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CHESTER, PA - Both the 2020 Dan Patch awardwinner in the two-year-old trotting filly category, Anoka Hanover, and the O'Brien awardwinner in that division, Donna Soprano, were successful in qualifying races at Harrah's Philadelphia on Tuesday morning, as was the O'Brien winner for two-year-old pacing fillies, Scarlett Hanover. Anoka Hanover, a Donato Hanover filly who was also successful in a Philly qualifier last week, won Tuesday in 1:56.1, coming her own back fractions in :56 - :27.4. A winner in 10-of-14 at two, including the Goldsmith Maid, Kindergarten Final, and both Lexington Grand Circuit stakes, Anoka Hanover was driven by Todd McCarthy for trainer Noel Daley, the latter co-owner with Caviart Farms, Crawford Farms Racing, and L. A. Express Stable LLC. Donna Soprano, also a daughter of Donato Hanover, was successful in her morning session in 1:56.4, her back numbers :57.4 - :28.4 for driver Bob McClure, trainer Luc Blais and owner Determination. Donna Soprano won five of seven as a freshman, trotted in 1:53.3 over the big track in Ontario, and was second to the fast colt Venerate in the Mohawk Million. The O'Brien winner among last season's freshman pacing fillies, Scarlett Hanover, also had a successful Tuesday at the riverside oval, triumphing in 1:52.4, last quarter :27.3, for driver David Miller, trainer Ron Burke, and the ownership of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Frank Baldachino, and J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby. The Bettor's Delight miss won her Ontario Super Final and was 2-3 in the Breeders Crown. Fastest qualifier of the day came from the Betting Line three-year-old pacing filly Darby Hanover, who rallied off a fast pace to stop the timer in 1:52.1 for driver Andy Miller, trainer/wife Julie Miller, and the partnership of Andy Miller Stable Inc., Mr. Caroll Huffman, and Let It Ride Stables Inc. Darby Hanover had wins in the Simpson and Keystone Classic stakes last year, and she took three legs of the PA Stallion Series before finishing second in the final. For full race results, click here. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - With the COVID-19 shutdown crippling racing in Ontario, there will be many horses and horsemen from that Canadian province racing in America over the next month or so, as live harness racing action may not return to Woodbine at Mohawk Park and other tracks in the region until early June. One of the new names that will be seen in the program at The Meadowlands will be Bob McClure's, the 30-year-old driver who guided Forbidden Trade to Hambletonian glory in 2019 for trainer Luc Blais and owner Serge Godin's Determination Stable. Those connections might have another big-time Hambletonian contender on their hands this August 7 as Mycrownmykingdom, a 3-year-old son of Muscle Hill - Beehive, looked ultra-impressive in thoroughly dominating a field of sophomore colts and geldings Friday night at The Meadowlands in his seasonal debut. Mycrownmykingdom recorded his first career victory in just his third lifetime start by cutting out fractions of :28.3 to the quarter and :58.3 to the half. He encountered a challenge from Swan Hill at three-quarters (1:28) but easily put that one away off the far turn before trotting an electric final quarter of :27.2 to stop the clock in 1:55.2. It was six lengths back to Ritson in second. Ethics was third. MYCROWNMYKINGDOM REPLAY   A full brother to Bee A Magician, who won all 17 of her starts on the way to being named 2013 Horse of the Year, Mycrownmykingdom returned $6.80 to win as the 2-1 favorite. "I was going to go wherever they went," said McClure of Determination's decision to race some of their stock at The Meadowlands and surrounding tracks. "They are great to drive for." "He had a lot of ability at 2," said McClure of Mycrownmykingdom. "But he was underdeveloped. They were patient with him and it looks like he is going to pay them back for it." TWO FOR ONTARIO: Doug McNair, another standout Ontario regular who, like McClure, will be seen at The Big M over the next few weeks, also visited the winner's circle after guiding 10-1 shot Rock N Blue to his first win of the year from nine starts. A LITTLE MORE: The sixth race on the card attracted the largest total pool for a single dash in 2021, as $403,494 was pushed through the windows, $124,413 of that on the 50-cent Pick-4. ... All-source wagering totaled $3,196,485, the seventh consecutive program where betting busted the $3-million barrier. ... Chalk players were loving life as nine consecutive post-time choices scored beginning in race three. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 6:20 p.m. For full race results, click here. by Dave Little, for The Meadowlands  

