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JULY 9, 2018 - Harness racing fans got their first look at the 2018 two-year-old pacing filly crop at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Monday night and the fillies delivered impressive performances in all three $66,400 Ontario Sire Stakes Gold Series divisions. Taking the quickest tour around the Campbellville oval was Deb, who was able to sprint up the inside to a 1:53.2 clocking in the second division. Driven by Arthur, Ontario resident Trevor Henry, the Sportswriter daughter crossed the wire one and one-half lengths ahead of Skyhigh Ambition and fan favourite Quebec Blue Chip. "That's her first two-year-old start of the year, so it's nice to see that," said trainer Dr. Ian Moore of the filly's victory. "It's very rewarding and very satisfying for me as a trainer, and Janice Hubbard looked after her all winter, it's satisfying for her as well." Acquired at last fall's London Selected Yearling Sale for $24,000, Deb blossomed over the winter into the kind of filly Moore and owners Jim and Wilma MacKenzie of Ennismore, Ontario could only imagine last October. "I liked her at the (Seelster) farm and I liked her even more at the sale itself," recalled Cambridge, Ontario resident Moore. "She was kind of a gangly filly, but you know, you look at yearlings and sometimes you can look at them and you can kind of visualize or maybe imagine what they might look like come this time of year. So she started out as very rough, coarse, gangly, just poking along on the trot filly, and grew into a really beautiful, nice, big, tall filly, lovely filly." Deb Moore initially went to look at Deb as a yearling because her mother is a half-sister to his current three-year-old pacing colt Atomic Seelster, and it was also a family connection that led trainer Tony Beaton to Better Single, who captured the first division on Monday. "I wanted to get a Betterthancheddar baby to train, because I did a lot of work with Cheddar back when I was at Casie's (Coleman), and we kind of had a bond together," Beaton explained. "So I was hoping to help out his career too, you know, if possible." Betterthancheddar daughter Better Single was a favourite of Beaton's throughout the winter and delivered on her promise with a 1:54.3 effort on Monday. In rein to Guelph resident James MacDonald, the fan favourite paced home one and one-quarter lengths ahead of Revival Cards and Medici Hanover. "She always trained good, she showed some signs that she was going to be an okay filly, we just weren't sure how good she would be, but she's shown us that she's a pretty decent filly, right now anyway," said Waterdown, Ontario resident Beaton, who shares ownership of the filly with David Mercer of Sydney, Nova Scotia. The pair offered up $17,000 for Better Single at the London Selected Yearling Sale last fall. "She's got a real nice gait to her and she's actually, I didn't think she was as big as she is until I seen some of the fillies that we were in against tonight, and she kind of towered over them a little bit," added Beaton with a chuckle. Better Single Arriving in Campbellville off a third-place result in a 1:51.3 mile at The Meadowlands, fans were right to send Disturbed Hanover off as their top choice in the third and final Gold division of the night. The filly held on for a 1:53.4 victory, one length ahead of fast-closing Crisp Mane and Summer Charm, who finished in a dead heat for second. "I was relieved to win with this filly tonight," admitted driver Jody Jamieson. "I took a chance taking off a (Dave) Menary horse, Summer Charm, which I don't like doing, but I felt my best chance to win was with this girl. It almost backfired on me as Dave (Menary) had her (Summer Charm) quite good in finishing second. "Bart gave me a perfect reflection of what to expect from his filly," continued the Moffat, Ontario resident. "And she performed perfectly." Jamieson engineered the win for trainer William "Bart" Dalious and owner The Wiz Kids Stable LLC of Dover, Delaware. A modest $10,000 purchase at last fall's Harrisburg Yearling Sale, Disturbed Hanover has already netted her owners $34,400. The Big Jim daughter is a half-sister to former Gold Series competitor Drachan Hanover, a winner of $492,027 in his racing career. Disturbed Hanover The talented two-year-old pacing fillies will return to Woodbine Mohawk Park for their second Gold Series start on July 20. On Tuesday evening (July 10), the Grassroots contingent of two-year-old pacing fillies will take their place on the Woodbine Mohawk Park stage, competing in Races 2, 3, 5, 6, 8 and 10. Tuesday evening's program gets under way at 7:30 pm. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

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

Milton, ON - JUNE 25, 2018 - Driver Chris Christoforou, Jr. had a foolproof map to the Woodbine Mohawk Park winner's circle in Monday night's Gold Series event for three-year-old trotting fillies. Lining up from Post 5 in both $96,400 divisions, the Campbellville resident employed near identical tactics to land Magical Glider and Illusioneesta their first-ever Gold Series harness racing wins in matching 1:55.4 clockings. "Luck. Luck, that's it, that's the only thing I can think of," said Christoforou in the winner's circle. "But it worked out good both trips." In the first division Christoforou and Magical Glider were 11 lengths off the pace when Miss Loo Loo Belle and trainer-driver Per Henriksen reached the opening quarter in :57.4. As Miss Loo Loo Belle carried on to a :57.4 half, Christoforou sent Magical Glider into the outside lane behind fan favourites Alexus Eh and driver Steve Byron. Making steady progress forward, Alexus Eh was less than one length behind Miss Loo Loo Belle at the 1:27 three-quarters and Magical Glider was right on her heels. Seven fillies turned for home in a tight group, but when Christoforou showed Magical Glider open racetrack the daughter of Glidemaster found a whole new gear and powered away to a three and one-quarter length victory over Uvie Hanover and Apprentice M. The 1:55.4 clocking was almost four seconds faster than the 1:59.3 the filly had recorded in a Grassroots victory at Woodbine Mohawk Park on June 7. "When she won the Grassroots she won easy and Chris said there was no sense going any faster," noted Waterdown, Ontario resident Dustin Jones, who trains the long-legged filly for owner-breeder Andrea Lea Racing Stables Inc. of Lakefield Gore, Quebec. "She's had four starts, two wins and two seconds, so she shows up to race anyway." Unraced at two due to a season-ending injury, Magical Glider trained well all winter, but it was not until he qualified her on May 14 that Jones realised he had a serious Ontario Sires Stakes contender on his hands. "Any time we trained her faster, she would do it, but she would have to chase the other filly (stablemate Fly Fly Selena) you know," Jones explained. "And then when I qualified her, the first qualifier, she won her qualifier in 1:59 and I go, Holy Cripes I can't believe she just did that. "We didn't expect her to be doing what she's doing now, I thought she'd just make money in the Grassroots, so it's a pleasant surprise," he added. In the second division Christoforou and Illusioneesta followed an almost identical path to the winner's circle. Getting away fifth from Post 5 they tipped into the outer lane before the half, following fan favourite Sorceress Seelster and Stormont Chef, and were sitting fourth at the three-quarters. Magical Lady did most of the work on the front end, clocking a :27.3 quarter and a :57.2 half before being overtaken by Sorceress Seelster at the 1:26 three-quarters, but neither filly could withstand the late stretch challenge from Illusioneesta, who powered home to a three-quarter length victory. Sorceress Seelster settled for second and Stormont Chef rounded out the top three. "She plugs on and don't give up, and that's her forte you know," said trainer Per Henriksen. "She's up there every time. She can't leave that much, but then she makes it up down the stretch instead." The win was the dainty filly's first in Gold Series action, but Illusioneesta is no stranger to provincial competition. She started in all five regular season Gold events at two, never finishing worse than fourth, and claimed third-place honours in the season ending Super Final. In 10 freshman starts she earned $106,922 for owners Harbor Racing Stable LLC of Aurora and Asa Farm of Norwood, Ontario and through her first six sophomore stars she boasts a record of three wins, including the May 19 Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association Stake, and three seconds for earnings of $143,746. "She didn't grow that much, she's still kind of small-ish, but she is stronger and she can do a little more than she could last year," said Henriksen. "But I mean she made $100,000 last year and we were all happy - never won a race and made $100,000 - and this year she is plugging on and making us a lot of money and we are all happy." Both fillies will make their next Ontario Sires Stakes start in the third Gold Leg at Georgian Downs on July 21, with Jones planning an additional start for Magical Glider in the coming weeks. Henriksen says Illusioneesta is content training at the farm and will go directly to the July 21 event without an extra start. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Tuesday, June 26 with two Gold Series divisions for the three-year-old trotting colts. The colts will square off in Races 4 and 6 on the Tuesday evening program, which gets under way at 7:30 pm. From the OSS

