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Colts take first steps down path blazed by successful siblings
July 8, 2016
By OSS News

Four Grassroots divisions of two-year-old pacing colts went postward at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday evening and a quartet of well-bred youngsters took home the Ontario Sires Stakes hardware.

Leading off in the first division, Bet On Brett and driver Mike Saftic took immediate control of the race from Post 1 and laid down fractions of :27.2, :57.3 and 1:27 on their way to a 1:54.4 victory. Streakavana closed hard to be second, one and one-half lengths behind the winner, and Mach Déjà Vu was hot on his heels in third.

“He left the gate really sharp and then settled down nicely,” said Campbellville, ON resident Saftic. “He got home very strong.”

Saftic qualified two other colts in the first division, including runner-up Streakavana, but chose the Marcel Barrieau trainee as his mount for the Grassroots season opener.

“He looked more mature than the other two at this point,” explained Saftic, who had not driven Bet On Brett before Thursday’s contest.

Barrieau prepped the Sportswriter son for his provincial stakes debut with a pair of qualifiers at Mohawk on June 17 and 25, finishing fourth in both outings. The Cambridge, ON resident shares ownership of Bet On Brett with Gestion Mastel Inc. of Longueuil, QC and Conrad Leber of Montreal, QC. The partners acquired the half-brother to three $150,000-plus winners for $80,000 at the 2015 Harrisburg Yearling Sale.

In the second Grassroots division driver Mario Baillargeon also opted to control the pace, putting Play For Gold on the lead heading by the :28.1 opening quarter and carrying on through fractions of :57.2 and 1:26.1. Under fierce pressure from fan favourite Aston Hill Dave in the stretch, Play For Gold dug deep and kept a nose in front to secure the 1:543 victory. Aston Hill Dave settled for second and Silverinyourpocket closed hard to be third.

Milton, ON resident Baillargeon crafted the win for trainer Jacques Dupont of Repentigny, QC and his partners in Les Ecuries Dorleans Inc., along with numbered company 9099 3833 Quebec Inc. of Sorel-Tracy, QC and Gestion C Levesque 2005 Inc. of St-Hyacinthe, QC. The group selected Shadow Play son Play For Gold out of the Lexington-Selected Yearling Sale, offering up $20,000 for the half-brother to two $100,000-plus winners.

Sent off as the heavy favourite in the third division, driver Paul MacDonell of Guelph, ON chose to continue the front-end trend, sending Mc Mach after the lead from Post 2. The Mach Three son powered through a :28.2 quarter, :57.1 half and 1:26.3 three-quarters before accelerating away to a two length victory in 1:54. Down On My Luck and Tremendous Play followed Mc Mach from start to finish, earning the second and third-place share of the $18,000 purse.

MacDonell drove Mc Mach to the win for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor and his partners Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington, ON and Randy Liepa of Livonia, MI. Like the first two winners, Mc Mach has several successful half-siblings, including former Grassroots regular Western Empress, a winner of $229,915 in her career to date.

“He’s improved nicely since his first qualifier,” said MacDonell, who piloted the colt to a fourth-place result in a June 25 qualifier and a win in a July 1 effort, both at Mohawk. “He may step up to the Gold level before year’s end.”

The final Grassroots division saw the only come-from-behind effort of the evening. Starting from Post 5, driver Sylvain Filion settled Yogi Bayama in the middle of the pack and watched as rivals Kingston Seelster and Master The View battled to a :27.1 first quarter.

Favourite Master The View took over heading for the :57 half and continued to lead the field through the 1:26.1 three-quarters as Filion and Yogi Bayama stepped into the outer lane behind Pop N Liam. Turning for home Pop N Liam and Yogi Bayama were matching strides with Master The View, but when Filion asked his colt for another gear Yogi Bayama pulled away to a two length win in 1:54.1, leaving Master The View and Pop N Liam to settle for second and third.

Stephane Larocque of Carlisle, ON trains Yogi Bayama for owner-breeder Bayama Farms Inc. of Saint-Andre-D’Argenteuil, QC. The Sportswriter half-brother to $168,610 winner Urbana Bayama qualified at Rideau Carleton Raceway on June 15, finishing fourth, and at Mohawk Racetrack on June 25, finishing sixth. The colt made his debut in a two-year-old overnight event at Mohawk on July 1, finishing second.

“He’s all right, he looked good tonight,” said Bayama Farms’ Yves Filion, who piloted the colt in his first qualifier. “He had a perfect trip and he looked like he win it kind of easy, but we don’t know if he’s going to be a good Gold or not.

“A few more starts we’ll know better how good he is,” added the horseman, who will be inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame on August 3. “So far he looks all right. We hope for the best.”

Yogi Bayama and his peers will have their next opportunity to prove just how good they are when Mohawk hosts the second two-year-old pacing colt Grassroots leg on Friday, July 15.

Mohawk Racetrack’s two-year-old showcase continues tomorrow, July 8, as the Campbellville oval hosts the freshman pacing fillies in four Grassroots divisions. The first race goes in behind the starting gate at 7:30 pm and the fillies will show off their skills in Races 3, 5, 7, and 9.

For complete results please visit Mohawk Racetrack Results — Thursday, July 7, 2016