THE CANADIAN PRESS reports that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced Canadian harness racing driver Bob McClure to become a road warrior. The Rockwood, Ont., resident left Friday for The Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J., where he'll race for the immediate future.   The Rockwood, Ont., resident left Friday for The Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J., where he'll race for the immediate future. McClure, 31, was forced to head south when a major farm he drives for (Quebec's Determination Stable) moved its horses from Woodbine Mohawk Park in Campbellville, Ont., to the U.S. after racing was put on hold last week with the Ontario government's four-week provincial shutdown. "My top stable went down and asked me to go so I'm just following them," McClure said. "I have to leave my wife and five-year-old son and I don't want to. I'd prefer to race at home. "Obviously with going back and forth you don't know what you're going to get as far as quarantine exemptions. And at the same time you don't want to have something happen and bring it home." But McClure said there will be something good to come from the situation. "I'll be vaccinated with my first shot of Moderna, within five hours of entering the U.S.," he said. "But I think that (travelling between Ontario and New Jersey) is going to be a regular thing for the next month or so." McClure was Canada's top driver in 2020 after surpassing $7 million in earnings. In 2019, he won the US$1-million Hambletonian with Determination Stables trotter Forbidden Trade, a 15-1 long shot. While McClure is the lone Mohawk driver to head south, several trainers — including Mark Steacy, Blake MacIntosh and Anthony McDonald — have followed suit. The shutdown forced Woodbine Entertainment to postpone the start of the '21 thoroughbred card Saturday at Toronto's Woodbine Racetrack. While having to commute is hardly ideal, McClure understands Determination Stables' decision. "It wasn't an option to just shut down because they have grand circuit horses that are going to compete with the American-breds all summer . . . and you can't just let the American horses get a month head start," McClure said. "They have to be race-ready and that takes racing. "These are not stock cars, you don't park them in the garage and they stop burning gas and oil. These need to be fed, trained and worked and one person can't do it. You need staff, you need everything. "(Determination Stable) is Canadian ... with many Canadian breds but they have to keep the business running. I've been fortunate the last few years but I don't know how the majority, and I'd say the majority, of the industry is going to fare through this." It's a fact not lost upon Woodbine Entertainment CEO Jim Lawson. "There's definitely going be damage," Lawson said. "What's different this time around is these guys are fed up and are leaving and they're not going to rush back here. "The difference is we're losing a significant number of horses that may not come back on the thoroughbred side and now we're losing people like Bob. The longer these people are gone, the longer they're going to stay away because they're going to settle in." Mark Casse, Woodbine's leading trainer, has 40 horses at the Toronto track. But with racing on hold, Casse has put plans for shipping another 60 northward on hold. And Kevin Attard, another of Woodbine's leading trainers, has said he might have to re-locate to the U.S. if racing doesn't begin shortly. "On the thoroughbred side, if we don't have Mark Casse for a season, if he pulls his horses we're in real trouble," Lawson said. "Woodbine is not a profitable business, we need the wagering money just to pay our operating costs . . . and if we don't have the wagering money, it's going to do damage across the province. "I don't want to paint a bleak picture but this is a significant problem that needs to be addressed immediately. There's no question in my mind it's going to have a material impact upon the 2021 racing season and whether we can get the people back in 2022. I'd like to think we can but the economics are going to be lingering in terms of breeders and potentially people who'll set up elsewhere."  or The trouble is, Lawson said, horse people have no idea ifwhen they might be allowed to resume their livelihood. "All these people are looking for is if we can tell them we're starting May 6 when this shutdown order (expires)," Lawson said. "Now, I appreciate that with how this is spreading that we can't but I don't think it's a stretch to say if we go back to the colour zone when the stay-at-home order ends, we will allow live racing. "I talked to the province about two weeks ago and they said they were supportive but would like local health authorities onside. But it's pretty hard to get these health authorities to spend the time in the middle of this crisis to even look at it." Lawson commended Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city of Toronto's medical officer of health, for examining Woodbine's protocols. "She asked many questions and we got her comfortable that we were doing the right things," Lawson said. "But that's different from her saying you can race because that's not her jurisdiction." What frustrates McClure is people being allowed to golf while he and others, despite wearing masks and having protocols they must follow, can't drive a horse. "I love golf and I've been golfing so I'm not trying to be a hypocrite," he said. "But if four guys can line up by a tee box and hit balls on a course, there's no reason why we, fully masked and fully protected and following rules and isolated, can't racehorses." Woodbine Entertainment implemented temperature screening for everyone entering the paddock at Mohawk Park as part of its protocol, something McClure admits he disliked initially. "For a while, I actually felt its screening was borderline harassment," he said with a chuckle. "But then you saw where they were going with it, they did an amazing job and we didn't have a single outbreak. "I don't know if it's a lack of education on the government's part or they just have too much on their plate but I think if they took a serious look at this, it's something that makes no sense not to be open and running." McClure said stables moving their horses from Ontario isn't the only repercussion of the racing ban. "I think the big problem here is the first lockdown, horses were sent down to trainers then brought back," he said. "This time, there's no sending because many, many horses were just sold to the U.S., probably for less than they were worth but people just took what they could get and got out. "So it's not a situation where you can pull the horse back because it's gone and it's an American horse now. I know the thoroughbred side is in similar limbo . . . that's very concerning." From Dan Ralph, for The Canadian Press (reprinted with permission)

Brady Bunch led throughout the Wednesday, Mar. 31 harness racing Preferred 2 Trot at The Raceway at Western Fair and won fairly comfortably. Bob McClure procured the early lead for Brady Bunch, sending the gelding out best in a :28.2 opening panel. McClure gave the horse a handy breather to the half in :59.2. Odds-on favourite Veyron (J Bradley Harris) pursued the first-over path and hurried the leader going to three-quarters in 1:27.3. Brady Bunch had ample trot remaining in the stretch and won by a length and a half in 1:58. Veyron sustained his bid to take second, and Willyorwonthe (Colin Kelly) had to settle for third after being trapped on the rail. The winner paid $7.10. BRADY BUNCH REPLAY   Brady Bunch is now 9-for-30 lifetime with more than $210,000 earned. Jacques Dupont trains the five-year-old Muscle Mass gelding for Les Ecuries Dorleans Inc of Sainte-Julie, Mario Bourgea of Stanbridge East, Gestion C Levesque 2005 Inc of St-Hyacinthe, and Ecurie CSL of Sorel-Tracy. Coulter went on to take a triple on the evening. Also on the card, trainer Kenneth Mathieson took his first career win as Life Is Better scored in the fifth race. Scott Coulter drove the five-year-old Betterthancheddar stallion to a 1:57.4 victory. LIFE IS BETTER REPLAY   Mathieson, a resident of Hamilton, co-owns with Henry Banakiewicz of Jerseyville. Lawmen Reign (1:59.4) won the Seniors Pace at the hands of Ross Battin, giving the reinsman and trainer his first driving and conditioning win of the year. The Raceway at Western Fair will return on Thursday, Apr. 1 with 11 races starting at 5:50 p.m. EDT. The Saturday, Apr. 3 card will most likely be the track's last for at least four weeks, as the province of Ontario will enter a month-long lockdown on that date due to a rise in Covid-19 cases. This will also almost certainly result in the closure of all other Ontario racetracks. For full race results, click here. by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink

Somewhere North extended her harness racing win streak to four and completed her Blizzard Pacing Series campaign undefeated as she won the $40,400 final at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday, Mar. 26.   Driver Bob McClure urged her off the car to take the lead into the first bend. She settled there and set fractions of 28.1, 56.3, and 1:25.2 against little opposition. First-up Filter Hanover (Jody Jamieson) and Big Myrtle (Louis-Philippe Roy) took their best shots at the head of the lane, but the race was over at the seven-eighths.   Somewhere North increased her cushion throughout the stretch and cruised to a three-and-one-quarter-length 1:54.1 stakes victory. Patricia Mae (Jonathan Drury) passed foes late for second, and Filter Hanover held on for show after a tiring trip.   SOMEWHERE NORTH REPLAY     Somewhere North continued her superb four-year-old season, making her 2021 record four-from-five and her career tally eight-from-10. The Meg Crone-trained daughter of Somebeachsomewhere has earned just shy of $75,000 for owner and breeder Pinske Stables of Plato.   In the Snowshoe Pacing Series final, Bettors Donttell rebounded after a second-leg loss to win the $40,600 conclusion.   He made the lead going to the quarter in 27.2 for driver Mike Saftic, but rival Major Makover (Louis-Philippe Roy) quickly became unsatisfied with the four-hole and brushed to the top. Major Makover showed the way to the half in 56.4 and three-quarters in 1:25.4 as Modern Rock provided pressure from first-over and Bettors Donttell sat patiently in the pocket.   The persistent Modern Rock, who was outside for more than half of the mile, kept Bettors Donttell trapped on the rail for much of the stretch drive. The former conceded around the eighth pole, allowing Saftic a sliver of daylight which he quickly pounced upon.   With newfound room, Bettors Donttell unleashed his remaining pace and dispatched Major Makover to win by three quarters of a length in 1:55.2. Dragon Roars Again (Chris Christoforou) flew from the backfield to nab second, and Hes Swift (Sylvain Filion) landed the show spot with a similar late move. The winner paid $9.20.   BETTORS DONTTELL REPLAY     Bettors Donttell is now four-for-12 lifetime with more than $50,000 in earnings. Jean Guy Belliveau trains the sophomore Bettors Delight gelding for owner and breeder Troy Mark of Simcoe. The horse won the first leg and finished third in the second.   So Much More, the 2020 Older Pacing Mare O'Brien Award winner, reasserted herself top distaffer on the Canadian circuit as she took the $30,000 Mares' Preferred on the card after losing four to start the year. Driver James MacDonald positioned her well back in fourth from an early pace duel that created a 26.4 opening quarter. Major League N (Ed Hensley) acquired front-end control prior to the half in 55.4.   So Much More, the 3/5 favourite, took the first-over plunge and advanced to second going by three-quarters in 1:23.4. She got by the leader with relative ease, kicked away to a three-length advantage, and survived a late rush from fellow Down Under-bred Major Occasion A (Bob McClure) to win by three quarters of a length in 1:52.2.   SO MUCH MORE REPLAY     Major Occasion A went from last to second, and Ivana Flybye (Jamieson) was third.   So Much More's win was her first of the year and 32nd lifetime from 69 starts. She has raked in more than $580,000. Don Beatson of Granton co-owns and trains the five-year-old Big Jim mare for partners Ken Beatson of Palgrave and Cole England of Exeter.   Woodbine Mohawk Park will return on Saturday, Mar. 27 to host 11 races kicking off at 7 p.m. EDT.   For full race results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink

