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Race for the post season heats up in trotting filly ranks
September 19, 2008
By Sandra Snyder

INNISFIL, ON — Georgian Downs will wrap up a spectacular season of Ontario Sires Stakes action on Tuesday, Sept. 23 with five Grassroots divisions for the three-year-old trotting fillies.

A total of $100,000 will be on the line, along with valuable Grassroots points as the fillies battle for a berth in the post season. Among the competitors hoping to earn some of those points is local filly Lisas Encore, who currently sits just 25 points shy of the top 16.

“She just seems to be getting better and better every race,” notes owner Lisa Heyden of Midhurst.

Through four Grassroots starts the Striking Sahbra filly has recorded one second, one third and one fourth for a total of 45 points. She heads into Tuesday’s contest off a fourth-place finish in a Sept. 11 overnight event at Mohawk Racetrack, where she toured the seven-eighths mile oval in 1:57.3.

Midhurst resident Patrick Rouleau trains Lisas Encore, and the young trotter will be piloted by Randy Fritz in Tuesday’s third race. Unfortunately the pair will be hampered in their bid for a top performance by the outside Post 9 and the presence of former division winners Majestic Style and Good Common Cents, who will start from Posts 2 and 6.

Whether she comes up with a big mile over her local oval or not, Lisas Encore is headed for the growing broodmare band at the Heyden’s farm. Forced to curtail her own training career due to ill health, Lisa Heyden is focused on creating a small group of high quality trotting broodmares anchored by her former Ontario Sires Stakes competitor Lisas Mission, a winner of $217,162 in her career.

“I love the trotters,” says Heyden. “This is my passion, I just have to do it.”

Lisas Encore has two more opportunities to pad her Grassroots total. After Tuesday’s contest at Georgian Downs, the sophomore trotting fillies head to Flamboro Downs for their regular season finale on Oct. 6. The top 16 point earners will then return to Flamboro for a pair of Semifinals on Oct. 16 before the group is whittled down to eight for the Oct. 24 Grassroots Championship.

A dainty filly, Lisas Encore has collected all of her points thus far over half mile ovals, so the return to Flamboro may work in her favour if Fritz cannot engineer a top finish on Tuesday.

The fillies will be featured in Races 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 on Tuesday, and the door is ajar for the competitors hovering near the bottom of the point cut off. The top two Grassroots point earners made the leap up to the Gold Series for this month’s contest, along with two other fillies from the top 16, and two sitting just below the cut off in twentieth.

The competition will be fierce when the starting gate swings away from the first Grassroots field at 7:25 pm on Tuesday, and the three-year-old trotting fillies will have Georgian Downs fans on the edge of their seats all evening.

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