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Current News for October '18

Lampman Cup champ Filion triples in Grassroots Championships
September 29, 2018
By OSS News

As he often does on the Ontario Sires Stakes program’s biggest nights, driver Sylvain Filion made multiple trips to the Woodbine Mohawk Park winner’s circle on Saturday evening as the best Grassroots competitors gathered for their $400,000 season finale.

The Milton resident opened the Grassroots Championship program with a win, guiding two-year-old trotting filly At Will to a two and three-quarter length score over Nifty Trick and Eramosa Magic in 1:58.4.

“She raced awesome tonight. She had to go first-over, which I didn’t really like, but she raced her guts out. That’s her best race so far this year,” said Filion of the fan favourite. “They’ve done a really good job with her, keeping her sound and healthy, and having her in top form for tonight.”

Filion drives At Will for trainer Julie Walker of Carlisle and her partners, breeder Layhoon Chan Brunner of Etobicoke, and Ron Piers of Georgetown, Ontario. The Kadabra filly’s win was Walker’s first in the Grassroots Championships and just her second in post-season action, the first coming in last week’s Semi-Final.

Filion, the reigning Lampman Cup champion as the leading driver in the Ontario Sires Stakes program, was back in the winner’s circle after the fourth $50,000 Grassroots Final. The reinsman piloted two-year-old pacing filly point leader Sports Flix to a 1:54 victory, two and three-quarter lengths ahead of Shadow Sparks and Freya Seelster.

“I drove her last week for Gregg McNair for the first time. I ended up first-over, but she really impressed me the way she did it and I knew if I could get her in a position to win, she had a good shot,” said Filion. “When I saw the nine-hole I said, oh my god, that will be tough, but she left the gate good, we got a two-hole trip and she just win easy.

“It is always nice to win for Gregg McNair, we go way back, it’s a good feeling,” the reinsman added.

Guelph resident McNair conditions Sports Flix for James Fraleigh of Dresden, who purchased the daughter of Sportswriter and former Gold Series competitor Moving Pictures at last fall’s London Selected Yearling Sale for $13,000.

Filion completed the Grassroots Championship hat trick in the second last final, steering three-year-old trotting filly Stormont Charlotte to a front-end victory in 1:56.2. Magics Lucky Charm finished one and three-quarter lengths behind the favourite and Zorgwijk Sophia was five more lengths back in third.

“She raced awesome last week, sat in the two-hole and she just moved by them when I got clearance. So tonight with the six-hole I thought if I could ease her off the gate and try to get to the front and control the pace I had a really good shot, and that’s exactly what happened,” said Filion, who steers the Justice Hall filly for trainer John Gouveia and owner Alan Fair of Ancaster, Ontario. “It doesn’t happen often that it goes the way you think it’s going to go, but that’s exactly how I wanted it to go.”

Driver Jonathan Drury scored two victories on the championship card, with the most meaningful coming in the three-year-old pacing colt and gelding final with Pretty Handsome. The pair was awarded the Grassroots title last season when one of their competitors committed interference and was placed from first to ninth, but on Saturday they commanded the race from the start to the 1:50.3 finish. Casimir Richie P was three and one-half lengths back in second, and Luka Shenko was five lengths behind in third.

Andrew McCabe trains the Mach Three gelding for Glenview Livestock Ltd. of Wallenstein, Ontario and says the pacer will make a few more sophomore starts before beginning preparations for his four-year-old campaign.

“JD (Drury) seems to think he can maybe race against some of these aged horses here with the miles he’s been putting up,” said McCabe. “One race that would maybe be in his backyard would be the Confederation Cup I think. He’s got gate speed and he gets around a half really well.”

Drury’s second victory came with three-year-old pacing filly Machnhope, who bested Azure Seelster and I Shadow U in 1:53.1. The Guelph resident crafted the win for trainer Bill Robinson, owner-breeder CMR Farms of Hagersville, and co-owners David Serwatuk of Hamilton and BC Reichheld Stables of Caledonia, Ontario.

Driver Scott Young scored his first-ever Grassroots Championship victory with two-year-old trotting gelding Lariat Seelster. The Kadabra son got a head in front of Bob McIntosh trainees Judge Ken and A Royal Line to record the 1:58.1 score.

“First time ever in the Finals, so to get a win on one that’s awesome,” said Young, who also piloted Rebellious Lady to a fifth-place result in the two-year-old trotting filly final. “I said at the beginning of the night if I could get money with both I’d be happy, so a win sure is nice.”

Guelph resident Bob Young conditions Lariat Seelster for his partners Robert Deveau of Toronto, Frank Chiaravalloti of Downsview and Jaftica Stable of Guelph, Ontario.

Trainer Mark Steacy finished first and second in the three-year-old trotting colt and gelding final with Jammin Jack and Majestic Fire, who were separated by a head at the 1:55.4 finish. TBarrr rounded out the top three.

“At the start of the year I wouldn’t have gave a whole lot for either one of them horses. They were a lot of work. They didn’t show a whole lot, they didn’t even show a lot of speed early on, especially Jammin Jack,” recalled Steacy, who trains Angus Hall son Jammin Jack for Hutt Racing Stable of Paoli, PA. “But as the year progressed he just got more confidence and he showed speed and he’s got a good kick coming for home. James (MacDonald) got to know him really good, that really helped too.”

Century Farroh and driver Trevor Henry captured the two-year-old pacing colt and gelding final in commanding style, going straight to the front from Post 4 and cruising home a seven length winner in 1:53. Wager On Me and The First Step finished second and third behind the fan favourites. Dr. Ian Moore conditions Mach Three son Century Farroh for Ratchford Stable NS of North Sydney, Nova Scotia.

Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Woodbine Mohawk Park next week as the two-year-old trotters and pacers wrap up their Gold Series regular seasons in preparation for the Oct. 13 Super Finals. The trotters will compete in their last regular season Gold event on Thursday, Oct. 4 and the pacers will wrap things up on Saturday, Oct. 6. Post time for both programs is 7:10 pm.

For complete results please visit Woodbine Mohawk Park Results — Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018