September 30, 2016

Grassroots Champions Crowned; Lady Shadow Wins Milton Stakes

September 24, 2016 – The 2016 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots season came to a close on Saturday night (September 24) at Mohawk Racetrack with eight new divisional title holders emerging from the $400,000 championships. Top pacing mare Lady Shadow was also in the spotlight, winning the $311,000 Milton Stakes.

Trot Insider has provided coverage of the eight, $50,000 Grassroots championships for two and three-year-olds, and the Milton Stakes for older pacing mares below.

Ontario Racing hosted a reception for the Ontario Sires Stakes. Here’s Ontario Racing Executive Director Rob Cook with SC’s President & CEO Dan Gall enjoying the night at Mohawk.

Two-Year-Old Filly Trot

Riding a three-race win streak and having drawn the inside post position, Anikadabraseemed liked a safe bet in the evening’s first Grassroots Championship. While two-year-old trotting fillies can be unpredictable, the divisional win leader stayed true to form and delivered on her 1-5 pari-mutuel promise with a three-length victory in 1:57.4 for driver Rick Zeron and trainer Rob Fellows.

Zeron made his move with Anikadabra after a 28-second first quarter and sent her from and early four-hole to the lead by the :58 mid-way mark. The favourite trotted out to a two-length advantage on the way to three-quarters in 1:28.2 and cruised home uncontested for the dominant victory. Stritch (Jonathan Drury) closed late for the runner-up honours while first-quarter leader Late Shift (Jody Jamieson) held on for third.

After the race, Zeron agreed the victory was as easy as it looked for the winning filly.

“It actually was. She’s just an outstanding filly,” said Zeron. “I can’t tip my hat off enough to Rob Fellows. He managed this filly every race that she was in this year. He took care of her. I kept telling him that she was a Gold [filly] and he said, ‘I’ll save her for next year, we got bigger fish to fry, we’re going to race her in the Grassroots this year and put her away fresh.’ So she finished up tonight and she was just as fresh as the day I sat behind her the first time.”

Anikadabra now has five wins from seven career starts, all in the OSS program, for earnings totalling $71,840. The Kadabra-Anikawiesahalee filly, who is a half-sibling to Maple Leaf Trot champion Resolve, was retained by her breeders, Edward Wilson of Seagrave, Ont. and his New York-based partner Michael Pozefsky, with future plans to breed her.

Three-Year-Old Colt Trot

Prince Lee Acres’ homebred P L Jerico pulled off the mild 7-1 upset in the next championship as he wore down the favoured three-year-old trotting colt Muscles For Life to win in 1:55 flat, equalling his lifetime mark for trainer Matt Dupuis.

Recent Simcoe Stakes winner Muscles For Life (Doug McNair) left from post eight and cleared to command at the :27.3 first quarter mark, but driver Mike Saftic sent P L Jerico first-over from fourth through middle splits of :57.1 and 1:26 and overtook the 4-5 favourite in deep stretch to win by half a length. Early leaver Mass Balance (Phil Hudon) finished third.

“He felt good [turning for home],” said Saftic of the Manofmanymissions-Corinas Mission gelding. “I was trying to set up for a nice second-over trip and I thought there would be a little more speed leaving, but we had to come first-up and he’s been a consistent colt all year and it’s nice to get this one done.”

“I was kind of worried coming first-up,” said Dupuis. “This horse has had bad allergies all summer and tonight was nice and cool. Thank God it was, it really helped him.”

Winless in six starts as a freshman, P L Jerico has put together a 5-4-2 record in 16 sophomore starts to earn the bulk of his $94,570 bankroll. Dupuis attributes his improvement to an equipment change.

“We put the hopples on and it just gave him confidence,” said the Rockwood, Ont. horseman. “He only broke once, but he got jammed up in the first turn. Other than that, he’s been flawless.”

P L Jerico wasn’t entered in last Grassroots leg so he will be eligible to compete in the remaining Gold Series event on October 6 at Mohawk to wrap up his season.

Two-Year-Old Filly Pace

Favourite Dudesalady prevailed off a second-over trip to win the Grassroots Championship for two-year-old pacing fillies in 1:54.2.

Jody Jamieson settled Dudesalady mid-pack from post six during a contested :26.2 first quarter and then tipped her outside down the backstretch where she picked up cover in the form of Daenerys Hanover (Paul MacDonell) through middle splits of :56.1 and 1:25.1. Dudesalady rallied three-wide to overtake the leading P L Karis (Chris Christoforou) in the stretch while Anderson Seelster (Jonathan Drury) also followed wide and closed within a neck of the 3-5 favoured filly. Village Jamie (Trevor Henry) finished two lengths behind in third.

“It’s a stakes race final so I wasn’t too worried about catching cover,” said Jamieson of his racing strategy. “It didn’t look like it maybe, but I know Mac’s horse [Daenerys Hanover], they changed the bridle on her. Mac’s been real good with her — he won with her in :55 two Grassroots ago — so I thought he didn’t want to sit third so I wasn’t too worried about catching cover. He didn’t go as far as I like, obviously, but this mare was so good last week, she really impressed me. I think it was probably her best start of the year last week. Susie [Kerwood] kept her good all week and she came back and just repeated what she did last week.”

Owned by M And L Of Delaware LLC and Victoria Dickinson, the Shadow Play-Accountable filly joined Susie Kerwood’s stable at the end of August and has pushed her win count to five for her freshman campaign in which she has banked $61,910 in eight starts.

“She’s a very nice filly,” said Kerwood. “I think she’s going to turn out to be a real good three-year-old filly.

“She takes care of herself like no other. She’s very laid back. She makes my job easy.”

Three-Year-Old Filly Trot

Appearing to be locked in down the backstretch, driver Trevor Henry was able to maneuver 3-5 favourite Magical Steph into contention and she launched home to score in 1:55.4, defeating her three-year-old trotting filly foes for the championship title.

Trevor Henry had Magical Steph firing out from post six among a trio of early leavers and settled in the pocket behind divisional point-leader Myretirementticket (Jody Jamieson) during the :26.3 first quarter. Magical Valentine (Jack Moiseyev) was then flushed first over from fourth on the way to the half in :56.1 and she blew by Myretirementticket with Anneli Hanover (James MacDonald) in pursuit to three-quarters in 1:25.4. Around the final turn, Henry was able to tip the locked-in Magical Steph second-over and she rallied off cover down the stretch, with Roadmapper (Mike Saftic) closing to her outside for second. Magical Valentine finished third.

“I thought she wasn’t going get out,” admitted the Kadabra-I Like Stephanie filly’s trainer and owner Gary Lance. “After she got locked in around the last turn, I didn’t think she was getting out. But she’s got quite a bit of trot when she gets clear sailing.”

A back-to-back winner after taking her 1:55.3 career mark in the Semi-Final last week, Lance noted that Magical Steph is in top form.

“We took her to Ohio State University last year and got some work done on her in January and she didn’t come out of the surgery very well,” explained Lance. “So she had some infection in her hock and had to go back in for more surgery. So she’s been a long time coming. She’s the best she has been all summer right now.”

Magical Steph now has four wins from nine starts this year and nine victories overall. The lion’s share of the purse lifted her bankroll to $134,400.

She will try her luck against the Gold fillies next week (October 2) at Flamboro Downs.

Two-Year-Old Colt Trot

Many A Man displayed a quick turn of foot down the backstretch to take the lead on the way to securing his Grassroots Championship title for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings.

Driver Randy Waples had Many A Man on the move at the :28.1 first quarter mark and the divisional point leader powered to command down the backstretch. He reached the half in :58.3 and three-quarters in 1:28.2 while Radical Road (Rick Zeron) fanned three-wide off fading cover. Many A Man continued to lead into the stretch with Radical Road closing in and Santini splitting those two from the pocket. However, Many A Man held on to win by half a length in 1:57.3. Santino finished second and Radical Road was third over the quick-closing Zorgwijk Rocket (Joe Hudon Jr.).

