Fans heading to Dresden Raceway, Hiawatha Horse Park and Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday will be treated to a variety of Canada Day festivities, including Ontario Sires Stakes action.
Dresden Raceway opens the Ontario Sires Stakes Canada Day celebration at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday with four Grassroots divisions for the three-year-old trotting fillies. Trainer Mike Carther will send out Style Spotlight in the second $18,450 Grassroots division and the Dresden resident is hoping the filly delivers a solid effort in front of the hometown crowd.
“She’s, knock on wood, never made a break in her life,” noted Carther. “And with these tight turns, some of the other ones might be bigger, it might pay off.”
St. Marys resident Mike Horner will steer Style Spotlight for owners Malcolm and Robert McPhail of Dover Centre, Ont., lining up at post three with the daughter of Windsong Espoir.
“It’s costing nothing for gas,” said Carther with a chuckle. “We’re not hoping for a whole lot, just having fun on Canada Day and hoping for the best.”
The Grassroots winners will receive their hardware from Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton, who will join Dresden Raceway fans for the Canada Day celebrations, which include the traditional eight-foot long Canada Day cake and a variety of prizes and giveaways, among them Ontario Sires Stakes ball caps and Ontario Racing flip-flops.
Dresden Raceway’s program gets under way at 1:30 p.m. and the three-year-old trotting fillies will show off their skills in Races 2, 5, 8 and 9.
At 6:30 p.m., Hiawatha Horse Park will continue the Canada Day fun, showcasing the three-year-old trotting colts in a trio of $19,150 Grassroots divisions, slated as Races 2, 4 and 8.
Among the hopefuls in the first division is Rose Run Speedster, who competes for trainer Rene Allard of Matamoras, Pennsylvania and the Rose Run Speedster Stable of Guelph, Ont. Rose Run Speedster was a two-time Gold Series winner at two and comes into Saturday’s test off a win in the Grassroots season opener at Mohawk Racetrack on June 6.
“I think we all just assumed he’d be a Gold horse forever and the fact that he has to go in the Grassroots isn’t a bad thing. Hopefully he uses it as a stepping stone to get back to where we thought he belonged, but again, that will be up to him. And, having said that, he certainly doesn’t owe us anything,” said Anthony MacDonald, who purchased the colt as a yearling and set up the Rose Run Speedster Stable through his fractional ownership endeavour, thestable.ca.
“Rose Run Speedster put thestable.ca on the map last year, at least helped to, and for that we’ll be forever grateful,” MacDonald continued. “He’s played a huge role in the start of what we’ve built.”
Dundas, Ont. resident Michael Whelan will steer Rose Run Speedster from post seven in the first division, and the Windsong Espoir colt’s connections will be hoping to receive their second Grassroots trophy from Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey, who be on hand for the Canada Day celebrations.
Hiawatha Horse Park fans will also be treated to Canada Day cupcakes and giveaways including Ontario Sires Stakes ball caps and Ontario Racing flip-flips, along with $1 programs and pop and $2 jumbo hot dogs.
Mohawk Racetrack’s Canada Day celebrations start at 7:10 p.m. with the singing of ‘O Canada’ by Danielle Falls, followed by a commemorative mile by Mohawk’s parade marshal Joanne Colville and Wroxeter, Ont. resident Jim McKague and his 13-year-old Ontario Sired Standardbred mare, A Promise Made. A Promise Made will be hitched to a circa 1885 high wheeled sulky and during the mile fans will enjoy a video commemorating 250 years of horse racing in Canada.
The long tradition of horse racing across the country will also be commemorated by the Preferred class horses in the third race, which has been designated the 250th Anniversary of Horse Racing Pace.
Harness racing’s future will be celebrated in Races 2, 6 and 8 when Ontario’s top three-year-old pacing colts square off for the second Gold Series battle of their season.
In addition to the on-track action fans will enjoy a Canada Day cake upon arrival, and following Race 2, the first Ontario Sires Stakes division, special red velvet Canada Day cupcakes will be available by the bottom of the main escalators. First race post time for Mohawk Racetrack’s Canada Day card is 7:30 p.m.