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FRASERVILLE, AUG. 13, 2020 - Over $114,000 is up for grabs in stakes action at Kawartha Downs on Saturday, Aug. 15 as Ontario's top three-year-old trotting colts arrive at the Fraserville harness racing oval for the third leg of their Grassroots campaign. Local colt Awesomedabra heads into the event with a flawless record of two wins in the first two legs for a share of top spot in the division point standings. In his most recent start the Kadabra gelding finished second in the Aug. 1 Dream Of Glory Final at Hanover Raceway, drawing in off the also eligible list after two horses were forced to withdraw from the final due to sickness, something owner-trainer Gary Lance was dealing with before the elimination. "He was sick the week before and he just wasn't himself," said Port Perry, ON resident Lance. "Luckily he drew in. He was the second also eligible and he drew in, you don't see that happen very often, and he raced good. Chris has done a great job with him." Awesomedabra will be without regular pilot Chris Christoforou, currently sidelined with injuries suffered at the beginning of the month, but top Kawartha Downs reinsman Nick Boyd will step in to steer the gelding from Post 4 in the fourth Grassroots division. The pair face a stiff test, starting in between last year's Grassroots champion and current Gold Series regular Lovedbythemasses, trained and co-owned by Peterborough resident Ed Peconi, at Post 3 and Dream Of Glory champion and division co-leader Remember Titans at Post 5. "We kind of drew in a little tough on Saturday, but you never know. That's why they give the money out after the race," said Lance with a chuckle. "Hopefully we'll have some luck." So long as Awesomedabra emerges happy and healthy from Saturday's start he will embark on a new adventure next week. The gelding was bred and raised in Kentucky and as a result he is also eligible to that state's sires stakes program. "I'm going to send him down to Anette Lorentzon. There's only 46 colts eligible and I've be been keeping track of them all spring and summer, so I think he'll be competitive. He'll go down there probably Monday or Tuesday and then he's got three races, and hopefully he'll make the final, and then he'll be back here for the (Grassroots) Semi-final (Oct. 2)," explained Lance. "I just wanted to do it for the experience. I go to the sale all the time and watch the races during the Grand Circuit and I would have just loved to go down there and race one, but unfortunately with this COVD it's not worth taking the chance." Before heading south, Awesomedabra will look to pad his Grassroots point total in Saturday's fifth race. The other Grassroots divisions are slated as Races 1, 2, 4, and 6 on the program, which also features a single $7,200 Prospect Series division for Ontario Sired two-year-old trotting fillies in Race 8. Post time for the stakes laden program is 4 pm. With on-track attendance limited to 100, fans can download a program and catch all the stakes action via the live stream on the Kawartha Downs website. In addition to Saturday's stakes action, Kawartha Downs also has three more Prospect Series legs on its 2020 calendar. The two-year-old trotting colts and three-year-old pacing fillies will battle in their fourth leg on Saturday, Aug. 22 and the two-year-old pacing fillies will square off in leg four on Saturday, Sept. 5. Kawartha Downs Race Date Post Time Age/Sex/Gait Race Type           Saturday, August 8 4 pm 3-year-old Filly Trot Prospect Series           Saturday, August 15 4 pm 3-year-old Colt Trot Grassroots Series           Saturday, August 15 4 pm 2-year-old Filly Trot Prospect Series           Saturday, August 22 4 pm 2-year-old Colt Trot Prospect Series           Saturday, August 22 4 pm 3-year-old Filly Pace Prospect Series           Saturday, September 5 4 pm 2-year-old Filly Pace Prospect Series           Ontario Racing Follow the OSS on Social Media!  @ONTSSNews

DRESDEN, ON - AUG. 3, 2020 - One week after making their debut in the Ontario Sires Stakes winner's circle, two-year-old trotting colts Stonebridge Armour, Tymal Chrome and Arch Hall collected their second provincial victories on Monday, Aug. 3 as Dresden Raceway hosted a trio of $22,000 Grassroots divisions. Fan favourite Stonebridge Armour opened the Grassroots action with a gate-to-wire effort from Post 5, cruising home a three and one-half length winner in 2:04.1. Lovin Life Hanover finished second and Showme Some Muscle was third in the $22,800 test. "The gate was a little bit tricky with him in Sarnia, but I kind of knew him a little more today and he seemed to be a little more mature about it today too. He handled the gate really well and after that it was pretty much just a cake walk from there. I never pulled the plugs or nothing, I just sat on him the whole way," said driver Tyler Moore, who piloted the colt to his first Grassroots victory at Hiawatha Horse Park on July 25. "It was my 500th win too, so that was nice." Campbellville, ON resident Moore drives the Muscle Mass colt for trainer Jacques Dupont's Les Ecuries D'Orleans Inc. of Repentigny, Gestion C. Levesque 2005 Inc. of St-Hyacinthe, Mario Bourgea of Stanbridge East and Marc Camirand of Montreal, QC. A half-brother to $1.2 million winner Manofmanymissions, Stonebridge Armour was a $45,000 acquisition from last fall's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. With wins in both of his Grassroots starts Stonebridge Armour currently sits third in the freshman trotting colt standings with 100 points. Tymal Chrome earned his second Grassroots win with a gritty first-over trip, reeling in pacesetter Daylon Midnight and advancing down the stretch to a one length victory in 2:04.4. Doro Sogno tracked fan favourite Tymal Chrome from start to finish to secure the runner-up's share of the $22,450 purse and Diehard Seelster rounded out the top three. "He's been a nice horse all along. He just goes out, he just trots, it's like he refuses to make a mistake. He just wants to be a nice horse," said trainer Anthony Beaton. "He did the same thing in Sarnia, he went a big mile there first-up. He just seems like he wants to make you happy and not make mistakes, and that's great." Waterdown resident Beaton trains Tymal Chrome for Larry Menary of Branchton, Michael Guerriero of Brampton, ON and George Harrison of Wanes Walton, England. The partners purchased the Muscle Mass son for $22,000 from last fall's Harrisburg Yearling Sale. With two wins and one third in Grassroots action, Tymal Chrome currently sits second in the division standings with 112 points. Division leader Arch Hall delivered his second Grassroots win off a pocket trip behind early pacesetter Insanity, who rang up fractions of :30 and 1:01.2 before being collared by Arch Hall heading by the 1:33 three-quarters. Once he was in command, fan favourite Arch Hall sailed home to a two and three-quarter length win in 2:03.1. Insanity settled for second with Willywin well back in third. "He just left out and that horse (Insanity) wanted to be on front so he just sat there. Down the backstretch he pulled him and just made sure he got through the turn fine, and then he asked him the top of the lane and he just took off again," said trainer Blake MacIntosh. "He's a nice colt and anybody can drive him, he's pretty childproof right now. For a two-year-old trotting colt he's really smart." St. George, ON resident MacIntosh shares ownership of Arch Hall with Hutt Racing Stable of Malvern, PA. The Archangel colt has been no worse than fourth in four lifetime starts, with his two wins and one second putting him at the top of the Grassroots standings with 125 points. All three of Monday's winners are eligible to the Aug. 15 Balanced Image Eliminations at Hanover Raceway. The colts that make the Balanced Image Final on Aug. 22 will miss the fourth Grassroots event, which is slated for Aug. 25 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Dresden Raceway also hosted a pair of $7,000 Prospect Series divisions for the three-year-old trotting colts on Monday. Los Ballykeelamigo scored his second Prospect Series win with a gate-to-wire effort from Post 5 in the first division. The Amigo Hall son and driver Tyler Borth bested fan favourites The Reins Of Titan and driver Brett MacDonald and local colt Magnitude Ten and driver John Sullivan with the 2:02.4 effort. Cam McKnight trains Los Ballykeelamigo for his Ballykeel Racing Inc. of Tillsonburg, ON. The second Prospect Series division saw pacesetting Northern Flame hang on for a neck victory over fan favourite Royal Jewels in 2:05.3. Goaltender rounded out the top three. Phil Hudon piloted the Muscle Mass colt to his first Prospect Series win for trainer Jodie Cullen and owner Gestion J Y Blais of Montreal, QC. The three-year-old trotting colts will make their fourth Prospect Series start at Flamboro Downs on Sept. 6. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