“He’s just a really nice horse,” said Waples after the race. “He’s knows what he’s supposed to be doing out there and he likes to do it. We stayed out of the first quarter, which is kind of nice and then I was able to remove off of a cheap quarter, but he still had to come a fair ways to do it. Then he had to gut it out again down the lane. He knew how to do that too; he put his ears forward and off he went.”

Many A Man has earned all five of his career wins in the Grassroots Series, with his latest a lifetime-best clocking. He now has $64,940 earned in nine career starts.

The homebred Manofmanymissions-Armbro Sylvie colt is owned by the Robert McIntosh Stables Inc. of Windsor, Ont., C S X Stables of Liberty Center, Ohio, and Dave Boyle of Bowmanville, Ont.

Waples had nothing but praise for the colt’s Hall of Fame trainer Bob McIntosh, referencing the horseman’s wealth of knowledge and talent for developing young horses.

“He [Many A Man] was really nice from the first time I sat behind him, but he was just a little bit ‘greener.’ And now, he just seems like he’s progressing to the point now where he’s kind of old hat out there now,” said Waples. “He’s really, really learned a lot, but that’s nothing new for Bob. They always seem like at the end of the year, that’s when they’re at their very best. He might give up a little bit of early money, but he always seems like he’s the guy that gets all the late money. This year, once again, he did it with this guy.”

Lady Shadow Wins Milton Stakes

Lady Shadow continued her career-year amidst the Grassroots Championships, adding the $311,000 Milton Stakes to her impressive list of accomplishments for trainer Ron Adams.

James MacDonald picked up the catch-drive on the millionaire Shadow Play-Lady Camella mare and earned his second straight victory in the event. He drove Venus Delight to victory in the 2015 edition over Lady Shadow.

“When you’re lucky, you’re lucky,” said MacDonald of his back-to-back wins in the Milton. “Last year, I was lucky enough to pick up Venus Delight and she was razor sharp at the time, and tonight, Ronnie asked me to drive ‘Lady’ and she’s tough as whale bone so I’ve been lucky.”

Leaving from the inside post, Wrangler Magic (Sylvain Filion) secured the early lead through a :26.4 first quarter with Frost Damage Blues (Jack Moiseyev) tucking into the two-hole ahead of 3-5 favourite Lady Shadow. MacDonald then sent Lady Shadow after Wrangler Magic down the backstretch and battled head-to-head with the front-striding mare past the half-mile mark in :54.4 before pulling clear. Lady Shadow proceeded to three-quarters in 1:21.4 with Frost Damage Blues advancing up to second, but Lady Shadow began to open up on top turning for home and earned her ninth win of the season in 1:50 flat. Yagonnakissmeornot (Louis-Philippe Roy) came on for second and Waasmula (Trevor Henry) finished third.

“When you’re 2-5, you kind of hope to get some respect. I know Sylvain wanted to stretch me out a little bit, but it doesn’t matter to her,” said MacDonald. “I’ve seen her go some of the craziest trips you could ask a horse to go this year. She got stung pretty hard tonight and she’s just such a good mare, she overcame it.”

“Everyone is here to play hardball,” noted Adams. “I was a little worried going to the half — she was parked pretty good and pressing — but she’s gone big trips like that and I was confident in the lane she as going to hang tough.”

Lady Shadow also boasts stakes wins in the Roses Are Red, Golden Girls and Lady Liberty this year.

“She’s definitely having a career-year,” said Adams, who trains Lady Shadow for owners David Kryway, Carl Atley, Edwin Gold and the Bfj Stable. “She’s just been tough and stayed tough the whole year and she’s just getting better, I think, with every start.”

Lady Shadow is being pointed to the second weekend of stakes at The Red Mile’s Grand Circuit meet next.

Three-Year-Old Filly Pace

As the Grassroots Championships resumed, driver James MacDonald made his way back to the winner’s circle with the Mark Steacy-trained three-year-old pacing filly champion Forever Liza.

MacDonald secured a second-over trip with the Bettors Delight-Forever Cam filly after a series of early lead changes and prevailed in a photo finish.

Divisional point leader Noone To Depend On (Jody Jamieson) put up a 27-second opening panel before being looped by Windsun Glory (Doug McNair) at three-eighths, with Free Show (Trevor Henry) coming on and clearing past the half in :55.1. As Free Show raced on to three-quarters in 1:23.4, Forever Liza tracked the cover of Top Royal (Phil Hudon) and then kicked home in :27.4 to collar Free Show in 1:52.2. Selling The Dream (Rick Zeron) closed from the backfield to match Free Show’s strides in a dead-heat finish for the runner-up honours. Windsun Glory finished three-quarters of a length behind.

“She got a good trip. I was in behind Phil and he was grinding first-up and when I moved her, she went on,” said MacDonald in a post-race interview. “Last week [in the Semi-Finals] she blew by and today she was struggling to get there, but she got there and I was happy with her.”

After making just three starts as a freshman, Forever Liza has blossomed into a seven-time winner in 16 starts this year, lifting her bankroll over the $100,000 mark for owner Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, Que.

Three-Year-Old Colt Pace

Arsenic continued the favourite trend in the Grassroots Championships with a wire-to-wire victory in the Glamour Boy division for trainer Scott McEneny.

Driver Doug McNair left for the lead with the 8-5 pari-mutuelly popular Bettors Delight-Shes Poison gelding from post six into a :27 first quarter and was prompted to the half in :54.2 by the first-up divisional point-leader, St Lads Moonwalk (Jody Jamieson). However, Arsenic shook off that rival on the way to three-quarters in 1:23 and cruised home for the one and a half length victory in 1:51.1, equalling his lifetime mark that was taken in last week’s Semi-Finals. Continual Hanover (Randy Waples) and Inspiration View (Trevor Henry) came on for second and third, respectively.

“I was just going to see how he felt,” said McNair of Arsenic facing the mid-mile challenge from St Lads Moonwalk. “If I had to let him go, I would have, but I just kind of chased him and he swelled back up when he got beside me, so I decided to leave him out and it worked out for us.”

Arsenic has earned his four sophomore wins over the last two months and now has eight career wins from 22 starts and earnings of $184,600 for his owners, including McEneny’s wife Michelle and their partners Brad Grant and Teresa Davidson of Milton, Ont.

“Last year, he raced in the Golds and they started him off this year in the Golds,” noted McNair. “He’s come a long way in the last four or five starts. He’s a real fast colt, you know, when he qualified this year, he came a quarter in :25.1 or something crazy. He’s got the speed, but it took him a bit of the year to get rolling and it’s the right time of the year for him.”

Two-Year-Old Colt Pace

The Stephane Larocque-trained pacing colt Tymal Peacemaker closed out his eight-race two-year-old campaign and the Grassroots Championships with a 1:52.4 score.

Driven by Sylvain Filion, 2-5 favourite Tymal Peacemaker swept to command from third after a :26.4 first quarter. The Mach Three-Flying Color colt then cruised through middle splits of :56 and 1:24.2 en route to the two and a half length victory. Bet On Brett (Rick Zeron) followed in second off a pocket trip while The Dark Shadow (Jody Jamieson) advanced first over to finish third.

Tymal Peacemaker won his last four starts of his freshman season and boosted his bankroll to $67,000 for owner Bayama Farms Inc. of Saint-Andre-D’Argenteuil, Que.

“He’s unbelievable. He raced really good his last four starts and we’re really happy with him for next year,” said Larocque. “He’s still learning, but it’s very encouraging for next year.”

Larocque said that the Grassroots champion will now head back to Yves Filion’s Bayama Farms for a break and to prepare for his three-year-old season.

To view Saturday’s harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results – Mohawk Racetrack.

 

(Standardbred Canada)

Long-Term Lease For OLG, Mohawk

September 23, 2016 – Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) today announced it has reached a long-term lease agreement with the Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation (OLG) for gaming operations at Mohawk Racetrack in Milton.