MILTON, March 22, 2021 - Better late than never, Woodbine Mohawk Park played host to the Wine & Roses and Family Day Trotting Series finals on Monday night. Originally scheduled for February 15, the winter series were pushed back to March due to the province-wide lockdown. Both finals featured a pair of preliminary legs ahead of Monday's added money finals. Sheswildnfree rebounded from a miscue in leg two to score a decisive 4¼ length victory in the $34,400 Wine & Roses Trotting Series final. Sylvain Filion guided the Ben Baillargeon trained four-year-old to the 1:54.2 score. Sent off as the 2/5 favourite, Sheswildnfree flashed early speed along with next door rival Impulse Buy, clearing to command just after a :27.3 opening-quarter. The Baillargeon trainee put the race to bed from there, posting middle-half splits of :57.1 and 1:25.4 before scooting away in the lane for her fourth win in five starts this season. Impulse Buy never relinquished second, while Charlotte Chaplin edged Hp Starlette for third.   SHESWILDNFREE REPLAY     A homebred for Tom & Elizabeth Rankin, Sheswildnfree is a daughter of Muscle Mass with now six wins and $77,158 to her name. The clocking of 1:54.2 is a new career-best. Sheswildnfree returned $2.90 to win. Rjs Invictus capitalized off a perfect second-over steer from driver Bob McClure to win the $35,800 Family Day Trotting Series final at odds of 8-1. The Ray Lowery trainee finished sixth in the first leg and second in last week's second leg. After an early scramble for the top, Franks Angel led the field through middle-half panels of :57.1 and 1:25.4. Meadowbranch Noble came first-up to attack the leader and was on even-terms at the third-marker, while Rjs Invictus and McClure were latched onto that cover ready to pounce. Rjs Invictus claimed the lead with an eighth of a mile to go, but had to fight off a hard-closing Toccoa Falls, who was the 2-1 favourite and closing from seventh turning for home. Rjs Invictus held off the rival by a neck to win in a career-best 1:54.1. Charmbo Prince, who was looking for the series sweep, started from the second-tier and grabbed third after racing sixth throughout. Meadowbranch Noble settled for fourth.   RJS INVICTUS REPLAY     A four-year-old gelding, Rjs Invictus was winless in three starts this season prior to Monday evening. The son of Windsong Espoir now has three wins and $50,899 in career earnings for owner/breeder Russell Lowery. A $2 win ticket on Rjs Invictus returned $19.20. The Wine & Roses and Family Day were open to three and four-year-old trotters, non-winners of $60,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2020. Winter series final action continues later this week with the $40,600 Snowshoe and $40,400 Blizzard finals scheduled for Friday (March 26). by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications

Harness racing driver Bob McClure won both divisions of the Blizzard Pacing Series second leg at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Thursday, Mar. 18.   In the opening division, McClure and Ruby On Rails picked up where they left off in the first leg, coming from seventh to score.   Ruby On Rails laid off the starting gate and found a spot in seventh at the pylons into the first turn. Big Myrtle (Louis-Philippe Roy) drove on to grab the top spot going to the quarter in 27. The lead changed two more times down the backstretch with Filter Hanover (James MacDonald) making a long journey to the top, only to be followed and overtaken by State Of Mind (Sylvain Fillion) before the half in 56.3.   Ruby On Rails took the first-over plunge, shifting to the outside and blowing by foes going to three-quarters in 1:26.4. McClure opened up a big cushion in the stretch, and that would be enough to seal the victory the three quarters of a length in 1:55.1. Filter Hanover uncorked a late move, but it was rewarded only with place money. Big Myrtle re-rallied after the earlier shuffle to take third. The winner paid $4.40.   RUBY ON RAILS REPLAY     Millar Farms of Stouffville owns and bred the four-year-old Bettors Delight mare. She has now made more than $40,000 lifetime and won four races from 17 starts for the barn. Nick Gallucci trains.   Somewhere North extended her win streak to three with a win in the second division of the Blizzard.   McClure angled the four-year-old into the pocket early, following Laila Blue through the 28 first quarter. Somewhere North then acquired the lead going to the half in 58.3 and professionally put the race away from there. She set a 1:27.4 three-quarter time and required little reminder from McClure to pace home strongly.   Somewhere North won by a length and three quarters in 1:55.1 under wraps; she paid $2.80 to win. Laila Blue stayed on to take second, and Larjon Leah was third.   SOMEWHERE NORTH REPLAY     Somewhere North has won all of her past three and is a perfect six-for-six at Mohawk Park. Overall, the Somebeachsomewhere mare is 7-for-9 with more than $50,000 in earnings for Pinske Stables of Plato, which also bred the horse. Meg Crone conditioned her to victory on Mar. 18.   Also on the card, Halliday Dream gave trainer Kyle Ruhl his first career training victory. The horse went wire-to-wire under the guidance of McClure, who was able cease urging early again.   HALLIDAY DREAM REPLAY     Ruhl was making just his fifth start lifetime and second of the year as he broke his conditioning maiden. Ruhl also owns the four-year-old trotting gelding by Angus Hall. Halliday Dream has now won two of his fifteen tries, and his earnings top $15,000.   McClure won one more race on the evening to complete a grand slam.   Dave Byron made his first winner's circle appearance as a trainer after Alexus Eh won the fourth race for him.   Woodbine Mohawk Park will host another 10 races on Friday, Mar. 19, beginning at 7:00 p.m. EST.   For full race results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink  

