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Team McNair doubles up in Grassroots action Thursday
Father-son duo Gregg and Doug McNair captured two $23,500 Grassroots divisions at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Thursday evening with three-year-old pacing fillies Swift Ally and Kylie Seelster.
The Guelph, ON residents kicked off the event in the first race, with driver Doug McNair and Swift Ally lining up behind Post 2 in the field of nine. The fan favourites sat mid-pack as Green Point and Manhattan Night battled to a :27 opening quarter and a :54.1 half. Heading for the 1:22.4 three-quarters McNair tipped Swift Ally into the outer lane and the filly sprinted off the final turn and down the stretch to a one and three-quarter length win in 1:51.3. Free Exchange finished second and Green Point held on for third.
“Things set up pretty good for her,” said trainer Gregg McNair. “She wasn’t really running away on them, but she raced good. She got the job done anyways.”
McNair and Ian Fleming of Londesborough, ON bred and own Swift Ally, who is a Big Jim daughter out of $398,464 winner Claires Apache. Unraced at two, the filly started her Ontario Sires Stakes career at the Gold Series level, finishing seventh in the June 1 season opener at Woodbine Mohawk Park. That result prompted McNair and Fleming to drop the filly down to the Grassroots level, where she is now undefeated through two starts.
“She probably won’t see, unless she changes around, she probably won’t see any more Gold action. They’re a tough bunch this year the Golds,” said the trainer. “She’s better off in the Grassroots.”
In the fourth division Doug McNair and Kylie Seelster started from Post 7 and were sitting fifth when Cinderella Delight reached the quarter in :26.3. McNair moved the filly to the outside heading for the :55.3 half and rolling into the final turn Kylie Seelster turned on the afterburners, opening up a five length lead by the 1:23 three-quarters. Runner-ups Cinderella Delight and Just My Shadow ate up some of that margin in the stretch, by Kylie Seelster hit the wire a comfortable two length winner in 1:52.
“She has a real big kick and was in a good spot to get the job done,” said Doug McNair. “She’s been good her last few starts against some tough fillies.”
“She was following something pretty good (Better Be Donna N) there two starts ago (July 8), of course she wasn’t going to get to her, but she wanted to go three-wide around the last turn,” recalled Gregg McNair. “Doug wouldn’t let her, it wouldn’t have worked out good for her, but she kind of thought she could. That’s where she kind of likes to roll a little, on that turn.”
The elder McNair shares ownership of Kylie Seelster with Hall of Fame horseman Keith Waples of Durham and Dr. Chris Robson of London, ON. The daughter of Big Jim and Kiddie Cocktail is a half-sister to $813,650 winner Kendall Seelster, who was the first sophomore pacing filly to record a sub-1:50 mile in Ontario Sires Stakes action. Thursday’s win was Kylie Seelster’s third of the sophomore campaign and her first in Grassroots action.
The other three Grassroots divisions were captured by Twin B Tipster, Lady Finetune, both first-time Ontario Sires Stakes winners, and Springbridgevision.
In the second division Twin B Tipster and driver Sylvain Filion of Milton, ON rocketed down the stretch to nab pacesetter Crisp Mane in 1:51.4. Crisp Mane settled for second behind the fan favourites, with Saulsbrook Jessie rounding out the top three.
“She likes to race from off the pace, she could never cut a mile,” said trainer Scott McEneny of Puslinch, who shares ownership of the Bettors Delight daughter with Brad Grant of Milton, ON. “We’re very happy with the way she is racing right now.”
One race later Lady Finetune slipped out of third coming off the final turn and powered home to a 1:52.2 win for driver Bob McClure of Rockwood, ON. Pacesetter Affluent Seelster finished second and fan favourite Freya Seelster was third.
McClure crafted the win, the Badlands Hanover daughter’s third straight, for trainer Robert Fellows and owner Alan Bodin of Rockwood, ON.
Springbridgevision and driver James MacDonald used a sharp :26.4 last quarter to circle the field and claim a head victory over Be Best and Quebec Blue Chip in the last division. The fillies hit the wire in 1:52.1.
Guelph resident MacDonald drove Springbridgevision to her second Grassroots win for trainer Andrew Moore of Russell, who shares ownership of the Shadow Play daughter with Allan Moore of Stratford, Charles Farrell of Spencerville, ON and Tommy Godfrey of Charlottetown, PEI.
The three-year-old pacing fillies will make their fourth Grassroots start at Rideau Carleton Raceway on August 25. Their Gold Series peers are next up on Woodbine Mohawk Park’s Ontario Sires Stakes schedule, competing in two divisions this Saturday, July 27. Saturday’s first race goes postward at 7:10 pm and the Gold fillies will be featured in Races 2 and 8.
Complete results for Thursday evening’s program are available at Woodbine Mohawk Park Results — Thursday, July 25, 2019.