“At Woodbine Entertainment Group, our mission is to support the foundation and lead the growth of the Ontario horse racing industry,” said Jim Lawson, CEO of WEG. “This long-term lease agreement signifies a positive step forward for the industry and helps us pave the way for future investments at Mohawk. We look forward to fulfilling our core mandate of achieving the highest quality of horse racing and ensuring that Mohawk is a world class Standardbred racing facility.”

In addition, WEG and OLG were able to reach an agreement which provides for the continuation of WEG’s Hospitality services for the Mohawk gaming operations.

“This lease and the food and beverage agreement are great news for our employees and local horsemen and provides them with some much needed certainty,” Mr. Lawson added.

The completion of the lease agreement will provide reassurance to the province’s Standardbred racing and breeding industry and allow Mohawk to thrive as the hub of the sport in Ontario.

“This announcement provides security for horse people and horse breeders, and confirms government is committed to working with the industry,” said Rob Cook, Executive Director for Ontario Racing. “Ontario Racing welcomes the Woodbine Entertainment Group’s continued dedication to leveraging their expertise for the growth of our sport.”

The Mohawk Racetrack site has been host to horse racing since 1963 and gaming operations since 1999. It’s the home of the Pepsi North America Cup, one of the continent’s leading Standardbred races, and will host the Milton Stakes on Saturday evening.

(with files from WEG)

(Standardbred Canada)

Betting Line Wins The Little Brown Jug

September 22, 2016 – Betting Line paced a world record 1:49 mile in the second heat of the Little Brown Jug on Thursday, September 22 at the Delaware County Fairground in Ohio, as the Ontario Sired son of Bettors Delight captured the 71st edition of the Jug in straight heats for trainer Casie Coleman and driver David Miller.

The mile time matches Wiggle It Jiggleit’s 2015 Jug clocking as the fastest ever paced by a three-year-old over a half-mile track (Wiggle It Jiggleit still holds the gelding mark).

Owned by Coleman’s West Wins Stable (of Cambridge, Ont.) along with Christine Calhoun (Burlington, Ont.) and Mac Nicol (Burlington, Ont) Betting Line came first-up for Miller in the second quarter of the race, made the lead in the vicinity of the half-mile pole and did not look back whatsoever.

Fellow opening-heat victor Western Fame (driven by Mark MacDonald) had cut the opening quarter in :26.4. Miller bided his time with Betting Line from third and came calling as the field raced through the homestretch for the first time. It was in the vicinity of the :54.4 half-mile pole where Betting Line assumed control of the proceedings.

Betting Line paced a solid third panel (:27), but it was in the final quarter where the brown colt showed his motor to everyone. Miller knew it was his race to lose at that point, so ‘The Buckeye’ went to work a bit. He spoke to Betting Line for good measure and even gave him a bit of the high-line treatment just to make sure the end result was never in doubt.

And what an end result it was.

Miller and Betting Line paced hard off the final turn and jetted through the lane unchallenged, expanding their multi-length lead with every stride. Betting Line was firing on all cylinders when he hit the wire in 1:49, which was a world record for a three-year-old pacing colt over a half-mile track.

“Huge day. It’s unbelievable,” said co-owner Nichol, during the winner’s circle proceedings. “There’s no bottom to this horse. I’ve never seen the bottom of this horse, ever.”

Betting Line ($2.20) bested Western Fame, who finished second for pilot Mark MacDonald. Manhattan Beach finished third for Matt Kakaley. Lyons Snyder (driven by Sylvain Filion) and Dr J Hanover (Scott Zeron) finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

The victory was the third career Little Brown Jug win for Coleman and the fourth for Miller, who is currently the unofficial reinsman to beat over the blazing-fast half-mile course.

Announcer Roger Huston asked Miller – possibly tongue in cheek – if the win was as easy as it looked. “Yeah… it was pretty easy,” said the very humble Miller. “[Betting Line] was great both trips, and I’m so glad for all the connections and the horse to win the Little Brown Jug.”

Miller went on to say, “I enjoy each and every one of them (Jug wins), and this one was special.”

“I love the Jug. Everybody knows I’ve always been supportive of the Jug,” Coleman, who was just married days before, said in the winner’s circle. “I think I pay every horse I have – I have some cheaper horses that I pay into this race just hoping they’re good enough to come. Every single year I’ll be here supporting it as long as I have a horse good enough.”

Coleman also stated that Betting Line still has the Ontario Sires Stakes Super Finals and Breeders Crown on his dance card, but he was not paid up to upcoming stakes at the Red Mile in Lexington, Kentucky. Coleman did say that no decision has been made at this time as to whether they will supplement Betting Line to the Red Mile Grand Circuit stakes.

With the win in the Jug final, Betting Line extended his winning streak to 13, which includes scores in the Pepsi North America Cup, Carl Milstein Memorial, the Battle of the Brandywine, Simcoe Stakes and multiple OSS events.

Betting Line’s Jug win made for a Bettors Delight sweep of Jug and Jugette, as L A Delight captured the latter over the course one day prior.

Prior to the first heat, the USTA’s Harness Racing Communications reported that a controversy that had been brewing behind the scenes since early this morning came to a head. It involved a lost cell phone belonging to one of winning trainer Casie Coleman’s employees that was found on the backstretch with a message on it that trainers Ron Burke, Jimmy Taker and Tony Alagna brought to the attention of the judges because they interpreted it as a message directing her employee to give something to the horse this morning. Coleman explained that she was referring to yogurt that Betting Line gets twice a day.

According to HRC, the three other trainers, who had nine of the 11 horses in the Jug, asked the judges to scratch the eventual Jug winner and protested Betting Line’s participation with a threat to scratch their horses if their protest was not accepted. As a show of their protest, the three other trainers demanded that Betting Line leave for the post parade five minutes earlier than the rest of the field for the first Jug heat.

“The horsemen expressed their concerns to the Ohio State Racing Commission (OSRC),” said the official statement from the Little Brown Jug following the race. “Little Brown Jug officials worked with the OSRC and the horsemen and we are pleased that the horsemen participated in our event. At this point it is an OSRC decision.”


WESTERN FAME PACES A SIZZLING MILE


Western Fame and driver Mark MacDonald played some serious hardball in the second opening-heat division of the Little Brown Jug, as the Western Ideal colt thwarted all comers and scorched a gate-to-wire mile in a 1:50.1.

Trained by Jimmy Takter, Western Fame ($23.40) was blessed with Post 1 in the five-horse field. MacDonald knew what the deal was and ended up attacking the speed course with all that Western Fame had.

Racing Hill, the heavy favourite in the race, also had his sights on the early lead, as driver Brett Miller fired off the starting gate from Post 2. Western Fame and Racing Hill went full bore into the first turn, and MacDonald was not willing to give an inch.

MacDonald and Western Fame parked Racing Hill to the :26.4 opening quarter and left his foe taking air on the outside through the second panel. Racing Hill was parked past the :53.4 half-mile marker, where Big Top Hanover (Yannick Gingras) sat in the garden spot on the rail.

MacDonald and Western Fame continued to roll through the third panel. Gingras smelled blood in the water at that point and tipped Big Top Hanover out from second for a first-over attack. The duel was on at the hot 1:22.1 third call and MacDonald was doing all he could to keep Western Fame on his business into the lane.

It was in the lane where it became apparent that Western Fame was not going to give up the lead to anyone. He and MacDonald were able to keep Big Top Hanover at bay, although the margin of victory was not large. Even though he raced a very taxing mile, Racing Hill was able to hang onto third.

“It was kind of an all-or-nothing drive,” MacDonald said in a post-race interview. “There wasn’t a whole lot of action in the opening elimination, so I wanted to give the people a show,” MacDonald said, with a smirk.

It was back in 2006 when Takter and MacDonald hooked up at the Jug and set a then-two-heat world Record with Mr Feelgood.

“I’m happy standing here with Mark,” Takter said afterward. “We did it (won the Jug) ten years ago, and hopefully we do it again in about an hour.”

Western Fame is a homebred of Brittany Farms of Versailles, Kentucky.

Western Fame, Big Top Hanover and Racing Hill all advanced to the final, as did fourth-place finisher Manhattan Beach.