Great Britain import Teatimepreacher Gb scored her first harness racing win in Canada in Woodbine Mohawk Park's co-featured condition pace event on Friday, Mar. 5.   The seven-year-old went right to the motor for driver Bob McClure, setting a 27.2 first quarter. Team Kiwi N (Doug McNair) drove on and took the lead briefly going by three-eighths, but Teatimepreacher went right back around and cleared going to the half in 56. Kounnis (Sylvain Fillion) moved out of the three-hole and applied pressure going past the three-quarters in 1:25.1, but Teatimepreacher turned her away as they entered the stretch.   McClure needed only mild urging to get the daughter of The Preacher Man home as she cruised to a one-length win. Team Kiwi N consolidated second, and Nectar (Robert Shepherd) closed late for third.       Teatimepreacher took her 13th victory from 29 starts and surpassed $30,000 in earnings lifetime with the win. Colin Johnson has taken over training duties during the mare's Canadian campaign for owner Raymond Huschka of Penrith Cumbria, Great Britain. She went off as the heavy favourite and paid $3.20 to win.   Earlier in the card, Born A Dragon gained four positions in the last eighth of a mile to win the other co-feature pace.   Driver Travis Cullen dropped her into fourth from post five through the first turn as Major League N (Ed Hensley) controlled the pace early. Major League hit the quarter in 26.4 and half in 55.3. Meanwhile, Born A Dragon stepped around a gapping Majestic Virgin to move up to third. Major League led past three-quarters in a speedy 1:23.2 as the top five contenders separated themselves from the bottom three.   Born A Dragon, who was shuffled back to fifth in the third quarter, stalled upon first asking from Cullen. However, she exploded in the last 1/16th of a mile and got up with half a length to spare to win in 1:52.2. She broke the heart of place finisher Sly Elanor N (Chris Christoforou), who took over the lead just past the eighth pole but couldn't hold onto it. Bestseller Hanover (Louis-Philippe Roy) converted a pocket trip into show money.       Born A Dragon, a six-year-old mare by Custard The Dragon, took her first win of 2021 and her 17th lifetime from 74 starts. Cullen and Paul Sanders of Surrey own the Jodie Cullen-trained mare that has now earned more than $165,000.   Woodbine Mohawk Park will resume racing on Saturday, Mar. 6 with a 10-race card that kicks off at 7 p.m. EST.   For full race results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink

A week after he switched to the pace with meters to go, harness racing horse Its Academic dominated the $34,000 Preferred trot at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Monday, Mar. 1.   The four-year-old trotting stallion got away third, following Oney Hall and Perfetto through a 29.1 first quarter. Its Academic then went first-up on the backstretch and cleared just before the half in 58.1. Driver Doug McNair rated him well to a 1:27.1 third split and the pair cruised home with little asking from McNair.    Its Academic trotted home for a one-length victory in 1:55.2. Perfetto went a taxing first-over trip and stayed on for second. Zig Zag came from last at the half to get third. The winner paid $6.50 to win.       That was Its Academic's first win on the season in two starts for owner Brad Grant. The other outing seemed like a sure victory coming down the lane, but the son of Uncle Peter went from trot to pace just meters from the line, finished first, and was disqualified. The Richard Moreau trainee is now 14 for 25 lifetime with just shy of $475,000 earned.   Earlier in the card, 13-year-old Cool Rock broke a 56-race losing streak spanning more than two years in the $8,000 claiming class. The gelding by Rocknroll Hanover is approaching 300 lifetime starts and has already surpassed $600,000 in earnings. Bob McClure drove the iron horse to victory for trainer Joshua McKibbin and owner Michael Cecile of Windsor.       Mohawk's next scheduled race date is Thursday, Mar. 4.   For full race results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink

Wheels On Fire remained undefeated in his second harness racing start of 2021 in Woodbine Mohawk Park's $30,000 feature pace on Saturday, Feb. 27.   The six-year-old gelding got loose on the lead, leaving first from the eight-hole. Driver Bob McClure managed the fractions well, piloting his charge to splits of 27.2, 56.4, and 1:25. Points North came first up out of fifth to challenge, making it to within a half-length of the lead, but Wheels on Fire turned him away in the stretch.   Wheels On Fire then needed only to repel a late attack from 1/5 favourite So Much More, which he did. McClure sent his mount into a heavy drive in the lane, but he had the luxury of easing up near the wire as Wheels On Fire put away the final challenger to win by a length in a half in 1:52.3. So Much More held on for second, and East End closed late for show.       Richard Moreau trains Wheels on Fire for Brad Grant of Milton. The Somebeachsomewhere gelding has now won 24 races from 70 lifetime starts and earned more than $400,000.   Woodbine Mohawk Park will resume racing on Monday, Mar. 1 with a 10-race card that includes the Campbellville, Ontario oval's first Preferred event of the year.   For full race results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink

Postmodernism and Westbeach blew up the Woodbine Mohawk Park tote board on Friday, Feb. 26 with two late-closing upsets.   Postmodernism went from last to first in the ninth race at 25-1 in an eye-catching move rarely seen in harness racing. With it, she secured the last of three $20,000 feature races and a first victory for new owners.   Driver Bob McClure dropped back with her to eighth at the start and continued to sit near the back through fractions of 27.2, 57, and 1:26.2. The pair pulled fourth-over coming around the far turn as Free Flyin Ticket overtook Sunday Afternoon at the head of the field. McClure fully unleashed Postmodernism at the eighth pole, and she unfurled her metaphorical wings. The five-year-old mare flew home, passing eight horses in the stretch and getting by Sunday Afternoon in the last possible stride to win.       Postmodernism took her fourth lifetime victory from 28 starts and surpassed $50,000 in earnings with the Feb. 26 1:54.2 win. It was also the daughter of American Ideal's first win for trainer Jody McClure and 2729346 Ontario Inc. The mare paid $53.90 to win.   Six races earlier, 22-1 shot Westbeach converted a perfect trip into her first win of the season in the first of three co-features, passing the two favourites in the lane for a big upset.   Driver Sylvain Filion guided her into the pocket early, sitting behind Major League N through fractions of 27.2, 57.2, and 1:25.3. Swift Ally marched up to challenge first-over turning for home. The top two battled into the lane with drivers Ed Hensley and Doug McNair asking their mounts for more. Filion slid Westbeach out mid-stretch, but the five-year-old mare needed every meter of racetrack to get it done. She hit another gear in the final 1/16th and nailed Swift Ally by a head.       Swift Ally was game in second, as was Major League N, who finished third by half a length. The winner paid $47.40.   Westbeach took her first win since November 2020 in 1:52.3. The Sombeachsomewhere mare has now tallied eight wins from 50 starts and earned more than $110,000 lifetime for Lachance Racing Stable and Dragon Racing Inc. Her most recent win comes under the conditioning of trainer Richard Moreau.   Sheswildnfree jogged as expected in the second of the three co-features, scoring by two lenghts with the whip lightly used and the earplugs unpulled.   She tucked in third into the first turn at 1/5, but driver Filion quickly pulled the trigger and sent his mare to the top. She cleared Northern Sultan, who led to the quarter in 28.1 and who moved to the safety lane on the backstretch for an unknown reason. Meadowbranch Noble followed Sheswildnfree into the outside flow but took the pocket after Northern Sultan vacated the rail. Sheswildnfree set a 58.4 half and a 1:28.3 three-quarters with Archies Star providing mild pressure first-over. The leader kicked away with minimal urging from Filion, cruising home for a two-length victory and a new life's mark of 1:56.2.       She's now two-for-two in 2021 for trainer Benoit Baillargeon. The four-year-old mare by Muscle Mass has four wins and more than $50,000 lifetime against her name from 20 lifetime starts. She's owned and was bred by Thomas and Elizabeth Rankin of St. Catherines.   Mohawk is back in action on Saturday, Feb. 27 with a 10-race card.   For full race results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink

