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Clinton resident to harness four Grassroots fillies Sunday
CLINTON, ON — There will be $160,000 in Grassroots purse money up for grabs at Clinton Raceway on Sunday afternoon, and local horseman Paul Taylor has a shot at half of it, harnessing contenders in four of eight three-year-old pacing filly divisions.
Heading the list of entries from the Taylor barn is the undefeated Keystone Mystique, who captured her division of the May 25 season opener at Windsor Raceway in a personal best 1:54. In nine lifetime starts the Camluck daughter has garnered nine victories and will try and add wins 10 and 11 to her resume this weekend as she competes in the City of London Pacing Series Final at Western Fair Raceway on Friday and the Grassroots on Sunday.
“Because I’m stabled here outside the paddock door I thought I’d throw her back in,” says Taylor of the decision to race the filly in both events. “Then after that I’ll give her a bit of a break. She’s been a pleasant surprise.”
In addition to her triumph in the Grassroots season opener, Keystone Mystique also captured two legs and the final of the Central Huron Pacing Series at Clinton in May, and two legs of the City of London Pacing Series this month at Western Fair. Glenview Livestock Ltd. of Wallenstein owns the talented young pacer, who has accumulated $48,800 since her racing debut in late March.
Trevor Henry will steer all four of Taylor’s fillies, piloting Keystone Mystique from Post 1 in the fourth race.
Taylor is also expecting a strong showing from Tennessee Starlit, who will kick off his potentially lucrative afternoon from Post 7 in the third race. A five time winner as a two-year-old, Tennessee Starlit started off her sophomore campaign in late March with a fourth and two seconds, but then delivered a series of lacklustre performances that caused Taylor to re-evaluate his training strategy.
“She was a really nice filly last year, but she just got herself a little sour. I had her here at the track and she trained down good all winter, but she just got a little sour,” explains the horseman. “So I took her over to a farm in Seaforth, Johnny Muir’s place, and she got over her crankiness. She’s starting to show she’s back to her old self again.
“They are turned out quite a bit there, they are away from everything, and it’s peaceful out there,” he says, adding that his farm-based staff has also worked hard to restore the filly’s positive attitude.
Since moving to the country, Tennessee Starlit has recorded two wins and one second, and heads into Sunday’s skirmish off a personal best 1:58.4 victory at Hanover Raceway on June 14. Glenview Livestock Ltd. also owns Tennessee Starlit, a daughter of Mach Three and Tennessee Thunder.
In Race 5 Rambaran Star will be looking for a return to form from Post 3. After winning her first three starts, the Rambaran miss has alternated wins with off the board performances and she is due for a return to the winner’s circle on Sunday. In her last start, an overnight event at Hanover Raceway on June 14, the filly finished a disappointing seventh, trailing the leaders by 22 lengths.
“I wasn’t sure what her problem was, she usually races pretty good,” notes Taylor. “She just wasn’t herself.”
Dan Sergeant of Straffordville bred and owns Rambaran Star, who boasts a record of five wins in eight starts this season for earnings of $23,136.
Rounding out the Taylor contingent is Ptslilfit, who makes her Grassroots debut from Post 7 in Sunday’s twelfth race. Like Keystone Mystique, Ptslilfit will compete in the City of London final on Friday night, where she has also drawn the outside Post 7.
“She’s got the seven-hole Friday night going for $60,000, and the seven-hole on Sunday,” laments Taylor, who owns the Fit For Life daughter. “But you never know, it’s a horse race.”
Taylor says Ptslilfit and Keystone Mystique will enjoy some extra pampering following Friday night’s contest, facing no more exercise than they will get in the paddock outside their stall doors.
“They’ll be out there at 6 am on Saturday morning, and in the afternoon for a while, and first thing Sunday morning,” says the horseman. “You’ve got to keep these horses happy.”
Crafting a routine that keeps each horse happy is one of Taylor’s trade secrets, and the Clinton resident is hoping his horse-centred approach pays off when the Grassroots program arrives on his doorstep Sunday afternoon. The sophomore pacing fillies are featured in Races 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11 and 12 on the matinee program, which gets under way at 1:30 pm.
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