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Grassroots champions deliver outstanding performances
November 1, 2009
By Sandra Snyder

GLOUCESTER, ON — Rideau Carleton Raceway fans were treated to eight outstanding battles by the province’s top trotters and pacers on Sunday evening, as the Ottawa oval hosted the $800,000 Grassroots Championship.

For the second straight week, the two-year-old trotting fillies set a lofty performance standard, as Ipromisenottotell equalled the track record set by Canada Cool in last weekend’s Semifinal round.

Starting from the outside Post 8, Ipromisenottotell and trainer-driver Joe Hudon sat second last as fan favourite Canada Cool rolled out to a :28.4 quarter and a :59.1 half. As Canada Cool and driver Jody Jamieson led the field to a 1:29.2 three-quarters, Hudon moved Ipromisenottotell to the outside and took aim on the leaders.

Rounding for home, only half a length separated Canada Cool and Ipromisenottotell, and the fillies waged a fierce battle all the way to the wire, with Ipromisenottotell prevailing by a neck. The 1:59.1 clocking matched the track record Canada Cool set in last Friday’s Grassroots Semifinal, when she was able to hold off the hard charging Ipromisenottotell. Canada Cool’s stablemate from the Mark Steacy barn, J M Annie, rounded out the top three.

“I knew I couldn’t leave, there was too much front end speed,” said Acton resident Hudon after the victory. “So I just took her back and hoped for some good fast fractions. The filly’s got a good kick when you turn for home, so she’s very tough.”

Hudon trains and drives Ipromisenottotell for R A W Equine Inc. of Milton, ON, who also bred the daughter of Angus Hall and Imagine My Pride. Through nine freshman starts the young trotter posted four wins — three of them in the last five weeks — and one second for earnings of $95,900.

The two-year-old pacing filly championship featured a much larger margin of victory as heavy favourites Lyons Anitacol and Jody Jamieson grabbed control of the race heading for the three-quarters and drew away to a three and three-quarter length victory over early leader Holiday Shopper and Misty Moonstone.

Cambridge resident Jamieson engineered the regular season point leader’s seventh victory for trainer Bill Robinson and owner Geoffrey Lyons Mound of Burford, ON.

“She was incredibly strong,” said Jamieson of the E Dees Cam daughter. “I just figured she was the best, so I got her out and going and kind of let her do her own thing.”

Jamieson picked up a second championship victory in the two-year-old pacing colt division, steering Twin B Warrior to a four length romp in 1:53.3. Joe Hudon and Raging Grin earned the runner-up’s share of the $100,000 purse, with P L Dangerous and driver Robert Shepherd on their heels in third.

With three wins and one second in four starts, Twin B Warrior looks to have a bright future ahead for trainer Jeff Gillis and owner Mac Nichol of Burlington, ON. Sunday’s 1:53.3 effort peeled almost three full seconds off the Apaches Fame son’s former personal best, set in Semifinal action at Rideau Carleton last weekend.

Drivers Brad Forward and Robert Shepherd also earned two Grassroots Final victories. Forward’s first winner’s circle appearance came in the fourth race with freshman trotting colt Scotty Doesnt Know, who dug hard in the stretch to hold off a charging Fuel Cell and claim the 2:00.1 victory. Markofdistinction also closed hard to finish third.

Trained by John Drennan for his partners in the DDT Stable of Burlington, Scotty Doesnt Know has been the model of consistency through his eight race freshman campaign, recording four wins, three seconds and one third for earnings of $140,380.

“We knew he was getting a little bit tired, but it was a nice way to finish it,” said co-owner Terry West of Burlington. “We didn’t know if he’d have enough to finish up the Final, but he did. His last two starts were really impressive.”

Forward was back in front of the Rideau Carleton Raceway fans after the seventh race, when he teamed up with Bob McIntosh trainee Berndt Energy for a repeat of their Semifinal victory. For the second week in a row, the pair powered up the outside to a one length victory, halting the teletimer at 1:57.3.

“It was a little earlier than I wanted to go, but I know this is a nice horse and I didn’t want to wait and get caught back with him,” explained Forward. “I knew I had to make my move and as soon as I tipped him, he was gone, he was all business.”

Windsor resident McIntosh and C S X Stables of Liberty Center, OH bred and own the son of Berndt Hanover and Direct Dial, who boasts a record of eight wins, three seconds and two thirds through 19 starts this season. The division point leader through the regular season, Berndt Energy boosted his lifetime earnings to $137,740 with Sunday’s triumph over Dashing Earl and Mopey Corey.

Robert Shepherd captured both the three-year-old pacing filly final and the three-year-old pacing colt final with come from behind steers that saw him gap the field and then hang on in the stretch.

With pacing filly Chief Karen, Shepherd opened up a three length lead around the final turn and hung on for a one and three-quarter length victory over Bunny In The Bank and Lil Miss Nyalation. The Cambridge resident engineered the victory for trainer David Menary and owners Burke Racing Stable LLC of Fredericktown, PA. The win was Camluck daughter Chief Karen’s fifth in 25 starts this season.

Aboard Travis Umphrey trainee Blended Whiskey in the pacing colt final, Shepherd hit the accelerator heading for the three-quarter marker and had a four length lead on the field before the final turn. Semifinal winners Mild Mannered and My Gift To You did their best to reel in Blended Whiskey, but the Rambaran son sailed under the wire two and one-quarter lengths on top in 1:52.1.

“He can leave, but it’s better if you get him on cover and don’t use him up at the first part,” said Shepherd, who drove the gelding in all his Grassroots appearances this season.

Umphrey trains Blended Whiskey for Terry Hamilton of Lethbridge, AB, and has harnessed the gelding 20 times this season, netting eight wins, four seconds and three thirds for earnings of $162,220.

The three-year-old trotting filly final went to Daylon Mystique and trainer-driver Wayne Henry, who controlled the race from start to finish, cruising under the wire four and three-quarter lengths on top in a personal best 1:57.4. Senorita Conchnita and Lunar Stream battled into second and third.

“The good post position was key,” said Parkhill resident Dan McCann, who shares ownership on Daylon Mystique with the Henry Stable of Arthur. “We just got beat last week out of a tough post, so we knew we were sitting pretty good, but you never know about the competition.”

Sunday’s win was the fifth this season for Amigo Hall daughter Daylon Mystique, whose younger sister Daylon Mission finished fifth for Henry and McCann in the freshman trotting filly final.

The outstanding Grassroots Championship performances wrapped up the provincial season for the young trotters and pacers, and completed Rideau Carleton Raceway’s exceptional 2009 Ontario Sires Stakes schedule.

For complete results please go to: http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r1101ridcfn.dat.