Standardbred Canada announced the winners of 2020 O’Brien Awards, which honour Canada’s best in harness racing over the past season, during a Virtual Gala videostreamed on on Sunday, January 31. Held virtually due to the provincial lockdown in Ontario, this year marked the 32nd edition of the O’Brien Awards, named in honour of the late Joe O’Brien, an outstanding horseman and member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Richard Moreau added a record eighth O’Brien trophy to his mantle in the Trainer of the Year Category after a season which saw him top the earnings and win charts for Canadian trainers. Based in Puslinch, Ont., Moreau is one of the country’s busiest trainers, sending postward 1,604 starters that made 237 trips to the winner’s circle and earned more than $3.6 million in purses. Bob McClure of Rockwood, Ont., won his first O’Brien trophy as Canada’s Driver of the Year following a career-best season for earnings. McClure was the country’s leading money winning driver and he also reached several major milestones last year -- eclipsing the $7 million mark in earnings, winning his first Breeders Crown Championship and capturing the Lampman Cup as the Ontario Sires Stakes’ leading driver. Some of the horses he regularly drove who contributed to his earnings milestone and 233 trips to the winner’s circle included divisional champions Donna Soprano, Lauras Love, Lawless Shadow and Tattoo Artist while sharing the driving duties aboard On A Streak. Kelly Hoerdt of Beaumont, Alta., won his second O’Brien Award of Horsemanship following a year that saw the Alberta-based trainer-driver condition 157 winners and horses to more than $877,000 in earnings, while driving 163 winners and horses to purse earnings in excess of $895,000. Scarlett Hanover was crowned champion in the Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly division following a stellar season which saw her post 11 top-three finishes from 14 starts and bank more than $449,000 in earnings. She won two Ontario Sires Stakes events including the OSS Super Final and also competed against Grand Circuit company, scoring a season’s best 1:51.3 victory in the Champlain Stakes while also winning an elimination of the Shes A Great Lady. Lawless Shadow was voted Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year after an ultra-consistent season that saw him hit the board in eight of nine races, including four victories, while earning more than $307,000. He scored two victories in Ontario Sires Stakes events, a win in the Nassagaweya, runner-up finishes in his Metro elimination and OSS Super Final and a third-place finish in the Metro Final. In the Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly division, Lauras Love took O’Brien honours. The Betterthancheddar filly was a model of consistency in 2020, scoring 16 top-three finishes, including eight victories from 20 races, and earning $331,000 for her connections. In addition to a victory in an Ontario Sires Stakes event, she scored multiple victories in overnight competition and also won a division of the Simcoe Stakes against Grand Circuit company. Tattoo Artist was voted Canada’s Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year. The son of Hes Watching was a winner of eight of 17 starts and more than $666,000 last season with victories in five Ontario Sires Stakes events and a division of the Simcoe Stakes. One of his biggest efforts was a runner-up finish in the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup. So Much More, a dominant competitor in the Fillies & Mares Preferred Ranks at Woodbine Mohawk Park, took Older Pacing Mare honours. She won 12 of 30 starts and eclipsed $300,000 in earnings last year while winning in a career best 1:49.3 at Mohawk. Century Farroh took home two O’Brien Awards; one as Older Pacing Horse of the Year and the other as the Somebeachsomewhere Horse of The Year. Competing as a four-year-old, the son of Mach Three scored 12 top-three finishes in 16 starts and accrued more than $637,000 in earnings in 2020. His stakes victories included the Breeders Crown and the Dan Patch, both at Hoosier Park. Donna Soprano was voted Two-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the year. The Donato Hanover filly won five of seven races and more than $575,000 for her connections in a season that included sweeps of the Pure Ivory and Peaceful Way Stakes, a win in a Champlain division and an impressive runner-up finish in the inaugural edition of the Mohawk Million. In the Two-Year-Old Trotting Colt division, On A Streak beat out stablemate Macho Martini. On A Streak had only two wins in 10 starts, but they were both very lucrative ones. His maiden-breaking effort came in the $525,000 William Wellwood Stakes, which was worth $267,500 and a coveted spot in the inaugural Mohawk Million where he finished a solid third. His second victory came in the Breeders Crown, and was worth $300,000. In total the Cantab Hall colt earned in excess of $850,000 for his season which also included a runner-up finish in the Valley Victory. Sorella took divisional honours as Canada’s Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year for a season which saw her win eight of 15 races and $737,000. The Muscle Hill filly posted victories in multiple stakes events including the Hambletonian Oaks, the Reynolds, the Casual Breeze, the Bluegrass and the Matron. Pemberton, a son of Wheeling N Dealin, was voted Canada’s Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the Year. A winner of eight of 10 races, he earned more than $363,000 during his sophomore season. Four of his victories came in Ontario Sires Stakes events including the season-ending Super Final. In the Older Trotting Mare category, Hey Livvy won O’Brien honours for her season which included nine wins and more than $283,000 in 23 trips postward, highlighted by her richest payday, an impressive victory in the Armbro Flight. Perfetto was voted Older Trotting Horse of the Year after winning seven of 25 races and more than $151,000 while making all but one start at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The son of Majestic Son posted a career best effort of 1:52.3 on December 14 at Mohawk. Austin Sorrie of Freelton, Ont., was recognized with the Future Star Award. The Prince Edward Island native was in demand on the Ontario B Track circuit in 2020, driving in more than 1,200 races, scoring 151 wins and driving horses to more than $923,000 in purse earnings. In the Armstrong Breeder of the Year category, Seelster Farms added a fourth O’Brien bronze to their trophy case. In 2020, horses bred by Seelster won 260 races and earned more than $3.5 million. Top performers included O’Brien divisional winner Lawless Shadow, O’Brien finalist Karma Seelster along with Tokyo Seelster. The complete list of winners follows below. 2020 O'BRIEN AWARD WINNERS PACERS TWO-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACER Scarlett Hanover Owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Fredericktown, PA – Frank Baldachino, Clarksburg, NJ – JandT Silva Purnel & Libby, Delray Beach, FL – Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Canonsburg, PA TWO-YEAR-OLD COLT PACER Lawless Shadow Owned by Dr. Ian Moore, Cambridge, ON – R G McGroup Ltd., Bathurst, NB - Serge Savard, St-Bruno, QC – Frank Cannon, Sanford, FL THREE-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACER Lauras Love Owned by John Pentland, London, ON – Gracie Mae Barr, Thamesford, ON THREE-YEAR-OLD COLT PACER Tattoo Artist Owned by Frank Cannon, Sanford – Let It Ride Stables Inc., Boca Raton, FL OLDER PACING MARE So Much More Owned by Don Beatson, Granton – Ken Beatson, Palgrave – Cole England, Exeter, ON OLDER PACING HORSE Century Farroh Owned by Ratchford Stable NS, North Sydney, NS TROTTERS TWO-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROTTER Donna Soprano Owned by Determination, Montreal, QC TWO-YEAR-OLD COLT TROTTER On A Streak Owned by Determination, Montreal, QC THREE-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROTTER Sorella Owned by Elmer Fannin, Lincoln, DE – Crawford Farms Racing, Syracuse, NY – Brent Fannin, Milford, DE THREE-YEAR-OLD COLT TROTTER Pemberton Owned by Brenda Walker, Owen Sound – Christine Walker, Tara, ON OLDER TROTTING MARE Hey Livvy Owned by Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc., Wallkill – Ellen Ott, Buffalo, NY- Trevor Henry, Arthur, ON OLDER TROTTING HORSE Perfetto Owned by Gerry Haggerty, Camden East, ON SOMEBEACHSOMEWHERE HORSE OF THE YEAR Century Farroh Owned by Ratchford Stable NS, North Sydney, NS PEOPLE AWARDS O'BRIEN AWARD OF HORSEMANSHIP Kelly Hoerdt, Beaumont, AB ARMSTRONG BREEDER OF THE YEAR Seelster Farms, Lucan, ON DRIVER OF THE YEAR Bob McClure, Rockwood, ON TRAINER OF THE YEAR Richard Moreau, Puslinch, ON FUTURE STAR AWARD Austin Sorrie, Freelton, ON Oustanding Groom Award Brady Jackson, Sunderland, ON Media Excellence Awards Outstanding Written Work – Garnet Barnsdale Outstanding Photography – Clive Cohen Outstanding Broadcast – Woodbine Entertainment

