The Saturday (Oct. 10) card at Woodbine Mohawk Park featured eight $75,000 finals for the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots, with two winners successfully defending their freshman titles.
Despite parking the mile, odds-on choice Mayhem Hanover prevailed as the 4-5 favourite in the Three-Year-Old Colt and Gelding Pace, scoring back-to-back Grassroots titles.
The Wild Card gunned for the top with Sundown Kid securing the pocket heading to a :27 opening quarter. National Sport tried to settle into a spot at the pylons, but failed to find an opening and instead advanced uncovered towards the pacesetter. Mayhem Hanover tracked National Sport up the backstretch, but raced uncovered as National Sport slid to the front by a :54.4 half.
Mayhem Hanover ground closer to National Sport moving to three-quarters in 1:22.1 and surged to a slight lead coming off the turn. From there the Gregg McNair trainee widened his advantage to two-and-a-half lengths with Bettorbuckleup rallying from off cover for second. Poseidon Seelster swept from last for third while National Sport held fourth.
“We raced him in a couple Golds and he raced good, he didn’t embarrass himself or anything,” driver Doug McNair said after the race. “He’s went with a lot of top colts, so I figured I had the best horse. Last week, I don’t know, maybe I just overdrove him. I didn’t drive him much better this week either. Watching on TV you’d probably be thinking he’s in a bad spot, but just the way he felt—I had a big hold on him in the last turn. You just can’t start him up too early because he goes as fast as any horse around for a piece.”
Conditioned by Gregg McNair for owners Scott and Harland Horner, Mayhem Hanover won his seventh race from 24 starts, earning $228,429. The Sportswriter colt paid $3.90 to win.
Lovedbythemasses leapt to the lead up the backstretch and withstood a late challenge to deliver as the 1-2 favourite in the Three-Year-Old Colt and Gelding Trot, winning back-to-back Grassroots titles.
Driver Mike Saftic floated Lovedbythemasses away fourth while Ripped And Ready rolled to the lead by a :28.2 opening quarter. Saftic sent Lovedbythemasses for the top entering the backstretch and cleared control past a :57.1. Into the far turn Kenogami Coco pulled first over, with Mikey Mass in tow, and advanced towards the leader approaching three-quarters in 1:25.2. But the outer flow stalled into the stretch as Lovedbythemasses gained some separation. Room opened for Ripped And Ready to pounce from the pocket, but Lovedbythemasses held his one-and-a-half length advantage at the finish of a 1:53.4 mile. Mikey Mass settled for third with Kenogami Coco fourth.
“He kind of a slow start, so he missed the Golds,” Saftic said after the race. “And Covid hit, so we were back in the Grassroots. He’s an impressive horse, but I was a little nervous going into this final. I thought if he raced off the pace—the earlier races have been coming off the pace; I didn’t really want to get stuck on the front end going fractions. But I got away good and made the big move. He was good to the wire.”
Trained by Ed Peconi for owners Wade, Nicholas and Ed Peconi Jr., Lovedbythemasses won his 10th race from 19 starts, earning $190,493. The Muscle Mass colt paid $3.00 to win.
Four Wheelin rolled to the lead heading to the half and maintained command in progress to a 1:56.4 victory in the Two-Year-Old Colt and Gelding Trot.
Driver Louis-Philippe Roy floated Four Wheelin off the gate into fourth while Lifelong Wish lunged for the lead to a :27.2 first quarter. Roy tipped Four Wheelin off the pegs straightening into the backstretch and brushed to command just before a :57.3 half. Highland Mowgli tracked that move but raced uncovered into the final turn, applying minor pressure to Four Wheelin by three-quarters in 1:26.2. From there Four Wheelin scooted away, opening four lengths into the stretch as the backfield surged late. Warrawee Windsor rallied strongest to take second, two lengths behind the winner, with Tymal Chrome closing for third and Highland Mowgli holding fourth.
“I wasn’t asking him, but that was the first time I had to use him a little more,” Roy said after the race. “Like the last three starts before, I never even let him trot—he did it all by himself; he was really strong. Tonight was probably the only time I saw him a little tired, but I can’t tell if he had a little more left. I didn’t really ask him to.”
Co-owned by trainer Marcel Barrieau with Gestion Mastel Inc., Four Wheelin won his fifth race from eight starts, earning $101,002. The Wheeling N Dealin colt paid $4.20 to win.
HP Mama B overcame lagging cover to score in the Two-Year-Old Filly Trot with a 1:57.3 effort.
A Blue Blood bolted from post 9 for the front, clearing Mag N Lady to a :28.1 opening quarter. Tipsy In Dixie angled off the pegs from third into the backstretch in pursuit of the front, but Mag N Lady parked her challenger to a :57.4 half and by three-quarters in 1:27. Meanwhile Doing It All gained slight ground to race second over, with HP Mama B third over.
Mag N Lady jumped and came to a walk into the stretch, jolting into A Blue Blood and knocking that one off stride. Doing It All tipped off cover and jetted to the front while HP Mama B came rolling to her outside, sliding to the lead late and drawing to a one-length victory. Top Of The Bar finished third while Tipsy In Dixie finished in a dead heat for fourth with Lifeintheslammer, rallying from last.
“She was pretty much a work in progress,” driver Sylvain Filion said after the race. “She showed a lot of talent early. Ben could probably tell you that she had a lot of issues. [I] got to give credit to their team—she was pretty good tonight. They had to work hard on her though. Halfway through the last turn, my [filly] kind of hooked on the right line so that got me a little concerned. But at the top of the stretch I was able to edge out and I knew I was going to be a winner then.”