MILTON, ON - JUNE 23, 2018 - How good is Jimmy Freight? Driver Louis Philippe Roy is not sure; he thought he had seen the best of the colt in his first six starts this season, but the three-year-old pacer stepped it up a notch in Saturday's $96,400 Gold Series win at Woodbine Mohawk Park. "He's always been really good, Jimmy Freight, and tonight I think he was better than he's ever been. He felt so good going down the stretch, could have gone a little bit faster," Roy told Woodbine Mohawk Park's Chad Rozema in the winner's circle. "Like I said, tonight is the best he's ever been, and if you would have asked me how he was a week or two weeks ago I would say he's very good. I didn't know he could be better than what he was actually, so tonight he really impressed me again." Starting from Post 6 Jimmy Freight got away fourth as Levis Day led the field of seven to a :26.1 opening quarter, but Roy was not content to sit for long. He had the heavy favourite on the lead before the :54.2 half and by the 1:22.2 three-quarters the pair had opened up a two length gap on the field. Making it look easy, Jimmy Freight extended that margin to six and three-quarter lengths by the finish and clocked a new personal best 1:49.2. St Lads Neptune finished second and Levis Day took home third-place honours. Roy drives the son of Sportswriter and Allamerican Summer for trainer Richard Moreau of Puslinch and owner Adriano Sorella of Milton, Ontario. Jimmy Freight now boasts a sophomore record of five wins, one second, one third and earnings of $151,900 through seven starts. In addition to Saturday's Gold Series triumph he was also victorious in the Gold Series season opener at Flamboro Downs on May 20 and in his Somebeachsomewhere division at Woodbine Mohawk Park on June 2. "He's a nice horse, I don't know what to tell you, he makes everything so easy," said Moreau. "If he races every week I never get to train him, I just jog him, that's all. "And if you jog him you wouldn't be able to say he is a stake horse or what he is, because all he does is trot out there," added Moreau with a chuckle. "You can't even push him to pace unless you put the hopples on." The easygoing Jimmy Freight will make his next Gold Series start at Rideau Carleton Raceway on July 22 and has been invited to the August 11 Carl Milstein Memorial at Northfield Park in Ohio. Roy also captured the $125,000 three-year-old pacing filly Gold division, steering heavy favourite Shower Play to another one of her trademark come-from-behind victories, reaching the wire one length ahead of Big Thong and Write Me A Song in in 1:51.1. "She didn't have a really good trip tonight, because I was kind of shuffled back in the last turn, so I was scared a little bit that I may be a little bit too far," Roy told Rozema. "But once I moved her, she just, just by herself, she switched to sixth gear and rally home." Rockwood resident Rene Dion conditions Shower Play for his partners Susanne Kerwood of Rockwood, Ontario and Martin Leveillee of St-Blaise-Sur-Richelieu, Quebec. The victory bumps the Shadow Play daughter's sophomore record to three wins and one second in four starts. In addition to Saturday's Gold Series victory, her first, the filly was also victorious in the $415,000 Fan Hanover final on June 16 and the Grassroots season opener on May 31, both at Woodbine Mohawk Park. She will be back in Gold Series action on July 20 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Like Shower Play, Sharp Action Money used a late sprint to capture the other three-year-old pacing colt Gold division. Starting from Post 6 Sharp Acton Money got away seventh and tipped into the outer lane where he watched as four different horses rotated onto the front end. At the three-quarters, sitting three and one-half lengths off the pace in fifth, driver Sylvain Filion shifted Sharp Action Money into overdrive and the gelding sprinted home in :27.3 to claim a one-half length victory over Sports Legend and Taste Of History. "This horse has been racing really, really good, I wasn't just able to give him the right trip, and tonight fortunately we were able to get the right trip," said Filion from the winner's circle. "When I saw a bunch of leavers I took back, got a third-over, and it worked out pretty good." Milton resident Filion crafted the trip for trainer Murray Brethour of Sunderland and his partners Tony Basile of Toronto and Daniel Sarafian of Unionville, Ontario. The win was the Sportswriter son's second of the season and his first in Ontario Sires Stakes action. Ontario Sires Stakes excitement continues at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Monday, June 25 with two Gold Series divisions for the three-year-old trotting fillies. The program gets under way at 7:30 pm and the fillies will compete in Races 3 and 8. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

Milton, ON - JUNE 4, 2018 - Alexus Eh made her Ontario Sires Stakes debut in the first of two Gold Series divisions at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Monday evening and the three-year-old trotting filly recorded her fourth win in an early season that has come as a pleasant surprise to her connections. As a two-year-old Alexus Eh did not qualify until late August, and while her effort was solid it was also five to eight seconds slower than the miles her peers were delivering in provincial competition at that point in the season. As a result, trainer David Byron of Thornton and his partners James Cantelon of Thornton, David Cantelon of Bolton and Craig Wallwin of Barrie, Ontario decided the best strategy was to delay the filly's racing debut until her three-year-old season. "She just wasn't developed enough, and she was going to be late, so they just decided they wouldn't rush her," explained the filly's regular driver, and David's brother, Steve Byron. "So they just waited 'til this year. There was no big issue." The decision to wait has proven to be a wise one as Alexus Eh has now logged four wins and one second in her first seven starts. Monday's Gold Series victory, for a purse of $94,800, boosted her lifetime earnings to $75,250. Starting from Post 2, Steve Byron settled Alexus Eh into fourth spot as Miss Loo Loo Belle took the field of six Gold Series hopefuls to a :28.1 opening quarter. Heading into the backstretch Byron sent the Holiday Road daughter after the lead and Alexus Eh hit the half-mile marker in :57.4. A 1:27.4 three-quarters and a steady effort in the face of a significant headwind through the stretch saw the fan favourite trot under the wire one length ahead of Miss Loo Loo Belle, stopping the teletimer at 1:57.4. Smoke And Mirrors completed the top three. "She's been a nice surprise, she's doing everything she's supposed to," said Byron. "She's getting to be pretty handy actually, to tell you the truth. "We're lucky to have her," the Thornton resident continued. "It looks like she's going to be competitive anyhow, I don't think she'll be the best one, but I think she'll race with them, that's for sure." Among the horses Alexus Eh will have to face in the future are 2017 division champion Kadabra Queen and Sorceress Seelster, who faced off from Posts 1 and 2 in the second Gold division on Monday. Sorceress Seelster landed in third and Kadabra Queen in fourth as Dalliance Seelster reached the quarter in :27.3, but driver Scott Wray was not content to sit behind the leaders and quickly sent Sorceress Seelster to the front. Reaching the half in :56.4, Sorceress Seelster had opened up almost four lengths on the field by the 1:26.1 three-quarters and was able to maintain that margin through the 1:56.1 finish. Illusioneesta closed hard to be second, leaving Kadabra Queen to settle for third. In the winner's circle trainer Jack Wray thanked Woodbine Mohawk Park outrider Joanne Colville for her assistance in the post parade and escorting the fractious Sorceress Seelster back to the winner's circle. "She's got a mind of her own, and it don't work too well sometimes," said Wray on a laugh. "But there's speed there to work with." The London resident shares ownership of Sorceress Seelster with Thomas Wray of Schomberg and said son Scott perfectly executed the game plan for the filly's second sophomore start. "We had a little trouble with her laying on the outside line a little bit, so we wanted to move early and get back to the rail, and let them try and catch us," noted the elder Wray. Sorceress Seelster also opened her two-year-old campaign with a Gold Series win at Woodbine Mohawk Park and added a pair of second-place results to her resume before tailing off due to breaks in the late season. Monday's outing was her second of the 2018 campaign and boosted the Holiday Road daughter's lifetime earnings to $151,670. The three-year-old trotting fillies will make their second Gold Series start at Woodbine Mohawk Park on June 25. Next up on the Campbellville oval's Ontario Sires Stakes schedule is the Grassroots opener for the sophomore trotting lasses, which goes postward on Thursday, June 7. Post time for Thursday's program is 7:30 pm and the fillies will compete in Races 2, 5 and 7. From the Ontario Sire Stakes  