MILTON, ON - OCT. 14, 2020 - Harness racing driver Bob McClure will steer several favourites in Saturday's (Oct. 17) $2 million Super Finals at Woodbine Mohawk Park, but even before the starting gate swings open for the first final the Rockwood resident has achieved a goal that has been in his sights since his Ontario Sires Stakes driving debut. After a back and forth battle with five-time champion Sylvain Filion, McClure has locked up his first Lampman Cup title as the leading driver in the Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) program, helped along by a trio of Gold Series victories late last week with Super Final mounts Macho Martini, Threefiftytwo and Tattoo Artist. "I don't know what drew me about it, but I always wanted to win it," said McClure, who has kept an eye on the Lampman Cup point standings since he started appearing regularly in OSS winner's circles five years ago. "It's pretty tough to win. Sylvain (Filion) is very dedicated to the OSS program and he's a great driver, and you look at Trevor Henry with the accounts he drives for, they have a lot of stake horses, and then with Doug (McNair) and his dad having a big stable of OSS horses, it's kind of tough to compete with them. I think you kind of need a year where everything just falls into place for you and that's exactly what happened this year. When I found out the other night that I kind of sealed it up I was pretty proud of that, because I have so much respect for Sylvain Filion as a driver." Established in 1987 in memory of long time Ontario Jockey Club harness racing publicist Jim Lampman, the Lampman Cup has been won by some of the province's top reinsmen but the driver that sparked McClure's interest in the title is one whose name is not listed among the winners, his uncle Jim McClure. "He mentioned something to me when I was first starting out, and he never talked about awards much, but he did mention that (Lampman Cup) and he said that was something he always wanted to win," recalled McClure, who launched his driving career in 2009. "He drove for a lot of the OSS trainers so I'm sure he was always up there, but he did mention that he always wished that he'd had a chance to win, so it's nice that I got to win it for my family." McClure has been a contender for the award for the past three years, helped along by his association with trainer Luc Blais and owner Determination's powerful stable of trotters. The driver will steer a trio of Blais trainees on Saturday's rich Super Final program starting with two-year-old trotting filly Dicentra from Post 1 in the first final, followed by two-year-old trotting colt division point leader Macho Martini from Post 5 in the fifth $250,000 showdown and wrapping up with three-year-old trotting colt Threefiftytwo from Post 10 in the seventh of eight finals. "They come with such a powerhouse stable, and a lot of them are Ontario Sired, so that right there gives me a big boost in the OSS ranks. Other drivers are trying to find a top OSS trotter, where you know my situation, between Threefiftytwo, Dicentra, Macho Martini, mine are just there and they're highly competitive," said McClure. "If you don't have the horses in front of you, you might as well be pushing a rope." In addition to the trio of trotters, McClure will also wrap up the 2020 OSS season behind three-year-old pacing filly division point leader Lauras Love, who gets Post 3 in the second final, two-year-old pacing colt Lawless Shadow, who will start from Post 3 in the fourth battle, two-year-old pacing filly Alumni Seelster from Post 4 in the sixth final and three-year-old pacing colt division point leader Tattoo Artist from the outside Post 9 in the finale. "I feel very fortunate that I got to drive horses like Tattoo Artist and Macho Martini and Lawless Shadow and Lauras Love. It's not very often you can string together five, six horses with such a serious chance going into the Super Final," said McClure. "I can name six right now that have a very strong chance at winning the Super Final and it's not very often a driver is lucky enough to get that in one year, so I feel very fortunate." Once the Super Final wraps up McClure plans to spend the next four weeks plying his trade south of the border, which may prevent him from accomplishing another item on his career bucket list. "I don't think it's going to happen this year, but I would like to win a driving title at Woodbine (Mohawk Park) one day. I wouldn't say it's a big priority for me, it would just be nice. It would be like a feather in the cap," said the driver. "I think I have the lead right now and I still don't think it will be possible to win it this year, just because my big accounts are about to go dormant for the winter and I'm about to do some travelling for the Breeders Crown, Fall Four, etcetera, and so I'm going to be away for some time, but if there was one bucket list (item) I would say that's probably it." Heading into the Super Final McClure had piloted 199 starters in OSS action this summer, recording 44 wins, 26 seconds and 30 thirds for earnings of $1,860,669 and a Lampman Cup point total of 513, 34 points ahead of Sylvain Filion. Through the 2020 Woodbine Mohawk Park season he boasts 1,061 starts for 182 wins, 141 seconds, 136 thirds and earnings of $5,323,882, 11 wins ahead of Filion. Both men will steer seven horses in Super Final action on Saturday. The $250,000 Super Finals, which feature the top 10 point earners from the Gold Series regular season, will go postward in Races 1 through 4 and 6 through 9 on Woodbine Mohawk Park's Saturday, Oct. 17 program. All the excitement gets under way at 7 pm. Although on-track attendance is limited to registered guests, fans can download a program and watch the live stream on the Woodbine Mohawk Park website. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