DRESDEN, ON - JULY 31, 2020 - Dresden Raceway wraps up its 2020 season on Monday, Aug. 3 with a trio of $22,000 Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots divisions for the two-year-old trotting colts and a pair of $7,000 Prospect Series divisions for the three-year-old trotting colts. Local colt Magnitude Ten will make his Prospect Series debut in the first division, starting from the advantageous Post 1. Owner-trainer John Sullivan of Dresden will be in the race bike for the Kadabra colt's stakes debut, looking to add a win to the trotter's resume of two seconds and one third in three lifetime starts. "He was so big as a two-year-old that I thought maybe I might hinder him by trying to race him, and I'm pretty patient, so what I did was I trained him down pretty good and then I stopped with him and gave him a rest and let him develop," said Sullivan, who sent the colt behind the gate for the first time on June 20 at Hiawatha Horse Park. "I am pretty happy with everything he has done. He's a nice horse." Magnitude Ten faces a field of four, including former Grassroots competitor The Reins Of Titan from Post 2 and July 11 Prospect Series winner Los Ballykeelamigo from Post 5. Sullivan hopes the colt can hold his own, but win or lose there will be a bag of carrots waiting for Magnitude Ten in the barn when he comes off the track. "He just loves his carrots. He costs me a lot by the amount of carrots that he eats. He doesn't like apples, but he loves carrots," said Sullivan with a chuckle. "He has to have something in his mouth all the time, whether it's a sleeve, a hat, part of the bridle or anything. He just has to have something in his mouth. He's quite a character." Magnitude Ten and his peers will kick off the Civic Holiday Monday program at 1 pm in the first race, with the second Prospect Series division going postward in Race 5. The Grassroots colts square off in Races 3, 7 and 8 and two-year-old trotting colt point leader Arch Hall will be looking for a second Grassroots win from Post 5 in the last division. Trainer Blake MacIntosh is expecting another strong performance from the son of Archangel and driver Paul Mackenzie. "He's just done everything we've asked him to do so far," said St. George, ON resident MacIntosh, who shares ownership of Arch Hall with Hutt Racing Stable of Malvern, PA. "He's a very handy horse. He's very easy to drive, he doesn't do nothing wrong, and there's no real tricks to him. He's a pretty nice horse, for a two-year-old trotting colt he's pretty smart." Arch Hall will face off against six Grassroots foes in the eighth race, most of them veterans of the first two legs. In the July 11 season opener at Georgian Downs Arch Hall just got nipped at the wire and had to settle for second and in the July 25 contest at Hiawatha Horse Park he was a one and one-quarter length winner on the front end from Post 9, stopping the teletimer at 2:00.4. With a win and a second under his belt, Arch Hall sits atop the division standings with 75 points, 13 points ahead of Tymal Chrome who will start from Post 6 in the second Grassroots division. Fans can download a program and watch the live stream of Monday's races on the Dresden Raceway website. All the action gets underway at 1 pm. From the Ontario Sire Stakes  

ELORA, ON - Muscle Mass daughters swept a trio of $23,150 two-year-old trotting filly Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots harness racing divisions at Grand River Raceway on Wednesday, July 29, with Imextraspecial, Tipsy In Dixie and Top Of The Bar reaching the winner's circle. Imextraspecial kicked the evening off with an effortless gate-to-wire victory, her second in Grassroots action, for driver Trevor Henry of Arthur, trainer Paul Walker of Owen Sound and owner Keith Coulter of Mono, ON. Starting from Post 2, the fan favourite rolled through fractions of :30.1, 1:01.2 and 1:31.1 on her way to a personal best 2:00. HP Mama B finished second and All Muscle N Sass was seven more lengths back in third. "I've never been able to just put a handle on her. Although she won at Mohawk (July 13), I wasn't totally impressed with her. Tonight was a better race; she put in a better performance," said Walker. "She looked well in hand actually. She's got us thinking now whether we'll move into the Gold for a race and see what she can do." Coulter offered up $95,000 to purchase Imextraspecial from last fall's London Selected Yearling Sale, with the assistance of Walker's brother Larry. Walker was initially asked to take the filly to his winter base in Georgia to train, but when he returned to Ontario the engagement was extended. "First of all he asked me to take her to Georgia, break her in and train her, and then he said well you might as well keep her then too," said Walker with a chuckle. "That's fine, we don't take too many outside horses now, but you don't often get somebody handing you one that's that kind of calibre. She's been good to work with, I mean really she's quite professional in every way. That part I really like about her, so we're hoping that she's maybe going to come and reach expectations yet." The second division saw Tipsy In Dixie and driver James MacDonald emulate the example set by Imextraspecial and Henry. Also starting as favourites from Post 2, MacDonald sent Tipsy In Dixie to the front where she rang up fractions of :29.4, 1:01.3 and 1:31.3 and then cruised home to a two and three-quarter length victory in 2:01.3. Mag N Lady and Salome finished second and third. "She's a nice little filly. She qualified good and she's just great gaited, so I knew coming here it would suit her. And she trained down on a half so I knew that wouldn't be a problem," said MacDonald, who drove Tipsy In Dixie to a second-place result in the Grassroots season opener. "Harry (Poulton) had her good, she just coasted to the lead and I never really had to open her up much. It's a good win for her." Tipsy In Dixie is trained by Harry Poulton of Milton for fractional ownership group TheStable Tipsy In Dixie, based in Guelph, ON, and a few of her delighted owners were there to greet her when she arrived in the winner's circle. A total of 100 owners were permitted in the outdoor area alongside the racetrack for the first time on Monday, July 27 and members were quick to get their names on the list for Tipsy In Dixie's second start. "It's great to see some owners in the grandstand and hear them cheering and stuff for their horses," said Guelph resident MacDonald. "There's always a good row when a Stable horse goes by, that's for sure." Top Of The Bar captured the final division with a late rush that saw her get a head in front of pacesetting favourite Fortune Tellers K for the 2:03.2 win. Liminary Hanover completed the top three. Trainer Mark Etsell of Rockwood drove Top Of The Bar to her first lifetime win for his co-owners Robert Newton of Walkerton, Graham Hopkins of Chesley and Peter Porter of Port Dover, ON. The filly, a $25,000 purchase from the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, finished third to Imextraspecial in the July 13 Grassroots leg. "I had her sister, Tymal Tempest, so I kind of knew what the family was like. This one is a lot nicer than the other; Tymal Tempest was a terror, just nasty. She could go, but she was handful," said Etsell of Top Of The Bar's half-sister, who earned $146,847 in her career. "She's not an aggressive filly like some Muscle Mass's, she's pretty laid back, pretty lazy, but she's willing and she's good gaited. I think she'll get nothing but better, but she just does what she has to do and that's fine with her." The freshman trotting fillies will make their third Grassroots appearance at Woodbine Mohawk Park on August 17, while those that opt to step up to the Gold Series will be back at Grand River Raceway on August 19. Complete results from Wednesday's program are available at Grand River Raceway Results. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Grand River Raceway on Monday, Aug. 3 as the three-year-old pacing fillies compete in five Grassroots and two Gold Series divisions on the Elora oval's annual Industry Day program, which is highlighted by the $128,149 Battle Of The Belles Final for two-year-old pacing fillies and the $200,964 Battle Of Waterloo Final for two-year-old pacing colts. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

OTTAWA, ON - JULY 26, 2020 - Rideau Carleton Raceway rolled out the red carpet for Ontario's talented three-year-old trotting fillies on Sunday, July 26 and a very fast carpet it turned out to be. Three Ontario Gold Series divisions, five Grassroots divisions and one Prospect Series division went postward at the Ottawa oval and in the first $71,467 Gold Series split P L Notsonice roared to a track, Ontario Sires Stakes and Canadian record 1:52.4 victory. In rein to regular Canadian pilot Jonathan Drury, P L Notsonice left smartly from Post 5 and had command of the tempo before the :28.4 quarter. Susies Lady was quickly out to challenge P L Notsonice and the two fillies duelled to a :56.4 half before Susies Lady conceded defeat. Fan favourite P L Notsonice maintained the sharp pace through the 1:24.3 three-quarters and then drew away to a four and one-quarter length victory over pocket-sitter Trina and Shape Shifter. The mile stripped almost three seconds off the former three-year-old trotting filly track record of 1:55.3 set in 2004 by the great Peaceful Way and matched in 2015 by Amoureuse Hanover, and also bettered the 1:53 all-age track record for trotters set by Majestic Son in 2007. It also lowered the 1:54.2 Ontario Sires Stakes and Canadian record for three-year-old trotting fillies on a five-eighths mile track set by Cross Of Lorraine at Georgian Downs in 2010 and matched by Miss Paris in 2012. "It was very exciting. Ronnie (Morales) was so excited he didn't answer his phone. And he didn't watch the race he was so nervous, he watched the replay," said Norm Clements, whose Prince Lee Acres bred the filly and shares ownership on her with Renaldo "Ronnie" Morales III of Sayre, PA. "We've only got a small stable, we've been cutting way back, but this is special because it's a homebred and it's all my guys that have looked after it. It's sort of a family thing, which is really neat. So it's very exciting, we're very blessed that this has all happened." The win was the Kadabra filly's first in Ontario Sires Stakes action and her third of the 2020 season, with her other two victories coming at Tioga Downs, where driver-trainer Morales and trainer Joseph Skowyra are based. For each of her Gold Series starts - she finished second in the July 2 season opener at Woodbine Mohawk Park - she has shipped north to race without her regular driver and trainer and then shipped back to Tioga Downs. "We ship her from Tioga so it's not without its challenges," said Uxbridge, ON resident Clements. "But right now she's as good as anybody I guess. I'm excited to watch the next Golds. It's exciting because so many people have been involved with it and we're all, everybody is excited. I've had more phone calls on this than I've had in a long time." In the second $71,467 Gold division, Warrawee Vicky returned to the track where she learned her early lessons and snuck up the inside to claim a neck victory in 1:56. Magic Cape finished second and pacesetter and fan favourite GP Dreamin settled for third. "I don't worry about time, she beat the best filly out there and I'm glad we got through along the rail. A win's a win and we're going to take it," said Puslinch resident Scott McEneny, who trains Warrawee Vicky for Brad Grant of Milton, ON. "She's getting better with the open bridle on, she's getting more relaxed. Sometimes she gets too relaxed, but I was happy with her." Driver Doug McNair engineered Warrawee Vicky's second Gold Series win of the season, putting the Royalty For Life daughter at the top of the division standings with a perfect 100 points. The final $72,266 Gold split saw Massive Flirt return to the provincial winner's circle just over one year since her first appearance. The Muscle Mass daughter, whose freshman campaign was cut short due to injury, controlled the pace from start to finish and held on in the stretch for a neck victory in a personal best 1:55.4. Talahassee Seelster finished second and She Rocks Kemp was third. "It was significantly slower than the other division, the PL horse that won the first division looked bionic, but yeah, we're certainly happy to get that one," said trainer Jeff Gillis. "She's honest. She doesn't want to give up the lead, she doesn't want to make a break, she does whatever she can." Hillsburgh resident Gillis bred and owns Massive Flirt with Mac Nichol of Burlington, ON. The filly and regular reinsman Jody Jamieson were fourth in the Gold Series season opener. Rideau Carleton Raceway regular Tyler Jones recorded his first Ontario Sires Stakes win in his provincial program debut, steering Archangel daughter Peppas Angel to a 2:00.1 score in the second $22,800 Grassroots division for his father, trainer Dustin Jones of Waterdown, ON, Hebert Horses Inc. of Montreal and Andrea Lea Racing Stables Inc. of Lakefield Gore, QC. Validation finished second and Rockadero was third. "When I saw the rail horse made a break, I said, 'Well I might as well take a shot and go to the front', and it worked out," said Jones. "I wasn't a big favourite, so I kind of expected somebody to re-move and nobody did, and when somebody came up first-over I just drove on and she responded. Then she came back with a nice last quarter to win. "Me and my dad were pretty happy to win together, that was pretty cool," added the Sherbrooke, QC resident. "I hadn't seen my dad in four months and his birthday is the 31st of July, so it's kind of a nice little get together to have a race and have a win together." The other Grassroots divisions went to Th Present (Royalty For Life) and Bob McClure, who stopped the clock in 1:57.2 for trainer Marcel Barrieau of Cambridge, ON and Gestion Mastel Inc. of Longueil, QC; Pier Ho Kado (Kadabra) and Sylvain Filion, who were 1:57.4 winners for trainer Ben Baillargeon and owners Tom and Elizabeth Rankin of St. Catharines, ON; Profound Paragon (Muscle Mass) and Jean Bernard Renaud, who got their second Grassroots win of the season with a 1:57.2 effort for trainer Julie Walker of Carlisle, ON and Steven Titus of Manalapan, NJ; and HP Starlite (Muscle Mass) and Sylvain Filion, who posted a 1:56.4 win for trainer Daniel Martin and owners Claude Hamel of Ayer's Cliff and Guy Desautels of Montreal, QC. The $7,500 Prospect Series division was captured by local reinsman Guy Gagnon and Keep Ya Head Up. The Archangel daughter sailed to a 1:57.3 victory for trainer Susanne Kerwood and Rene Dion of Acton, David Nicol of Mount Hope and Princeton Farms Inc. of Princeton, ON. Complete results for Sunday's program are available at Rideau Carleton Raceway Results. Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Rideau Carleton Raceway on Sunday, Aug. 16 with Gold, Grassroots and Prospect Series divisions for the three-year-old pacing colts. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

SARNIA, ON - JULY 25, 2020 - A gorgeous summer afternoon greeted the two-year-old trotting colts as they arrived at Hiawatha Horse Park on Saturday, July 25 for their second Grassroots leg and the harness racing youngsters celebrated with a track record performance in the first $23,150 division. In spite of starting from Post 9, Fashion Frenzie was the fans' top choice and the colt rewarded their faith by taking command just after the half and romping home to a 13 length victory in a track record 1:59.4. Test Your Magic finished second and Arch We Lucky was third. "Yesterday (Friday) I schooled him behind the gate at the farm, just to make sure he was good on the gate, because I wanted to be one of the first guys on the gate with the nine-hole so I wouldn't have to chase it, and it worked out pretty good," said trainer-driver Dustin Jones. "He behaved himself behind the gate, so that was a big thing. He got away good and then I was lucky to get behind the second favourite in the first turn and that helped too." Fashion Frenzie arrived in the Jones barn just after a July 4 qualifier at Trois-Rivieres, where he learned his early lessons from Francis Richard. The Archangel son made a break in a July 17 qualifier at Woodbine Mohawk Park so Jones made a few shoeing changes and sent the youngster back for a third qualifier on July 21. Fashion Frenzie delivered a flawless 2:00 effort that made the horseman wonder if he should have opted for the Gold Series rather than the Grassroots. "The last couple weeks he's really changed a lot, getting out in the paddock every day. He was out in the paddock for an hour this morning, he likes his paddock time and he's turning into a pretty nice horse," said Waterdown, ON resident Jones. "The young guy that had him in Three Rivers did a heck of a job getting him ready; all I had to do was change his front shoes and put him in to go. They did all the ground work on him, so it made my job a lot easier." Ferme Auclair of St. Antoine De Tilly, Ecurie Francis Richard Inc. and Georgette Guillemette Inc. of Becancour and Mario Bourgea of Stanbridge East, QC share ownership of Fashion Frenzie, who was a $7,000 purchase from last fall's London Selected Yearling Sale. The second Grassroots split saw Stonebridge Armour leave smartly from Post 7 and take control before the half, then cruise home a one-half length winner in 2:01.1. Insanity finished second and Crazy Goodbye was three more lengths back in third. "He got out of there really good, like I could have blasted him right to the front easily, but I just kind of took my time with him and let things settle," said driver Tyler Moore. "Brett MacDonald was on the front and his (Insanity) looked pretty green so when I come out of the first turn I just tipped him to the outside and away he went. He actually won pretty easy. I didn't have to ask a lot out of him." Campbellville, ON resident Moore engineered the win for trainer Jacques Dupont's Les Ecuries D'Orleans Inc. of Repentigny, Mario Bourgea, Gestion C. Levesque 2005 Inc. of St-Hyacinthe and Marc Camirand of Montreal, QC. The Muscle Mass son, a half-brother to $1.2 million winner Manofmanymissions, was a $45,000 acquisition from the 2019 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. Driver James MacDonald swept the other two divisions, guiding both Arch Hall and Tymal Chrome to 2:00.4 victories. Fan favourite Arch Hall left smartly from Post 9 and controlled the pace from start to finish, cruising home a one and one-quarter length winner over Diehard Seelster and All The Trimmings. "Post 9 would terrify some people, but I wasn't that worried about it for him, he's so good gaited and he's got quick speed. I mean, if it was three-year-old pacing colts, yeah Post 9 is pretty bad, but for a two-year-old trotting colt, everyone has got to be kind of careful, and I don't, you know because he's great gaited and he's very professional," said MacDonald. "So I was able to just get him out of there good and as soon as he settled in on the front he kind of relaxed, and as soon as I need him he had lots more to offer. He's going to be a nice horse all year I think." MacDonald and Arch Hall were second in the Grassroots season opener at Georgian Downs on July 11, just caught at the wire, and the Guelph, ON resident said the Archangel son had clearly absorbed the lessons he learned in his first outing. St. George, ON resident Blake MacIntosh conditions Arch Hall for his co-owner Hutt Racing Stable of Malvern, PA. In the final $23,150 division MacDonald and Tymal Chrome watched Petro Dealin and Daylon Midnight ring up sharp a :28.2 quarter, :59.3 half and 1:29.3 three-quarters and then circled around the tiring leaders and drew away to a one and one-half length. The Wheel and Incredible Hall also circled the pacesetters to be second and third. "He punched out of there good and there were some big fractions up front, they were moving along pretty good, so when they started to tire I just flipped him out three wide and he was very good," said MacDonald. "He got in a little bit on the last turn, I kind of just had to watch him, and then when he straightened up he took off again. "I was very fortunate. I had three bomb proof trotters to drive in the Sires Stakes today," added MacDonald, who also piloted Test Your Magic to his runner-up result in the first division. "It makes your job as a driver a lot easier when you only have to focus on your job, and not hanging onto them or holding them together and your job." Anthony Beaton trains Tymal Chrome for Larry Menary of Branchton, Michael Guerriero of Brampton, ON and George Harrison of Wanes Walton, England, who offered up $22,000 for the youngster at the Harrisburg Yearling Sale. The Muscle Mass son was third in the Grassroots season opener, finishing one length behind Arch Hall. Complete results for Saturday's program are available at Hiawatha Horse Park Results. The two-year-old trotting colts will resume their Grassroots rivalry on Monday, Aug. 3 at Dresden Raceway. Hiawatha Horse Park's record book will face its second threat of the season on Saturday, Aug. 22 when the two-year-old pacing colts arrive in Sarnia for their third Grassroots leg. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

