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Filion dominates in Grassroots action Tuesday
Woodbine Mohawk Park held 10 races on Tuesday evening and driver Sylvain Filion won six, including four wins in the second Grassroots leg for the two-year-old pacing colts.
“It was one of those nights when nothing goes wrong you know, and even a bad drive, my horses were so good they overcame it,” said the Milton resident, who teamed freshman pacers Tabloid Writer, Quick Tour, Dontblvmejustwatch and My Land to Grassroots victories and finished second in the other two divisions with Twin B Watch Me and Better B Swift.
Filion collected his victories in stretches of three and kicked off the first in Race 3, an overnight race for two-year-olds he won with Allywag Hanover, followed by a pair of Grassroots victories in Races 4 and 5.
In the fourth race Filion and Tabloid Writer got away fifth from Post 3 and were able to slip into the outer lane behind Three Trick Gainer heading for the :59.1 half. The colts advanced steadily on pacesetter Twin B Frenchtoast and turning for home Filion shifted Tabloid Writer into a bigger gear and the colt sprinted to a one length victory in 1:55.3. Three Trick Gainer finished second and Twin B Frenchtoast settled for third.
“He’s a nice little horse. He’s not very big, but he’s all there, he’s all guts and perfectly gaited,” said the driver. “I thought he raced real big.”
Ben Baillargeon of Guelph trains Tabloid Writer for Richard Berthiaume of Pointe-Aux-Trembles, QC. The son of Sportswriter was an $80,000 purchase from last fall’s Harrisburg Yearling Sale.
Filion and Quick Tour were saddled with Post 10 in the third $23,500 Grassroots division, but the Mach Three son left smartly from the gate to find a spot in fourth on the rail. Filion soon had the gelding aiming for the lead and the pair was in command before the three-quarter mark. From there Quick Tour battled hard to hold off My Bettors Del and fan favourite Better Take It and earn the 1:54.1 victory for trainer Mark Horner of St. Marys and his partner R A W Equine of Burlington, ON.
“He (Horner) told me before the race he’s better covered up, but from the outside post, I guess I had him a little too wound up and when I got in the four-hole there he started getting a real big hold of me. I didn’t want to take any chances and I moved him back to the front,” explained Filion. “Once at the front he kind of got lost, but he dug in hard. That was a great mile for him, a great, great effort.”
A $7,000 bargain at the Harrisburg Yearling Sale, Quick Tour finished second in the Grassroots season opener to Tattoo Artist, who went on to win a Gold Series division on Monday night.
After an off-the-board finish in Race 6, Filion kicked off another three-race win streak with Dontblvmejustwatch, who clocked the quickest mile of the six Grassroots divisions. Starting from Post 3 Filion and Dontblvmejustwatch landed in sixth and Filion asked the fan favourite to reel in the leaders heading by the :57 half. Once they took control the outcome was never in doubt, Dontblvmejustwatch cruised home a one and three-quarter length winner in 1:53.1. Usurper finished second and Colima was three more lengths back in third.
“That’s a nice little horse, he’s a sweetheart. I guess they didn’t really think much of him as of like a month ago, but he’s been improving every start and my god he was good tonight,” said Filion. “I had him in the bad position, I was far off the lead, and he made a quick brush to the front and he made it pretty easy. He’s not very big, but he’s slick and he’s very, very fast.”
Filion drives the Hes Watching gelding for trainer Kevin McMaster and fractional ownership group TheStable Dontblvmejstwtch of Guelph, ON. Through three starts the youngster has now delivered one win, one second and one third for his delighted owners.
The driver then won another overnight event with aged trotting mare P L Jill before returning to the Grassroots winner’s circle with My Land, who went gate-to-wire from Post 1 in 1:54.2. Night Watchman finished two and one-quarter lengths back in second and Wilsons Vinner was two more lengths behind in third.
“That’s a horse I raced last time and I was caught back in the field. There was no flow and he still come home pretty good, so tonight I wanted to make sure with the rail that I was going to be, maybe not in front but in the two or three-hole,” said Filion. “So anyway, I left hard and ended up on the front end and I was able to get a soft middle half and he sprinted home pretty good and got the job done.”
Gerard Demers trains My Land for La Ferme Tag Inc. of Papineauville, QC, who offered up $10,000 for the Badlands Hanover son at the 2018 London Selected Yearling Sale.
The other two divisions went to fan favourites National Sport and Poseidon Seelster.
Sportswriter son National Sport and driver Louis-Philippe Roy caught Filion and Twin B Watch Me in the stretch and pulled away to a three and three-quarter length win in 1:54.2 for trainer Richard Moreau of Puslinch and owner 1362313 Ontario Ltd. of Windsor, ON. Bettor Focus rounded out the top three.
Both Bob McClure and Poseidon Seelster and Filion and Better B Swift used late charges in the final division, but Poseidon Seelster had the bigger kick and claimed the 1:54.1 victory by three-quarters of a length. Century Grizzly completed the top three. McClure piloted Sunshine Beach colt Poseidon Seelster to the win for trainer Matthew Dupuis and owner Keith Cassell of Smiths Falls, ON.
Tuesday’s quartet of victories and pair of runner-up finishes will edge Filion closer to current leader Trevor Henry in the race for the Lampman Cup, awarded each year to the top driver in the Ontario Sires Stakes program. Filion is a five-time winner of the honour, and he has also chalked up the occasional six-win night in his decorated driving career.
“Not very often, not often enough,” said the reinsman with a laugh. “I’ll take it.”
The two-year-old pacing colts will make their third Grassroots start at Woodbine Mohawk Park on August 15. Next up on the Campbellville oval’s Ontario Sires Stakes schedule are six Grassroots divisions for the two-year-old pacing fillies and two Gold Series divisions for the three-year-old trotting fillies on Thursday, July 18. The freshman pacing fillies will open Thursday’s program at 7:10 pm in the first race and will also be featured in Races 4 through 7 and Race 9. The trotting lasses will battle in Races 3 and 8.
Complete results for Tuesday’s program are available at Woodbine Mohawk Park Results — Tuesday, July 16, 2019.