The 1:50.1 clocking was a national season’s record for a three-year-old male pacer over a half-mile track, and it also was a mark-lowering mile for Western Fame.

Post positions for the second heat were released shortly after. It was also announced that Racing Hill and Check Six were subsequently scratched.

Post positions for the second heat appear below.

1 – Western Fame – Mark MacDonald
2 – Betting Line – David Miller
3 – Lyons Snyder – Sylvain Filion
4 – Big Top Hanover – Yannick Gingras
5 – Dr J Hanover – Scott Zeron
6 – Racing Hill – Brett Miller (SCRATCHED)
7 – Check Six – Yannick Gingras (SCRATCHED)
8 – Manhattan Beach – Matt Kakaley


BETTING LINE MAKES IT A DOZEN


Betting Line captured his 12th straight win with a confident 1:50.4 score in the first heat of the 2016 Little Brown Jug.

David Miller dropped the 1-5 favourite into fifth early as Check Six (Yannick Gingras) fronted the field through the :27.1 opening panel. Dr J Hanover (Scott Zeron) sat the pocket in front of Stolen Glimpse (Matt Kakaley) and Lyons Snyder (Sylvain Filion).

Miller started the outer flow heading to the half by right-lining Betting Line out of fifth. That move prompted Filion to pull with Lyons Snyder through the :56 half. Lyons Snyder made gains on Check Six with every stride, eventually getting his nose past the early pacesetter by the 1:23.4 third station.

Miller then edged Betting Line three-wide around the final turn and gave his charge daylight heading into the stretch. Betting Line powered past the front pair with ease and hit the wire in 1:50.4. Lyons Snyder, Dr J Hanover and Check Six completed the top four and those colts advance to the second heat.

The time of the mile established a new national season’s record for three-year-old colt pacers on a half-mile track.

Betting Line (Bettors Delight – Heathers Western) is trained by Casie Coleman of Cambridge, Ont., and owned by West Wins Stable of Cambridge, Christine Calhoun of Chatham and Mac Nichol of Burlington, Ont.

“I’m really happy we decided to take the invite when Northfield was nice enough to invite us to race there now because he never did that to me on a big track all that much,” noted Coleman. “We brought his hopples up an inch today and had a little sharper headpole on the inside…he’s got a jawbreaker [bit] on also to help David steer him around the turns.”

Coleman expressed no concern about drawing the post two over the rail, saying she’d be fine with either one.

Driver David Miller stated that the race played out much like it did in his mind beforehand.

“Actually it worked out just like I thought it would. Yannick left and I was able to pick up good cover. And he took me farther than I thought he would,” noted Miller. “My horse seemed strong the whole way….he’s been a great horse and a pleasure to drive. I know he had a little hiccup there at Northfield but [Casie]’s got him figured out.”


BARN DOLL THE BEST IN ‘VERSATILITY’ FINAL


Four-year-old Conway Hall mare Barn Doll ($5.60) and driver Jeff Gregory utilized a decisive quarter-pole move to make the lead early and not look back, as the duo captured the $120,000 final of the Ms. Versatility in a sharp 1:53.2.

Gregory, who co-owns Barn Doll with the Jesmeral Stable of Scarsdale, New York, left well from Post 4. He opted to quickly brush to the lead from the two-hole and cleared to the engine before the :27.4 timer flashed to life.

Barn Doll’s competition began to rev up in the second quarter, and that competition came in the form of Charmed Life, who advanced first-over in the second panel and was right there with Barn Doll. The duo raced each other past the :57.1 opening half-mile marker and the 1:24.4 three-quarters station.

Barn Doll stayed on her game through the lane and was first to the wire in 1:53.2. Charmed Life held on for second, while Sky Hanover held third to finish on the board.

The win was the 18th of Barn Doll’s 35-race career, and the winner’s share of the purse pushed her bankroll over the $700,000 mark.


OLD OAKEN BUCKET


He’s been knocking on the door in some recent stakes but Blenheim finally clicked for a winning effort in the 2016 $122,500 Old Oaken Bucket for three-year-old trotting colts & geldings.

John Campbell dropped the fourth choice into fourth while Tight Lines (Jeff Gregory) fronted the field through early fractions of :27.2 and :56.3. Just before the half, Campbell gave Blenheim the signal and started the first-over grind. That move gave cover to favoured Cufflink Hanover (David Miller) heading into the final half-mile.

Blenheim continued to steadily stalk the leader through the backstretch and made it to second as the field passed the three-quarter station in 1:25.1. Campbell kept Blenheim on task and eventually forged past pacesetting Tight Lines in mid-stretch to trip the timer in 1:54. Cufflink Hanover tipped off Campbell’s helmet at the head of the lane but couldn’t catch his rival and settled for second, with Tight Lines staying for third. The time of the mile set a new national season’s record for a three-year-old gelding trotter on a half-mile track and matches Blenheim’s lifetime mark.

“It’s a tough race to win, especially with a ten-horse field and this horse, he had to do it overland and without cover and went a real strong race,” said Campbell in the winner’s circle.

Campbell drove the son of Yankee Glide – Are Your Ready for trainer Per Henriksen and owners Steve Organ and Asa Farm of Ontario and Thomas Nurmi of Washington, D.C. Campbell was appreciative for the opportunity to drive such a talented colt.

“There’s lots of guys to choose from around here so I was thankful to get a live drive going for $122,000. That’s a good deal for me.”


OHIO BREEDERS CHAMPIONSHIPS


McLucky was the initial winner of the first $35,325 division of the Ohio Breeders Championship for two-year-old colt and gelding pacers, but he was placed back to second for causing interference. The bay had raced first-up through the middle half-mile of the race. McLucky caused interference to Scotch McEwan near the three-quarters pole. Scotch McEwan ($3.00) and driver Josh Sutton were racing three wide when McLucky caused interference to them. Scotch McEwan made a demonstrative break of stride due to the interference, but Sutton got the son of McArdle back on gait. Scotch McEwan and Sutton closed well and fended off the rest of the closers with the Jim Dailey trainee. McLucky (David Miller) was placed second and Barnabas (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) finished third.

Driver David Miller steered trainer Brian Brown’s McThriller ($5.60) to a track record performance in the $35,325 second division of the OBCs for two-year-old colt and gelding pacers. The McArdle gelding raced in the backfield in the opening half mile, but Miller had him advancing three wide at the three-quarters of a mile mark. The duo caught some luck at that point, as the leader, McGold, broke stride. That allowed Miller and McThriller to do their thing along the final turn and through the lane. McThriller went on to stop the clock in 1:53.4. LifewithJohn (Kyle Ater) finished second and Buckeye President (Brett Miller) was third.

Winwood Mac ($5.00) showed some speed and steering issues, but the son of Canyon Wind got the job done in the first $50,170 division of the OBC for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings. The bay gelding left hard from Post 4 and diced the fractions (:26.2, :54.4, 1:22.4) for driver Yannick Gingras. ‘The Green Hornet’ had to keep Winwood Mac straight on the turns, and those issues were evident on the final bend, when Winwood Mac again had issues. Regardless of that, the gelding did hang on in the :29.2 final quarter to post a 1:52.1 win for his co-owning trainer, Ron Burke. “He has a big engine, but he doesn’t like to turn that much,” Gingras said afterward. World Of Gaming (David Miller) closed well to finish second and Winna Winna (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) turned a second-over trip into a third-place finish.

Miss Me Yet ($8.40) was tops in the first $47,000 OBC division for three-year-old pacing fillies, as the Im Gorgeous bay went gate to wire from Post 6 and hit the wire in a new stakes record of 1:52.3. The time also equalled Miss Me Yet’s lifetime mark. The fractions were cut in :27.2, :55.2 and 1:23.1. The Brenda Teague trainee fought off the first-over My Tweed Heart throughout the majority of the mile. When all was said and done, My Tweed Heart succumbed to her taxing trip and missed the board. NPR Nine (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) came three-wide on the final turn and finished second, while Crazy Bad K (Ken Holliday) turned a cone-skimming pocket ride into a third-place finish.