MILTON, JULY 24, 2020 - Delightful Terror kicked off the second leg of the three-year-old pacing colt harness racing Grassroots Series in impressive fashion on Friday, July 24, circling Woodbine Mohawk Park in a personal best 1:49.3. In rein to Louis-Philippe Roy, Delightful Terror got away sixth from Post 7, tucking in behind fan favourite Bettorbuckleup as Messier Seelster led the field of nine to a sharp :25.2 opening quarter. Taking over the lead, Sunshine List maintained the brisk tempo through the :53.1 half while Delightful Terror started to advance up the outer lane behind Bettorbuckleup. Bettorbuckleup had a head in front of Sunshine List at the 1:22 three-quarters, but when Roy asked Delightful Terror for another gear the colt unleashed his trademark finishing kick and sprinted home to a two and one-quarter length victory. Bettorbuckleup settled for third and Bettor In Cash also closed well to be third. "He was great tonight. I knew he was sitting on a big effort, because he has been racing well against tougher competition," said trainer Shawn Steacy of Brantford. "A hot pace to chase helped, but he put in a very good effort." The win was the first of the sophomore campaign for Delightful Terror, who finished third to Bettorbuckleup in the June 27 Grassroots season opener at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The Bettors Delight son, who was also a Grassroots winner at two, is owned by Shelly and Robert MacMillan of Waterloo, breeder Doug Millard Farms of Woodstock and Vivian Bell of St. Thomas, ON. Delightful Terror The win was the first of three for Roy on the Grassroots program. The Guelph resident was back in the winner's circle after the second and sixth divisions. In the second split the reinsman put heavy favourite Twin B Frenchtoast on the front from Post 2 and never looked back, rolling through fractions of :27.2, :56.1 and 1:24 on the way to a 1:51.2 victory. Delightful Terror's stablemate Truffle Dog was three and one-half lengths back second and My Bettors Del completed the top three. Richard Moreau conditions Twin B Frenchtoast for William Wood of Denton, MD, William Dittmar, Jr. of Langhorne, PA, Stephen Iaquinta of Havertown, PA and Toby Rekoon of Westfield, NJ. Friday's victory was the Sunshine Beach colt's fourth of 2020 and his first in Ontario Sires Stakes action. Twin B Frenchtoast Roy completed the Grassroots hat trick with a front end effort aboard YS Mathis in the last $23,150 division. The pair took control heading by the :27.1 quarter, rang up a :56 half and a 1:23.2 three-quarters, and then held off Sundown Kid and fan favourite Mayhem Hanover in the stretch for a neck victory in 1:51. Puslinch resident Moreau also trains Sportswriter son YS Mathis for owner-breeder Yves Sarrazin of La Presentation, QC. YS Mathis, a two-time winner at the Gold Series level as a two-year-old, earned his first win of the sophomore season in the June 27 Grassroots event. YS Mathis "All three are good Grassroots horses. They're really nice colts. It shows how deep the three-year-old pacing colt division is this year. I couldn't tell you which one of the three is the best right now," said Roy of his Grassroots winners. "This division will probably bring us a nice competitive race when it comes time for the Finals." Driver Jody Jamieson recorded a Grassroots driving double, guiding Sports Obsession and Cold Creek Cabo to wins in the fourth and fifth divisions. Sports Obsession, also a Gold Series competitor at two, went gate-to-wire from Post 6, hitting the wire in a personal best 1:51.3. Bettor At Hightide finished four and one-quarter lengths behind the fan favourite and Illbewatchingu was third. "He's sort of a hard luck three-year-old," said Jamieson, whose wife Stephanie Jamieson trains the Sportswriter son for Carl Jamieson of Puslinch, ON and George Harrison of Wanes Walton, England. "He's big and strong, but he just couldn't go with the Gold colts this year. The Grassroots helped tonight as he got it his own way and jogged, really." Sports Obsession In the fifth division Jamieson left smartly with Cold Creek Cabo from Post 4 and led the field to a :26.4 quarter, then yielded to fan favourite Mack, content to sit in the pocket through a :55.2 half and a 1:23.3 three-quarters. In the stretch Jamieson gave the Dali gelding a clear look at the finish and Cold Creek Cabo kicked home to a one-half length win in 1:51.4. Mack settled for second and Day Delight was third. "He just got a great trip and turned it into a win," said Moffat resident Jamieson. "He's a real green colt, but he knows where the wire is." The win was Cold Creek Cabo's first, in just his fifth lifetime start. William Slack trains the youngster for breeder Daniel Walker and Debora Stokes of Grafton, ON. Cold Creek Cabo The other division went to The Wild Card and driver Doug McNair who went gate-to-wire in 1:52.2 for trainer Dr. Ian Moore of Cambridge, ON and his co-owners R G McGroup Ltd. of Bathurst, NB and Serge Savard of St-Bruno, QC. Gonnahaveonemore and Lous Delight finished three and one-half lengths back in second and third. The win was The Wild Card's second in Grassroots action, putting him in a tie for top spot in the division point standings with YS Mathis. The next opportunity for the three-year-old pacing colts to pad their Grassroots point tally comes August 16 at Rideau Carleton Raceway. The Wild Card Complete results for Friday's program are available at Woodbine Mohawk Park Results. On Saturday evening (July 25) the three-year-old pacing colts will square off in Gold Series action at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The talented pacers will battle in Races 2 and 8 on the program, which gets underway at 7 pm. Video: Race 1 - Delightful Terror; Race 2 - Twin B Frenchtoast; Race 4 - The Wild Card; Race 6 - Sports Obsession; Race 8 - Cold Creek Cabo; Race 9 - YS Mathis OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

SARNIA, ON - JULY 22, 2020 - Two-year-old trotting gelding Petro Dealin will make his Ontario Sires Stakes debut at Hiawatha Horse Park on Saturday, July 25 and trainer Darryl Laver is hoping the youngster can hold his own in his $23,150 Grassroots division. "I don't know, I think he should be okay in there," said Laver. "It's his home track, and he's a lot smarter than his mother was." Petro Dealin is a second generation member of Laver's breeding program, out of broodmare Harleigh Ryder, who is a daughter of his good race mare Spare Time Rozie. Laver admits that the son of Wheeling N Dealin did not make much of an early impression, but with each step toward the races - starting with a yearling video last summer - the owner-breeder's opinion of the trotter has grown. "I had three, and I thought he was third," admitted the Petrolia resident. "Of the three I had, he ended up turning out to be the best one. I sold one and I kept two, and the other one he's out in the field. "He is very, very smart. He never trained with a horse; I trained him by himself all winter. The first day they had qualifiers in the morning (May 30), that was the first time he trained with a horse. He followed a pacer in the schooler, there was only two of us in it and it was a three-year-old pacer, and he sat on his back like he had sat behind a horse every day of his life. And he tipped out and he went by that horse in about three steps in the stretch. He went in 2:06, which was a big mile that day," said Laver, adding that the fastest trotting qualifier clocked at Hiawatha Horse Park on May 30 was 2:03.4. "And then I qualified him in 2:02.3 the next week and he got interfered with that day and he just went around them like nothing, it didn't even bother him. He's a really smart horse." Since his June 6 qualifier Petro Dealin has made two starts. The first came at his hometown oval on June 13 where he finished third with a 2:03.4 effort and the second was at Woodbine Mohawk Park on June 25 where he finished seventh in 2:00. "I thought he'd trot in 1:58 when I took him to Toronto there that second start and he just come to a halt in the stretch and trotted in 2:00, but he was sick, a couple days later it was pouring out of him," said Laver. "He missed the first stake, it was last Saturday in Georgian, he missed that one, but he's got this one and Dresden next week (Aug. 3), two close ones for me." Petro Dealin will start from Post 6 in Saturday's Grassroots test and Laver will hand the lines over to Garrett Rooney for the gelding's Ontario Sires Stakes debut. "I like to drive them myself for a bit, but he's nice to drive, he'll get along good with him," said Laver, adding that Rooney has had his eye on Petro Dealin since the May 30 schooler. "Garrett really likes this horse. He was in the schooler with me and every time that we get talking he says, 'I like that colt, just put me down on that colt'. So I texted him this morning and I said, 'You better check the entries out', and he come back, 'Why?' I said, 'Because you're going to be driving', 'Oh cool', he says." Rooney and Petro Dealin face a field of eight in the sixth race on Saturday, including three colts that competed in the Grassroots season opener at Georgian Downs on July 11 and one that made his debut at the Gold Series level on July 9 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The trotting colts will kick off the 12:30 pm program in Race 1 and will also compete in Races 2, 4 and 6. Fans can watch all the action on the Hiawatha Horse Park live stream and programs will be available to download from the racetrack's website.  From the Ontario Sire Stakes

