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Freshman fillies head to Belleville for Grassroots
July 29, 2004
By Sandra Snyder

BELLEVILLE, ON — Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Quinte Exhibition Raceway on Monday afternoon with five Grassroots divisions for the two-year-old trotting fillies.

Many of the fillies will try their hand at the Ontario Sires Stakes program for the first time in Belleville, including Mark Steacy trainee CS I Ama Star.

“She has good manners and is good gaited and never trained bad, but she had a little bit of sickness, once in the winter and once in the spring,” says Steacy of the filly’s late debut. “It threw her back a couple of weeks.”

The Mr Lavec daughter heads into the second Grassroots event of the season off a July 24 qualifier at Hippodrome de Montreal where she finished second, trotting her own mile in 2:08.4.

“She qualified well within herself,” says the Lansdowne resident. “She’s just coming off the last bit of sickness so it’s probably going to take her a couple starts to get going, but she should be all right in there I think.”

Steacy acquired CS I Ama Star at the Canadian Classic Yearling Sale last fall, offering up $38,000 for the half-sister to $176,204 winner CS Brisco Babe. The trainer then put together a partnership with long time owners David Reid of Glenburnie, Stan Klemencic of Trenton and Paul Lindsey of Fergus.

“They’re just waiting anxiously now to see what she can do,” he says. “They got 40 fillies for the Gold at Grand River so I was hoping it wouldn’t be a real tough group up here.”

CS I Ama Star makes her racing debut from Post 6 in the sixth race and will face five other fillies making their first lifetime start. Steacy’s primary concern is that his filly behaves herself, particularly in only her second foray out behind the starting gate.

“She’s only seen the gate once, but she’s trained off the gate at my place so she should be all right,” says the trainer-driver. “The only thing she lacks is races.”

If CS I Ama Star delivers a credible performance at Quinte on Monday she may even earn herself a ticket into the third Gold Series event at Windsor Raceway on Aug. 25.

Like Steacy, trainer John Bax is hoping for a solid effort from his first time Grassroots starter Lukes Tina, who was featured all winter in The Harness Edge magazine.

“She’s my Harness Edge horse — they’ve been chronicling a new owner in the Harness Edge all winter — so there’s lots of pressure,” says Bax. “She’s very green, but hopefully she’ll be on her best behaviour and get around.”

After a solid 2:05.3 qualifier at Mohawk Racetrack on July 3, the Yankee Paco daughter made her racing debut in the Flamboro Breeders Stakes on July 17, but injured her foot early in the race and finished well back of the pack.

“She raced at Flamboro and stepped on her quarter so we’re trying to get that fixed,” explains the Peterborough resident, who shares ownership on the $20,000 yearling purchase with Aline James of Lindsay, the Harness Edge’s new owner Doug Hagan of Brantford and Brilo Farms of Sharon.

Lukes Tina will start from Post 2 in the ninth race on Quinte Raceway’s Civic Holiday Monday matinee. Racing begins at 1:30 pm at the Belleville oval and the two-year-old trotting fillies are featured in Races 2, 4, 6, 7, and 9.