The second $50,170 division of the OBC three-year-old colt and gelding pace saw driver Kayne Kauffman steer Mr Wiggle Pants ($3.60) to a gate-to-wire score from Post 3 for trainer Jim Mulinix in 1:52.2. The bay son of Mr Wiggles cut the fractions in :27.1, :57 and 1:24.4. Whataboy (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) turned a pocket trip in to a second-place finish, while Hustling Charley (David Miller), who raced first-up from the second quarter onward, finished third. Mr Wiggle Pants has now won 11 of his 21 career races.

Big Bad Bruce ($5.00) captured the third $35,325 OBC division for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings for driver Chris Page and trainer David Wornstaff. The Big Bad John colt separated himself from the rest of the field during the final quarter. After having left well from Post 2, Page worked out a two-hole trip for Big Bad Bruce through the fractions (:27, :55.4, 1:25.1). It was on the final turn when Page asked Big Bad Bruce, and he responded in full. The colt shot off his cover, zipped to the lead and held off the backfield, which was sparring for the place and show dough. Shooter McGavin (Kayne Kauffman) fired from second-over to finish second, while Trial By Fire (Tim Tetrick) rallied from the backfield to finish third. Big Bad Bruce has now won six of his 10 career starts for Wornstaff, who also owns.

After a close runner-up finish in the Ohio Sires Stakes Final, Queen Ann M made every call a winning one in the second $47,000 division of the Ohio Breeders Championship for three-year-old pacing fillies. The daughter of Big Bad John and driver Chris Page fronted the field through splits of :27.2, :56.3 and 124.4 before closing the deal with a :29.1 split to hit the wire first in 1:54. Pocket sitter Naked By Nine (Sandy Beatty) finished second while Wiggler (Yannick Gingras) closed off cover to complete the triactor.

Trained by Mike Roth, Queen Ann M is owned by Alan Keith, and Carl & Melanie Atley of Ohio.

The fourth and final division of the Ohio Breeders Championship for freshman pacing colts went to Dancin Rebel, who made an eye-catching backside brush three-wide to collar leader Up On The Outside (Brady Galliers) by the three-quarter mark. Dancin Rebel couldn’t clear around the final turn but pulled clear in the stretch for the win in 1:53.2, a lifetime best. The time of the mile also matched the stakes record.

Peter Wrenn engineered the winning trip behind Dancin Rebel for trainer Melanie Wrenn and owners Gene Oldford Farms LLC and The Kales Company LLC of Michigan along with Wrenn Racing LLC of Indiana.


THE STANDARDBRED


Hes On A Mission ($5.60) was at the right place at the right time in the first $32,050 division of the Standardbred for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings. The Groton Hall gelding trotted home a winner after the leader, Lars Perry (Yannick Gingras), broke stride in late stretch. Hes On A Mission had raced first-over in the lane and went on to nail the wire in a mark-lowering 1:58.3 for driver Tim Tetrick and co-owning trainer Stacey Ruddick. Brand New Key (David Miller) took a two-hold trip and finished second, while Lars Perry held on for third.

It was world-record time in the second $32,050 division of the Standardbred for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings, as the heavily-favoured Don Dream ($2.80) was on his toes for driver David Miller and trainer Chris Oakes. The Donato Hanover colt left from Post 3, cut all the fractions (:28.1, 57.3, 1:26.4) and stopped the clock in 1:55. The bay has now won four of his eight career starts for owners Michelle and Albert Crawford (Cazenovia, NY) and Susan Oakes (Wilkes-Barre, PA). The 1:55 clocking is the fastest mile ever trotted by a two-year-old over a half-mile track. Moonshiner Hanover raced a two-hole trip and finished second, while Andy M made up ground from the backfield to finish third.


UNDERCARD


Three-year-old Big Bad John gelding Prince Giovanni ($7.00) got the day’s action underway, as the bay gelding paced to a life’s mark 1:54.4 in the first $3,900 division of the Ohio Fair Racing Conference Stakes (OFRC). He grinded first-over into the lane and prevailed in a photo finish for driver Brett Miller and trainer Virgil Morgan Jr. The dash took place during the morning’s two-race ‘early card,’ which also featured the opening division of the Standardbred, which was won by Hes On A Mission….. Driver David Miller and trainer Virgil Morgan Jr. clicked in the opening race of the full Jug Day card, as the favoured Tail Gunner Hall ($2.60) recorded a gate-to-wire mile in 1:52.4 in a conditioned race….. Off of a strong first-over rush in the third quarter, Stand Tall ($24.40) shot to the lead from third, cleared to the lead, and trotted off to a solid 1:52.4 win in the $12,000 final of the Signature Series. Brett Miller performed the driving duties for trainer Mark Winters Sr. The 1:52.4 clocking was a mark-equalling mile for the eight-year-old Stand Forever gelding….. Im Sorry Charlie ($18.20) hit the wire first in his OFRC division for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Driver Brett Miller popped the pocket in the vicinity of the three-quarters pole and Im Sorry Charlie went on to nail the wire in 1:54 for trainer Jim Arledge Jr….. Three-year-old Big Bad John gelding Donald Doc ($7.00) and driver Kayne Kauffman shunned their Post 7 start in their $3,900 OFRC division and went on to post a gate-to-wire win in 1:57.4. Ryan Miller trains the flashy grey.

Whiskey Tax Wires Them Up

September 22, 2016 – Randy Waples stole soft fractions for Whiskey Tax in Thursday’s $27,000 featured trot at Mohawk Racetrack, and the veteran performer out-sprinted his foes to the line en route to a 1:53.4 triumph.

Whiskey Tax, an eight-year-old son of Revenue S-Bourbon Belle, shot to the top from Post 4 and cruised through comfortable panels of :28.4, :57.4 and 1:25.3. The gelding kicked home in :28.1 when called on for sprinting speed, and that was good enough to earn him the half-length win over race favourite Intimidate. Rubber Duck, who came first-over around the final turn, was third.

Sent off at odds of 3-1, Whiskey Tax improved this year’s record to 3-2-4 from 14 starts for trainer Tom Durand, who shares ownership on the classy campaigner with June Durand and Allan Smith. The 17-time winner is quickly closing in on $1-million in lifetime earnings. He currently sits at $991.930.

To view results for Thursday’s card of harness racing, click the following link: Thursday Results – Mohawk Racetrack.

(Standardbred Canada)

#WEGCares Benefits Charities

September 22, 2016 – Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) has wrapped its third annual #WEGcares Week, a celebration of the many valuable community organizations and causes that WEG supports as a strong civic partner, which contribute so much to the life, health and vibrancy of our neighbourhoods.

Sixteen charitable organizations from the Rexdale & Milton communities took part in the #WEGcares Week Charity Challenge.

As part of the “Charity Challenge,” hosted at wegcares.ca, racing fans & community members were able to place their vote to help their favourite charitable organization collect a portion of a $10,000 prize pool.

WEG is pleased to announce the first place winner of the 2016 Charity Challenge is Youth Without Shelter. Youth Without Shelter, Etobicoke’s singular emergency residence and referral agency serving homeless youth aged 16-24, won a $7,500 donation.

“Thank you to the Woodbine Entertainment Group for making a committed investment in youth potential through the WEG Cares Charity Challenge,” said Nilda Patey, Executive Director, Youth Without Shelter. “Winning first place and $7,500 in the WEG Cares Charity Challenge enables Youth Without Shelter (YWS) to develop personalized strategies to successfully transition youth to independence.

“The donation will make possible journeys out of homelessness like this youth: ‘I am the impact of donations to the shelter. What I have achieved would not have been possible without all those who support YWS.’ (a former Youth Without Shelter resident who is now a public health nurse),” Ms. Pitey said.

The Charity Challenge runner-up was The Racetrack Chaplaincy of Canada (both Standardbred & Thoroughbred) winning a $2,500 donation from WEG. The Chaplaincies provide support the emotional, physical, and spiritual needs of the racing community.

