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Thrilling afternoon of racing on Grand River’s Industry Day
August 7, 2017
By OSS News

Grand River Raceway’s Industry Day got off to a thrilling start for owner-breeder Michael Kwietniowski when three-year-old pacing gelding Kazimoto captured his first-ever Ontario Sires Stakes victory.

Starting from Post 2, Kazimoto and driver Alfie Carroll of Iona Station, ON were fourth through the early going and then tipped into the outside lane heading for the half. Steadily advancing on pacesetter and fan favourite The Dark Shadow, Kazimoto had a nose in front when the colts turned for home and had expanded that to one and one-half lengths by the 1:56 finish. Rebel Voyager closed well to be second, leaving The Dark Shadow to settle for third.

“He’s been getting better and better and seems to be, he was always bad gaited on a half, and he seems to be good now,” said Erin, ON resident Kwietniowski. “It was our first win in the Sires Stakes, hopefully we can keep him good until the end of the year for the Final.”

The win was Carroll and Kazimoto’s fourth straight and boosted the Caseys Bonanza gelding up the division point standings into third. Vic Puddy of Mountain, ON conditions the gelding, who will be looking for one of 10 spots in the season ending Grassroots Championship at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 30.

“I’m just pumped. I bred him and everything,” added Kwietniowski. “I’m just ecstatic right now.”

Division point leader Dream Of Luck scored his second Grassroots win in the second $18,800 division, cruising through fractions of :28.2, :58.1 and 1:27.1 on his way to a 1:55.1 score over Play For Gold and Thrownoutofbetter.

“He won easy today. He got fractions his own way, but he was real good, strong at the wire, good last quarter,” said Guelph-Eramosa Township resident Doug McNair, who crafted the win for trainer Jeff Gillis of Everett, ON and his partners Mac Nichol of Burlington, ON and Gerald Stay of Buffalo, NY. “They actually weren’t that high on him for a while, but he’s getting a lot better each start I think, hopefully that’ll braven him up.”

With two wins, one second and one fourth in Grassroots competition, the son of Camluck and Dream Of Mimi has 133 points and has virtually assured himself of a spot in the Grassroots Championship.

The final Grassroots trophy went home with Cambridge, ON resident Jack Darling, whose Southwind General battled to a 1:56.4 score over Ugottobinittowinit and Heza Big Dealer, surviving interference in the first turn and hanging on in the stretch for the one-half length victory. The win was Southwind General’s second of the season, he also captured the Grassroots season opener over the Flamboro Downs half-mile on May 21.

“He qualified great, and his first start at Flamboro he was a beast, and since then he’s just been kind of there. So it’s nice to get a win with him finally,” said driver Jody Jamieson of Moffat, ON. “I guess it was since the last Grassroots at Flamboro when he won on a half-mile, it seems like he can hide a bit in the turns when they can’t get going on him, and he can hold them off a bit in the stretch.”

“He’s a huge horse, he’s almost 17 hands, but he gets around a half good,” added Darling, who owns and trains the son of Sportswriter, currently sitting second in the standings, nine points behind Dream Of Luck.

In the $139,250 Battle of the Belles for Ontario Sired two-year-old pacing fillies, Grand River Raceway’s leading driver, Bob McClure scored his first victory in one of the Elora oval’s signature events, piloting elimination winner Play The Bell to a 1:54.4 stakes record. After sitting in the outer lane through much of the mile, McClure and Shadow Play daughter Play The Bell hit the wire six and one-quarter lengths ahead of Rendezvous Hanover and Lady Bubbles.

“I actually I didn’t mind my mare — she’s pretty tough and she’s handy — so I was happy coming first up,” said McClure. “I really felt I had the best filly and I just wanted to keep her out of trouble.”

The Elora resident crafted the win for trainer Casie Coleman and her partners in the West Wins Stable of Cambridge, Mac Nichol of Burlington and Calhoun Racing Ltd. of Chatham, ON. It was the second stakes win of the long weekend for the driver, who also captured the Dream Of Glory Trot Final at Hanover Raceway on Saturday.

“It was a great weekend, and you know what, I attribute it all to some really great people who put me down to drive, and some really nice horses, and a lot of racing luck, and that’s what you need in this game,” said the 26-year-old McClure. “Obviously it’s easy to do my job when horses like that filly of Casie's are so well prepared. She drives like a car and really it makes life a lot easier.”

In the afternoon’s finale, the $200,200 Battle of Waterloo, driver Corey Callahan copied McClure’s strategy, sending Simple Kinda Man up the outer lane and holding on for a three-quarter length victory in 1:55. Lightly rated Hudson Phil and fan favourite Burning Midnight rounded out the top three.

Scott McEneny of Waterdown, ON trains Simple Kinda Man for M And L Of Delaware LLC. The win was the Sportswriter colt’s second in six lifetime starts.

For complete results please visit Grand River Raceway Results — Monday, August 7, 2017