It was a profitable trek to Dresden Raceway on Saturday (July 1) for driver James MacDonald and trainer Mark Steacy, clicking in three of the four Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots events on the special Canada Day card.
“Obviously, when they left the barn this morning I never would have dreamed they would have had three wins, a second and a third. Shawn did a good really job with them," said Steacy of his son, who orchestrated the afternoon’s efforts.
The MacDonald-Steacy duo were victorious in the first three of four OSS divisions for three-year-old trotting fillies. In the first division, Delcrest Magicstar just got up in the last stride for a nose decision over pacesetter and stablemate Stritch (Jonathan Drury) in a time of 2:01.3. MacDonald shares ownership of the Majestic Son - Stars Balance filly along with Port Dover's Peter Porter and Johnny McKinnon of Guelph, Ont. The win was the second on the season and fourth lifetime for Delcrest Magicstar, now sporting earnings in excess of $56,000.
“They’re both nice fillies. 'Delcrest,' she’s been getting better and better every start, and she’s actually pretty good in the turns too so we figured she’d go around Dresden nicely,” said the Lansdowne, Ont. resident. “But they’re both nice fillies.”
An upset loomed in the second division when the two favourites -- Bustingattheseams and Ladyabra -- broke stride early. Magic Maddy took full advantage, converting at 10-1 odds for MacDonald and Steacy by a head in 2:03.1 for her first lifetime victory. A daughter of Majestic Son - Mystic Madeleine, Magic Maddy is owned Ontario-based Clarke Steacy of Lansdowne, David McDonald of Cornwall, David Reid of Glenburnie and the A K Malik Stable of Ottawa.
“She’s been a little disappointing this year,” said Steacy. “Last year she showed speed — she raced in the Gold most of the time — she showed speed, but she made breaks. And this year we got her so she’s not breaking, but she seemed to lack the same kind of go that she did last year until the last race at Mohawk, she finished third and raced much better. I think she’s finally starting to find herself.”
The first -- and only -- favourite to convert in the OSS splits was Ticket To Seattle, a gate-to-wire winner in 2:01.1 for MacDonald and Steacy. Another daughter of former Steacy pupil Majestic Son, Ticket To Seattle (Majestic Son-Travelin Supergirl) now boasts three wins in five seasonal starts for Landmark 9 Racing Stable of Kingston, Ont., Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, Que. and Reid.
“She’s been a really nice surprise this year, she’s been the most consistent of them all,” said Steacy, adding that the filly had been hampered by quarter cracks in her hooves as a two-year-old. “When we bought all of those fillies, I thought she was going to be the best, on her breeding and her looks, but I think just think the quarter cracks hindered her last year.
“Her mother was a nice horse. We raced her mother and she won the Grassroots Championships [at two in 2007] and this mare kind of reminded me a lot of her,” continued Steacy.
Angora Seelster boasted both the fastest win time of the OSS divisions and the biggest win margin. With Bob McClure at the controls, Angora Seelster was four lengths the best and tripped the timer in 2:00.3. That time gives a new lifetime mark to the Holiday Road-Amazing Adventure filly, trained by Chris Matthews for Alot Of Sense Stable of Guelph, Lyons Brothers Stable of Georgetown and Jessica Breese Karn of Guelph, Ont.
The next stop for OSS Grassroots in this division comes on July 19 at Grand River Raceway.
In addition to the exciting on-track action, Dresden Raceway fans also enjoyed the traditional eight-foot long Canada Day cake and a variety of prizes and giveaways, including Ontario Sires Stakes ball caps and Ontario Racing flip-flops. Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton was also on hand to present the Grassroots trophies to the winners and celebrate Canada Day with Dresden Raceway fans.
Driving legend Dave Wall opened the card of racing with a training mile to celebrate 250 Years of Horse Racing in Canada. Wall has won over 7,200 races lifetime and over $60 million in purses and was a dominant fixture at Dresden Raceway in the early 80’s with Pro Fighter and drove other greats like Staff Director, Odies Fame and Goodtimes.
Over 1,000 people were in attendance and bet a total handle of $29,103.
To view the results from Saturday's card, click the following link: Saturday Results - Dresden Raceway.
(With files from OSS and Dresden Raceway)