The week of celebration kicked off at the 18th Annual Turf Races, which raised over $12,000 in support of the United Way Toronto & York Region. This event brings employees & their families, community members, and sponsors out for a fun morning at the racetrack with a series of races on the world-renowned E.P. Taylor Turf Course.

#WEGcares week also involved a celebration of the harvest and the first year of the Community Food Garden at Woodbine Racetrack. The garden, led by Canadian charity Evergreen, and supported by WEG, Airtron Canada, and Telus provides families in need with access to fresh, local, and healthy food. The project also provides hand-on education helping to build the capacity of individuals and groups to overcome immediate and long term challenges surrounding food insecurity.

WEG will continue its charitable efforts by hosting the Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer in support of the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation on October 1. Two teams of WEG employees will be participating with the goal of raising $20,000 for the Princess Margaret. Employees are embodying the spirit of #WEGcares and have been raising money through events including bake sales and car washes.

(with files from WEG. Photo above: (l. to r.) Poonam Saini (YWS), Judy Leroux (YWS), Jessica Buckley (WEG), Emily Mallin (WEG) and Jim Lawson (WEG) pose for a picture at the #WEGcares Appreciation dinner.)

(Standardbred Canada)

L A Delight Wins Jugette

September 21, 2016 – Hall of Famers John Campbell and Bob McIntosh clicked in the $143,640 second heat of the Jugette with L A Delight on Wednesday, September 21 at Ohio’s Delaware County Fair. The daughter of Bettors Delight hauled down Call Me Queen Be, who had paced to a world record performance earlier in the afternoon.

L A Delight is a homebred of Robert McIntosh Stables Inc. (of Windsor, Ont.), the CSX Stables (Liberty Center, Ohio), and Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. (Leamington, Ont.). Campbell had steered L A Delight just once prior to Jugette Day. ‘Mr. Harness Racing’ sat behind her in the Jugette’s opening heat and had finished second to Call Me Queen Be in her 1:50.1 world record mile.

Courtesy of her sizzling win in the opening heat, Call Me Queen Be (driven by Scott Zeron) started from Post 1 in the second heat. Campbell and L A Delight started right alongside them in Post 2.

The pair of horses sat ‘one-two’ throughout the course of the mile. Zeron shot off the wings of the starting gate with Call Me Queen Be and was first down to the opening quarter in :27.1. Campbell and his millionaire mount were drafting right behind, and did so until the showdown began.

The middle fractions were cut in :56.2 and 1:25. There wasn’t too much movement behind Call Me Queen Be and L A Delight. Pure Country (Brett Miller) had a good view of the action in third, while Yankee Moonshine and Yannick Gingras were a tad back in fourth.

Campbell made his move in the final quarter. At the age of 61, the sport’s most decorated reinsman timed his move perfectly. Campbell tipped off the final turn right before the head of the stretch and L A Delight appeared to have a lot of pace in reserve. L A Delight dug in and slowly but surely made up ground with every stride. She wore down Call Me Queen Be, as the latter’s star reinsman, Zeron, 27, did all he could to hold off the rush of the pocket rocket.

L A Delight ($8.20) passed Call Me Queen Be in the final sixteenth and went on to hit the wire first. The reserved Campbell showed a little emotion on the occasion, as he gave a slight fist pump and clearly felt the emotion of the moment.

“It’s pretty exciting to win a race here, especially with the magnitude of the Jugette,” Campbell said afterward, during a brief winner’s circle interview with announcer Roger Huston.

Yankee Moonshine and Yannick Gingras rounded out the top three.

The win with L A Delight was Campbell’s record fifth Jugette victory and his 155th overall at the Delaware County Fair. Meanwhile, McIntosh tied Billy Haughton with his third victory in the Jugette.

“She’s (L A Delight) never really raced a bad race,” McIntosh told Huston. “She’s pretty much the best filly that I’ve had that has made a million dollars. She’s a professional.”

McIntosh stated that L A Delight will now move on to an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold event, followed by her OSS Super Final and then the Breeders Crown.


WORLD RECORD FOR CALL ME QUEEN BE IN JUGETTE OPENING HEAT


Call Me Queen Be knocked off some of the top pacing fillies in her last start, and duplicated that success with a world record performance in the first heat of the 2016 Jugette.

Leaving from Post 5, Scott Zeron hustled Call Me Queen Be out like a rocket and cleared to the front over rail horse Yankee Moonshine (Yannick Gingras). Favoured Pure Country (Brett Miller) followed that one out from the second tier while Darlinonthebeach (David Miller) floated first-over on the outside.

The opening quarter was reached in :26.4, and shortly thereafter Miller pulled Pure Country off the wood to stalk the leader. That move towed Darlinonthebeach into second-over position through a :55 half.

As the field hit the backstretch, Call Me Queen Be stayed strong on the lead and looked fresh through a 1:23 third panel. Miller started to ask Pure Country for more as Call Me Queen Be started to make daylight on the rest of the fillies.

At the head of the lane, Zeron and Call Me Queen Be were all alone and tripped the timer open lengths the best in a world record 1:50.1. L A Delight (John Campbell) closed well to best Pure Country for the runner-up spot and survived a judges’ inquiry as the Ontario Sires Stakes starlet was rough as she crossed under the wire.

Call Me Queen Be (Somebeachsomewhere – Pretty Party Girl) boasts five wins in 14 starts on the season for trainer Ross Croghan and owners Let It Ride Stables and Dana Parham of Florida. In her last six starts she’s only finished worse than second once, and trainer Croghan noted that the break wasn’t the horse’s fault.

“She was a victim of circumstance; the race bike was the wrong one, she touched a wheel, got mad and made a break,” noted Croghan. “I didn’t think she’d do it again and luckily she hasn’t.”

Croghan stated that he likes his chances heading into in the second heat.

“She was so good today compared to the others, winning so easy and drawing the rail and she gets off the wings so fast.”

As Scott Zeron left the winner’s circle fairly quickly with the filly due to her temperament, Croghan confessed that she can be a handful but has matured over the season.

“On race day she can be a little stupid but, believe it or not, through the summer with all the travelling she’s done and everything she’s actually got quite smart. We’re quite proud of her.”

Connections for Darlinonthebeach and Marty Party Two scratched their horses from the second heat. The field in post order for the $143,640 Jugette Final is as follows.

1. Call Me Queen Be – Scott Zeron
2. L A Delight – John Campbell
3. Pure Country – Brett Miller
4. Yankee Moonshine – Yannick Gingras
5. Hug A Dragoness – Matt Kakaley
6. Blue Moon Stride – Andrew McCarthy

Trot Insider is covering the races as they happen, so please check back with this story throughout the card.


MISS TEZSLA CONVINCING IN THE BUCKETTE


Miss Tezsla ($3.20) sustained her first-over grind in the $86,200 Buckette for three-year-old trotting fillies (Race 13) and went on to post a 1:55.1 victory for driver Brett Miller and trainer Jimmy Takter.

The daughter of Andover Hall left from Post 2, but Miller opted to settle the bay into fourth in the early going. Naughty III and driver Peter Wrenn were on the engine from Post 1 and carved the opening fractions in :28.3 and :58.3.

It was late in the tepid second quarter when Miller opted to tip his mount out for a shot at the leader. From that point onward, Miss Tezsla engaged Naughty III and the duo raced virtually side by side, past the 1:26.4 three-quarters pole and into the stretch.

It was in the stretch where Miss Tezsla prevailed, as she was able to put Naughty III away and hit the wire a convincing winner.

In the post-race interview, Takter stated that Miller had his charge well in hand.

“He (Miller) sat outside and knew that he had everything under control,” Takter said.

“She raced a great race. She just keeps getting better and better. She’s very tough.”

Naughty III held on for second, while Ultimate Shopper (Time Tetrick) finished third.

Miss Tezsla has now won eight of her 21 career races and has banked roughly $300,000 in career purses.