MAY 28, 2018 - Upsets were the name of the game as the three-year-old harness racing trotting colts and geldings made their Ontario Sires Stakes debut at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Monday evening. The favourites in both $97,200 Gold Series divisions made early mistakes that left the door open for their less celebrated peers, and Jula Downton and Tinas Majesty took full advantage. In the first division fan favourite, and 2017 Grassroots champion, Stormont Ventnor went off-stride as the gate swept away from the field of nine, leaving front-end control to rail sitter Joey Bats. Joey Bats and driver Bob McClure rolled through fractions of :28.2, :57.4 and 1:26.4, maintaining a robust distance in front of pocket-sitter Jula Downton. However, turning for home driver Louis Philippe Roy sent Jula Downton into the outer lane and the colt found a whole other gear, pulling away to a two length victory in a personal best 1:54.3. Run Director closed sharply to finish second and Joey Bats settled for third. "That was the third time I was sitting behind him," noted Roy from the winner's circle. "Last time he had some steering issues and down the stretch I worked on him like maybe half the stretch just to try to get him out and I couldn't get him out, couldn't get him out, and once he cleared he was flying, so I thought tonight if he was going to steer a little bit better that he had a good shot at it." Jula Downton was a Grassroots winner as a two-year-old and also tested his mettle against the Gold Series colts. He arrived in trainer Susanne Kerwood's barn in late April and the Rockwood resident has been impressed with the son of Kadabra and Abbey Craig's progress through a May 14 qualifier, May 19 overnight and Monday's Gold Leg. "He was in Florida all winter and the guy who trained him down there (Tommy Andersson) said he really, really likes him. 'He's a nice big colt, he's strong', he says, and he says, 'I think you're going to like him', and he was right," said Kerwood with a laugh. "He can get on a line a little bit and we've been trying to play with the rigging a little bit," Kerwood continued. "I guess he was a little bit like that last year, that's what Tommy was telling me anyways, that he had a little bit of issues last year too. But you know what, I know one thing, he's fast, so we'll keep trying and hopefully I'll have him straightened out one of these days. He wasn't too bad today, he was better today than he was last week." Kerwood conditions Jula Downton for Karljohan Blank of Delray Beach, Florida. Monday's victory boosted the colt's lifetime earnings to $65,440. In the second division it was favourite Perfetto who broke stride heading for the half, leaving lightly rated Henderson Seelster to carry the field to fractions of :27, :55.3 and 1:25.2. Spring Holiday and Tinas Majesty followed Henderson Seelster through the sharp early fractions and when the pacesetter began to falter they tipped into the outer lane. As the colts squared up in the stretch Tinas Majesty had gained a three-quarter length lead and the Majestic Son gelding fought hard all the way to the wire, keeping a very short whisker in front of Winning American. Spring Holiday picked up the third-place finisher's share. Unraced at two, Monday was the first-ever Ontario Sires Stakes start for Tinas Majesty. It was also trainer-driver Dagfin Henriksen's first-ever Gold Series win, and the first Ontario Sires Stakes victory for owner-breeder Shelley Racing Stables of Omemee, Ontario. "He's a homebred, Shelley Racing Stable, they bred this horse," said Henriksen. "And it's the first Gold I ever won. We had some Grassroots winners before, but I never had a Gold winner, so that's exciting." When Tinas Majesty posted his first lifetime victory in an overnight event at Woodbine Mohawk Park on April 26, stopping the teletimer at 1:59, Henriksen was confident that the trotter could compete with the best in Ontario and he was delighted when Monday's finish line photograph proved him right. "He showed me something at two-year-old that I thought he was going to be a decent horse, but I didn't have it in my thoughts that he was going to be a Gold winner first time in the Gold," noted the Cambridge resident. "When he won his maiden - I think that was his third lifetime start or something - when he won his maiden race I could tell I had so much horse left, and I told the owners right after I raced him, I said, 'I think we have a Gold horse, I think he'll be good enough to go in the Gold'." Through six lifetime starts Tinas Majesty now has two wins and two seconds for earnings of $64,800. The second leg of the Gold Series takes place June 26 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. In the coming weeks some of the Gold Series competitors will step up to battle North America's best in the Campbellville oval's Goodtimes Stake, with eliminations on June 8 and the final on June 16. From the Ontario Sire Stakes  

OCTOBER 5, 2017 - Harness racing driver Randy Waples capped off the Ontario Sire Stakes Gold Series regular season with a pair of victories at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday evening, using similar tactics to get Draft Year and Kendall Seelster from Post 5 to the winner's circle. On an calm, clear October evening, Waples decided the front end was the best place for fan favourite Draft Year and the decision proved to be a wise one as the Kadabra gelding cruised to a five and one-half length victory in 1:56.4. Chief Justice enjoyed the outer lane windbreak offered by Levitation through the later stages of the mile and then circled around to be second, leaving Levitation to settle for third. "He's a really nice colt, he always has been a nice colt," said Waples from the winner's circle. "Tonight when he left the gate he was going forward and I looked over and Sylvain (Filion with Cousin Rickard) was already grabbing up, so I just kind of kept the whip on his tail and kept his mind on it and he just kept getting faster and faster as the race went on." Milton resident Waples crafted the win for trainer Brad Maxwell of Guelph and owners Doug Millard of Woodstock, Ben Mudry of Toronto, ON, Timothy Murray of Shawville, QC and Howard Taylor of Philadelphia, PA. The win was the first in Draft Year's five race career and it propelled the gelding from fifteenth to fifth in the point standings, giving him a berth in the Oct. 14 Super Final at Mohawk. Draft Year Five races later Waples lined up behind Post 5 for the second time and opted for the same strategy, sending the fans' second choice Kendall Seelster directly to the front. The three-year-old pacing filly rolled through fractions of :28, :56.2 and 1:24.1 and then kicked into high gear in the stretch, sprinting home to a 1:51.3 victory. Firestorm paced into second and Play The Bell closed hard, nudging favourite Percy Bluechip out for third. "Tonight I actually was looking to cut the mile out, I kept making her roll along because I wasn't looking for a re-move with her tonight," said Waples from the winner's circle. "It is the first time she's been in front, but she finished with the plugs still in her ears. "They both were very good, and both seemed strong at the finish," said the reinsman of his pair of winners. Waples piloted Kendall Seelster to the win for trainer Paul Reid and owner 1187422 Ontario Inc. of Ottawa, ON. Thursday's victory was the Shadow Play daughter's fourth of the season and second in Gold Series action, putting her in a tie for top spot in the point standings with three-time winner Percy Bluechip. "I didn't think she'd end up cutting it. With Percy (Bluechip) on the rail I thought we might have a little more tussle getting to the front, but it worked out all right for us," said trainer Paul Reid. "He (Waples) knows the filly and I trust him. He's come in a couple different times and trained her with me, and so he knows her as well as anybody. I know he has confidence in her, so any way he felt to drive her, I was fine with that." Kendall Seelster Reid also picked up a third-place finish in the other $95,600 three-year-old pacing filly Gold division with Just Her Luck, and the trainer is hoping both fillies can maintain their momentum heading into the Super Final. "She's had a little time off too and she finished up good in the end of that, so hopefully we look good going into next week," said Reid. "Sometimes plans work out, sometimes they don't, but right now if I can keep things going the way they are, I'll be happy." Just Her Luck finished a closing third behind winner Easy Three and Lady Grande in the 1:53.4 mile. Lady Grande did all the work on the front end, waging a fierce battle with fan favourite Cardiff, but a late sprint saw Easy Three and driver Jody Jamieson hit the wire on top by a two length margin. Jamieson drives Easy Three for his father, trainer Carl Jamieson of Rockwood, ON, breeder Winbak Farm of Chesapeake City, MD and George Harrison of Preston, England, and the reinsman says the trip to the winner's circle has been a tough one with the daughter of Mach Three. "She's an absolute nut. She's just been a loon ever since Dad threw a harness on her. He's had a real tough time getting her to where I can actually drive her in a race," said the Moffat, ON resident. "Now that he's figured her out exactly, she has some talent. It's hard to say if she can go with the top fillies from the other division, but there's only one way to find out." Thursday's win, her first in 10 starts, boosted Easy Three from sixteenth to fifth in the standings and she will be part of the top 10 point earners competing in the $225,000 Super Final on Oct. 14. Easy Three The other two-year-old trotting colt and gelding Gold trophy went home with Barney Mac, who finished third in the division Grassroots Championship at Mohawk on Sept. 30. Also starting from Post 5, driver Chris Christoforou eased Barney Mac into fifth as Spark A Dream led the field to a :28.3 quarter and a :59.2 half. When former Gold series winner T Barrr swung off the rail into the outer lane, Christoforou sent Barney Mac in his wake and stayed right on that colt's heels as he opened up a gap on the field heading for the 1:29.2 three-quarters. Squaring up in the stretch Christoforou asked Barney Mac for another gear and the gelding dug hard to the wire for his second lifetime victory in a personal best 1:58. T Barrr settled for second, one and three-quarter lengths behind the winner, and Torches Pirate was third. "He's a nice little colt," said Christoforou. "We got a second over trip and he kicked home very well when I asked him." The Campbellville resident crafted the win for trainer Per Henriksen of Norwood and owners Tor Jan Larsen of Norwood, ON and Adv Racing Stable LLC of Pawling, NY. The partners acquired Barney Mac two weeks before the Grassroots Championship and have recouped $53,800 of their investment in just two starts. Although the win would have given him enough points, Barney Mac is not eligible to compete in the Super Final due to his appearance in the Grassroots Championship. Barney Mac The top 10 trotting colts and geldings and pacing fillies will return to Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday, Oct. 14, along with the leading point earners from the other six divisions, to compete for a total of $1.8 million in the season ending Super Final. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

