Current NewsCurrent News for June '19
Novices take a star turn in Grassroots action Tuesday
When the three-year-old trotting fillies gathered at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Tuesday evening for the first Grassroots event of their season it was the novices who had the key to the winner’s circle.
In the first $23,150 Grassroots division driver James MacDonald of Guelph, ON tucked Class Angel in behind early leader Vindaloo Hanover and watched that filly ring up a :27.4 opening quarter and a :58 half. When the pacesetter yielded to pressure from Kashe, MacDonald sent Class Angel to the outside and the filly moved strongly past the 1:27.3 three-quarters and turned for home with a one length advantage. Fan favourite Cambridge Kate mounted a late challenge, but Class Angel stayed on task and hit the wire a one and one-half length winner in 1:58.1. Cambridge Kate settled for second and Kashe was three more lengths back in third.
“We were very happy with Angel’s effort tonight. She is a very tough, gritty filly that has matured a lot mentally over the past few months,” said Guelph resident Shawn Steacy, who trains the filly for numbered company 1187422 Ontario Inc. of Ottawa, ON. “Her manners have greatly improved and I was very proud of how she fought off the other filly late in the mile.”
The win came in Class Angel’s fourth start of the season and her ninth lifetime. The Archangel daughter made a pair of starts in the Gold Series as a two-year-old.
The second division saw Justice Society claim the lead heading for the halfway marker and never look back, sailing to a one length victory in 1:56.4. Angelic Speed finished second and early leader Knickers was well back in third.
Campbellville, ON resident Chris Christoforou engineered Justice Society’s first lifetime win for trainer Dany Fontaine and owners Ecurie Gaetan Bono Inc. and Vincenzo Cammisano of Montreal, QC. Tuesday’s test was the Justice Hall daughter’s fourth lifetime. She made her career debut on May 6.
Regally bred Miss Congeniality and driver Sylvain Filion of Milton, ON took the third division with a trip up the outer lane that saw the Kadabra daughter hang tough at the wire for a neck victory over a surging Galaxy Seelster. Petro Hall finished three lengths behind the duelling leaders, who stopped the teletimer at 1:57.
“She has everything to be good. The speed is in the family you know, R First Class, R Raised Emotions, and her, she just win in 1:57, that’s pretty good for her first start this year,” said trainer Ben Baillargeon of Guelph, ON. “She come first up and she got lonely a little bit, Sylvain said, just because she’s green, but we like her, we like her. I think as time goes on she might be able to step up to the Gold category.”
Baillargeon trains Miss Congeniality for breeders Tom and Elizabeth Rankin of St. Catharines, ON. The group enjoyed a prolific Gold Series season in 2017 with her full brother R First Class, who was the three-year-old trotting colt Super Final winner and division champion in his first year of racing, and Baillargeon hopes Miss Congeniality can follow the same late-blooming path.
“She’s staked everywhere that mare, the Breeders Crown, the Elegantimage, you know, so I took my time with her — I’m still taking my time,” said Baillargeon. “We’re going to try to bring her along real nice and see how much she develops.”
Lefkada capped off the list of first-time winners in the last division, popping out from behind pacesetter Splurge On Me at the top of the stretch and waging a battle with Halo Its Me on her way to a neck victory in 1:56.4. Halo Its Me had to settle for second and fan favourite Splurge On Me was five lengths back in third.
Scott Wray drove Lefkada to her first win in just her second lifetime start for trainer Jack Wray of London and his partner Tom Wray of Schomberg, ON. The E L Titan daughter finished second by a neck in her debut at Woodbine Mohawk Park on May 23.
The three-year-old trotting fillies will make their second Grassroots start at Dresden Raceway, part of its popular Canada Day program on July 1.
The Ontario Sires Stakes will return to Woodbine Mohawk Park on Thursday, June 20 with the second Grassroots event for the three-year-old pacing fillies.
Complete results for Tuesday’s program are available at Woodbine Mohawk Park Results — Tuesday, June 4, 2019.>