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Local fillies face tough task in Grassroots Tuesday
ELORA, ON — Sophisticat and Tameka Seelster head to Grand River Raceway on Tuesday, June 24 with one Grassroots victory apiece, but the pair of three-year-old trotting fillies face an uphill battle to add a second provincial trophy to their collection after drawing Posts 8 and 6 in their respective $20,000 divisions.
“I’m not happy about drawing the eight-hole, but I’m sure she’ll make the best of the situation,” says Anthony MacDonald, who owns and drives Sophisticat. “She usually finds a way to.
“She’s definitely been an underdog in the barn and on the track. That’s her role and she likes it, she thrives on it,” adds the Guelph resident.
A commanding wire-to-wire winner in the Grassroots season opener at Western Fair Raceway on June 2, Sophisticat heads into Tuesday’s skirmish off a break in an overnight event at Flamboro Downs on June 15. MacDonald says there was no obvious reason for the break and does not foresee a repeat on Tuesday.
“She’s tough, so any time she does something like that I just chalk it up to a bad race, just an off night for her,” says the reinsman. “It was very, very uncharacteristic for her, but she’s a horse.”
Trained by MacDonald’s youngest brother James MacDonald, Sophisticat sports a record of two wins and three thirds in eight starts this season for earnings of $23,275. The Earl daughter faces a strong field in Grand River’s first race on Tuesday, including Good Common Cents from Post 5, another winner in the Grassroots season opener.
Tameka Seelster will not start as far to the right as Sophisticat, and owner Joe Coffey does not see Post 6 as a major detriment for the filly, who has earned over $44,000 in the last two years racing from off the pace.
“It would have been nice to have an inside post, but I don’t think that’s an automatic reason to rule her out,” says Coffey, who shares ownership on Tameka Seelster with the Henry Stable and Terry O’Neill of Arthur. “She does her better racing after things are settled.”
Coffey says the filly may not have early speed in her tool kit, but what she does have is a professional work ethic and a history of bringing home a pay cheque. In nine starts last season the Berndt Hanover daughter only missed the top five on one occasion, when she drew Post 7 in the Grassroots Championship. Through three starts this season, Tameka Seelster’s only off the board finish came in her sophomore debut at Grand River against older horses.
“There’s nothing flashy about her, but I think she’s got a decent chance to rack up a decent three-year-old season for us,” speculates Coffey, who makes his home in Orangeville. “We couldn’t be happier with her. She’s far and away the best that we’ve had so far.”
In Tuesday’s fifth race Tameka Seelster and driver Trevor Henry will face a largely inexperienced group of fillies. Four of the eight are making their Grassroots debut and two are making their first start on the sophomore circuit. The other two seasoned members of the field are Dance Baby Dance, who was fifth in the Grassroots season opener and will start from Post 2, and Tymal Sophia, who started her three-year-old provincial campaign at the Gold Series level and gets the outside Post 8.
Sophisticat and her peers will get things rolling at 7:30 pm on Tuesday night, with the other three-year-old trotting filly divisions slated as Races 3, 4, 5, 7, 9 and 10 on the Grand River Raceway program.
For complete entries please go to: http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/entries/data/egrvrtu.html