Day At The Track

Coleman & Budd hoping six is the lucky number

08:07 AM 17 Sep 2015 NZST
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Southwind Indy, harness racing
Southwind Indy, with Chris Christoforou in the race bike, wins the first of three regular season Grassroots events.
Miller Photo

Southwind Indy finished the Grassroots regular season atop the division standings and trainer Casie Coleman says everything looks positive for the three-year-old pacing gelding's bid for a top five finish in Friday's Semi-Final at Mohawk Raceway.

"I like the way the draw come out; he's in the middle of the gate. The six-hole is like my favourite hole at Mohawk/Woodbine," said Coleman. "He drew good, and he trained real good this week, and everything seems good, so we'll hope for the best that he can get into the final."

Southwind Indy will line up at Post 6 in the second sophomore pacing colt Semi-Final at Mohawk Racetrack on Friday, taking on a field of nine challengers also hoping to extend their Ontario Sires Stakes season through the Sept. 26 Grassroots Championship.

A son of Sportswriter and Its Only Rocknroll, Southwind Indy earned top spot in the division standings with three wins, one second and one third in five Grassroots starts. The gelding heads into Friday's test off back-to-back Grassroots wins - at Mohawk on Aug. 21 and Grand River Raceway on Sept. 2 - and recorded a personal best 1:51.3 in the Mohawk event.

"I've been real happy with him each week lately, so we'll hope he keeps getting a little better each time," said Cambridge, ON resident Coleman. "Every time I put him behind the gate he just impresses me a little more, so if he keeps doing that I'll be pretty happy."

At two Southwind Indy was a two-time Gold Leg winner, but after testing the Gold Series waters in the season opener Coleman and her partners West Wins Stable of Cambridge, Steve Calhoun of Chatham, ON and breeders Southwind Farms LLC of Pennington, NJ decided the Grassroots program was the best choice for the gelding's sophomore campaign.

Milton, ON resident Steve Condren will pilot Southwind Indy in Friday's eighth race, looking to extend the gelding's win streak to three. The first $20,000 pacing colt Semi-Final goes postward as Race 7.

Trainer Bill Budd was also pleased to land Post 6 with sophomore trotting filly Meadow Seelster, who makes her bid for a top five finish in the third race.

"That's the best post there for her. She can follow the car, she can get spotted," said the Waterdown, ON resident. "She's a nice filly, a real nice filly."

Like Southwind Indy, Meadow Seelster made one start at the Gold Series level, finishing sixth in the June 18 season opener at Mohawk before moving into the Grassroots program. In three Grassroots starts the daughter of Holiday Road and Must Sold Dream scored two wins and one third, ranking her ninth among the three-year-old trotting fillies.

Meadow Seelster heads into Friday's Semi-Final off a 1:56.2 win in the Aug. 25 Grassroots event at Mohawk. Following that effort, the filly's fourth win of the campaign, Budd opted to give her a week off rather than head to the regular season finale at Hanover Raceway on Sept. 5.

"I gave her a week off and then I took her over and schooled her there (Mohawk) Friday; ready to go," said Budd, who trains the filly for Bill Dixon of Caledon, ON. "She's a good filly. She does everything you know, she's a trier."

While Budd is hopeful that the winner of $102,135 delivers a top five effort in Friday's Semi-Final, the trainer is also looking forward to the end of the Ontario Sires Stakes season. Once her Grassroots career wraps up, Budd plans to remove a piece of equipment that has been a critical part of Meadow Seelster's attire since last August.

"I'm actually going to take the trotting hopples off her," he explained. "I schooled her in 1:55 over there the other day without them. We're going to try her anyway. Probably give her a week off after the stakes and then qualify her without the hopples.

"She used to be pretty rammy, she was tough," he added. "She'd push the gate out and then just couldn't handle it you know, the trotting hopples kept her together."

Regular reinsman Sylvain Filion of Milton, ON will guide Meadow Seelster from Post 6 in the first $20,000 trotting filly Semi-Final on Friday. The second trotting filly Semi-Final is slated as Race 9.

The three-year-old trotting colts kick off the Grassroots Semi-Final action in Race 1, and are also featured in Race 6. The three-year-old pacing fillies wage their Semi-Final battles in Races 5 and 11. Post time for Mohawk Racetrack's Friday evening program is 7:25 pm.

From the Ontario Sire Stakes


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