ELORA, ON - JULY 17, 2020 - CL Sportsextreme, Cyclone Sister and Sportsfire solidified their standing at the top of the two-year-old pacing filly Grassroots harness racing division with convincing victories at Grand River Raceway on Friday, July 17. CL Sportsextreme kicked off the second leg of the freshman fillies' Grassroots season with a 1:57 victory from Post 9 that impressed driver Bob McClure. The Sportswriter daughter sat third through the :28.3 opening quarter, but was aiming for the front by the :58.4 half. After cruising through a 1:27.3 three-quarters, CL Sportsextreme pulled away from her peers to hit the wire three lengths ahead of Shiatzu Seelster and Spittin Chicklets. "I was surprised how slick gaited she was, but I was pretty happy with the way the trip worked out too," said McClure of the fan favourite. "She's a real handy little filly and she was nice, because the nine-hole is not an easy spot to get a baby away from, and she snapped out of there and then made a move to the front, and from there it was kind of an armchair ride." McClure drove CL Sportsextreme to her second Grassroots victory for trainer Dany Fontaine and owner-breeder Ecuries C. LeBlanc Inc. of Saint-Eustache, QC. In the second $23,150 division McClure employed a near identical strategy with Cyclone Sister, who was fourth at the :29 quarter, moving to the lead past the :58.3 half, comfortably in front by the 1:27 three-quarters and well ahead at the 1:55.4 finish. Barefootnpregnant finished seven lengths back in second and Feisty Betty was another length and three-quarters back in third. "Obviously, the trip, you couldn't plan that much better for a one to nine shot," said McClure. "She's a little flighty about her head, so I wanted to get her at least three-eighths of a mile on a helmet and teach her, kind of educate her a little bit, but I knew once I moved her, she's so fast, she hits high gear in a hurry. So I knew I'd make the front, it was just whether I could make it there easily and relax her once she did get settled onto the front end, and she did. She settled down and she came a big last quarter and she still had a lot left; should be a lot of fun this summer with her." Nick Gallucci conditions the homebred daughter of Shadow Play for Millar Farms of Stouffville, ON and the trainer said, as long as she bounces back well from Friday's effort, Cyclone Sister's next start will come back at Grand River Raceway in the July 27 Battle Of The Belles eliminations. "That was kind of like a tune-up today, so we'll see how she comes out of it and hopefully have her entered for next Monday," said Gallucci. "She's always showed a lot of speed, just a couple tendencies we've had to keep an eye on, but for the most part we never really had any complaints about her. She always showed a lot of ability." Like CL Sportsextreme, Friday's victory was Cyclone Sister's second in the Grassroots program. The other filly to repeat as a Grassroots winner on Friday was Sportsfire, who took a tour in the outer lane to secure her 1:57.3 victory. The fan favourite sprinted home to a three-quarter length victory over French Shaker and Halleyslittlecomet. Anthony Haughan drove the Sportswriter daughter to the victory for trainer Dan Lagace and owner-breeder Fred Brayford of Alliston, ON. "I don't usually take horses late when I come back from Florida, but I have another horse with Fred so I said, 'Yeah I'll take her', and now we're kind of glad we did," said Lagace. "We picked her up on a Friday and the Saturday Fred and a friend of his came to see her, and I thought I'll just brush her out free-legged. I came off and I said, 'Fred, she seems like she's got some talent, but she was very, very hot and it's tough to beat good horses when you're this aggressive'. But my son Brady's been going with her a lot and he's got her settled down and driving really, really nice." Sportsfire clocked the fastest mile in the July 10 Grassroots leg, circling Woodbine Mohawk Park in 1:53.2, and while some of her peers made the leap up to the Gold Series for Leg 2, Lagace felt it would be better for the filly to stick with the Grassroots. "After last week some of the horses that finished second and third, they moved up to the Gold, but I had talked to Fred and I said, 'You know, I think this filly's got some good talent, but she's growing lots'. I said, 'I think if we stick to the Grassroots and give her time to grow up and mature, I think she'll do you really, really good', and he did what was right for her and agreed to it." The other two divisions saw Annies Legacy and Amini record their first Grassroots victories. Annies Legacy and driver Paul Mackenzie did most of the work on the front end on the way to a one-half length victory in 1:56. Favourite Miss Shannon Beach was second and Celia Bayama was third. Robert Fellows trains the Control The Moment daughter for Leonard Rosene of London, ON, who purchased the filly for $26,000 at last fall's London Selected Yearling Sale. Amini went gate-to-wire from Post 6 for driver Jean Rene Plante in the last $23,150 division. The Sportswriter daughter stopped the teletimer at 1:56.4, one and three-quarter lengths ahead of The Kings Queen. Drinks All Round was well back in third. Isaac Waxman trains the $8,000 purchase from the London Yearling Sale for Tessa Waxman of Ridgeville and David Morgan of Hamilton, ON. The two-year-old pacing fillies make their third Grassroots start at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Aug. 14. Complete results from Friday's program are available at Grand River Raceway Results. Next on Grand River Raceway's Ontario Sires Stakes schedule is the second Grassroots leg for the two-year-old trotting fillies, on Wednesday, July 29. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

MILTON, ON - JULY 16, 2020 - The three-year-old trotting colts returned to Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots action Thursday, July 16 and all five winners matched or bettered their personal best efforts, in spite of competing over a rain soaked Woodbine Mohawk Park oval. Ripped And Ready led off in the first $23,150 division and delivered an impressive effort from Post 9 to score his second straight Grassroots victory. In rein to Jody Jamieson the fan favourite eased away from the starting gate into sixth heading for the :27 quarter, then circled out to close the gap on the early leaders, dropping briefly into fifth heading by the :56.4 half. Confident in his mount, Jamieson soon had Ripped And Ready on the move and the colt had a clear path to the front by the 1:26.1 three-quarters. Halfway down the stretch Jamieson took a look over both shoulders and sat back to enjoy the rest of the ride. Ripped And Ready trotted under the wire two and one-half lengths the best in a personal best 1:56.2. Pacesetter Archies Star finished second and Dart Guy was third. "It worked out that a couple made breaks, but he really looked on paper that he was as good as any in the program, so I wasn't surprised that he won, just the ease with which he did it," said Jamieson, who engineered the trip for trainer Thierry Vandenplas and owner-breeder Dr. Ruth Irving of Russell, ON. The win gives Kadabra son Ripped And Ready a sophomore record of three wins and one second in four starts and a share of top spot in the three-year-old trotting colt Grassroots point standings with a perfect 100 through two legs. Among the colts sharing top spot in the standings with Ripped And Ready is Remember Titans, who battled to a 1:56.1 personal best in the second $23,500 division. After leading the field for most of the mile, Remember Titans held off a charging Aussie Lover and Kenogami Coco in the stretch to score his second Grassroots victory. "He's a nice big horse. Flawless gaited and he is finally starting to figure it all out," said driver James MacDonald of the E L Titan colt. "When he heard the other horse coming he dug in and was able to finish it off." Remember Titans now has a record of two wins and two seconds in four starts for trainer Shawn Steacy and owners Landmark 12 Racing Stable of Lansdowne, A K Malik Stable of Ottawa, ON and Dale Larson of Kent City, MI. The third division saw Freedom Express travel up the outside lane behind the fans' second choice Angel Nation, and then sprint down the stretch to score his first lifetime victory in 1:57. Favourite Mikey Mass finished two and three-quarter lengths back in second and Massman completed the top three. Thursday's outing was just the seventh lifetime for Freedom Express and only the third in which he has stayed on task, one of the others coming in his four race two-year-old campaign and the other in the July 1 Grassroots season opener at Grand River Raceway where he finished fourth. "I thought he had it in him, but it took some time to get him to put it together," said driver Chris Christoforou, who drives the Wheeling N Dealin gelding for his father, owner-trainer Charalambos Christoforou of Campbellville, ON. "He got a nice trip and it worked out great." Christoforou was back in the winner's circle after the fourth $23,150 division, guiding Awesomedabra to a 1:57.3 score for owner-trainer Gary Lance of Port Perry, ON. Pacesetter Crossfit Mouse finished one length behind the fan favourite and Mr Arch was well back in third. The mile equalled the personal best set by the Kadabra gelding winning his Grassroots Semi-final last fall and moved him into a tie for top spot in the sophomore point race through two regular season events. The final $23,150 division saw Jody Jamieson back in the winner's circle with Royaltys Odyssey, who followed Charmbo Prince up the outer lane and then powered down the stretch to catch pacesetter Ongoing Royalty with a 1:58.1 effort. Charmbo Prince finished three-quarters of a length back in second and favourite Ongoing Royalty settled for third. All three trotters are by sire Royalty For Life. The win was Royaltys Odyssey's first since August of his two-year-old season and came as a distinct relief to the driver and his wife Stephanie Jamieson, who trains the gelding for his father Carl Jamieson of Puslinch and breeder Joanne Morrison of Beeton, ON. "He's been a headache his entire career," said Jamieson. "He's always had go, just hasn't put it together since early last year. We're very happy with his effort." Royaltys Odyssey and his peers will have an opportunity to build on Thursday's success in the third Grassroots Leg on August 15 at Kawartha Downs. Complete results from Thursday's program are available at Woodbine Mohawk Park Results. The focus at Woodbine Mohawk Park shifts back to the Gold Series this weekend with the three-year-old pacing fillies arriving at the Milton oval on Friday for two $106,000 divisions, Races 6 and 8, and the two-year-old pacing colts taking their turn on Saturday in a pair of $107,200 divisions, Races 4 and 6. Post time for both Friday and Saturday's program is 7 pm. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

