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Current News for July '18

Sicario equals track record in Canada Day Grassroots action
July 1, 2018
By OSS News

A steamy afternoon at Dresden Raceway’s annual Canada Day celebration resulted in a track record equaling performance from three-year-old trotter Sicario in the first of two $18,800 Grassroots divisions.

Starting from Post 1, Sicario and driver Stephen Byron never saw another horse as they rocketed along on the front end. Posting fractions of :29.1, :59.1 and 1:30, the fan favourites cruised home eight length winners in 1:59.3, equaling the record set by Starsel in a 2006 Grassroots event. Daylon Phantom overcame an early mistake to finish second and Road Tripper was third.

“I didn’t know (about the record) until they announced that after, but he did it very easy,” said Byron. “He is good on a half, that’s for sure, he trots a turn very well. Where some of them might have to be a little more careful, he can zip around them.”

Byron piloted Sicario to his second-straight Grassroots victory for trainer John Bax, whose Bax Stable of Campbellville shares ownership of the gelding with breeder Dave Hudson of Dallas, Texas. The son of Holiday Road and $1.04 million winner Gypsy Balance now has a record of six wins and two seconds in 15 sophomore starts for earnings of $53,400.

The thermometer read 33 degrees Celsius when Sicario and his peers went to post in the fourth race and Byron said keeping the horses cool was a full-time job.

“It was pretty hot on them. Matt (Bax) was just throwing cold water on them to keep them cool,” said the reinsman. “Now we’ll get them home where they can relax.”

Byron also drove Bax trainee Delcrest Holiday in the second Grassroots division, finishing a hard-closing third after a little bobble heading toward the quarter-mile marker.

“(We were) going to be three-wide in the first turn so I waited, and then when I was in a spot where I had to drive on a bit he kind of ran in on me, so I had to check him, and then he just got a little bent on me,” explained the Thornton, Ontario resident. “After that he was fine. He still raced well, we were happy with him.”

Delcrest Holiday finished behind Leaderofthepack and Edstone in the second Grassroots division, which saw Ryan Holliday emulate Byron’s front-end tactics with Leaderofthepack. Powering away from Post 5, Holliday and Leaderofthepack rang up fractions of :29.1, :59.1 and 1:30.2 on their way to a five length victory in 2:00.2.

“He’s handy off the wings so he’d benefit on a racetrack like this where a few others wouldn’t,” said Holliday of the fan favourite. “He’s pretty sure footed, knock on wood.”

A two-time Grassroots winner last season, Sunday’s victory was Leaderofthepack’s first on the sophomore Ontario Sires Stakes circuit. David and Ben Holliday of Mount Forest, Ontario own and train the Angus Hall son, who boosted his three-year-old record to two wins, three seconds and one third in seven starts for earnings of $22,070.

The Holliday’s helped Leaderofthepack cope with the heat by adding a fan to the list of equipment that usually accompanies the gelding to each race.

“We brought a fan down and hooked it up and had that blowing on him all day,” said Holliday, who also makes his home in Mount Forest. “I said to my brother Ben, who is with me here, that he actually didn’t feel that good today in the race, he just felt a little dull, but he said he was like that warming up. He can sometimes be a bit of a handful, but today I think he was feeling the heat, just like the other seven or eight were. He’ll get a couple days rest now to get over it.”

With two victories Sicario sits atop the three-year-old trotting colt and gelding standings with a total of 100 Grassroots points. With one win and one third-place result Leaderofthepack and Delcrest Holiday are tied for second with 62 points. All three colts will be looking to pad their totals when they meet up in the third Grassroots leg at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 19.

For complete results please visit Three-year-old trotting Colt and Gelding Schedule