WIRE-TO-WIRE WIN FOR ELLA CHRISTINA IN THE STANDARDBRED


Her foes were in prime position to pounce, but Ella Christina ($5.00) held them all at bay in the $49,200 Standardbred for two-year-old pacing fillies, as she held off the outer flow and paced to a life’s best 1:54.3 win for driver David Miller and trainer Nancy Johansson.

Miller and the bay daughter of Western Ideal started from Post 5 in the nine-horse field. The duo had a brief fight for the engine, but cleared relatively easily before the :27.4 quarter pole. When all was said and done, Ella Christina paced to a gate to wire win, but the proceedings were not a cake walk.

Miller and his charge did not have too work too hard to cut the middle panels (:57.4 and 1:26.1), but a good portion of the field was right there waiting to pounce if Ella Christina slipped up, which she did not. The field raced with a tight overland tier, but Miller and his mount were on their business for Johansson, who also owns the filly.

“She raced great. She fits this track really well… we held in there,” Miller said in a quick post-race interview.

Caviart Cherie (Andrew McCarthy) had left from Post 1 and secured a pocket ride through the fractions. She was ready to pounce in the lane, but had no racing room and ultimately finished second. Kims Desire (Yannick Gingras) had raced second-over for much of the race and was able to close to finish third.

Ella Christina has now won two of her seven career starts and has only missed the board twice.


FIVE OHIO BREEDERS CHAMPIONSHIPS CONTESTED


The Ohio Breeders Championships kicked off in Race 3, which saw Uncle Leroy ($7.80) record his second win of the 2016 Ohio Fair, which came in the $32,100 OBC division for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings. After having started from Post 3, Mike Wilder utilized a quarter pole move and didn’t trail from there on out. Wilder was able to keep his foes at bay and hit the wire in 1:55.3, which was a new lifetime mark for the son of Neely Dunn. Charles Vigneron trains Uncle Leroy for Cheryl Vigneron.

The OBCs continued in Race 5, as Wegoferdaprize ($5.60) benefited from a pair of breakers to his inside and was able to get up for a 1:56.2 win during the $32,100 split for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings. Wegoferdaprize and driver Chris Page had grinded first-up for the back half of the mile and hit pay dirt when leader MJB Got Faith broke stride in deep stretch. Jessica Millner trains Wegoferdaprize, an And Away We Go gelding, for Curran Racing LLC.

Driver Dan Noble allowed Lets Go Bucks ($6.80) to unleash his move during the third quarter of the $32,100 OBC division for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings (Race 6) and the gelded son of And Away We Go flew to an impressive 1:54.4 win for trainer Jim Dailey. Lets Go Bucks is owned by Jim Burnett and Tim Homan of Ohio.

Two-year-old trotting fillies clashed in their $57,220 OBC division (Race 8) and it wasLets Get Started ($2.40) who kicked in during the late stages of her first-over grind to hit the wire first in 1:57.4. The time is a new stakes record for the division. The black Dejarmbro filly was guided by Josh Sutton for trainer Bobby Brower and owners Richard and Joyce McClelland. Lets Get Started was overland in second through a soft middle half (:59.3). Lets Get Started has now won six of her seven career races and has never finished worse than second.

The final OBC division of the afternoon went forth as Race 10, and nine two-year-old trotting fillies slugged it out for a $57,220 purse. Although she was hampered with a tough starting spot (Post 8), Triumphant Caviar Chim Swift ($11.00) had the most in the lane, as she darted away from her foes in a closing final quarter and nailed the wire in 1:58. Chim Swift had laid off the leaders early, but raced wide through the lane to seal the deal for pilot David Miller. The filly has now won three of her seven starts for trainer Chris Beaver, who co-owns along with Wilbur Lang.


UNDERCARD


David Miller got things rolling in Race 1, which was the $13,600 opening division of the Ohio Fair Racing Conference Stakes for two-year-old colt and gelding pacers. ‘The Buckeye’ sent Indian Fever gelding Dancin Fever ($2.10) down the road from Post 1 and recorded an open-length victory in 1:54.1 for co-owning trainer William Webb….. Mystical Treasure ($4.60) captured Race 2, an overnight, for trainer Jim Dailey. Driver Dan Noble bested two foes at the wire and got his Real Desire mare to the wire first in 1:51.2….. OFRC Stakes action continued in Race 4, as Mannys Too Special ($2.20) delivered on his 1-9 pari-mutuel promise and paced to a life’s best 1:56 win in wire-to-wire fashion. The two-year-old son of Woodstock was driven by Dan Noble for co-owning trainer Joe Paver….. Four horses had legitimate shots of capturing Race 7, a division of the OFRC for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings, and it was an early breaker, Lovely Feelin($21.20), that rebounded impressively to get the job done in a life’s best 1:57. The win was the fourth of the program for driver Dan Noble, who steered the Feelin Friskie colt three-wide through the lane to get up for the tight win. Lovely Feelin is trained by co-owner Bret Schwartz….. Freshman K T War Bates ($7.20) and driver Kurt Sugg went gate to wire in their OFRC division for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings, as the son of Stand Forever zipped to a life’s best 1:55.4 for trainer Tyler Bates….. Battle Mage($3.20) was a strong gate-to-wire winner in Race 14 for driver Ronnie Wrenn Jr. and trainer Charles Stillings, as the four-year-old Kadabra mare got it done from Post 5 and was much the best.

 

(Standardbred Canada)

Darling’s Five Grassroots Contenders

September 21, 2016 – Trainer Jack Darling shipped five pacing colts to Mohawk Racetrack for the Grassroots Semi-finals last week and all five will return to the Campbellville oval on Saturday, Sept. 24 for the $400,000 Grassroots Championships.

“I just trained all five of them this morning (Wednesday) and they all trained as good as they can,” said Darling of three-year-olds Continual Hanover and St Lads Moonwalk and two-year-olds Master The View, The Dark Shadow and Trident Seelster. “It’s just very tough; both divisions are very tough this year. We need a little bit of racing luck.”

Reigning division champion St Lads Moonwalk will need the largest serving of luck, as he gets the outside Post 10 for his third straight start over the Mohawk oval. On Sept. 1, in the last regular season Grassroots event, driver Mike Saftic of Campbellville guided the Mach Three son to a head victory from Post 10, and in last Friday’s Semi-final driver Jody Jamieson of Moffat teamed the colt to a runner-up finish from the outside post, just a neck behind winner Arsenic.

“It’s just bad luck, so you just kind of roll with the flow,” said a philosophical Darling. “It’s going to be tough from there, but we’ll see what happens.”

Continual Hanover won his Semi-final, his third straight victory, posting a 1:51.2 clocking for Jamieson. Milton resident Randy Waples will steer the Bettors Delight son from Post 7 in Saturday’s $50,000 Championship, while Jamieson is back in the race bike behind St Lads Moonwalk. The three-year-old pacing colts square off in the ninth race on the program.

The two-year-old pacing colts wrap up the Championship in Race 10, with The Dark Shadow (Shadow Play) and Jamieson starting from Post 3, Waples sending Master The View (Vintage Master) out from Post 5 and Saftic teaming Trident Seelster (Big Jim) from Post 7. The Dark Shadow and Master The View finished second and fifth behind Tymal Peacemaker in last Thursday’s Semi-final round and Trident Seelster was fourth in the other split, won by Bet On Brett.

“The Dark Shadow, he’s my best shot in the two-year-olds. He’s just a really nice colt, but there again it’s a tough division,” said Darling, who also owns all five colts. “And the other two, nice colts too, but we’re just fighting for a cheque with them.

“But you never know, it’s a horse race,” added the Cambridge resident.

Since narrowing his focus to Ontario Sired young horses in 2012, Darling has consistently ranked among the top 10 trainers in the Ontario Sires Stakes program, with his stable of 15 to 20 horses earning more than $400,000 in the last three seasons.

“I just don’t like the travelling so much anymore, as far as racing. I just kind of like to stay close to home,” the trainer explained. “So I just decided to put my money into the Ontario Sired program, and just try to buy the best Ontario Sired yearlings I can and go from there.”