MILTON, ON - JULY 13, 2020 - A quartet of $23,000 Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots divisions for two-year-old harness racing trotting fillies was featured at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Monday, July 13 and all four winners delivered the kind of professional performance typically seen in far older horses. You Will Be Queen took the opening division with a 1:59 effort that saw her leave well from Post 5, occupy the front end briefly before letting two rivals go around, and then step back out in the stretch and sprint home to a three and one-quarter length victory. Fan favourite A Blue Blood settled for second and Darling Please finished third. "You couldn't ask for better. She left to the front and let one go, let a couple go, and come back out and come wide and win easy," said trainer Dustin Jones of the trip engineered by driver Chris Christoforou. "What you saw on the track tonight was about how she trained all winter. If she made a break it was just because she wasn't paying attention or something like that." Waterdown, ON resident Jones bred and owns You Will Be Queen in partnership with Hebert Horses Inc. of Montreal, QC. The partners raced the filly's dam, Dewdle All Day, who earned $382,000 racing in the same Ontario Sires Stakes class as million dollar earners Emoticon Hanover and Caprice Hill. "She raced against Emoticon Hanover and all them good fillies and still ended up making almost $400,000, so she was a pretty good mare," said Jones, noting that Royalty For Life daughter You Will Be Queen is the mare's first foal. "This filly, she's been good all along. We probably could have went to the Gold, but we wanted to race her on the big track to start." In the second $23,500 division fan favourite Imextraspecial had to circle out three wide heading for the three-quarters to find her way to the lead, and still powered home to a one and one-half length victory in 2:01.1. Jones and Can You Swing It finished second and Top Of The Bar was third. Owen Sound resident Paul Walker trains and drives Imextraspecial for Keith Coulter of Mono, ON, who offered up $95,000 for the Muscle Mass daughter at last fall's London Selected Yearling Sale. Less than one week after her arrival in Ontario, Ban Ban Deo took the third division, getting a confident steer from Sylvain Filion who sent the favourite to the lead heading for the half and let her cruise home to a three-quarter length victory in 1:59.1. Tipsy In Dixie finished second and Snowfalla completed the top three. Owned by John Fielding and Clay Horner of Toronto, ON, Ban Ban Deo learned her early lessons in the Richard "Nifty" Norman stable and will spend the Ontario Sires Stakes season in the barn of Tony O'Sullivan, who said she has been flawless since her arrival. "She's completely professional. The first time I took her out on the track at Classy (Lane) nothing seemed to faze her, at Mohawk here tonight nothing fazed her whatsoever. She's smart," said O' Sullivan of the Kadabra daughter. "She's a decent sized filly; she's got a lot of leg, she's long. You could actually see she's a little bit bigger than what she raced against tonight, and I think that factored into the decision to put her in the Grassroots, just to let her come along at her own speed. But she's a beautiful filly and I would imagine, as long as everything goes well, I think by the end of the year she'll be a big strong filly, she'll fill into herself." Charmbo Princess also got a confident steer from Mike Saftic, who left smarty with the filly from Post 2 and then pointed her back toward the front heading by the three-quarters. Charmbo Princess kicked home smartly to post a one and one-quarter length victory in 2:00. Fortune Tellers K finished second and Mag N Lady was third. "She is a very nice filly. Her mother was a very professional mare and this mare just takes the bit and says, 'Let's go!' And apparently she did everything right tonight," said Randy Rier, who bred and owns the daughter of Royalty For Life and Hetties Charm in partnership with his brother Jack Rier of Kitchener, ON. "I was surprised when he moved her the first time, and then he got out, I thought, early enough and I thought oh well, I guess he knows what he's doing. And then he tried to pull the ear plugs and they wouldn't come out and I said to him later, I said, 'That's okay, because she runs right in when they pop'," added the Hanover, ON resident with a chuckle. "But they never got out so it's good. He said she went right on by herself anyway." The highly capable two-year-old trotting fillies will make their second Grassroots start at Grand River Raceway on July 29. Complete results from Monday night's event are available at Woodbine Mohawk Park Results. On Tuesday evening Woodbine Mohawk Park welcomes back the three-year-old pacing fillies for the second Grassroots event of their season. The fillies open the program at 7 pm in the first race and will also be featured in Races 3, 7, 9 and 11. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

INNISFIL, ON - JULY 11, 2020 - Georgian Downs hosted a trio of $22,450 Grassroots harness racing divisions for the two-year-old trotting colts on Saturday night, and it was local youngster Master Grand who delivered the fastest mile of the Ontario Sires Stakes battles. Master Grand and trainer-driver Aaron Byron left with confidence from Post 5 and had established command by the :31 opening quarter. Byron allowed Randy Waples and Imasharpdealer to circle to the front heading for the 1:01.2 half, but were soon back out and pressing the pacesetter. Imasharpdealer could not handle the pressure and skipped off stride as the colts reached the 1:31.2 three-quarters. From there it was smooth sailing for fan favourite Master Grand, who hit the wire five and one-quarter lengths the best in 2:00.3. Diehard Seelster was second and Insanity was well back in third. "He's been training down great. We're local to Georgian and I wanted to give him a start here, and he really handled this well," said Byron, who trains Master Grand for Paul Kelly of Alliston, ON. "He's a nice horse and he trots very well. He's a nice, big Muscle Mass colt." Byron and Kelly travelled to Harrisburg, PA last November for the annual Black Book Yearling Sale and spent hours looking at a variety of yearlings before acquiring Master Grand for $28,000, time Byron says they could have spent elsewhere as it turned out. "He was the first horse we looked at. We drove, what seven, eight hours from here, and the first horse we saw we could have just bought that one, but instead we looked at about 1,000 more," said the Thornton, ON resident with a chuckle. "He was the very first horse because I went into Winbak (Farms) to get a pen, because I like their pens, and some young lady goes, 'Oh want to see my favourite horse?' And that just happened to be him. "He did everything right, like he's really easy on himself, so the winter in Canada didn't bother him too much. He's just kind of a nice horse to be around, he's a real gentleman." Byron has spent most of the last decade plying his trade south of the border, but with a growing family - he and wife Carylyn welcomed twins three weeks ago - he decided it was time to come home. The reinsman has been making regular appearances at Georgian Downs in addition to trips to Woodbine Mohawk Park and Grand River Raceway. The other two divisions were clocked in an identical 2:00.4. Four Wheelin captured the first Grassroots win of the two-year-old trotting colt season, getting a neck in front of fan favourite Arch Hall and Tymal Chrome at the wire with a big late effort. "I don't drive that much so I was confident of him, but I didn't drive him that confident. He helped me get the job done," said trainer-driver Marcel Barrieau. "It was unbelievable what he did tonight. I really like him all that much more, because he showed a lot of grit, he trotted home real well." After leaving sharply from Post 2 Barrieau and Four Wheelin led the field at the :30.4 opening quarter then yielded to Showme Some Muscle heading for the 1:00 half. As Arch Hall and Tymal Chrome powered up the outside lane on the way to the 1:31 three-quarters Four Wheelin was pinned on the rail in fourth, but when Showme Some Money skipped off stride in the stretch Barrieau was able to squeeze Four Wheelin up the inside for the narrow victory. "He's got a big burst. He showed that in Mohawk qualifying there (June 18), home in :27.4," said Cambridge resident Barrieau, who shares ownership of the Wheeling N Dealin colt with Gestion Mastel Inc. of Longueil, QC. "He did tonight too, to come home like that, so we hope that he's got a good heart so he can keep going." Four Wheelin was a $32,000 acquisition from last fall's London Selected Yearling Sale. Top Hall captured the other Grassroots division with a commanding front-end performance from Post 6 that saw him hit the wire two lengths ahead of The Wheel and Moscow Moon. "He said he qualified really good, Gerard did, and he said he trained good. He said he's been pretty solid, so he said just be careful with him off the gate and if he seems good you can let him roll," said Paul Mackenzie, who piloted the gelding to the win for trainer Gerard Demers. "I just let him float out of there and he did everything pretty good. He got a little green around the last turn, but when I asked him he still had some go to him. He's nice and solid, a nice trotter. Gerard did a great job of training him down and bringing him to the races." Demers conditions the Angus Hall son for Les Ecuries GLD Inc. of Dundas, ON, Jean Roch Marois, St-Joachim-de-Shefford and La Ferme Tag Inc. of Papineauville, QC. The partners acquired Top Hall from the London Selected Yearling Sale for $22,000. The two-year-old trotting colts will make their second Grassroots start at Hiawatha Horse Park on July 25. Complete results for Saturday night's program are available at Georgian Downs Results. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Georgian Downs on Sunday night with three $72,267 Gold Series divisions for the two-year-old trotting fillies. The fillies make their Ontario Sires Stakes debut in Races 3, 5, 7 on the program, which gets underway at 6 pm. Fans can download a program and watch the live stream on the Georgian Downs website. Fromm the Ontario Sire Stakes      