DUNDAS, ON - OCT. 8, 2020 - Macho Martini returned to the Ontario Sires Stakes  winner's circle on Thursday, Oct. 8 at Flamboro Downs with an effortless 1:58.1 score in the lone $157,200 two-year-old harness racing trotting colt Gold Series division. "I was actually a little bit concerned. I've never gone with him over a half. Luc's (Blais) got a tight half-mile turn on his training track at the farm and he was confident, but I just didn't know," said driver Bob McClure. "Two-year-old trotters are a little tough to get around those tracks and then you throw in the rail, that's one of the last spots I would have wanted with him, but he never missed a beat, just one-two-three-four. We just got away safe, and sat in the hole, and moved when they moved and he did the rest." From Post 1 McClure settled the fan favourite in second, sitting behind Sweet Soul David as that trotter led the field of nine to a :29 quarter. Macho Martini continued to track Sweet Soul David through the :59.1 half and when McClure tipped him to the outside heading by the 1:29 three-quarters the pair were in no rush to get around the pacesetter. As the leaders squared up in the stretch McClure asked Macho Martini for a bigger gear and the colt easily opened up a one and one-quarter length margin on his peers. Master Grand slipped up the passing lane to be second and Sweet Soul David stayed game for third. "He's quite the professional," said Rockwood, ON resident McClure. "And I would say that he's as fresh as he was when he started the year, which is typical of Luc Blais horses. They're as good at the end as they are at the start. He's very good at managing them that way." Campbellville, ON resident Luc Blais trains Macho Martini for Determination of Montreal, QC. Thursday's win was the colt's fourth in Gold Series action and his eighth in 10 lifetime starts. The only blemish on the Muscle Mass son's Ontario Sires Sakes record came in the Sept. 19 Gold leg at Woodbine Mohawk Park when he made a break in the stretch after another colt made a break and veered into his path. "I was worried when he made the break. You always worry they will jump on their legs and hurt themselves you know, but we're lucky, he came back very well. He looks good tonight," said Blais. "That's a good feeling." With 200 points, Macho Martini leads the two-year-old trotting colts into the Oct. 17 Super Final at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The top 10 point earners will compete in the $250,000 season finale and Blais said the colt's performance in that event will determine whether his freshman campaign comes to a close or carries on for a few more starts. "We're going to see after that, how is he after that. He'll have almost 11, 12 races this year. It's lots of races for a two-year-old," said the trainer. "It just depends how he feels. We don't decide, he decides if he wants to race again." Complete results from Thursday's program are available at Flamboro Downs Results. Gold Series point standings can be found on the Ontario Sires Stakes Leaderboard. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

MILTON, August 27, 2020 - If Thursday's start to "Grand Circuit Month" at Woodbine Mohawk Park is any preview, the harness racing team of Determination, Luc Blais and Bob McClure is going to have a lot of fun. Determination, Blais and McClure struck for a Champlain hat-trick, winning three of Thursday's four divisions for two-year-old trotters. The trio's rookie star Macho Martini improved to six for six with a 1:55.3 victory in the $93,760 second Champlain division for colts and geldings. Macho Martini was one of several leavers in the early going and McClure opted to stay on the outside work his way to the lead, clearing Tokyo Seelster shortly after that rookie posted a :27.3 opening-quarter. The middle-half saw Macho Martini lead through panels of :57.1 and 1:27 to lead comfortably into the lane. Warrawee Whisper grinded away to get close to the leader on the outside, while Tokyo Seelster was locked in behind looking for room up the rail. Macho Martini cruised home :28.3 to give his rivals a bit of hope, but ultimately prevailing by three-quarters of a length over Warrawee Whisper and a length and a half over Tokyo Seelster. "I was playing it by ear, but I definitely wanted to make sure if I could get him to the front," said McClure post-race. "Because of the headwind, it's very tough to make up I figured I'd get there and be the one they had to track down. "He was coasting through the wire and still had the plugs in, he's doing it real easy." A son of Muscle Mass, Macho Martini six wins include triumphs in three Ontario Sires Stakes Gold events and the Millard Farms Trotting Series final. The $37,000 Harrisburg yearling purchase has already earned $240,513 for his connections. Macho Martini: Macho Martini was the third of Thursday's three wins for the Determination, Blais and McClure team. "I'm very fortunate that Determination has a very exceptional group of two-year-old trotters," said McClure. "It's nice to see for the Determination Stable, Serge Godin, because he deserves it and it's get for Luc, he works hard." The first win of the evening for the trio saw Donna Soprano improve to three for three with another powerful-looking performance in the first $86,665 Champlain division for fillies. Driver Bob McClure was in no hurry with Donna Soprano, as the pair got away fifth in a field of eight. Rubys Are Nice did the heavy lifting, leading through fractions of :27.4, :57 and 1:26.1. You Will Be Queen made the first-up bid going around the far turn and McClure latched onto that rookie to sit second-over Donna Soprano. In the stretch, Donna Soprano kicked off cover and did some serious trotting into a strong headwind. The undefeated filly put in an awkward stride with an eighth of a mile remaining, but kept her momentum going and mowed down Rubys Are Nice to win by a length in 1:55.2. You Will Be Queen finished third. "Her gait wasn't a 100 per cent tonight," said McClure following the victory with Donna Soprano. "It has been every other week, so it's probably something very minor. These two-year-olds are growing and changing every week. "It was a very impressive performance tonight because with this headwind it's extremely tough to make up ground and she just keeps digging, I was never real worried about her getting there, she usually trots through the wire and around the turn and is hard to pull up." Donna Soprano: A daughter of Donato Hanover, Donna Soprano has earned $95,582 through three starts and three wins for owner Determination. She is the fourth foal out of $1.2 million winning mare Windsong Soprano and was a $190,000 Harrisburg purchase. Donna Soprano paid $2.30 to win. Donna Soprano Dicentra made it a clean sweep of the filly events, posting a coast-to-coast victory in 1:57.2. McClure put the daughter of Muscle Mass on the lead in the field of six and she got full respect, posting panels of :29, :59.2 and 1:29.1. The stretch drive saw her kick home in :28.1 through the headwind for a victory of a length and a half. "She felt amazing," said McClure of Dicentra. "After the fractions we got away with it was her race to win or lose and she won it pretty handily, she's a real nice filly." Midnight Miracle finished second, while Spruce Creek was third. Dicentra: A homebred for trainer Luc Blais, Dicentra now has three wins and $110,890 earned in six starts. She is a full sister to $700,000 winner On A Sunny Day. A $2 win ticket on Dicentra returned $2.60. Dicentra The only winner not from the Determination crew came early in the evening. Lucky Rascal got things his own way in the first $93,759 Champlain split for two-year-old trotters, fighting off pressure in the lane for a 1:56.3 maiden-breaking victory. Driven by Sylvain Filion, Lucky Rascal stepped out to the lead in the field of six and posted a :28.3 opener before backing things down for a 1:00 middle-half. Full Of Muscle came first-up from third going to three-quarters and applied pressure down the lane, but was never getting by a strong Lucky Rascal. The Ben Baillargeon trained Lucky Rascal stopped the clock in 1:56.3 to win by a length over the public's top choice Full Of Muscles. On A Streak was third. "I thought he was a nice colt training down," said Baillargeon. "Him and Sylvain (Filion) had a few issues right at that beginning, but now they're okay. "When he got to the front I was very happy, I was hoping Sylvain would get him to the front, I didn't think right off the bat, maybe a quarter-mile move, but he drives and he does what he wants and the horse was ready." Lucky Rascal: A gelded son of Father Patrick, Lucky Rascal was winless in three starts prior, but now exits the Champlain with a victory on his record and $56,359 in the bank this season for owners Santo and Nunzio Vena. He was a $35,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase. Lucky Rascal paid $10.10 to win. Stakes action continues all weekend at Woodbine Mohawk Park with two Casual Breeze divisions and two eliminations for the Goodtimes taking place Friday. The $1 million Pepsi North America Cup headlines a $2.4 million card on Saturday. Post time for Friday's card is 7 p.m., while the first-race Saturday goes at 6:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