OCTOBER 4, 2017 - Ontario's two-year-old trotting fillies wrapped up their regular season at Flamboro Downs on Wednesday and fans of the longshot had a field day as the harness racing favourites faltered in both $94,800 Ontario Sire Stakes Gold divisions. In the opener second choice Sorceress Seelster fired out of Post 4 to an early lead, reaching the quarter pole three and one-quarter lengths ahead of her peers in :28.1. The filly continued to draw away from the field heading for the :57.1 half, but skipped off stride in the third turn and left Allerage Stargazer in brief possession of the lead. Heading into the backstretch for the final time, driver Lyle MacArthur sent Zorgwijk Sophia to the front, reaching the three-quarters in 1:28.2, and the filly was on cruise control from there to the wire. The longest shot in the six-horse field, Zorgwijk Sophia stopped the Flamboro Downs teletimer at 2:00.1. Allerage Stargazer was four and one-half lengths back in second, holding off a charging P L Layla who finished third. Favourite Smoke And Mirrors recovered from a series of breaks to be fourth. St. George Brant resident MacArthur drives and trains Zorgwijk Sophia for Linda Wellwood of St. George Brant and Tammy Aspden of Caistor Centre, ON. With Wednesday's win the Majestic Son daughter jumped into fourth spot in the division standings with 77 points from one win, two thirds, one seventh and one eighth in five Gold Series starts. The victory also more than tripled the filly's earnings, which now stand at $70,824 after eight starts. The second division saw Wayne Henry fire longshot Gotta Pay To Play out of Post 4 and take command of the early tempo. Illusioneesta and Shamrock Shaker took a run at the pacesetter heading by the :29.4 quarter, but Henry refused to yield control and they tucked back onto the rail in second and third. Gotta Pay To Play carried on to a :59.2 half and when heavy favourite Kadabra Queen mounted a challenge rolling off the third turn, Henry once again opted not to concede the lead and just after the 1:30.3 three-quarters Kadabra Queen went off stride. From there Gotta Pay To Play sailed home to a two length victory in 1:59.1. Illusioneesta finished second and Shamrock Shaker was third. Kadabra Queen finished well back in sixth. Arthur, ON resident Henry drives, trains and owns first-time winner Gotta Pay To Play, who had two fifths, one sixth and one seventh-place result in her first four Gold Series starts. The victory bumps the Windsong Espoir daughter up to seventh spot in the point standings and increases her freshman earnings to $62,020. Both Zorgwijk Sophia and Gotta Pay To Play will compete in the $225,000 Super Final at Mohawk Racetrack on Oct. 14, along with the other eight leading point earners, part of the Ontario Sires Stakes program's $1.8 million season finale. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

OCTOBER 3, 2017 - London area harness racing fans got a look at Ontario's talented two-year-old pacing colts and geldings on Tuesday evening as the novices wrapped up their Ontario Sire Stakes Gold Series season at The Raceway at Western Fair District. With a berth in the Oct. 14 Super Final at stake, driver Doug McNair and Bo Mach set the tenor for evening in the first $64,800 division, firing away from Post 1 and stacking Jimmy Freight and Burning Midnight up to their right through the opening turn. Bo Mach reached the quarter pole in :27.4, but that was the last fraction he would clock without company. By the :57.1 half Burning Midnight was sitting on his flank and that colt continued to press the pace through the 1:25.4 three-quarters. After a fierce stretch battle it was Burning Midnight with a neck in front of Bo Mach in 1:55.1. Unable to find a way up the inside, frustrated fan favourite Jimmy Freight settled for third, one and one-half length behind the leaders. Louis-Philippe Roy drove Burning Midnight to his first Gold Series win for trainer Corey Giles and owners Brad Gray of Dundas and Denise Guerriero of Toronto, ON. The Mach Three son also captured a Grassroots trophy in his Ontario Sires Stakes debut at Mohawk Racetrack on July 20. The victory boosted Burning Midnight into the top ten point earners and landed him a berth in the $225,000 Super Final. The second division saw St Lads Neptune leave smartly from Post 1 and claim an early lead before ceding to Levis Day before the :28.2 quarter. Yacht Seelster led the charge up the outer lane as Levis Day led the field to a :58 half and 1:26.3 three-quarters, but it was fan favourite St Lads Neptune who slipped out of the pocket and on to a two length victory in 1:55.3 Levis Day stayed game for second and Sharp Action Money closed well for third. "He totally jogged tonight," said driver Jody Jamieson of St Lads Neptune. "He got the best trip possible on a half mile track though, and that really helps." Jamieson drives the Mach Three son for his father, trainer Carl Jamieson of Rockwood, and Thomas Kyron of Toronto, ON. In seven lifetime starts the gelding has tallied five wins, including Grassroots victories at Clinton Raceway on Aug. 27 and Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 4. St Lads Neptune finished third in his Metro Pace elimination at Mohawk on Sept. 16, but came up a bit sick for the Sept. 23 final and finished ninth. "He had a high white blood cell count after the Metro, so that was real disappointing, because I thought he'd go with them," said Jamieson. "Hopefully he stays healthy enough to race them again at the end of the month." Before he heads south for the Oct. 21 Breeders Crown eliminations at Indiana's Hoosier Park, St Lads Neptune will compete in the Oct. 14 Super Final after squeaking into ninth spot in the point standings with Tuesday's win. The winner of the third division will also compete in the Super Final, and trainer Casie Coleman is hoping Western Passage is poised for a strong finish to the season after a mid-summer hiccup caused him to miss six weeks of racing action. "After his second in the second Gold (July 20), I really though he cheated on me and needed to be gelded," said Coleman. "So I gelded him and we lost a lot of time, as he got a lot of complications after and went in for a second surgery. "He's coming around now again, hopefully in time for the Super Finals," added the Cambridge, ON resident. "He's a really nice colt." Starting from Post 4 with driver Doug McNair in the race bike, Western Passage was sitting third when favourite Simple Kinda Man reached the quarter in :29.3, but he did not sit there long as McNair quickly sent the colt after the leader. Although Western Passage had a nose in front at the :58 half Simple Kinda Man did not give way without a fight, and the colts were by the 1:25.4 three-quarters before Western Passage finally took control and powered away from the field to an eight length victory in 1:55.4. Declan Seelster finished second and Hudson Phil closed hard for third. Coleman shares ownership of Western Passage with her partners in the West Wins Stable of Cambridge, along with John and McKinlay Fielding of Toronto and Calhoun Racing Ltd. of Chatham, ON. With one win, two seconds and one seventh in Gold Series action the Sportswriter son finished the regular season in third spot in the standings with 102 points. The top 10 point earners will compete for $225,000 and divisional honours in their Oct. 14 Super Final at Mohawk Racetrack, part of the Ontario Sires Stakes' $1.8 million season finale. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