MILTON, ON - JULY 6, 2020 - Two-year-old harness racing pacing colts invaded Woodbine Mohawk Park on Monday evening, starring in six $23,000 Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots divisions and No Better Joy kicked off the provincial campaign in style with an impressive 1:52.1 victory. Starting from the outside Post 9, driver Bob McClure settled No Better Joy in fourth as Flash Cube took the field to a :27.2 opening quarter. Heading for the :56.2 half McClure put the fan favourite on the front, but Flash Cube stepped up to apply pressure before the 1:24.3 three-quarters. At the top of the stretch it looked as though Flash Cube would prevail, but No Bettor Joy shifted into another gear and came back on for a head victory. Flash Cube settled for second and Cantstoplying closed well to be third. "I've never had a horse, like even when you're training at the farm and when you come to the top of the stretch, even if there's another set 20 or 30 lengths ahead, he always puts it in another gear to chase them, so I think he kind of seen that horse and he picked it up again," said Nicky Comegna, who trains No Better Joy for his father Bruno Comegna of Burlington, ON. "He's always had that attitude, that's why I liked him." Comegna's son Jordan picked No Better Joy out at last fall's London Selected Yearling Sale, offering up $46,000 for the Betterthancheddar son. The youngster impressed his connections all winter, but a few hiccups in qualifying action and his first race made Comegna opt for the Grassroots rather than the July 3 Gold Series event. "If he had gone good last week we were going to put him in on Friday, but I just couldn't justify throwing him in there after that interference break (June 26)," said the Cambridge resident. "So I figured we'd maybe get him in a little easier and see if we do have something that can go a little bit, you know. Believe it or not it gave him an extra two, three days to kind of forget about last week, and it worked out." McClure closed the Grassroots portion of the evening with another victory, guiding Shadow Play son Lawless Shadow to a 1:53 score for trainer Dr. Ian Moore of Cambridge, ON and his partners R G McGroup Ltd. of Bathurst, NB, Serge Savard of St-Bruno, QC and Frank Cannon of Sanford, FL. Bulldog Hanover was hot on the heels of the fan favorite in second and Wisk Key K completed the top three. Driver Sylvain Filion captured three Grassroots divisions, kicking off his hat trick in the second $23,150 contest with fan favourite Uncontrollable. The Control The Moment son delivered the largest margin of victory in the Grassroots divisions, reaching the wire six and one-half lengths ahead of Candy Trader and Watch My Beverage in 1:53. "He told me a couple of days ago that he was really high on him. He said he probably made a mistake, he should have probably put him in the Gold, so it made me pretty high on him too, you know," said Filion of the Scott McEneny trainee. "He was actually very, very nice. I left with him, then I pulled again around the last turn and he just cruised home." Like No Better Joy, Uncontrollable will likely make the jump up to the Gold Series for his second Ontario Sires Stakes start. McEneny, who also owns the $6,000 yearling purchase, noted that a strong showing against the top colts on July 18 could see Uncontrollable supplemented to the Battle Of Waterloo Eliminations at Grand River Raceway on July 27. "I think I'm going to give him a shot. You know what, he's better off a helmet. You can see he buzzed around them really quick and then he kind of got a little lazy, but I think if you can keep him covered up he can pace with any of them," said Puslinch resident McEneny. "Like I said, first start, with a big drop time-wise, and he did it right, so I'm pretty happy with him." Filion was back in the winner's circle after the third division with Betterthancheddar son Brilliant Corners, who sat fourth before stepping out to mount an attack on pacesetting favourite West Coast Kid. Brilliant Corners sprinted home to a 1:54.2 victory, one and three-quarter lengths ahead of his stablemate First Glance. Frank Deford was four and one-quarter lengths back in third. "He was a bit of a hot-headed horse early on and I was able to sit him in the hole in the qualifiers, but he was really strong, headstrong you know, and he wouldn't really relax, but tonight he was as good as I've ever seen him. Calm, relaxed and I was able to sit him in the hole as long as I wanted and that's the reason why he was so strong at the end of the mile," said Filion. "He's learning - it's still a learning process with the two-year-olds - but every time I sat behind him he got better and better, so I hope he keeps going." Filion engineered the win for trainer Harry Poulton and fractional ownership group TheStable Brilliant Corners of Guelph, ON. The Milton resident completed the hat trick in the fifth division with Saratoga Blue Chip, who was as headstrong as Brilliant Corners was relaxed. The He's Watching son gave Filion a workout as he sat in the pocket behind Mr Charisma, but had enough left to get home for a one-half length win over Beach Blogger. Mr Charisma finished third in the 1:53.3 mile. "When he left the gate he was half a runaway. I had a hard time to hold him and I had to re-move him to the front, and then I had to take a huge hold of him again to let James (MacDonald, with Mr Charisma) go by, and then moved him again around the end of the last turn. So it wasn't the greatest drive, but it worked out anyway," said Filion with a rueful chuckle. "He stretched my arms pretty good." Filion piloted Saratoga Blue Chip to the win for trainer Anthony Beaton and owner Larry Menary of Branchton, Michael Guerriero of Brampton, Alan Alber of Thornhill, ON and George Harrison of Wanes Walton, England. Avion Seelster took the other division with a 1:53.2 victory over Lil Red Sportsstar and Warrawee Wazzup. Jody Jamieson piloted the Sportswriter colt to the win for owner-trainer Jack Darling. "There's a good group of Grassrooters. Wow, it's amazing how fast they go," said Filion of the freshman colt season opener. "The weather is so warm, and no wind at all and the track is perfect, so it makes for speed." The two-year-old pacing colts will return to Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 20 for their second Grassroots start. Complete results from Monday's program are available at Woodbine Mohawk Park Results. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

CLINTON, JULY 5, 2020 – Forty-eight sophomore harness racing trotting fillies descended on Clinton Raceway Sunday afternoon and the track record at the half-mile oval fell not once, but twice as the fillies battled in six $22,800 Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots divisions. As the program got underway the three-year-old trotting filly track record stood at 1:59.3, set by Gotta Pay To Play in a July 2018 Grassroots event. That speed mark was erased in the third division when Moana wore down pacesetter Credits Celebrity and out-sprinted fan favourite Alexa Blue Chip to claim a two length victory in 1:59.2. Alexa Blue Chip settled for second and Credits Celebrity was third. “I knew she’d be pretty good there compared to some of the other ones, because she gets around the turns like a hoop around a barrel, so I knew that would play in her favour overall,” said trainer Shawn Steacy. “And James had been taking her back and racing her conservatively the last couple starts, so I figured he’d be pressing pretty good off the gate and trying to be aggressive with her today.” James MacDonald engineered the Muscle Mass daughter’s first win of 2020 for owners Landmark 12 Racing Stable of Lansdowne, 1187422 Ontario Inc. of Ottawa, ON and Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC. Moana was a two-time Grassroots winner at two, including a win in her Grassroots Semi-final, and Steacy hopes the filly is poised to match or better her freshman success this season. “She’s always been a little bit on the aggressive side and I thought we were going to have trouble training her back with her aggression this year, but once we got about 10 or 15 training miles into her she settled right in and she trained back a lot better, a lot easier on herself, than I expected her to be,” Steacy explained. “In the long run of things she’ll be better because she’ll be able to conserve a lot more of her energy that way.” Moana’s name would stay in Clinton’s record book for less than two hours however as Profound Paragon and driver Jean Bernard Renaud laid down a gate-to-wire 1:59 effort in the final division. Another daughter of Muscle Mass, Profound Paragon hit the wire one and three-quarter lengths ahead of fan favourite Hickman County and Sheer Energy. The win was Profound Paragon’s second straight and her fourth of the sophomore campaign. A late bloomer, the filly did not make her first start until after the Ontario Sires Stakes season was complete last fall, but she showed enough promise that trainer Julie Walker and her co-owner Steven Titus of Manalapan, NJ were confident she would be a player on the Grassroots circuit this summer. “We were going to give her the month of February off so that we didn’t tire her out for the Sires Stakes season and with that month off and COVID on top of that, she really got thick, she grew up a lot. She’s not really tall, but she got strong,” said Walker. “With the little break and everything we were able to take the trotting hopples off her, and like I said she just kept getting stronger and better. “Our plan was always just the Grassroots because I’m not sure if she’s a high speed filly, but like you see today, she can go around any shape and size track and that’s kind of fun to have,” added the Carlisle, ON resident. “And she’s very smart, even going to the races today, it’s hot, and she just sits and falls asleep in the cross-ties, and just likes to do her job.” Dancing Queen kicked off the Grassroots action with a 2:01 score for driver Brett MacDonald, trainer Ron MacDonald and owner Synerco Ventures Inc. of Toronto, ON. St Helens and No Angel Here finished one and one-quarter lengths behind the Royalty For Life daughter, who was making her Ontario Sires Stakes debut. The second split went to Validation and driver Colin Kelly, who controlled the tempo from start to finish, sailing under the wire one and three-quarter lengths ahead of fan favourite Chelseas Magic. Incredible Hally was five lengths back in third. “She trained down so well and then she just kind of got into a couple bad habits where she’d get excited behind the gate. She just needed some time. She’s very big and growthy so she just needed some time to mature I think,” said Kelly, who piloted the Muscle Mass daughter to her second sophomore win for trainer Rick Zeron of Oakville and his partner Howard Taylor of Philadelphia, PA. “She did everything well within hand today, she didn’t seem overly stressed and she seemed to do everything pretty easy and relaxed. Hopefully she just kind of builds on that and she can have a good season going forward.” The Present captured the fourth division with a 2:02.4 effort for Bob McClure, trainer Marcel Barrieau of Cambridge and his partner Gestion Mastel of Longueil, QC. Peppas Angel finished three lengths back in second and Queen M was three more behind in third. “She’s a very square-gaited trotter, perfect for a track like Clinton,” said McClure of the Royalty For Life daughter. “It’s tough to beat her on the small tracks.” The fifth Grassroots battle went to a hard-charging Noblesse Duharas, who overcame an early break caused by interference to claim the 2:02 victory. Need An Alibi finished second and fan favourite Highland Foxytrotr was third. “She raced super today. She got interfered with in the first turn and got mixed up, but then raced fantastic to come back and win,” said Scott Young, who piloted the Muscle Mass daughter to the win for trainer Denis Gueriel and owner Haras De L’Estrie Inc. of Dunham, QC. “I was super happy with her performance today.” The focus shifted to the three-year-old pacing fillies at the end of the program as the $64,700 Kin Pace Final went postward in Race 10. A big closing effort by Watch My Speed and driver Jody Jamieson saw them claim the victor’s spoils as favourites High Roller Duke and Tuggingoncredit hooked wheels in the stretch, interfering with eventual runner-up Century Gianna and taking themselves out of the race. Preeminence recovered from an early break to finish third. While they could not be trackside to cheer on the fillies, Clinton Raceway fans wagered just over $88,000 on the program. Complete results can be found at Clinton Raceway Results. The three-year-old trotting fillies will make their second Grassroots start on July 26 at Rideau Carleton Raceway. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

