Rookies Rumble In Semi Finals

Published: October 2, 2020 01:28 am EDT

Grassroots postseason action got underway at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Thursday, October 1 with eight $20,000 Semi-Finals for the two-year-old trotters and pacers, and five of the eight contests saw the favourites cruise to victory.

Two-year-old Trotting Filly Semi-Finals

The freshman trotting fillies kicked things off in the first race and favourite Tipsy In Dixie sailed home to a 1:58.1 personal best. The Muscle Mass daughter sat in the pocket behind pacesetter Ban Ban Deo through fractions of :28, :58.3 and 1:29.1 and then powered down the stretch to a two and one-half length victory over Lifeintheslammer, Ban Ban Deo, Movin To The Top and Kadillac Girl.

“She got out of the gate well and then I got to give her a nice trip. I knew Bob’s (McClure) horse (Ban Ban Deo) was pretty good and I thought if I could follow along and give her a good trip she’d give me a good run down the lane, and she did,” said driver James MacDonald. “It’s only I think the second time she’s raced at Mohawk this year, it’s been a lot of B tracks for them, so it’s good to have some confidence on this turf and hopefully she carries it into next week.”

Guelph resident MacDonald piloted Tipsy In Dixie to her third win for trainer Harry Poulton of Milton and fractional ownership group Tipsy In Dixie of Guelph, ON.

HP Mama B took the second trotting filly Semi-Final with a strong move to the front at the halfway marker. Once she had command, the fan favourite cruised home to a one and one-quarter length victory in 1:57.3. Mag N Lady finished second, Doing It All was third, division point leader Top Of The Bar was fourth and A Blue Blood earned the final spot in the Oct. 10 Grassroots Championship.

Milton resident Sylvain Filion piloted HP Mama B to her second straight victory for trainer/breeder Ben Baillargeon of Guelph and owners Guylaine Picard of Guelph, ON and Celine Paquin of Ayers Cliff, QC.

Two-year-old Trotting Colt Semi-Finals

Division point leader and fan favourite Four Wheelin was a confident 1:58.2 winner in the first trotting colt showdown, stretching his win streak over the Woodbine Mohawk Park oval to three. Driver Louis-Philippe Roy piloted the Wheeling N Dealin son to the front-end victory, besting Lifelong Wish, Tymal Chrome, Kilauea and Rosies War Bonds.

“It’s easy to win a Semi-Final when you have the best one in the race,” said Guelph, ON resident Roy. “Winning the Final is different, that said I really like his chances going into the finals. He did it easy again tonight.”

Marcel Barrieau of Cambridge, ON trains and co-owns Four Wheelin with Gestion Mastel Inc. of Longueil, QC.

Fan favourite Highland Mowgli cruised along on the front to a 1:57.2 personal best in the second trotting colt Semi-Final, two and one-half lengths ahead of Warrawee Windsor. Arch Hall was third, Insanity fourth and Greg fifth.

“That’s my first time driving him, so obviously the first impression is good,” said Rockwood, ON resident Bob McClure. “And I’ve got to say, what a nice little horse. He’s kind of fine gaited, not an athletic build to him, but just puts his head in front of him and wants to be a racehorse, and I love that in horses. They’ve done a really good job and he’s had a great year. No doubt it’s not going to change anything even if he doesn’t win the final, but I’d say he’d be hard to beat next week.”

Guelph resident Amanda Fine trains Highland Mowgli for her co-owner, and the Archangel colt’s breeder, Highland Thoroughbred Farm of Inglewood, ON. Thursday’s win was Highland Mowgli’s second straight.

Two-year-old Pacing Filly Semi-Finals

Amini delivered the first upset of the night in the first pacing filly Semi-Final. The Sportswriter daughter and driver Sylvain Filion left smartly from Post 4 and reached the quarter in :28, then yielded to Shiatzu Seelster, who led the field to a :57.3 half and 1:27.2 three-quarters. Finding room late in the stretch, Amini kicked into high gear and paced under the wire a one-half length winner in a personal best 1:55.1. Fan favourite Chiefs Dream Girl was second, Cyclone Sister third, Come On Sun fourth and Shiatzu Seelster fifth.

Filion engineered the filly’s third Grassroots win for trainer Richard Moreau of Puslinch and owners Tess Waxman of Ridgeville and David Morgan of Hamilton, ON.

Nightlife Seelster captured the second pacing filly Semi-Final with a 1:54.1 effort that saw her leave well from Post 6 and reach the front soon after the :27 quarter put up by Sportsfire. Soon after the :56.1 half Nightlife Seelster was overtaken, first by Sweet Pink and then Celia Bayama, who led the field to a 1:24.3 three-quarters. In the stretch Nightlife Seelster was able to sneak up the inside and sprint home to a one and one-quarter length win over division point leader CL Sportsextreme, Ourlittlemiracle, Siri Blue Chip and favourite Celia Bayama.

“She’s finally getting back to where she’s supposed to be. I thought when I first won the Grassroots (Aug. 14) with her that she’d never see a Grassroots again. I thought she’d go to the Golds and carry on from there,” said driver Bob McClure. “I tried to cover her up tonight, that didn’t work, but when she got room late she did exactly what she was supposed to and went on through. She’s definitely going the right direction at the right time.”

Shawn Steacy of Brantford, ON trains the Sunshine Beach daughter for Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, Conrad Leber of Montreal, QC and Bertrand Gilhespy Stable of Edmonton, AB.

Two-year-old Pacing Colt Semi-Finals

Second Bruiser extended his win streak to three with a commanding five and one-quarter length score in the first pacing colt battle. The fan favourite and driver James MacDonald stopped the teletimer at 1:51.4. Big Bang Bang finished second, Saratoga Blue Chip was third, Mustang Beach fourth and Adrenaline Rush was fifth.

“He’s just a big powerhouse. He’s just a big, brown, winning machine right now. Just try not to fall off; easier said than done for me,” said MacDonald, who was nursing some stiffness after being ejected from the race bike during Tuesday’s eighth race. “It makes my job pretty easy.”

The Believeinbruiser son is trained by Vernon Cochrane of Fergus for his co-owner, and the gelding’s breeder, Stefan Piekos of Palgrave, ON. Second Bruiser is a perfect three-for-three in Grassroots action, with all three miles clocked in 1:51.4.

Take Control won the sprint to the wire in the second pacing colt Semi-Final. After stalking division point leader Stonebridge Rex through fractions of :27.3, :56.2 and 1:24.1, driver Louis-Philippe Roy hit the accelerator in the stretch and Take Control powered home for a one-half length victory in a personal best 1:51.4. Stonebridge Rex finished second and favourite Proline was third. No Plan Intended and Cantstoplying completed the top five.

“He’s a real nice two-year-old,” said Roy. “He had some bad luck during the summer with bad posts, but every time I asked him, he responded well.”

The win was the second straight and the third of the season for Control The Moment son Take Control, who is owned by trainer Dan Lagace of Cambridge and Ben Mudry of Toronto, ON.


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