SEPTEMBER 26, 2017 - Gregg McNair and Ian Fleming have bred and owned horses together for years, but when two-year-old trotting gelding T Barrr arrived in the harness racing winner's circle at Mohawk Racetrack on Tuesday evening, McNair learned the partnership did not include the newly minted Ontario Sire Stakes Gold Series winner. "I asked him if I owned part of him, but he said no. I said, 'I'll be in on this one too, eh,' 'No, no,' he said, 'I don't think so'," related Guelph, ON resident McNair with a laugh. Londesborough, ON resident Fleming purchased T Barrr as a weanling to serve as a pasture-mate for a colt he and McNair had bred. A son of Adam T, who has produced just eight foals, and mare Lewies Lulu, T Barrr was never expected to be a Gold calibre horse, but when it came time to learn the racing ropes he outshone his pasture-mate. "We had an odd number so we wanted another gelding or a stud to run through the winter with the weanlings, so Ian bought him and he ran with the other one. Of course, the other one's no good," explained McNair ruefully. "He ended up being a nice horse. He was in a few different spots last winter and then we got him as soon as we got home from Florida. I think he'd been right around 2:30 when we got him. Everybody that had him liked him, it seemed like he was going pretty good all winter." T Barr made his debut in a July 25 maiden contest at Mohawk Racetrack and finished a fast-closing third, clocked in 1:57.1. On August 1 the gelding made his first Gold Series start, also at Mohawk, and finished fourth. A fourth-place finish in a two-year-old event at the Campbellville oval followed on August 11, but the youngster was scratched out of the August 18 Gold Leg due to sickness. The McNair team spent almost a month restoring T Barr's health and then sent him out against some of North America's top young trotters in the Sept. 11 William Wellwood Memorial Trot eliminations, where he made his first break and finished ninth. Back in Gold Series action on Tuesday evening, driver Mike Saftic of Campbellville lined T Barrr up at Post 3 in the $125,000 contest and had the colt in gear as soon as the starting car's wings folded. The pair hit the quarter in :29.1 and then yielded to Cousin Rickard, who carried on to a :58.4 half and a 1:28.2 three-quarters. Heading by the three-quarter pole, Saftic tipped T Barrr into the outer lane and the gelding powered down the stretch to a four length victory in 1:58. Cousin Rickard settled for second and Torches Pirate was two more lengths back in third. "He got out of there good and we got covered up," said Saftic from the winner's circle. "I didn't know how much we were going to get home, but it was a perfect trip, I pulled early and he win easy enough." "He drew good and things really worked out good for him tonight," added trainer McNair. "He acted like he was going to trot there every week when we first got going, and that's the first time he's been back to that speed. They didn't go a huge mile tonight, I don't think, a nice hot night like tonight, but he was better than the rest of them." The win boosted T Barrr's earnings from $12,544 to $75,044 and his Gold Series point total from eight to 58, putting him in fourth spot in the standings with one regular season event remaining. The freshman trotting colts will wrap up their regular season at Mohawk on Oct. 5, with the top 10 point earners advancing to the $225,000 Super Final at the Campbellville track on Oct. 14. Just 25 points separate the top five colts and Saftic is hoping that T Barrr's current momentum can continue through his remaining starts. "He's definitely going the right direction," said Saftic. "He's as good right now as anyone, I think." While McNair was disappointed to learn that he was not a co-owner of T Barrr, he will have another shot at some Gold Series hardware when Mohawk hosts the regular season Gold finale for the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings on Monday, Oct. 2. Bills Fella, a horse McNair does co-own with Fleming, will be looking for his second straight victory in the provincial program after earning his first trophy on Sept. 2. Before that, however, McNair will have his attention focussed on this Saturday's Grassroots Championships, which will see the top Grassroots pacers and trotters compete for a total of $400,000 in eight races. The event kicks off at 7:30 pm with the Championship races going postward in Races 1 through 3 and 5 through 9. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

SEPTEMBER 25, 2017 - Two-year-old trotting filly Kadabra Queen scored her fourth straight harness racing Ontario Sire Stakes Gold Series win at Mohawk Racetrack on Monday evening, dropping her personal best by a full two seconds. Starting from Post 4 in the $126,600 contest, driver Scott Colter eased Kadabra Queen off the starting gate and dropped into fifth as Illusioneesta battled to a :27.2 opening quarter. Heading for the :57.3 half Coulter tipped Kadabra Queen out behind Collateral Beauty and then sat on that filly's shoulder as she took the field to a 1:26.2 three-quarters. Turning into the stretch Coulter asked Kadabra Queen for another gear and the fan favourite powered home to a three-quarter length victory in 1:55.1. Smoke And Mirrors closed hard to be second and Shamrock Shaker was hot on her heels in third. "I hadn't really had to get into her too deep or race her too tough, you know, usually on the front or up close and tucked away," said Coulter after the race. "Tonight was the first time she had to do any serious work, and fortunately they were rolling down inside pretty good to the half tonight so I was able to collar them, and once she cleared she just swelled up and trotted away." All three of Kadabra Queen's previous Gold Series victories had seen her sit in the pocket well into the race, or control the tempo from the front, but Brantford, ON resident Coulter said he knew almost immediately that Monday's trip would be of a different flavour. "I knew it was only a matter of time before some of the other fillies started to trot off the car with her hard and tonight I could see within two steps there was a handful of them getting out of there as hard, or harder, than she was, and I said this is the time," said the driver. "So it was an easy decision, within moments of the car swinging away I knew that I was not going to be anywhere near the front, I was just going to kind of race her from off cover." The daughter of Kadabra and Queen Street has lowered her personal best in each victory and Coulter is hoping that trend continues through the last Gold Leg at Flamboro Downs on Oct. 4 and the $225,000 Super Final at Mohawk on Oct. 14. The reinsman says the gifted youngster is in excellent condition heading into the season's home stretch after enjoying a month long break following the Aug. 18 Gold Leg. "She's carrying more flesh right now. She put on some weight there and filled out a little wee bit," Coulter noted. "As far as her mannerisms, she's pretty much been that horse from the very get-go, just she's all business, that's what makes her so fun to drive. A lot of two-year-olds there's things you have to worry about and wonder what they're going to do, and she just seems to go to work and that makes her a pleasure." Campbellville resident Chad Milner conditions the filly, who has now earned $215,880 through eight starts for breeder Harness Horsepower Inc. of Campbellville and Frank Monte of Markham, ON. In addition to her four Gold Series wins Kadabra Queen has one second and three thirds in overnight action, with all but her debut coming at her hometown oval. Kadabra Queen Mohawk also hosted two Gold divisions for the three-year-old trotting colts and geldings on Monday and driver Sylvain Filion triumphed in both divisions, piloting R First Class and Capteur De Reve to victory. Filion also captured three overnight events, giving him a total of five wins on the program. In the first $94,800 Gold division Filion sat second with R First Class through the :27.4 quarter rung up by LMC Mass Gem and then sent the fan favourite after the lead. On top by two lengths at the :57.2 half, R First Class fought off a challenge from Head Turning Jag heading by the 1:25.4 three-quarters and then cruised home to a three and one half length victory in 1:53.2. LMC Mass Gem finished second and Head Turning Jag was third. "He really impressed me again tonight. Every time I sit behind him he seems to be getting stronger and stronger, and tonight he did it all by himself. I tell you the tank wasn't empty at the wire, he was full of himself still," said Filion. "You've got to give credit to Ben (Baillargeon) and his crew, they did a great job with him because at the beginning of the year, he was kind of a sneaky horse, you know, he didn't want to really go to the gate, he'd bail on you, but they got him pretty straightened out. I expect big things from him going forward." The Kadabra gelding heads into the Oct. 14 Super Final in third spot in the point standings with two Gold Series wins and one second for trainer Benoit Baillargeon of Rockwood and owner-breeders Thomas and Elizabeth Rankin of St. Catharines, ON. In 11 lifetime starts R First Class has only missed the top two on one occasion, making a break and finishing seventh in the Aug. 13 Gold Leg at Rideau Carleton Raceway, and Baillargeon is in full agreement with Filion about the gelding's potential. "I think he's going to turn out to be a very nice four-year-old," said Baillargeon. "He's a nice tall horse, but I think as a four-year-old he's going to fill out a little more, and I think he's got everything to be a real nice horse." R First Class In the second $95,600 division, Filion employed come-from-behind tactics with Capteur De Reve, waiting until he was rolling off the final turn to ask the Muscle Mass son for a second gear. Capteur De Reve battled to a head victory in a personal best 1:55, holding off Dream Massive. Blameitonthewhisky stayed game for third after a tough trip that saw him parked to the half and forced to check his momentum when On First went off stride while sitting second. "He's a gutsy little horse. We got a little lucky, you know, there was a bit of confusion at the half and the pace kind of slowed down all of sudden and we were able to get a covered up trip until halfway around the last turn," said Filion, who piloted Capteur De Reve to the win for trainer Maxime Velaye and owner-breeder Ecurie Provoquante of Mirabel, QC. "He kicked home real good; he did what he had to do." The win boosted Capteur De Reve into sixth spot in the standings with two wins in two Gold Series starts. The top 10 point earners will return to Mohawk for their $225,000 Super Final on Oct. 14. Capteur De Reve Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series action continues at Mohawk Racetrack on Tuesday evening with one $125,000 division for the two-year-old trotting colts. The colts will compete in Race 5 on the midweek program, which gets under way at 7:30 pm. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

