Current NewsCurrent News for July '19
McNair scores Grassroots driving double
Driver Doug McNair captured a pair of Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots divisions at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Thursday evening, guiding Swift Ally and Sporty Tori to victory over a rain-soaked oval rated two seconds slower than normal.
Both three-year-old pacing fillies were sent off as favourites by Woodbine Mohawk Park fans and McNair opted for come-from-behind tactics in both races.
Starting from Post 2 in the third $23,850 Grassroots division, McNair eased Swift Ally off the gate and settled into seventh spot in the outer lane as Manhattan Night rang up fractions of :27.1 and :56. Heading toward the 1:25.3 three-quarters McNair tipped Swift Ally out three-wide and the Big Jim daughter reeled in the leaders, pacing under the wire one and one-quarter lengths on top in 1:54.4. Manhattan Night settled for second and D Gs Fairystars completed the top three.
“Swift Ally has been racing good all along. They tried her in the Gold and I think I over raced her early, she didn’t like that,” said McNair, who finished seventh with the filly in the June 1 Gold Series opener at Woodbine Mohawk Park. “Last week (June 14) she had a lot of go and just got locked in, so I figured she would be good tonight if we got a decent trip. She’s going the right way.”
McNair engineered the win, the filly’s first in provincial stakes action and the fifth of her seven-race career, for his father, trainer Gregg McNair of Guelph, and Ian Fleming of Londesborough, ON. The homebred filly is a daughter of McNair and Fleming’s former Gold Series competitor Claires Apache, who earned just shy of $400,000 in her career.
Two races later McNair lined Sporty Tori up behind the number nine and once again opted to settle in at the back of the pack while Full Moon Fix and Erikas Shadow battled to a :27.1 opening quarter. Eighth at the :56 half, Sporty Tori had advanced to fifth by the 1:25.3 three-quarters, and a smart finishing kick propelled her past the leaders and on to a two and one-half length victory in 1:54.4. Full Moon Fix and Erikas Shadow paced into second and third.
London resident Gorden McKnight trains Sporty Tori for owner-breeder M & S Racing Stable Inc. of Rockwood, ON. Thursday’s win was the Sportswriter daughter’s ninth in 12 starts this season.
“Sporty Tori has also been racing good all year. She responded exactly like Gord said she would,” said McNair, who was making his first appearance in the filly’s race bike. “Looks like he’s done a nice job with her and I was just happy to get the call.”
The Guelph resident also finished third with fan favourite Whitehaven Beach in the second division, getting caught at the wire by Cinderella Delight and Crisp Mane after doing all the hard work up front, and second in the last division to So Much More, who laid down an impressive 1:52.2 effort on the front end.
“That filly of Beatson’s (So Much More) went a serious mile over that track tonight. It drizzled all night,” said McNair, who watched So Much More open up six and three-quarter lengths on his mount, fan favourite Kylie Seelster, and third-place finisher Freya Seelster in the stretch.
The win was So Much More’s second straight in Grassroots action. She was also an impressive winner in the May 31 season opener at The Raceway at Western Fair District for trainer Don Beatson of Granton, Ken Beatson of Palgrave and Cole England of Exeter, ON. The trio acquired the Big Jim daughter from owner-breeder Doug MacPhee of New Haven, PEI just 10 days before her Grassroots debut and she has since added three more wins to the three she accumulated before making the move to Ontario.
Trevor Henry engineered Thursday’s win and admitted that he had passed up the opportunity to steer the filly in her Ontario debut. Tyler Borth filled in for Henry on May 31 and also piloted So Much More to an overnight win at Grand River Raceway on June 10.
“She raced great. She’s a nice filly. I booked off of her in London and I don’t think that will happen again anytime soon,” said the Arthur, ON resident.
Fan favourites Summer Charm and driver Louis-Philippe Roy won the first division, besting Behavenmyself and Family First by one and one-quarter lengths in 1:55.2. Richard Moreau trains the Bettors Delight daughter, who won the 2018 two-year-old pacing filly Super Final, for Thomas and Scott Dillon of Anson, ME.
Cinderella Delight halted the teletimer at 1:54.4 in the second division, getting a head in front of Crisp Mane and Whitehaven Beach. Jody Jamieson piloted the Bettors Delight daughter to her first sophomore win for trainer Bill Budd and owners Bruce Norris of Caledon East, Michael Guerriero of Brampton and Kenneth Ewen of Georgetown, ON.
The fifth division went to fan favourite Springbridgevision and driver James MacDonald, who battled to a three-quarter length victory over pacesetter Arya Stark in 1:55.2. Saulsbrook Jessie completed the top three. Andrew Moore of Russell trains the Shadow Play daughter for his partners Allan Moore of Stratford, Charles Farrell of Spencerville, ON and Tommy Godfrey of Charlottetown, PEI.
The three-year-old pacing fillies will return to Woodbine Mohawk Park for their third Grassroots start on July 25.
On Saturday evening (June 22), the Gold Series sophomore pacing fillies will return to Campbellville for the second event of their season. Post time for Saturday’s program is 7:10 pm and the fillies will compete in Races 6 and 8.
For complete results please visit Woodbine Mohawk Park Results — Thursday, June 20, 2019