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Freshman trotters were in full battle mode Monday
Ontario’s exciting two-year-old trotting colts and geldings were in the spotlight at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Monday evening and delivered thrilling finishes in all three $19,500 Grassroots divisions.
Royale Elite opened the stakes program with 1:58.3 victory from Post 3 that saw him roar down the stretch to nab fan favourite and pacesetter Judge Ken at the wire by a neck. Arcanum was well back of the duelling leaders in third.
“The other divisions went faster, but the way he won tonight, it was very impressive,” said driver James MacDonald. “It got backed up pretty good in the last turn, I had to back him out around, and usually with an aged horse if you have to back them up it’s tough to get them rolling again, and he did it just like a pro. I backed him out around and as soon as he saw daylight he took off. I was really impressed with the way he fought right to the wire.”
“He’s a nice colt, great gait, and you can do whatever you want with him,” added the Guelph resident, who crafted the win for trainer Mark Steacy and owner-breeder Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC.
The mile was a personal best for Royale Elite, who also scored Grassroots victories in the July 17 season opener at Georgian Downs and in the Aug. 11 event at Hiawatha Horse Park. A third in the July 31 contest at Woodbine Mohawk Park gives the Royalty For Life son a total of 162 points and ownership of top spot in the division standings.
In the second division fan favourites A Royal Line and driver Trevor Henry left smartly from Post 5 and tucked in behind second choice Windsong Patriot through fractions of :28, :58.1 and 1:27.4. Turning for home Henry tipped A Royal Line to the outside and the chestnut gelding steadily reeled in the leader, reaching the wire one-half length on top in a personal best 1:56.4. Cousin Peter was well back in third.
“Royal is getting better every week, stronger and smarter,” said Henry, who was also part of the stretch duel in the first division aboard Judge Ken. “Judge Ken raced well too. He just got picked off, but that’s racing.”
Hall of Fame horseman Bob McIntosh conditions A Royal Line for his partners Dave Boyle of Bowmanville and Mardon Stables of Loretto, Ontario. Windsor resident McIntosh also bred the son of Royalty For Life and Direct Dial.
Like Royale Elite, A Royal Line was victorious in the July 17 and Aug. 11 Grassroots events, but he tried his hand in the Gold Series for the second event so sits behind Royale Elite in the standings with 150 points.
As the gate swept away from the field in the third division it was Lariat Seelster and Magical Journey from Posts 8 and 9 that led the way into the first turn. Magical Journey took the early lead, reaching the quarter in :28.2, then yielded to Lariat Seelster heading for the :57.4 half. Lariat Seelster hit the three-quarters in 1:28 and as the pair turned for home Magical Journey mounted his attack. The pair battled tooth and nail down the stretch, with Lariat Seelster holding on by a stubborn head in a personal best 1:57.4. Rap Royalty was two lengths back in third.
“Not gonna let that guy by me, you know, so that’s good,” said trainer Bob Young. “We’ve been waiting for him to break loose, and tonight he broke loose.”
Roger Mayotte piloted the Kadabra gelding to his second straight win for Guelph resident Young and his partners Robert Deveau of Toronto, Frank Chiaravalloti of Downsview and Jaftica Stable of Guelph. The long-legged youngster, a $54,000 acquisition from last fall’s London Selected Yearling Sale, was also victorious in an overnight event at Woodbine Mohawk Park on August 27.
“He’s a Mohawk horse. I told my guys that own him, he’s not going to any track but Mohawk, he’s just too big a horse,” said Young of his decision to race the colt in an overnight rather than in the Aug. 11 Grassroots event at Hiawatha Horse Park. “That was our game plan from day one and that’s what we’ve done.”
With Monday’s victory and a fourth-place result in the July 31 Grassroots event at the Campbellville oval, Lariat Seelster has accumulated 58 points, which should assure him of a berth in the Grassroots Semi-Finals at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept. 20.
The gelding’s peers will have one last opportunity to accumulate points in the regular season finale over Grand River Raceway’s half-mile surface on Sept. 12. The top 20 point earners following the last event will advance to the Semi-Finals, with the top five finishers from each Semi-Final earning a berth in the Sept. 29 Grassroots Championship.
The three-year-old trotting fillies will wrap up their Grassroots regular season at Woodbine Mohawk Park this Thursday, Sept. 6, competing in Races 1, 9 and 10. The fillies will kick things off at 7:10 pm.
For complete results please visit Woodbine Mohawk Park Results — Monday, Sept. 3, 2018>