first win of the season. Howell, NJ resident Anthony Monica conditions the homebred daughter of Santanna Blue Chip for his partner Michael Timpano of Phelpston. Betit To Getit also hit the wire in 1:52, but the win was the filly’s second straight and third this season in Grassroots action. Milton resident Ben Wallace trains the No Pan Intended daughter — who wrapped up the regular season in second spot in the point standings — for Holland Racing Stable of Aurora. The final Grassroots division was captured by Cambridge reinsman Billy Davis Jr. and Burlesque, who reeled in pacesetter and favourite Windsong Jacoba in the stretch. Miss Machqueen rounded out the top three in the 1:51.4 mile. The win was the first of the season for Mach Three daughter Burlesque, who is trained by Carmen Auciello for Wheelhouse Racing Stable of Mississauga. Added to the second, third and sixth Burlesque posted in her first three Grassroots appearances, Monday’s win was just enough to squeak the filly into the Sept. 21 Grassroots Championship, which features the top 10 point earners from the six regular season events. Ontario Sires Stakes excitement continues at Mohawk Racetrack this week on Thursday and Friday, with the first races getting under way at 7:25 pm. For complete results For up to date point standings, race replays, and more Sandra Snyder
ELORA, ON - Trainer Jeff Gillis will harness one sophomore pacing filly in each of the $70,000 Gold Series divisions at Grand River Raceway on Monday, Aug. 26. First off the gate for Team Gillis will be Seaside Rory, and the Hillsburgh resident and his partners will be hoping the filly can reprise the winning effort she mounted in the Mid-Summer Consolation at Mohawk Racetrack on Aug. 10. With regular reinsman Jody Jamieson at the helm, Seaside Rory sprinted home in the Consolation to record a one and three-quarter length victory in a personal best 1:51. The Mach Three daughter will line up at Post 3 in the first Gold division on Monday, aiming for the sixth win of her career. Gillis, Mac Nichol of Burlington, M And L Of Delaware LLC of Wilmington, DE and Ellen Ott of Buffalo, NY share ownership on the winner of $81,608. Stablemate Bad Feeling gets the toughest draw of the evening, landing in the same heat as division leader Pan Luis Obispo, who will start from Post 6. Bad Feeling finished fifth in the Mid-Summer Consolation and will be hoping to improve on that result from Post 1 in Monday's seventh race. Gillis owns the Badlands Hanover daughter and has sent her out 20 times this season, netting four wins, two seconds, three thirds and earnings of $39,470. Upfrontwhosurlady rounds out the Gillis contingent, starting from Post 7 in the tenth race. The Whosurboy daughter was fourth in the Aug. 10 Consolation for owners Up Front Racing LLC of Amherst, OH and has a third and a sixth to her credit through the first two legs of the Gold Series season. Post time for Grand River Raceway's Monday evening program is 7:05 pm and the three-year-old pacing fillies will wage their Gold Series battles in Races 4, 7, 10. For complete entries For up to date point standings, race replays, and more Sandra Snyder
New York harness racing trainer Mark Ford is determined to improve on a year which he termed average - despite grossing more than $4.3 million in 2012. 'We had just an average year. There were lots of nagging little problems and sickness that cost us a lot of aggravation, but we were still fortunate to win the amount of money we did, so I guess it could have been a lot worse,' Ford told Harnesslink.