Each fall Darling sells his three-year-olds at the end of their stakes season and acquires eight to 10 yearlings. He was among the leading buyers at the season opening Canadian Yearling Sale on Sunday, Sept. 18, acquiring sale topping pacing colt Brunos From Mars (Mach Three) for $105,000 and pacing fillies Warrawee Templar (Shadow Play) for $42,000, Write Me A Song (Sportswriter) for $47,000 and Northern Roulette (Shadow Play) for $50,000.

“I’m a little ahead of schedule,” said Darling with a chuckle. The horseman will also be shopping at the Lexington Selected Sale Oct. 4 to 8, the Forest City Yearling Sale on Oct. 23 and the Harrisburg Yearling Sale Nov. 7 to 11. “You just never know how it’s going to work out. It just turns out that I found a few that I really liked and the prices were okay, so I got them bought. Sometimes you go and things just don’t click, you just can’t quite find what you want, and then when you do, they just maybe go for a little bit too much.”

Darling will get the youngsters started and then hand them off to colleagues while he and wife Ann head to Florida for their annual winter break. By the first of April the group will be reassembled at Classy Lane Training Centre in Puslinch and Darling will be doing what he enjoys most.

“Racing horses doesn’t excite me like it used to,” admitted Darling, who has been training since he graduated from Exeter’s South Huron District High School in 1972. “I just like the babies, I like buying the yearlings and training the two-year-olds and racing the two-year-olds. That’s what I like to do.”

With five hopefuls prepping for Saturday’s Grassroots Championship, Darling’s focus on buying Ontario Sired yearlings and doing the work he enjoys most is clearly paying off.

Grassroots Championship Night gets under way at 7:30 pm, with the eight Finals slated as Races 2 through 6, 8, 9 and 10. The $311,000 Milton Stakes for aged pacing mares, dominated by former Ontario Sires Stakes stars, goes postward as Race 7.

In addition to the on-track excitement, those arriving early will receive an Ontario Racing t-shirt with their program purchase and fans can play the popular Ontario Sires Stakes Trivia Spin and Win game. On Thursday, the SC website will open the first of two online Handicapping contests in concert with the Ontario Sires Stakes Championship events, with $1,500 in cash prizes up for grabs in the OSS Grassroots Pick 8.

To view the entries for Saturday night, click on one of the following links: Saturday Entries – Mohawk RacetrackSaturday Program Pages (courtesy TrackIT).

(with files from OSS)

(Standardbred Canada)

Cobalt Pilot Study Update

September 20, 2016 – The initial phase of the Cobalt Pilot Research Project, funded by the Ohio State Racing Commission and conducted at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, has been completed.

The goals of the study were to assess the physiologic, biochemical and endocrine effects of repeated doses of intravenous cobalt chloride in five Standardbred mares and to investigate the pharmacokinetics of cobalt over a three-month period. Each horse received one of five different doses of cobalt chloride (0.25, 0.5, 1, 2 and 4 mg/kg) weekly for five weeks.

A research summary (Intravenous administration of cobalt chloride is associated with hemodynamic alterations in horses by Teresa Burns, Turi Aarnes, Jeffrey Lakritz, Ramiro Toribio) was presented at the 2016 American College of Internal Veterinary Medicine meeting on June 9 in Denver, Colo.

This research documents that cobalt chloride administered intravenously causes horses to become anxious and, at higher doses, to show muscular tremors, pawing and signs of abdominal discomfort. Cardiac arrhythmias, tachycardia, central and peripheral arterial hypertension and renal dysfunction were consistently noted.

A transient increase in hematocrit and red blood cell count was noted, however, changes in erythropoietin concentrations or changes in erythropoiesis or red blood cell numbers were not seen during the study period.

Baseline plasma cobalt levels in the subject horses were 3.6 ± 3.1 ppb (parts per billion). The plasma half-life of cobalt for all horses in this study was 12 ± 1.4 days and the time required for cobalt to be below 25 ppb ranged from 40 days (0.25 mg/kg dose) to 90 days (4 mg/kg dose).

Laboratory and data analyses are ongoing, specifically: measurement of urine cobalt concentrations to further investigate pharmacokinetics of cobalt and measurement of endocrine variables and markers that may be linked to performance.

Regardless of what further research may show regarding the effects of elevated levels of blood cobalt on performance, the initial findings of this research prove that cobalt chloride administered intravenously can be harmful to horses.

(Ohio Standardbred Development Fund )

(Standardbred Canada)

McClure Mastery At Mohawk

September 20, 2016 – Bob McClure won early and often during Monday evening’s card at Mohawk Racetrack, with his win total climbing to five by the time they shut off the lights at the Campbellville oval.

McClure, who many consider to be one of the best ‘B’ track reinsmen in Ontario, took full advantage of the unique opportunity to drive nine times on the 10-race card when a number of WEG’s regular reinsmen were battling at Grand River Raceway on their stakes-filled Monday evening program.

The first three races at Mohawk belonged to McClure, who clicked with Nicholas Ryan (1:53), Light Foot Rd (1:53) and Stormont Viceroy (1:57.4). He returned to victory lane in Race 5 thanks to a front-stepping score with Osborne Seelster (1:54.3), and he capped off the five-bagger with a come-from-behind tally with Par Intended (1:51.3) in Race 7.

The memorable night pushed McClure’s seasonal earnings over $2 million, while his UDR soared to .361 – a significant jump from last year’s total of .302. His win productivity has also taken a sharp rise compared to last year. He finished up 2015 with 340 trips to the winner’s circle, but this year’s total currently sits at 357 with more than three full months of racing remaining on the calendar.

Monday also proved to be a big night for trainer Carmen Auciello, who celebrated a three-win performance on the card.

He watched Nicholas Ryan (Race 1), Shippen Out (Race 4) and Toy Is Ours (Race 8) take the checkered flag in their respective assignments.

Auciello’s barn is on the verge of surpassing $2 million in earnings for the fourth consecutive season. He’s already sent out more than 100 winners in five straight campaigns.

To view results for Monday’s card of harness racing, click the following link: Monday Results – Mohawk Racetrack.

(Standardbred Canada)

“That Second Is Like A Win”

September 19, 2016 – It had been a pretty forgettable campaign for the Dustin Jones stable until Saturday night, when three-year-old trotting filly Dewdle All Day came within a length of scoring a 91-1 upset in the $436,000 Elegantimage final at Mohawk Racetrack, ultimately finishing second to longshot winner Royal Charm and paying a staggering $314 to place.

“That second’s like a win. It’s the highlight of my summer, without question,” said Jones of the runner-up finish worth more than $100,000 for the Deweycheatumnhowe filly he co-owns with Greg Judson of Athens, Ont., and rookie owners Jocelyn and Marie-Elaine Hebert of St. Sauveur, Que.

In a race where nothing went right for locked-in 1-9 favourite Caprice Hill and where contenders Celebrity Eventsy and Emoticon Hanover had difficult trips behind surprise early leader Dream Child, new driver James Macdonald kept Dewdle All Day in the outer flow at the rear of the field, and followed Royal Charm into contention at the top of the stretch.

“My son and I play hockey with James and I asked him Tuesday to drive her,” Jones said. “He did great. Dave (Miller, driver of Dream Child) leaving really shook things up.”

A $25,000 yearling purchase at the Forest City Sale, Dewdle All Day has been a hard-trying horse just a cut below the division’s best, Jones said. Her only win in 10 prior starts this year was a $16,000 Grassroots event at Mohawk in June. Before Saturday, she’d collected $57,988 in 2016.

“She gives 120 per cent every race,” Jones said. “It’s not like she hasn’t raced at this level before. She was third in the Peaceful Way last year, and seventh in the Breeders’ Crown after coming first over.”

Second-place money from the Elegantimage vaults the Jones stable over $500,000 in purses for the year.

“It should be higher than that but we’ve had some sickness, some lameness, one thing after another. That’s the way it goes sometimes. I had two good years before this one, so I can’t complain,” said Jones, who is training a stable of 19.

(A Trot Insider Exclusive by Paul Delean)