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Local colts Stormont Ventnor and Majestic Fire score in OSS action
August 26, 2018
By OSS News

Rideau Carleton Raceway rolled out the red carpet for the three-year-old trotting colts on Sunday evening, welcoming both the Grassroots and Gold Series competitors for a total of four Ontario Sires Stakes divisions.

In the first $94,800 Gold Series contest, local colt Stormont Ventnor delivered an impressive effort to claim his second Gold win of the season. Starting from Post 4 the heavy favourite spent the bulk of the mile in the outer lane as Joey Bats trotted to fractions of :29.1, :58.4 and 1:26.4, but around the final turn Stormont Ventnor caught the pacesetter and proceeded to draw away to a six and one-quarter length victory in 1:55.4. Joey Bats settled for second and Perfetto was third.

Regular reinsman Phil Hudon piloted Stormont Ventnor to the victory for trainer Kevin Benn of Napanee and owner-breeder Eric Baker of Long Sault, Ontario and said the Justice Hall son is in top form heading toward the last regular season event.

“He was really sharp tonight. He seems as fresh as he was when he started the season,” said Hudon. “The Benns have done a great job keeping him on his ‘A’ game, and I’m lucky enough to get the drive.”

With 126 points earned through two wins, one second and one eighth-place result in the first four Gold events, Stormont Ventnor currently sits in second spot in the division standings, 24 points behind Run Director, who captured the other $95,600 Gold division.

Starting from Post 3, Run Director settled into fourth as Say You Do hit the opening quarter in :28.4. As Henderson Seelster took over top spot heading for the :59.3 half, driver Sylvain Filion tipped Run Director into the outer lane behind Mister Magic and was content to follow that horse past the 1:28.1 three-quarters. As the colts straightened up in the stretch Filion gave the heavy favourite a clear look at the finish and Run Director powered home to a one and one-quarter length victory in 1:56.4. Henderson Seelster finished second and Say You Do was third.

“He was awesome today. Sylvain said he wanted to go so badly he had to be careful when he moved him three deep. The colt wanted to go too fast, too quick, he wanted to make sure we stayed trotting,” said Ben Baillargeon, who trains Run Director for owner-breeders Tom and Elizabeth Rankin of St. Catharines, Ontario. “He was real good today, but he’s been good all along. We didn’t have too many hiccups with him, and I think the best is yet to come.”

The son of Kadabra and Keep The Spirit has tallied two wins and two seconds in his four Gold Series starts and will take a second run at the best sophomore trotters in North America in the September 1 Simcoe Stakes at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Run Director was third in his elimination and sixth in the final of the Goodtimes Stake in June.

“We have him in the Simcoe next week, this Saturday coming up, so this race will be a good tightener for him,” said Baillargeon. “He is eligible to the Canadian Trotting Classic too, but we’ll go week-by-week. Our main goal is the next Gold at Mohawk (Sept. 27) and the Super Final (Oct. 13).”

Having butted heads against Run Director and Stormont Ventnor through the first two legs of the sophomore campaign, Levitation made the move to the Grassroots on Sunday and found the winner’s circle for the first time this season. The Kadabra gelding went gate-to-wire from Post 6 in a personal best 1:57.3 for driver Louis Philippe Roy. Daylon Phantom was one and one-half lengths back in second and Delcrest Holiday was three more lengths back in third.

“He looks like a horse you have to be a bit careful with,” said Roy, who made his first appearance in Levitation’s race bike Sunday. “He showed me he wanted to run a few times, so I just made sure he went enough to win, making sure he was staying flat.”

Roy crafted the win for trainer Tony Alagna and owners David Anderson of Aurora, Ontario and Robert Leblanc of Austin, Texas.

Local colt Majestic Fire captured the second $18,450 Grassroots division, getting away fourth from Post 1 and then rolling up the outside to catch pacesetter The Magic Number and claim the 1:57.3 victory by one and one-half lengths. The Magic Number settled for second and T Barrr rounded out the top three.

James MacDonald drove the fan favourite to the win for trainer Mark Steacy of Lansdowne and owners David McDonald of Cornwall, David Reid of Glenburnie, Shelly MacMillan of Waterloo and A K Malik stable of Ottawa, Ontario.

“He raced great. He gives you everything he has every time he goes behind the gate,” said MacDonald of the Majestic Son gelding. “I knew if I could find him a decent trip and keep him out of trouble he would give me a big effort.

“The trip worked out pretty good, and when I asked him to trot at the top of the stretch he had tons left and responded really good.”

Majestic Fire had also tested his skills against the Gold Series colts after making his sophomore debut in the Grassroots season opener.

With their victories on Sunday, Levitation and Majestic Fire currently sit among the top 20 point earners who would advance to the September 21 Grassroots Semi-Finals, meaning their connections will have to choose between remaining in the Grassroots or returning to the Gold Series for the fifth leg of the campaign. The final regular season Grassroots event is September 10, while the last Gold Leg is September 27, both at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

For complete results please visit Rideau Carleton Raceway Results — Sunday, August 26, 2018