SEPTEMBER 9, 2017 - Shadow Moon and Jimmy Freight earned their second Ontario Sire Stakes Gold Series wins at Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday evening, putting a little distance between themselves and their harness racing two-year-old pacing colt peers in the division point race. In the first $97,200 Gold contest driver Trevor Henry of Arthur, ON sent Shadow Moon directly to the front from Post 7 and the pair led the field through fractions of :27.1, :56.4 and 1:24.4. In the stretch it appeared that fan favourite Declan Seelster would collar Shadow Moon, but the pacesetter dug in for a neck victory in 1:53. Declan Seelster and Avalon Hanover, both trained by Dave Menary of Cambridge, ON, finished second and third. "I said to Trevor, 'He all right', because he almost got beat there, and Trevor said, 'Well he kind of waits for them'. He watches for them, he turns his head and watches for them. He has a Murphy blind on the outside and he likes to take them on when they come," said trainer Dr. Ian Moore of Shadow Moon's narrow victory. "He's like that when I'm out jogging, if somebody comes along in a hurry, he'll take them on jogging." The win was Shadow Moon's second in Gold Series action and his fifth of the season. His only loss came in the August 19 Gold Leg when he was caught at the wire by Declan Seelster. In addition to his Gold victories the Shadow Play son captured a Grassroots trophy in his July 10 debut and a division of the Nassagaweya Stakes on August 26. "He's just gotten better and better over time. He's only a little guy, he's not real big, but he has the desire and grit to go," said Dr. Moore of the Gold Series point leader. "He's about the same size as ($2 million winner) State Treasurer was as a two-year-old, he's got the same kind of attitude as him, so hopefully that will carry him a long way." Puslinch, ON resident Dr. Moore shares ownership of Shadow Moon with R G McGroup of Bathurst, NB, Serge Savard of St-Bruno, QC and Gordon McComb of Fall River, NS. The partners offered up $60,000 for the youngster at last fall's Harrisburg Yearling Sale and have recouped $195,337 to date. Shadow Moon will make his seventh lifetime start in the Metro Pace Eliminations at Mohawk next Saturday, Sept. 16. "We're very happy and we are going to try the Metro," said Dr. Moore. "That was six races tonight, so hopefully there's a couple more in him. "It's hard to keep them going at that level for that long, I've always found anyways. When I think about it, I've only had one horse that was as good at the end of November as he was the first of May, and that was Shadow Play," added the horseman, who trained sire Shadow Play through his $1.5 million racing career. Shadow Moon Saturday's outing was rival Jimmy Freight's ninth of the season, and marked his seventh trip to the winner's circle. The son of Sportswriter started his career with five starts on the Iowa fair circuit, winning all five, and since being purchased by Milton, ON resident Adriano Sorella and arriving at Mohawk he has tallied two Gold Series wins, a third-place finish to Declan Seelster and Shadow Moon in the August 19 Gold Leg and a runner-up finish behind Shadow Moon in an August 11 overnight. In Saturday's $96,400 Gold split, regular reinsman Jonathan Drury of Guelph, ON sent Jimmy Freight to the front from Post 4 and faced immediate pressure from favourite Western Passage and driver Yannick Gingras. Drury opted to drive on and Jimmy Freight paced through fractions of :27.1, :55.2 and 1:24.1 on his way to a one and one-half length win in 1:52.3. Simple Kinda Man closed hard to be second and Sharp Action Money was third, giving sire Sportswriter a sweep of the top three. "His (Gingras') horse got running out pretty good in the first turn there and didn't really want to clear, so I figured I might as well keep going. I was able to get a little breather in the third-quarter and I think that helped a lot," said Drury of the colt's winning effort. "He's a real handy little fella, you can get out of there quick with him and he just settles right down as soon as you clear and you can do whatever you want." The win bumped Jimmy Freight's lifetime earnings to $118,526 and his Gold Series point tally to 112, 13 points behind Shadow Moon and 37 ahead of Declan Seelster. Jimmy Freight The two-year-old pacing colts will wrap up their Gold Series regular season at The Raceway at Western Fair District on October 3 and the top 10 point earners from the five regular season events will advance to the $225,000 Super Final at Mohawk on Oct. 14. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at the Campbellville oval on Monday, Sept. 11 with two Grassroots divisions for the three-year-old pacing colts. The first race goes in behind the starting gate at 7:30 pm and the sophomore pacing colts will compete in Races 4 and 7. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

SEPTEMBER 8, 2017 - Kendall Seelster added an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold trophy to her harness racing collection at Mohawk Racetrack on Friday with a commanding victory in the $125,800 two-year-old pacing filly Gold Series contest. The win was the Shadow Play daughter's second straight at the Campbellville oval - she was also victorious in the $169,381 Champlain Stakes on Sept. 2 - and Mohawk fans sent her off as the heavy favourite in Race 5. Starting from the trailing Post 11, driver Randy Waples of Milton, ON settled Kendall Seelster in sixth on the rail, behind two-time Gold Series winner Big Thong, as Play The Bell and Lady Grande battled to a :27.3 opening quarter. As Cardiff took control heading for the :55.3 half, driver James MacDonald tipped Big Thong into the outer lane and Waples sent Kendall Seelster out in her wake. Cardiff led the field of 10 past the 1:25.1 three-quarters, but Waples swung Kendall Seelster out from behind Big Thong coming off the corner and the fan favourite cruised by her peers to a three and one-quarter length victory in 1:52.4. Lady Grande closed hard to be second, as did Kendall Seelster's stablemate Just Her Luck to claim the third-place finisher's spoils. "Randy had mentioned it before that he didn't have to gun her out of there, that she would come from off the pace, and she proved it tonight," said trainer Paul Reid of Kendall Seelster's victory. "It's always good to see when you're not one dimensional; it just makes it so tough if you are." Reid, whose Ontario operation is based at First Line Training Centre in rural Milton, conditions both Kendall Seelster and Just Her Luck for 1187422 Ontario Inc. of Ottawa, ON and has been impressed with both youngsters since their arrival in his barn. "I picked them up the first of May and they'd been in like 2:25, 2:20 I guess, and we finished them off and started to race them. She (Kendall Seelster) felt like a nice filly right from the start, obviously I didn't think she was going to be this good," admitted the horseman. "She did feel like she had the ability, but she's a smaller filly you know, I was a little concerned. "When we first started going fast with her, training fast miles, it was just like flipping a switch, two different horses, because she's kind of short, even in the post parade she's kind of short and trappy going, and then as soon as she hits a nice gear boy it just smooths out and it's just great," the trainer added. In addition to Monday's win and her Champlain victory, where she dealt Ontario Sires Stakes rival Percy Bluechip her first loss, Kendall Seelster has an overnight win in an August 1 event at Mohawk and four runner-up efforts, three of them behind Percy Bluechip, to her credit. A $47,000 purchase at the 2016 Forest City Yearling Sale, the filly has amassed $262,085 through eight lifetime starts. Friday's victory boosted Kendall Seelster's Gold Series point total to 108, putting her in a tie for second behind Percy Bluechip, who skipped Friday's event. Kendall Seelster Stablemate Just Her Luck has accumulated 31 points and currently sits seventh in the standings. The homebred daughter of Sportswriter and Just Luck has made just five starts to date, recording one second and two thirds for earnings of $34,888, but Reid is hopeful that Friday's result means things are moving in the right direction for the youngster. "(Just Her Luck)'s very, very nice, better gait, more fluid right from the word go," recalled Reid. "Honestly, when I started with them I thought she might have been the better of the two. It didn't take long to figure out that the other one was, but she's a very nice filly. "She's been fighting sickness and hasn't been 100 per cent and we give her a little time, and she's coming back around now. I think she's a fast filly, like she's already paced 1:52.3, so I mean she's no slouch," Reid continued. "I think this start will help get her a little tighter and hopefully we can keep her healthy. I think she's competitive, maybe not with the top two, but she's only a step behind." Kendall Seelster will put her two-race win streak on the line against North America's top fillies in the Shes A Great Lady Eliminations at Mohawk on Saturday, Sept. 16, and Reid hopes she continues to channel her growing feistiness into winning races. "Last week after she win, on the way home she kicked the back window out of my horse trailer. She doesn't get very tired either," said Reid with a rueful chuckle. "A lot of them, as they get racier they get a little more feisty, so hopefully she just keeps putting that feistiness toward the race like she has been." Following the break for the Shes A Great Lady, Ontario's talented two-year-old pacing fillies will wrap up their Gold Series regular season at Mohawk on Oct. 5, with the top 10 point earners advancing to the $225,000 Super Final at the Campbellville oval on Oct. 14. Ontario's top two-year-old pacing colts will battle in their fourth Gold Series event on Mohawk Racetrack's Saturday evening program, competing in Races 8 and 10 on a card that also features eliminations for the Canadian Trotting Classic and Elegantimage Stakes and the Simcoe Stakes divisions for three-year-old pacing colts and fillies. Saturday's program gets under way at 7:30 pm. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

