Day At The Track

Fillies wrap up regular season at Hanover

10:08 AM 06 Sep 2020 NZST
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HANOVER, ON - SEPT. 5, 2020 - Hanover Raceway wrapped up its 2020 Ontario Sires Stakes season on Saturday, Sept. 5, hosting a quartet of $22,000 Grassroots divisions for the three-year-old pacing fillies.

Queso Relleno and driver Jody Jamieson kicked off the stakes action in the second race, controlling the tempo from Post 1 on their way to a five length victory in 1:56.1. Coqui Coqui finished second and Docs Harmony was third.

"I was very happy with her. She's started to come back to being what we thought we had at the beginning of the year," said trainer Blake MacIntosh. "She had a rough start to the year and then she got a rock in the eye and we were really scared that she was going to have to lose the eye. It's a little cloudy, but it's pretty good now. We're really happy with the way she's bounced back the last couple weeks."

St. George resident MacIntosh shares ownership of Queso Relleno with Sue Vernon Smith of Oakville, The Flanagan Sisters of Brantford, ON and Hutt Racing Stable of Malvern, PA. Saturday's win was the Betterthancheddar daughter's first of the season in the Grassroots program and her second overall. With a second and a fourth in her other two Grassroots starts, the 2019 division champion will wrap up the regular season with 83 points, putting her in a tie for seventh in the standings and securing a berth in the Oct. 2 Semi-Final at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

"She won it last year as a two-year-old, so we're hoping that she can repeat as a three-year-old," said MacIntosh of the upcoming post season. "There's a couple really nice horses that skipped today that will be tough in there, but we're hopeful that she just keeps getting better."

The other three divisions saw Landry Seelster, Free Flyin Ticket and Mach My Kiss deliver front-end efforts to score their third Grassroots wins and cement their position at the top of the standings.

Robert Shepherd piloted Landry Seelster to a one and one-half length victory over Need Ur Opinion and favourite Keystone Kalimba in the second division, stopping the Hanover Raceway teletimer at 1:56.1.

"She was really good. She was strong," said Shepherd. "She got it her own way kind of on the front, but she's really good on the half, she can pace the turns so good."

Shepherd crafted the win for trainer Michael Ellis and owner Kim Lezanchuk of Brantford, ON. With three wins and two thirds in her five Grassroots starts, Mach Three daughter Landry Seelster heads into the Semi-Final sitting second in the standings with 174 points.

Free Flyin Ticket hit the wire three-quarters of a length in front of fan favourite Mary Kay to record her 1:56.3 victory in the third $22,100 division. Saulsbrook Raven was another length back in third.

"She's been racing poor her last couple of starts so we decided we'd try to wake her up a little bit and change her bridle, and we threw a set of blinkers on her today," said trainer Anthony Beaton, who handed the newly-equipped filly over to driver Sylvain Filion to steer from Post 6. "It looked like Sylvain had a bit of a handful with her there at the quarter pole when they got there, and he made the move, and it was a big move that he made there in the turn to clear the front, and then she ended up being good enough to get there."

Waterdown resident Beaton shares ownership of the Betterthancheddar daughter with Gary Volpe of St. Thomas, George Quartarone of Claremont, ON and David Mercer of Sydney, NS. With three wins and one eighth in Grassroots action, Free Flyin Ticket heads into the post season ranked fourth with 151 points.

Doug McNair and Mach My Kiss captured the last Grassroots division, holding off Trafalgar for a one-half length win in 1:57.2. Tuggingoncredit rounded out the top three.

"She got the job done, but she's better on the bigger track," said McNair, who piloted the Mach Three daughter to the win for trainer Rob Fellows and owners Yolanda Fellows of Rockwood, ON and Erna Corbeil of Beaumont, AB.

With three wins and one second for a total of 175 Grassroots points, Mach My Kiss will lead the sophomore pacing fillies into the post season, where her connections are hoping she can reprise her Semi-Final winning effort from the two-year-old campaign.

"There are a bunch of nice fillies in it, but she ranks up there with them," said McNair, who engineered Mach My Kiss's 2019 Semi-Final victory.

The top 20 point earners will compete in the Oct. 2 Semi-Finals, with the top five finishers from each Semi-Final advancing to the $75,000 Grassroots Championship at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Oct. 10.

Complete results from Saturday's program are available at Hanover Raceway Results. Grassroots point standings can be found on the Ontario Sires Stakes Leaderboard.

From the Ontario Sire Stakes

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