Although compressed into four months, the 2021 Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) season featured all of the fierce battles and memorable performances fans have come to expect from the province’s top pacers and trotters.
In addition to delivering impressive efforts within the program, Ontario Sired horses were also victorious in open stakes action, highlighted by Desperate Man’s victory in the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup. The deep three-year-old pacing colt division also saw Lawless Shadow capture the Meadowlands Pace and Max Hempt Memorial, and division champion Bulldog Hanover triumph in his Somebeachsomewhere division, North America Cup elimination and the Circle City Stakes at Hoosier Park. All three colts are by Shadow Play, whose offspring earned $1,075,913 in the OSS program this season.
“We had a great year and it’s a great program. The only thing he raced in other than the Sires Stakes was the 'Somebeach' and the North America Cup, and they were at Mohawk so he did not have to travel far from home,” said trainer/co-owner Kathy Cecchin of Desperate Man’s $767,594 season -- $227,712 of which came in OSS action. “I don’t think we’ll get struck by lightning twice, but hopefully, maybe, we can get something that will race in the Grassroots [in 2022], and that will be great for us.”
Two-year-old pacing filly Prohibition Legal topped all OSS starters in 2021 with earnings of $377,266 in a flawless provincial campaign. The daughter of Big Jim and Catch A Wish started in all five Gold Series legs and sailed to a 1-1/4-length victory in the $225,000 Super Final. In addition to her OSS success, Prohibition Legal also captured her Eternal Camnation division and Shes A Great Lady elimination and finished second in the Shes A Great Lady final -- the only time she was bested in nine starts.
“It’s been a remarkable year. And you know what, for me personally, what a great year to have this. I can’t tell you what good exercise it’s been for my lungs to scream at these horses racing down the stretch. I needed it, I really needed it,” said owner/breeder George Millar, who underwent a double lung transplant in February 2021. “I’ll race these mares through their three-year-old year and maybe their four-year-old year, and then they’ll go into the broodmare band and hopefully I’ll still be around in five years when we start breaking their babies and I can look forward to that and to saying, ‘Well, we raced her mother, and I remember when I raced her grand dam and her great-grand dam.’”
Three-year-old pacing filly Scarlett Hanover became just the 47th horse in the history of the OSS program to claim the division title at both two and three. The daughter of Bettors Delight and Sammys Magic Girl also repeated as Super Final champion with a five-length victory in a personal best 1:50.4. Scarlett Hanover added to her $288,750 OSS earnings with wins in her elimination and the final of the Jugette and a runner-up finish in the Breeders Crown, which pushed her career bankroll over $1 million.
Goodtimes champion Fashion Frenzie also repeated as Super Final champion, but lost out to rival Logan Park for the earnings title by less than $10,000. Logan Park captured four Gold Series legs, including a track record 1:52.4 effort at Rideau Carleton Raceway, to bank $332,322 in OSS action. Archangel sons dominated the three-year-old trotting colt division, with Fashion Frenzie, Lexus Kody and Logan Park claiming the top three spots in earnings, point standings and the Super Final.
The other OSS division champions were two-year-old pacing colt Stonebridge Helios (sired by Sunshine Beach, $185,125 in earnings), two-year-old trotting colt Twin B Archie (Archangel, $239,563), two-year-old trotting filly Adare Castle (Muscle Mass, $339,850) and three-year-old trotting filly Up And Ready (Kadabra, $241,972). Stonebridge Helios, Twin B Archie and Adare Castle were also victorious in open stakes action.
For the third straight year, Bettors Delight led all pacing stallions, seeing his progeny earn $1,494,587 in the OSS program, and Muscle Mass claimed top spot on the trotting side for the second straight year, with his offspring earning $1,734,335.
Trainer Gregg McNair recorded his fifth Johnston Cup win as the leading trainer in the OSS program, sending out 29 pacers and trotters, who accumulated $534,969 in earnings. Driver James MacDonald captured his first Lampman Cup title in a career-best season that saw his OSS mounts contribute 45 wins and $2,229,068 in earnings to his lofty statistics. Winbak Farm topped all breeders, with Winbak-bred youngsters, led by Desperate Man, making 219 starts in the OSS program and banking $1,174,095. George Millar’s Millar Farms finished in the runner-up spot with $1,134,707 earned from 58 starts.
“I said to [trainer] Nick [Gallucci] the other day, ‘Do you realise you had two fillies in the two-year-old pacing ranks that, combined, made over $900,000? And the one only got beat by our other one.’ I can’t remember ever seeing that happen before,” said Millar of Prohibition Legal and Bettors Delight daughter Silver Label, who finished one- two in the division standings. “Our Ontario Sires Stakes program, I mean you really can’t beat it, and our breeders’ awards and things like that help when you’re a small breeder.”
Barring further pandemic-related shutdowns, the 49th Ontario Sires Stakes season will get under way in May 2022. For more information about the program please visit oss.ontarioracing.com or contact the Program Coordinator at [email protected].
2021 Ontario Sires Stakes Division Champions
Two-Year-Old Colt Pace — Stonebridge Helios (Sunshine Beach – Ken Doll J); $185,125 OSS / $295,710 season
Two-Year-Old Filly Pace — Prohibition Legal (Big Jim – Catch A Wish); $377,266 OSS / $564,204 season
Two-Year-Old Colt Trot — Twin B Archie (Archangel – Affair Hall); $239,563 OSS / $285,016 season
Two-Year-Old Filly Trot — Adare Castle (Muscle Mass – Pacific Edge); $339,850 OSS / $486,037 season
Three-Year-Old Colt Pace — Bulldog Hanover (Shadow Play – BJs Squall); $343,726 OSS / $514,711 season
Three-Year-Old Filly Pace — Scarlett Hanover (Bettors Delight – Sammys Magic Girl); $288,750 OSS / $561,385 season
Three-Year-Old Colt Trot — Logan Park (Archangel – Rite Outa The Park); $332,322 OSS / $366,072 season
Three-Year-Old Filly Trot — Up And Ready (Kadabra – Glide By); $241,972 OSS / $286,870 season
Leading Pacing Stallion — Bettors Delight; 202 27 – 29 – 31 – 16 – 17, $1,494,587
Leading Trotting Stallion — Muscle Mass; 289 27 – 32 – 33 – 33 – 47; $1,734,335
Johnston Cup Champion (Trainer) — Gregg McNair; 96 14 – 11 – 15 – 8 – 13; $534,969; 215 points (fifth win)
Lampman Cup Champion (Driver) — James MacDonald; 185 45 – 30 – 20 – 18 – 19; $2,229,068; 495 points (first win)
Leading Breeder — Winbak Farm; 219 27 – 25 – 23 – 27 – 23; $1,174,095
(With files from OSS)