SEPTEMBER 2, 2017 - On a harness racing program full of Grand Circuit Stakes, Ontario's top three-year-old pacing colts put on an impressive show in two $98,000 Ontario Sire Stakes Gold Series divisions Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack. After spending five weeks battling some of the top pacers on the Mohawk circuit, Sports Column celebrated his return to Ontario Sires Stakes action with an impressive 1:50.1 victory over Nascar Seelster and Mach Deja Vu. Lining up behind Post 4 with Brett Miller in the race bike, Sports Column landed in third as Manceiver took the field of 10 to a :27 quarter, but the fan favourite was soon rolling up the outside and had taken command by the :54.4 half. Under pressure from Mach Deja Vu at the 1:22.3 three-quarters, Sports Column found another gear in the stretch and pulled away to a two length victory, his second straight in Gold Series competition. "He was impressive tonight," said trainer Blake MacIntosh. "He's come back to form since we put him on Lasix (July 22) and hopefully everything keeps going right and we can finish off the year the way I was hoping we'd start it." Cambridge, ON resident MacIntosh shares ownership of Sports Column with Hutt Racing Stable of Paoli, PA and Daniel Plouffe of Bromont, QC. In 11 sophomore starts the Sportswriter colt has posted two wins, both in Gold Series action, two seconds and four thirds for earnings of $130,000. Monday's victory propelled him to the top of the three-year-old pacing colt point standings with a total of 110. The sophomore pacing colts make their last regular season Gold start at Mohawk on Oct. 2 and the top 10 points earners will return to the Campbellville oval for the $225,000 Super Final on Oct 14. Before he wraps up his Ontario Sires Stakes career, however, Sports Column has a pair of open stake engagements south of the border. "He's eligible to the race at Scioto (Downs) next week (Sept. 9), the Jug Preview, and then he's got the Jennas Beach Boy in Indiana (Hoosier Park, Sept. 22)," said MacIntosh. "And then he's got the next Gold on Oct. 2, then Super Finals on Oct 14 and then the Matron (Dover Downs, Nov. 9)." Sports Column The second Gold division saw heavy favourite Classic Pro suffer his first defeat of the season against Ontario Sires Stakes company. Rather than the two-time Gold Series winner it was first-time Ontario Sires Stakes winner Bills Fella who hit the wire first, stopping the clock in a personal best 1:51.1. "Something was bothering Classic Pro there tonight, and it ended up things worked out great for us," said trainer Gregg McNair. "I inherited the win I think somehow, that horse wasn't himself tonight, Classic Pro, but our horse raced real good, he paced strong to the wire." Bills Fella and driver Mike Saftic of Campbellville, ON lined up behind Post 5 in the nine-horse second division and were sitting fifth when Arsenal Seelster reached the quarter in :26.4. Saftic was looking to follow Classic Pro into the outer lane, but was forced to go around the favourite when driver Trevor Henry dropped back down onto the rail before the :55.4 half. Instead of Classic Pro, Bills Fella ended up following Dreamfair BJ up the outside to the 1:23.2 three-quarters, and when Saftic tipped the gelding out in the stretch Bills Fells sprinted under the wire a one and one-half length winner over pocket-sitter Red John and pacesetter Arsenal Seelster. The win was the third of the season for Bills Fella and his first in Ontario Sires Stakes action. The son of Artistic Fella and Lucky Louisa started the season with a third-place finish at the Grassroots level and then finished third to Sports Column in the July 22 Gold event. "I think this is his second Gold. We raced him in one before and he was third, but he was all out," recalled McNair, who bred and owns Bills Fella with Ian Fleming of Londesborough. "I mean much further to go and I think he was going to be fourth that night, but tonight he was good and strong. Mike said he paced strong, right to the wire, so we were happy with that." Bills Fella is the grandson of McNair and Fleming's former Gold Series star Claires Apache and the trainer says her sophomore season in 2005 may be the last time the pair hoisted a Gold trophy. "I don't think we've had a Gold win for, well Claires Apache would be our last Gold win, I believe. We've been putting lots back in, so it's nice to get a little out once in a while," added the Guelph, ON resident, ruefully. Bills Fella Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Mohawk Racetrack on Monday, Sept. 4 with Grassroots action for the two-year-old pacing colts and two-year-old trotting fillies. The pacing colts will kick things off in the first race at 7:30 pm. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