SARNIA, AUG. 22, 2020 - Hiawatha Horse Park welcomed the two-year-old pacing colts on Saturday, Aug. 22 for four $23,000 Grassroots divisions and driver Bob McClure kicked off the harness racing program with wins in the first two splits. Starting from Post 1 in the first division, McClure and Next Big Thing got away second behind Lil Red Sportsstar, who led the field of eight to a :28 quarter. The driver sent Next Big Thing to the front before the :56.4 half and the gelding fought off a sustained challenge from fan favourites No Plan Intended and driver Jody Jamieson through the 1:26 three-quarters before pulling away to a one and three-quarter length victory in 1:54.4. No Plan Intended settled for second and Beef N Cheddar was third. "I watched the Gold that he was in when Desperate Man won (July 3) and he was locked and loaded and he went a very big mile that night and I thought he was going to be very legit," said McClure, who had not driven the gelding before Saturday's contest. "After that, I guess he doesn't really like the front and he ended up on the front a couple times, and they said he had some sickness issues, so it looks like they've got everything ironed out now because he was lethal today." McClure engineered the win for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor and his co-owner/breeders Dave Boyle of Bowmanville, ON and C S X Stables of Liberty Center, OH. The Shadow Play gelding started his Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) career at the Gold Series level, finishing third in both the July 3 season opener and the July 18 leg, both at Woodbine Mohawk Park. "He was going against the Gold colts and just coming up a little short so, confidence is a big thing, and I decided to drop him down and see if we couldn't braven him up. I did make a big change, he had a blind bridle on and once he made the front he would get lost and just let a couple by him, but I put an open bridle on him and I trained him in the open bridle and he was much better," said McIntosh. "Today, I just watched it on the Hiawatha website there, but if he had the blind bridle on he probably would have let Jamieson go by, but with an open bridle he fought him off. "I think with the open bridle on he might go back to the Gold. He'll be proud of himself now." McClure was back in the winner's circle after the second Grassroots division with fan favourite Adrenaline Rush, who took command just after the midway point and opened up to a three and one-half length victory in 1:57. All Cheddar was second and Hez My Buddy finished third. "He's been off a month, I didn't know what to expect," said Rockwood, ON resident McClure. "When I moved him out first-up he was coming, and then he cleared the front, and you know what, he took care of the rest from there, but that was a surprise because I thought he'd be a bit short." The win was the second straight in Grassroots action for McClure and the Royal Mattjesty gelding. The pair was also victorious in the July 20 event at Woodbine Mohawk Park on behalf of trainer Kevin McMaster and fractional ownership group TheStable Adrenaline Rush of Guelph, ON. Saturday's win moved Adrenaline Rush to the top of the division standings with the win with a total of 102 points. Cantstoplying claimed the third Grassroots title, outsprinting Next Big Thing's stablemate Last Bet for a neck victory in 1:55.1. Finkle Is Einhorn was one length behind the battling leaders in third. Louis-Philippe Roy piloted Sunshine Beach gelding Cantstoplying to his first lifetime win for trainer Nick Gallucci and owner/breeder Millar Farms of Stouffville, ON. "I was really happy with how he beat the horse down the stretch. It looked like he might have been second there, but he fought back and won the race, so I was really impressed with that," said Gallucci. "He's still learning; every race he seems to get a little bit better. He's very fast, it's just a matter of getting his mind more into being a racehorse and I think that will come with time." Take Control claimed the final Grassroots division, overtaking pacesetting favourite Proline on the final turn and romping home to a 15 length victory in 1:54.3. Mustang Beach, who led the main pack as a distant Proline rang up fractions of :26.4, :53.1 and 1:23.4, finished second and Marlboro Seelster was third. Anthony Haughan engineered Take Control's first lifetime win for trainer Dan Lagace of Cambridge and his co-owner Ben Mudry of Toronto, ON. The partners were delighted with the result and with the progress the Control The Moment son has shown through his five lifetime starts. "He's a nice little colt. Ben was kind of looking for a Control The Moment colt because he owned Control The Moment and so he had approached me in the fall about looking at some babies," recalled Lagace. "So this colt was in London (Selected Yearling Sale) and I said I'd go to $15,000 on him and Ben's like, 'Well you know when you say $15,000 they always go for $20,000'. And I said, 'Well I'm only buying a quarter, you're buying three-quarters so if we go to $20,000 I don't care'. So I went in and made one bid and bid $8,000. "You know that commercial where the girl is leaving Walmart and she's leaving the building and she's like, 'Start the car!' I said that's the way I felt," said Lagace with a laugh. "He's not a great horse or anything, but you know he's maturing into a nice horse. And for $8,000 you can't go wrong; $8,000 is my wheelhouse." The two-year-old pacing colts will make their last two Grassroots starts at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept. 8 and 17. The top 20 point earners through the five regular season events will then move on to the Oct. 1 Semi-Finals at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Complete results for Saturday's program are available at Hiawatha Horse Park Results. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

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