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Arthur trainees hoping for solid efforts at Woodstock
July 5, 2005
By Sandra Snyder

WOODSTOCK, ON — Ontario Sires Stakes excitement makes its 2005 debut at Woodstock Raceway this Saturday with an impressive line-up of three-year-old trotting colts competing for a total of $135,000 in nine Grassroots divisions.

Norwich resident Doug Arthur will harness two trotters in the provincial contest, Viva Paco from Post 4 in Race 3 and The Original from Post 5 in Race 4. Making his third start since Arthur added trotting hopples to the equipment bag, Viva Paco heads into the Woodstock event off a smart effort at Mohawk Racetrack on June 28 that saw him finish second by a head in a 1:56.4 mile.

“He just was, I guess, a little too hot without them,” says Arthur about the trotting hopples. “He wasn’t happy with the speed he was going, he always wanted to go faster.

“I think I had them in the back of my mind right along,” adds the veteran horseman. “I guess after he went off stride there (Grand River Raceway) we just put the hopples on, and they seem to steady him at the beginning.”

Viva Paco made his racing debut in the season opening Grassroots event at Quinte Raceway on May 20 and finished sixth after making a pair of breaks. In a May 24 qualifier the Yankee Paco son was flawless, circling the Mohawk oval in a winning 2:03.1, but back in to race at Grand River on June 3 he made another break heading for the three-quarters.

Another qualifier, this time with the support of the trotting hopples, saw the fractious young trotter post an impressive 1:59 victory on June 7 at Mohawk. One week later he was an effortless winner in the second Grassroots event of the season at Georgian Downs, romping to a 10 and a half length victory in 1:59.1, in spite of having broken equipment.

Just one-fifth of a second slower than the Gold Final clocking on July 1, Viva Paco’s June 28 effort could mean bigger things ahead for the gelding if he continues to mind his manners.

“We’ll just take it one step at a time,” says Arthur, who shares ownership on the gelding with Michael Szorenyi of Putnam. “He’s just starting to get some size, it’s been a slow process.”

The Original has also shown some improvement recently, trotting a 1:58.1 mile in a fourth-place effort at Mohawk on June 30. When the CR Renegade son made a break in the Georgian Downs Grassroots event, Arthur was in the race bike and quickly identified what had troubled the gelding in some of his earlier starts.

“I really didn’t know what his problem was until I raced him myself at Barrie. He was obviously interfering, but I think I’ve got that pretty much straightened out going into Woodstock,” notes Arthur. “Hopefully he can go a clean mile. He’s always had a pretty good finish.”

Arthur and William and Norma Ford of St. Thomas own The Original, who will tackle colts like Grassroots division winner Right Mind (Post 2) in Race 4.

The first $15,000 division of three-year-old trotting colts heads postward at 1 pm on Woodstock Raceway’s Saturday afternoon program, with the remaining Grassroots battles being fought in Races 2, 3, 4 and 6 through 10.

For a complete list of entries please go to: