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Current News for June '17

Jones earns a Grassroots double at Mohawk Tuesday
June 6, 2017
By OSS News

Trainer Dustin Jones opened the three-year-old trotting colt Grassroots season with victories in the first two divisions, but the Waterdown resident is hoping Tuesday’s contest at Mohawk Racetrack will be the only time this season Try Try Again and Northern Major earn him a Grassroots double.

“We might give both them colts a start in non-winners of two before the Gold and then make up our mind what we want,” said Jones. “Well for sure, Try Try Again’s going (to the Gold), and then maybe Northern Major also.”

Try Try Again earned his promotion to the Gold level with an impressive 1:56.2 victory in Tuesday’s first race. Starting from Post 4 with Campbellville, ON resident Chris Christoforou, Jr. in the race bike, the heavy favourite got away sixth and watched Yo Yo Mass, Forte and Parkhill Nonstop battle their way through a :28 opening quarter and :58 half. Heading for the 1:26.3 three-quarters Christoforou sent Try Try Again up the outside and the Kadabra colt rapidly reeled in the leaders and then powered down the stretch to a three and one-half length victory. Parkhill Nonstop settled for second and Masster Blue trotted into third.

Jones shares ownership of Try Try Again with Ecuries Daniel Plouffe Inc. of Bromont, QC, Noblock Racing Stable of Collingwood, ON and Andrea Lea Racing Stables Inc. of Lakefield Gore, QC. Unraced at two, Try Try Again has been flawless through three starts at Mohawk this season, posting a personal best 1:55.1 in a non-winners of two races test on May 29.

“I thought he was probably my best horse in the barn last year and he had a knee issue so I had to shut him down for the year,” said Jones.

“Now he’s shown that he’s Gold, for sure,” the horseman continued. “I’d like to race him in a non-winners of two the week before the (June 27) Gold, that’ll be his next start, and then the Gold, hopefully, if everything works out as planned. You have to go week-by-week, but that’s the plan for him.”

Northern Major kept the party rolling for the Jones stable with a tremendous late rush in the second $15,950 Grassroots division. With Arthur, ON resident Trevor Henry in the race bike, Northern Major hustled away from Post 7, but found himself parked on the outside in fourth at the :27.2 quarter. Henry eased off the gas and had found a spot on the rail in seventh by the :57.4 half, but at the 1:28.1 three-quarters the pair were out in the middle of the racetrack and seven lengths behind the leaders.

As the colts turned for home Henry finally found an open lane and when he asked Northern Major for another gear the Kadabra gelding proved to have a shot of nitro in the tank. Sprinting down the stretch Northern Major reeled in the leaders and hit the wire one-half length ahead of favourite Santini and another length up on Amanforallseasons in 1:58.2.

“That was a surprise, because we made a bridle change on him, we went from blinkers to open, and I think that helped him a lot,” said Jones of Northern Major’s first lifetime win. “Actually that’s the fastest last quarter he trotted this year, maybe he’s just starting to get into shape.

“Last week (June 1) he made a break and, I don’t really know, he just sort of jumped it off, or skipped it off,” added the trainer. “I’m glad that everything worked out (tonight), because he sort of got a pretty tough first quarter and then he was like four or five wide in the last turn, so it was a pretty good mile actually. We were pretty encouraged with that effort.”

Owned by Synerco Ventures Inc. of Toronto, Northern Major had been winless through 14 starts prior to Tuesday’s Grassroots triumph. With three weeks until the next Ontario Sires Stakes events for the three-year-old trotting colts — Mohawk hosts the Gold colts on June 27 while Hiawatha Horse Park hosts the Grassroots division on July 1 — Jones has time to decide which direction Northern Major will be heading for his second provincial start.

“He’s a great big tall horse and I think he just needs to come into himself a bit,” the horseman noted. “I think once he gets it all figured out he might improve.”

The other three Grassroots divisions saw favourites Warrawee Shipshape, P C Silent Drive and Rose Run Speedster take home the hardware.

Warrawee Shipshape and owner-driver Eddie Green of Ohsweken, ON controlled the tempo for the bulk of the third Grassroots division, sailing home one and one-quarter length winners over R First Class and More Than Majestic in 1:58. The Muscle Mass son was also a Grassroots winner at Mohawk as a two-year-old. Paul Reid of De Leon Springs, FL conditions Warrawee Shipshape, who boosted his lifetime earnings to $55,645 with Tuesday’s victory.

In the fourth division, P C Silent Drive also did all the heavy lifting on the front-end and then battled down the stretch to fend off challenger Dontcrampmystyle, hitting the wire a neck on top in 1:58.3. Blood Moon rounded out the top three. Curtis Clements engineered the win for his father, breeder and trainer Peter Clements. The Dobbinton, ON residents have guided the Cornaro Dasolo gelding to a record of four wins and two seconds in six starts this season.

The final Grassroots split went to Rose Run Speedster, who put a nose in front of pacesetter Lucys Man at the wire. Majestic Streak was third in the 1:58.2 mile. Rene Allard of Matamoras, PA trains and shares ownership of the Windsong Espoir colt with Rose Run Speedster Stable of Guelph, ON and Louis-Philippe Roy engineered the victory. The win was the first this season for Rose Run Speedster, who was a two-time Gold Series winner at two.

Ontario Sires Stakes trotting action continues at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday, June 8 with the three-year-old trotting fillies competing in a pair of $95,600 Gold Series divisions. The fillies will launch their sophomore Gold series careers in Races 1 and 3, with the first race getting under way at 7:30 pm.

For complete results please visit Mohawk Racetrack Results — Tuesday, June 6, 2017