CLINTON, ON - JULY 2, 2020 - Three-year-old fillies will be the stars of the show this Sunday at Clinton Raceway as the half-mile oval plays host to six $22,800 Grassroots Series divisions for the sophomore trotting fillies and the $64,700 Kin Pace Final for their pacing counterparts. Trainer Marcel Barrieau will start Th Present in the Grassroots season opener and send out elimination winner Preeminence in the Kin Pace Final. Th Present will benefit from Post 1 in the fourth Grassroots split, while Preeminence will have to overcome the outside Post 7 to take home the 2020 Kin Pace title. "Somebody's got to get it, but I wished it would have been somebody else," said Barrieau of the elimination winner's post position draw. "But what can you do." Bob McClure piloted Preeminence to a 1:58 score last Sunday, the quickest of the three eliminations, and will be back in the race bike for the final. The other elimination winners, Marzannk Hanover and High Roller Duke, will start from Posts 4 and 8, respectively. Working in the Sportswriter daughter's favour is her familiarity with the half-mile surface and her experience with outside post positions. At two she only saw the inside half of the starting gate three times in nine starts. "She trains on a half-mile track so she's used to them," said Barrieau, who trains Preeminence for Claude Baril of Mascouche, QC, Gilles Caouette of Sudbury, ON and Michel Daneault of Terrebonne, QC. "She's got a few little quirks, like you know when she tries to get in gear quick you've got to watch her, but she's got a good motor, she can go the distance and she's surely competitive with that bunch." Both Preeminence and Th Present were regulars on the Grassroots circuit last season, winning two legs each and finishing among the top five point earners in their respective divisions, but Barrieau said trotting lass Th Present was much tougher to race. "She was hard to manage. She wanted to go 100, and she wasn't easy on herself, and that's why sometimes she'd go on the run, because you couldn't control her," explained the trainer. "But she seems like this year she's so much better, so I hope - and her too, she's been trained on a half-mile track, she loves the half-mile track - so I think she'll be a good start there." Barrieau said the improvement Th Present has shown through her first two sophomore starts - both flawless, one trotted in 1:57 the other in 1:57.4 - came partly through physical and mental maturity and partly through hard work and repetition. "She grew up physically, she's stronger for sure, and then mentally I worked on her all winter to try to calm her down, and she responded pretty good," said the veteran horseman. "Last year she was a handful going to the gate and everything, now she just puts her nose on the gate and she goes at her business." Bob McClure will also steer Th Present, as he did in her June 16 and 23 starts at Woodbine Mohawk Park, for Cambridge, ON resident Barrieau and his co-owner Gestion Mastel Inc. of Longueil, QC. Th Present and her three-year-old trotting filly peers will compete in Races 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 and 9 while Preeminence and the other seven Kin Pace finalists will wrap up the Sunday afternoon program in Race 10. The first race goes in behind the Clinton Raceway starting gate at 1:30 pm. While fans cannot be on hand to cheer for their favourite fillies, a complete live stream is available on the Clinton Raceway website and fans can download a program to play along. In addition to Sunday's Ontario Sires Stakes event Clinton Raceway will also host the two-year-old pacing fillies in Grassroots action on Sept. 6 and two Prospect Series divisions for Ontario Sired youngsters, the two-year-old trotting fillies on July 12 and the three-year-old pacing colts on July 19. A complete schedule can be found below. Clinton Raceway Race Date Post Time Age/Sex/Gait Race Type           Sunday, July 5 1:30 pm 3-year-old Filly Trot Grassroots Series           Sunday, July 12 1:30 pm 2-year-old Filly Trot Prospect Series           Sunday, July 19 1:30 pm 3-year-old Colt Pace Prospect Series           Sunday, Sept. 6 1:30 pm 2-year-old Filly Pace Grassroots Series           From the Ontario Sire Stakes  

ELORA, ON - JULY 1, 2020 - After sweeping the three-year-old trotting colt Gold Series season opener, trainer Ben Baillargeon turned his attention to the Grassroots Series at Grand River Raceway on Wednesday evening and delivered two more victories. The Guelph resident kicked off the Canada Day program with a victory as No Time To Play and driver Sylvain Filion rolled through fractions of :28.3, :58.2 and 1:29.1 on their way to a 1:59.1 score in the first $22,800 division. Hetalkstoangels finished three and one-quarter lengths behind the fan favourite in second and Mr Arch rounded out the top three. "He's still very green, very dumb, and you can quote me on that too. I told Sylvain, 'Be careful when you come on the track I don't know if he'll go straight or turn'. The trot is there 100 per cent, the trot is there, he trots nice, but his mind wanders around," said Baillargeon. "I didn't know how to rig him tonight when I came here, and I changed the rigging after I warmed him up. I said, 'Well, if we get through the first turn then we're okay'. I think he's got everything to be a very nice horse down the road you know, like a four-year-old. He's got the speed, he trotted 1:55.4 his second lifetime start." Wednesday's outing was just No Time To Play's third lifetime start. He made his debut in an overnight event at Woodbine Mohawk Park on June 9, finishing fourth, then delivered a second-place effort on June 16. Baillargeon trains the son of Kadabra for Ecuries Daniel Plouffe Inc. of Bromont, Jean Dessureault of Candiac and Claude Hamel of Ayer's Cliff, QC. Eight races later Baillargeon and Filion capped off the evening with their second victory. Like his stablemate, Ongoing Royalty controlled the tempo from start to finish, posting fractions of :29.2, 1:00 and 1:29.1 before hitting the wire three lengths the best in 1:59.1. Dart Guy finished second and King Of Hearts was three more lengths back in third. "A friend of mine (Sylvio Ravary) owns him, we were raised together, and he said Ben I have this colt and he might be okay and this and that. They sent him to me about five, six weeks ago. They had him trained on the farm track in Quebec in 2:06," said Baillargeon. "He raced real good tonight. He's still a very green colt, but a good gaited colt and willing to do it, so that's nice." Les Cedres, QC resident Sylvio Ravary shares ownership of the Royalty For Life son with Andre Desrochers of St-Hughes, QC. While No Time To Play and Ongoing Royalty were making their Ontario Sires Stakes debuts on Wednesday, the other three division winners were regulars on the Grassroots circuit last season. The second division winner, Ripped And Ready, was a Grassroots winner at two and qualified for the Semi-finals. Grand River fans sent the colt off as their top choice and driver Guy Gagnon engineered a front-end effort that saw Ripped And Ready hold off a charging Fit Bitt in the stretch to record a 1:58 victory. Franks Angel rounded out the top three. Thierry Vandenplas trains Muscle Mass son Ripped And Ready for owner-breeder Dr. Ruth Irving of Russell, ON. The winner of the third split, Awesomedabra, was a two-time Grassroots winner as a freshman, with one of those wins coming in the Semi-finals. On Wednesday the Kadabra son had to overcome a mid-race miscue and lay down a :28.4 last quarter to get a head in front of Pot Stock at the 1:59 finish. Titans Dream finished one length back in third. "Unfortunately he made a break going to the half on a loose part of the track, luckily he was strong enough to overcome it," said Chris Christoforou, who drove the gelding to the win for owner-trainer Gary Lance of Port Perry, ON. "He got back into contention at the head of the stretch - he got out wide in the lane where the footing was better - and had enough to get his head in front at the wire. He raced very good." Unlike Ripped And Ready and Awesomedabra, Remember Titans never found his way to the winner's circle in his freshman campaign, but the E L Titan son was consistent enough to make it all the way to the Grassroots Championship. On Wednesday, he finally visited the winner's circle with a front-end effort in the fourth $23,150 division. Crossfit Mouse was three lengths back when Remember Titans halted the teletimer at 1:58 and The Reins Of Titan was another length and one-half back in third. "Until tonight he was the best maiden in Canada I think," said trainer Shawn Steacy with a chuckle. "He's just a solid trotter. Until tonight he didn't have a nose for winning, that's all. But ultra-consistent, can get around any size track and kind of will do as much as what any horse around him will do. I'm hoping that he starts to like this winning thing, hopefully it becomes a habit." Steacy trains Remember Titans for Landmark 12 Racing Stable of Lansdowne, A K Malik Stable of Ottawa, ON and Dale Larson of Kent City, MI. James MacDonald piloted the colt to his first lifetime win. The three-year-old trotting colts will make their second Grassroots start at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 16. On Friday, June 17 Grand River Raceway will host its second Ontario Sires Stakes event of the 2020 season, welcoming the two-year-old pacing fillies to Elora for their second Grassroots leg. Complete results for Wednesday's program are available at Grand River Raceway Results. From the Ontario Sire Stakes  

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