Winning her fourth race from eight starts, HP Mama B has banked $76,087 for owners Guylaine Picard and Celine Paquin. Benoit Baillargeon conditions the Royalty For Life filly who paid $3.80 to win.
Mia Culpa catapulted from midfield to a 1:51.4 victory at odds of 13-1 in the Three-Year-Old Filly Pace.
Odds On Vero Beach cleared control to a :26.2 first quarter and tried to settle on the lead, but Mach My Kiss quickly angled first over from fourth and blitzed the pacesetter moving up the backstretch. By a :55.2 half, Odds On Vero Beach kept Mach My Kiss parked into the final turn while Need Ur Opinion caught cover to race second over and Mia Culpa floated to race third over.
Mach My Kiss continued to press Odds On Vero Beach to three-quarters in 1:23.2 but the pair became enveloped as the backfield roared into the stretch. Mia Culpa kicked to the center of the course as Lyons Tilt Hanover stormed even wider with stablemate Free Flyin Ticket to the grandstand side. The three zipped to the lead coming into the final eighth with Mia Culpa keeping Lyons Tilt Hanover at bay by three-quarter lengths at the finish. Free Flyin Ticket finished third with Mary Kat fourth.
“I actually liked my chances with [this] filly because, unless you really get her on her toes to leave, she kind of likes those trips—just flowing off the gate [into] fifth or sixth,” driver Louis-Philippe Roy said after the race. “I always believed she was one of the top there, so she proved it tonight.”
Owned by Roland Trudel, Michel Damphousse and Guy Lavoie, Mia Culpa won her fifth race from 27 starts, earning $115,533. Jean Tourigny trains the Shadow Play filly who paid $28.70 to win.
Cyclone Sister swooped to the lead and maintained command to score in the Two-Year-Old Filly Trot with a 1:53.2 mile.
Ourlittlemiracle fired for the front heading to a :28.2 opening quarter and kept her speed going to a :57.1 half. Shiatzu Seelster tipped first over moving to the far turn tracked by Chiefs Dream Girl and Cyclone Sister. However she made little progress as Ourlittlemiracle accelerated to three-quarters in 1:24.4, but the pacesetter shortened in stride into the stretch.
Amini popped pocket and made a slight advance while Cyclone Sister launched off cover along with Chiefs Dream Girl. Cyclone Sister took control coming into midstretch and kept rolling while Chiefs Dream Girl gave chase in second, one-and-a-half lengths behind the winner. Amini took third with Ourlittlemiracle holding fourth.
“I didn’t really know a whole lot about her going in, but I was hoping I could map out a good trip and see what happens,” driver Jonathan Drury said after the race. “My filly felt really good on Jody’s back [driving Chiefs Dream Girl], and the farther we went around the turn the more she started grabbing on. When we came off the turn, I tipped her over and she did the rest.”
A homebred for Millar Farms, Cyclone Sister scored her third win from nine starts, earning $99,682. Nick Gallucci trains the Shadow Play filly who paid $31.40 to win.
With the win, Joel Straatman of London, Ont. is harness racing's newest horse owner thanks to the Win A Share In A Racehorse Contest. Joel has won a $2,000 share in the Landmark 14 Racing Stable.
Profound Paragon powered to the lead into the stretch and strode to a 1:55.4 victory in the Three-Year-Old Filly Trot.
Sent the 9-5 favourite, Profound Paragon landed in seventh while Sonadora Deo dashed to the front by a :27.4 opening quarter. Sonadora Deo continued uncontested to a :57.1 half, but Yen soon angled first over and progressed towards the pacesetter with stablemate Profound Paragon in contention second over.
Yen neared Sonadora Deo’s wheel to three-quarters in 1:26.2 and drew closer into the stretch as Profound Paragon wound up off cover. Yen lost ground while Sonadora Deo dug in to the inside, but Profound Paragon lunged with fresh legs by the game pacesetter to score by a length. Chelseas Magic weaved into competition for third while Moana closed for fourth.”
“She raced good—it didn’t turn out the way I was expecting it to go, but I knew my other horse there was a good one to follow so I was pretty happy with that,” Renaud said after the race. “I’ve been going first over with her more than I like to, so I was pretty happy to sit second over.”
Winning 12 races from 19 starts, Profound Paragon has banked $136,380 for owner-trainer Julie Walker and co-owner Steven Titus. The Muscle Mass filly paid $5.70 to win.
Second Bruiser secured the lead early and held strong to the finish, winning the Two-Year-Old Colt and Gelding Pace in 1:51.4.
Taking the top by a :28.1 opening quarter, Second Bruiser strolled to the half in :56.4. Proline pulled first over moving up the backstretch and ranged into contention of the lead moving to three-quarters in 1:24.4. Into the stretch Second Bruiser rebuffed Proline’s pressure and kept that challenger at bay by one-and-a-quarter lengths, while Take Control took third and pocket-sitter Stonebridge Rex settled for fourth.
“He’s just been terrific,” driver James MacDonald said after the race. “He’s big, he’s just a dream to sit behind. Every time you need more, he’s got more. I don’t even think tonight he was 100 percent his best. Like he’s been winning shut down pretty well every week, and today I had to call on him a little bit. He did what nice horses do and had more to answer.”
Collecting his fourth-consecutive win, Second Bruiser has banked $70,825 for trainer Vernon Cochrane and co-owner and breeder Stefan Piekos. The Believeinbruiser filly paid $3.30 to win.
To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Woodbine Mohawk Park.