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Sportswriter fillies sweep Grassroots opener at Mohawk
July 9, 2016
By OSS News

Daughters of Ontario pacing sire Sportswriter made a splash at Mohawk Racetrack on Friday night, capturing all four $18,000 divisions in the first Grassroots event of the season for two-year-old pacing fillies.

Treasures Pearl and driver Sylvain Filion claimed the first trophy, with an off-the-pace effort that saw them three-wide at the three-quarter pole before they reeled in pacesetter Mystical Moon. Treasures Pearl sprinted down the stretch to a one and one-half length victory in 1:55.1. Mystical Moon settled for second behind the fan favourite and Southern Heart completed the top three.

“Last time she raced she turned up sick, that’s why the line doesn’t show that good, but the week before she was pretty good, she was timed in 1:56 and a piece,” noted Filion, who drove Treasures Pearl to the win for trainer Ron Adams of LaSalle and owner-breeder Donald Leschied of South Woodslee, ON. “Ronnie told me that she turned up sick after her last effort and that he treated her all week and that she should be better, and he was right, she went a very good trip, because I was kind of far off and she covered a lot of ground turning for home.”

Prior to her lacklustre performance in the July 1 two-year-old conditioned event, Filion piloted the daughter of Sportswriter and $209,445 winner St Lads Treasure in a pair of qualifiers at Mohawk. On June 17 the petite filly finished fourth and on June 25 she finished third, pacing her own mile in 1:56.3.

Two races later a second Sportswriter daughter graced the Mohawk winner’s circle as Bid Writer cruised through fractions of :29, :59.1 and 1:28 on her way to an effortless two length victory in 1:55.3. Stellenbosch and Lotus Seelster followed behind Bid Writer into second and third, with fan favourite Talbot Chanel settling for fourth.

“She’s a real pro, she felt like an aged horse just rolling along the whole way, and when I called on her at the top of the stretch she was all business,” said driver James MacDonald. “She was very well within herself.”

The Guelph, ON resident guided the filly from Post 8 to the win for trainer Jeff Gillis of Everett, ON and his partners Mac Nichol of Burlington, ON and Gerald Stay of Buffalo, NY. The group offered up $52,000 to acquire the daughter of $387,216 winner Bust Out The Bid — who has already produced three $170,000-plus winners — from the 2015 Lexington-Selected Yearling Sale. Bid Writer had just one qualifier under her belt before Friday’s test, a 1:58.3 win at Mohawk on July 1.

Yaris Bayama continued the Sportswriter trend in the third division, and gave Milton, ON resident Filion his second Grassroots win of the evening. Filion took a page from MacDonald’s book and sent Yaris Bayama straight to the front from Post 8, reeling off fractions of :28.1, :56.4 and 1:25.4 en route to an impressive 1:53.3 triumph. Royal Point finished one and three-quarter lengths back in second and fan favourite P L Karis was well back in third.

“We schooled her and she did everything right, she did everything we asked her, but we never really got the feeling that she was that good, you know,” said Filion. “Tonight she really showed me that she might be something special. And the way she did it, you know, it was like a walk in the park for her, so that was really impressive.

“I don’t easily get impressed, but she did impress me tonight,” added the reinsman.

Filion piloted Yaris Bayama to the win for trainer Stephane Larocque of Carlisle, ON and his father Yves Filion’s Bayama Farms Inc. of Saint-Andre-D’Argenteuil, QC. A homebred out of $173,325 winner Lucky Josie, Yaris Bayama finished third and second in her June 15 and 25 qualifiers and fourth in the July 1 overnight event in which Treasures Pearl finished ninth.

In the final division Sports Beauty completed the Sportswriter sweep when she and MacDonald roared down the stretch to a one and one-quarter win over P L Kahluaa and Casimir QT. The filly hit the wire in 1:56.

“She was on the bit behind the gate so I just let her float out a little bit and I got a spot,” said MacDonald. “Around the last turn I moved her and I caught some cover, and down the lane when I took her off cover she gave me a good kick.”

Mark Steacy of Lansdowne, ON trains Sports Beauty for owner-breeder Frank Gentile of Beaconsfield, QC. The filly, a full-sister to $198,107 winner Sports Bettor, finished third in her June 25 qualifier and second to Bid Writer in her July 1 qualifier, both over the Mohawk oval.

“Mark just said try and give her a trip, she’s not very big, so try not to overdrive her if you can,” said MacDonald, who had not driven either Bid Writer or Sports Beauty before Friday’s Grassroots event. “It worked out perfect.”

The two-year-old pacing fillies will make their second Grassroots start at Clinton Raceway on Sunday, July 17.

After a week spent featuring Ontario’s top two-year-olds, Mohawk Racetrack welcomes back the three-year-old pacing fillies on Saturday evening for their second Gold Series event. The talented fillies will battle in Races 3 and 6. Racing action gets under way at 7:30 pm.

For complete results please visit Mohawk Racetrack Results — Friday, July 8, 2016