Current NewsCurrent News for August '19
Grassroots colts impress Industry Day fans
Grand River Raceway fans were treated to a sun-soaked afternoon for the Elora oval’s annual Industry Day program on Monday, Aug. 5 and Ontario’s talented three-year-old pacing colts kicked things off with the first of five Grassroots divisions.
From Post 1, driver Travis Cullen sent Dreamfair Moxy straight to the front and laid down fractions of :27, :56.1 and 1:24.4 on the way to an effortless four length win in 1:53.1. Better Than Cash and Life Is Better followed the pacesetter into second and third.
“He didn’t really catch onto the racing game until he turned three,” said owner John Lamers of Ingersoll, ON. He’s just a little guy, but he’s built like a little tank and he just gives all he’s got, all the time. He won’t quit, there’s no quit in that horse.”
Monday’s win was the Bettors Delight gelding’s sixth of his sophomore season and his first in Ontario Sires Stakes action. In his Grassroots debut on June 27 at Woodbine Mohawk Park the Jodie Cullen trainee finished second.
Sugartown took sole control of top spot in the three-year-old pacing colt point standings with his third straight Grassroots victory in the third $22,800 division. The Sportswriter son and driver Louis-Philippe Roy made an early move from third on fan favourites Fast N First and James MacDonald, who were easing off the pace after a :26.3 quarter. After a :55 half Sugartown faced pressure from Lucky Levis heading toward the 1:23.4 three-quarters, but stayed tough and was able to fend off a late rush from Fast N First to secure the victory by a neck. The colts hit the wire in 1:53.1, two lengths ahead of third-place finisher Itaintezbeincheesy.
“I didn’t like my position, I was third and he (Fast N First) was on the front and he was kind of getting a breather after the quarter,” said Roy, who crafted the win for trainer Richard Moreau of Puslinch, ON and owner W. J. Donovan of Delray Beach, FL. “If I had to come first up later in the mile I don’t think I would have been able to beat him, so I had to move before the half.
“My horse is so handy on a half-mile, I can use him anywhere,” added the Guelph, ON resident. “I kind of surprised James (MacDonald) I think when I moved him because he can brush really quickly, so if someone is trying to steal a quarter you can use him wherever. That’s kind of his biggest asset, especially on a half-mile.”
Undefeated in Grassroots action this season, Sugartown has tallied six wins in 16 sophomore starts and Roy said the gelding seems to be improving with every effort.
“I think he’s improving every start. He’s got talent for sure, he’s got speed. The only thing I didn’t like, especially at two, and even starting back at three, sometimes he would quit his job easily, he didn’t want to fight that much,” said the driver. “I think he knows his job now and even today, when the other one kind of went to him, he kept going a little bit, something that he wouldn’t do at two.”
OK Kudo picked up his second Grassroots win in the fourth division with a 1:53.4 effort. The Sunshine Beach colt and driver James MacDonald were able to circle around Loud Splash, who made a break at the three-quarters and caused interference to three other horses, and sprint home for a two and one-quarter length victory over Silas Seelster and Jay Eye Em.
“He’s getting to where I thought he could be now,” said trainer Shawn Steacy. “He trained down like one of the best ones that we had, but then the first five or 10 starts he never had a winning nose. I don’t know why, he just couldn’t find the wire first, but as the season has gone one he has stayed good and stayed strong.
“We thought he could rough it early up and I think he’s more of a trip horse than a rough-going horse, but he’s so good gaited he’s just handy,” the trainer added. “I thought if they mixed it up like they did he would have a good shot, because as long as he doesn’t have to do the mixing then he can be there to pick up the pieces really good.”
Guelph residents MacDonald and Steacy drive and train OK Kudo for breeders Oak Knoll Stables of Campbellcroft, ON and Stephen Downey of Quispamsis, NB. The other two sophomore pacing colt Grassroots divisions went to Carlisimo and HP Napoleon.
Carlisimo sprinted home for a half-length victory over Prestige Seelster and Silver Beast, stopping the teletimer at 1:53.3. Doug McNair drove the Shadow Play colt to his first Grassroots win of the season for trainer James Dean of Guelph, ON and owner Reginald MacPherson of Stratford, PEI.
Fan favourites HP Napoleon and driver Mario Baillargeon went gate-to-wire in the last division, cruising home three-quarters of a length the best in 1:54.3. Head To The Beach finished second and Phils Sun rounded out the top three. Baillargeon engineered the win for his brother, trainer Ben Baillargeon of Guelph, and owner-breeder Claude Hamel of Ayer’s Cliff, QC.
The afternoon wrapped up with the Battle Of The Belles and Battle Of Waterloo finals and Guelph resident Doug McNair returned to the winner’s circle in the $157,500 Belles Final with lightly rated Karma Seelster. The pair fired to the front from Post 8 when heavy favourite Alicorn made an early break and never relinquished control, pacing under the wire in 1:54.4. Alicorn recovered to finish second and Temagami Seelster was third.
McNair drove Sportswriter daughter Karma Seelster to the win for his father, trainer Gregg McNair of Guelph, and owners, Hall of Fame horseman Keith Waples, his wife Eileen Waples and their daughter Karen Hauver of Durham, ON. The win was the filly’s second of the season, she was also victorious in her July 29 Battle Of The Belles elimination.
A father-son duo also teamed up to win the $239,000 Battle Of Waterloo Final as Jody Jamieson teamed Sports Obsession to a three and one-quarter length victory in 1:54.4 for his father, trainer Carl Jamieson of Puslinch, ON. Fan favourite Wind Blown was second and Aneto finished third.
Carl Jamieson shares ownership of Sportswriter son Sports Obsession with George Harrison of Wanes Walton, ENG. The win was the colt’s second lifetime.
Complete results from Monday’s program are available at Grand River Raceway Results — Monday, August 5, 2019