First-time Grassroots Winners Emerge
Published: August 28, 2016 11:35 pm ET
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The second straight night of Ontario Sires Stakes action at Georgian Downs featured five $18,000 Grassroots divisions for the three-year-old trotting fillies.
Windsong Magic opened the festivities with her first ever Grassroots victory, taking control of the race before the halfway marker and sailing home one and one-quarter lengths ahead of her peers. The 1:57.4 clocking was a personal-best for Windsong Magic, who was piloted to the victory over Treasure Gifts K and Stonebridge Peace by Thornton, Ont. resident Steve Byron.
“She’s a lineman, not a wide receiver,” said trainer John Bax. “So she can go all day, but she’s not going to go any 26-second quarters, that’s for sure.
“She’s just had a lot of bad luck and had a few issues,” Bax added. “But things worked out finally.”
In the five starts prior to Sunday’s outing, Windsong Magic had drawn three post 10s and two post sevens at Mohawk Racetrack and finished no better than fourth. Sunday’s victory vaults the daughter of Kadabra and Diamond Image up the point standings, and with one regular season event remaining, Bax hopes the sister to $765,386 winner Windsong Espoir can earn a berth in the Grassroots post-season.
“I don’t know how that does with the points, but we’ll try to get in the top 20,” said the Campbellville, Ont. resident, whose other four starters all finished third. “The next Grassroots is at Flamboro, and if she draws the rail, that’ll help.”
Breeder Paulette Loyens of London, Ont. shares ownership of Windsong Magic with Kristine Hill of Ohsweken, Ont. Through 17 starts, the filly has tallied five wins, two seconds and one third for earnings of $46,240.
The quickest mile of the five Grassroots divisions was clocked by Magical Valentine in race four. In rein to trainer Jack Moiseyev, Magical Valentine powered to the front just past the half and accelerated away from the field to a 10 and one-half length victory in 1:56.2. P C Cantore and Bax trainee Windsongmusclelady finished second and third.
“She impressed me tonight,” said Moffat, Ont. resident Moiseyev of the filly’s first start on Lasix. “She made a big move up the backside and kept trucking.”
The win was Magical Valentine’s second in Grassroots action this season and moved her into second spot in the division standings with 138 points. The daughter of Kadabra and Renees Pockets is owned by breeders M T Pockets Stables of Pompano Beach, Florida and improved her record to three wins, two seconds and one third in eight sophomore starts, for earnings of $36,520, with Sunday’s win.
“She’s learned how to settle down and sit in a hole a little better and learned how to be a racehorse,” said Moiseyev of the filly, who made just one start as a two-year-old. “She’s a pleasure to be around all week, nice on the track, just a good attitude.”
Magical Valentine could make her next start against open stakes competition in the September 2 Simcoe Trot at Mohawk Racetrack, which would leave the door open for several of her peers to pad their point totals in the September 4 Grassroots event at Flamboro Downs.
Roadmapper and driver Rick Zeron of Oakville, Ont. took control just after the half and then held off fan favourite Magical Steph in the stretch to secure the one-half length victory in 1:57.2. Bax trainee Miami Magic was four and three-quarter lengths back in third.
Zeron engineered Roadmapper’s first Grassroots win, in just her second provincial start, for trainer Robert Robinson and owners Jacqueline Dinelle of Metcalfe, Ont. and David Reid of Briarcliff Manor, New York. In 22 starts, the Holiday Road daughter has five wins, three seconds and five thirds for earnings of $33,846.
In the fourth division, Traviata benefitted from a pocket trip behind True Muscle, stepping out in the stretch to best the pacesetter by one-half length in 1:58. Bax trainee Very Classy was six more lengths back in third.
Norwood, Ont. resident Per Henriksen piloted Kadabra daughter Traviata to the first Grassroots win of her three-year-old campaign for trainer Ann Karin Larsen of Norwood and her partners Steve Organ of Aurora, Ont., Tor Jan Larsen and Stig Westrum of Norwood.
The final Grassroots trophy was awarded to Trumpets, who pulled away from the field at the half and trotted home to a four and one-quarter length victory in 1:57.3. Pointe Shoes and Bax trainee Moonlight Cocktail finished second and third.
Joe Pereira conditions Trumpets for The Merks Stable of New York, New York and Arthur, Ont. resident Trevor Henry piloted the Holiday Road daughter to her second win of the season.
The three-year-old trotting fillies will wrap up their regular season at Flamboro Downs on September 4, with the top 20 point-earners at the end of the six regular season events advancing to the September 16 Semi-final at Mohawk Racetrack. The top five finishers from each Semi-final will compete in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship at Mohawk on September 24.
Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Georgian Downs on Tuesday, Aug. 30 with three Grassroots divisions for the two-year-old pacing fillies and the “Be A Winner” contest. The first race goes in behind the gate at 7:15 p.m. and the freshman pacing fillies will compete in races three, five and six.
To view Sunday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Sunday Results - Georgian Downs.
(With files from OSS)