AUGUST 29, 2017 - Harness racing fillies trained by Gregg McNair now sit first and second in the three-year-old pacing filly point standings as Action Majesty and The Joy Luck Club triumphed in their respective Ontario Sire Stakes Gold Series divisions at Mohawk Racetrack on Tuesday evening. First out of the paddock for the McNair Stable was Action Majesty, who was sent off as the Race 3 favourite after winning her last two Gold Series starts in effortless fashion. Starting from Post 3 with Doug McNair in the race bike, Action Majesty took quick command of the race and loafed through fractions of :27, :56.3 and 1:25.1 before rocketing home to a two-length victory in 1:51.3. Aint Three Ok was second and top Grassroots filly Manhattan Play was third in her sophomore Gold Series debut. "She's been good, that was a good bunch of older mares she beat last week (Aug. 18). She got a little respect tonight," noted trainer Gregg McNair. "She looked like she was definitely the filly to beat in there, and once she made the lead she got things her own way. And she sprinted home, obviously :26.2, they weren't going to make up much ground," added driver Doug McNair. "It would have been tough for somebody to pressure her without costing themselves money, you know." The McNairs, based in Guelph-Eramosa Township, ON, train and drive Action Majesty for owner-breeder Kenneth Sommer of Sheffield, OH. In four Gold Series starts the daughter of Royal Mattjesty and Action Grin has posted three wins and one third for a total of 165 points and top spot in the division standings. In 11 sophomore starts she boasts a record of four wins, two seconds and one third for earnings of $195,092. Action Majesty has not finished worse than second since a seventh-place result in the June 17 Fan Hanover Final. Action Majesty In the second $95,600 Gold division The Joy Luck Club also went off as the fans' top choice, coming into the race on a three-race win streak. Lining up behind Post 6, Doug McNair eased the filly away from the starting gate and the pair was sitting fourth when Fade reached the opening quarter in :26. Feeling Blameitonthenight coming up on his flank, McNair opted to send The Joy Luck Club up the outer lane and the favourite was looking Fade in the eye by the :54.1 half. On top by two lengths at the 1:21.3 three-quarters, The Joy Luck Club held on for a one length victory in a personal best 1:50.3. Fade was second and Grassroots regular P L Kahluaa was a hard-closing third. "She was real game," said Doug McNair. "She's got a big engine, the only thing is you've got to try to use it at the right time with her because she can get, sometimes she can get a little bit hot, but she's been a lot better the last few starts." "She really zinged that third-quarter. She's a pretty nice mare to have something left after that," said Gregg McNair. "They're a nice pair of mares, it's nice to have to have them." Gregg McNair shares ownership of The Joy Luck Club with R A W Equine Inc. of Burlington and breeder Mark Horner of St. Marys, ON. In 20 starts this season the daughter of Camluck and Oh The Joy has netted 13 wins and three seconds for earnings of $189,657. In four Gold Series starts she now has two wins, one sixth and one seventh for a point tally of 105 and second spot in the division standings. The top 10 point earners will compete in the $225,000 Super Final at Mohawk on Oct. 14. The Joy Luck Club The three-year-old pacing fillies will wrap up their regular season at Mohawk Racetrack on Oct. 2. In addition to their Gold Series victories, the McNairs also picked up two other wins with three-year-old pacing gelding All It Takes, a Grassroots regular, and three-year-old pacing filly Shewearsthepants, who sits atop the Grassroots point standings, and two seconds with four-year-old trotters Muscles For Life and Hill Of A Colt. All It Takes Shewearsthepants "It was a good night for Dad, I don't know if he's ever won four in one night at Mohawk," said the younger McNair. "I don't know. I kind of think we might have at one time," his father added. "But I don't think we've had a night like that though, a couple seconds to boot, it was a good night." This weekend Ontario Sires Stakes action will be featured on Mohawk Racetrack's stakes laden Friday and Saturday night cards. Three Grassroots divisions of two-year-old pacing fillies will highlight the Friday evening program, which also features the Champlain Stakes for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings and the Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old trotting fillies. On Saturday the three-year-old pacing colts will battle in a pair of Gold Series divisions on a card that also features the Champlain Stakes for both two-year-old pacing fillies and pacing colts, the Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old trotting colts and the $615,000 Canadian Pacing Derby for aged pacers. Post time for both programs is 7:30 pm. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

AUGUST 19, 2017 - Two-year-old pacers were in the harness racing spotlight at Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday night, competing in four Ontario Sire Stakes Gold Series divisions worth a total of $390,400. The two fastest divisions were clocked in 1:51.4, one by pacing colt Declan Seelster in his first lifetime start, and the other by pacing filly Percy Bluechip in her third straight Gold win. In the first pacing colt division, Declan Seelster and driver Jody Jamieson of Moffat, ON lined up at Post 6 and landed on the rail in seventh as Jimmy Freight took the field to a :27 opening quarter. Fan favourite Shadow Moon took command on the way to the :55.3 half and continued to lead at the 1:23.3 three-quarters, while Jamieson opted to keep Declan Seelster on the rail. In the stretch a sliver of racetrack opened up on the rail and, after some manoeuvering, Jamieson was able to squeeze Declan Seelster up the inside to a head victory over a duelling Shadow Moon and Jimmy Freight. "Putting him in there tonight, I really wished I could have had a maiden start into him. I just told Jody (Jamieson) not to sacrifice him, you know, put him in a spot where if he can win he can win, but it's an awful lot to ask," said trainer Dave Menary. "That qualifier (1:55.4 on August 8) was his very first time behind the gate. We did stretch him out a little bit the last three-quarters aiming for this, but you know there's a difference when they're down to the quarter in :27 or they're down to the quarter in :33." Declan Seelster's debut was a long-awaited one for the Cambridge resident and his partners Michael Guerriero of Brampton, Denis Breton of Welland, ON and Tim Purkiss of Port Coquitlam, BC. Menary had been impressed with the colt early in his education, but some growing pains in the spring caused the trainer to back off with the son of Big Jim and Demi Seelster, who was a $48,000 purchase out of last fall's Forest City Yearling Sale. "February-March he was definitely my favourite colt. He just did a lot of growing and his feet were really bothering him right when baby races were getting started," recalled Menary. "I backed off and worked on his feet, and actually I sent him to a friend of mine, Brian Lee, to go on the TheraPlate and swim for two weeks. Brian did a great job and that really helped him turn the corner. "And Frank O'Toole was a very good help with the horse, and Jeff Courchesne takes care of him and does a very good job, so just everybody working together," Menary continued. "I appreciate my partners' patience, everybody was getting a little antsy because I touted the colt so much, so early, and they're watching all our other colts out there racing and winning, and I kept telling them. 'It's gonna be okay, it's gonna be okay,' and tonight their patience was rewarded." Declan Seelster The patience of trainer Dr. Ian Moore and driver Trevor Henry was tested in the evening's last Gold division as Percy Bluechip arrived at Mohawk for her third start with a newfound level of aggression. "She was a handful warming up tonight, holy smokes," said Dr. Moore. "She took off right there on the track on me, like pretty well ran away with me tonight warming up, and I turned her to go the right way thinking that might help and that was worse, so I put ear plugs in her to race, she's never had them in in her life." The ear plugs did not help Henry in the post parade as Percy Bluechip once again tried to start the race early. With some assistance Henry was able to get the filly settled and the Arthur, ON resident kept her at a walk until the starter called the fillies to the gate. Fortunately, once the gate started to roll Percy Bluechip was all business and after getting away second from Post 2, Henry sent her after the lead just after the :28 quarter and she rolled through a :56.2 half and 1:24.1 three-quarters on the way to her third Gold Series win. Kendall Seelster finished one and one-half lengths back in second and Play The Bell was another length back in third. "I think she took a lot out of herself warming up tonight, she had to, it's impossible that she didn't," said Dr. Moore. "She's a very smart filly so I'm hoping that this is a phase she's going through and that she will eventually settle down and relax a bit, but at least she was good in the race, so that's good to know." Moore shares ownership of the daughter of Shadow Play and Advantest with his partners in the Shadow Two Stable of Puslinch, ON, James and Wilma Mackenzie of Ennismore, ON and Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC. The group, who offered up $110,000 to acquire the filly from the Forest City Yearling Sale, was hoping Percy Bluechip would make her open stake debut in the Eternal Camnation at Mohawk on August 26, but Moore is tempering expectations after Saturday's fractious outing. "We're hoping to go in the Eternal Camnation next week, but it doesn't give me much time to resolve some of that situation, to get her under control," said the Puslinch resident. "Hopefully I'll have a little bit of equipment on her to settle her a bit. I don't want to T her off, but I've got to do something." Percy Bluechip The other pacing filly Gold trophy went home with Lady Grande, who went gate-to-wire from Post 6, hitting the wire three and three-quarter lengths ahead of Delaney R and Lady Ella in 1:52.3. Jonathan Drury of Guelph engineered the win for trainer Victor Puddy of Mountain, ON and owners Keith Cassell of Smiths Falls, Lloyd Stone of Portland, Jerome Voldock of Arnprior and numbered company Ontario 1085195 of Gloucester, ON. The group purchased the daughter of Big Jim and Lady Latte out of last fall's Canadian Yearling Sale for $25,000 and Lady Grande has returned $97,992 from one win, four seconds and one third in seven starts. Lady Grande Hudson Phil captured the other pacing colt division, making a successful leap up from the Grassroots Series for trainer Mark Steacy of Lansdowne, ON and owner-breeder Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC. The son of Shanghai Phil and Hazel, in rein to newly crowned World Driving Champion James MacDonald of Guelph, also found racing room along the rail, sprinting from fifth at the top of the stretch to a two and one-quarter length victory in 1:52.4. Favourite Evening Play was second and Taste Of History was third. Hudson Phil The two-year-old pacing fillies and colts return to Mohawk Racetrack for their fourth Gold Series event, the fillies on Friday, Sept. 8 and the colts on Saturday, Sept. 9. Two-year-old pacing fillies will also be featured at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday, August 24 as the Campbellville oval hosts the fourth Grassroots event for the novices, with a first race post time of 7:30 pm. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Mohawk Racetrack. Ontario Racing

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