Campbellville resident Mike Saftic piloted two fillies to Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots victory at Mohawk Racetrack on Friday evening, including the quickest of the seven winners, Lexus Helios.
Saftic and the three-year-old trotting lass lined up behind Post 1 in the sixth $24,000 Grassroots division and eased away into fourth spot as Twin B Sensation led the field through a :13.1 opening eighth, a :27.1 quarter and a :56.2 half. Heading for the halfway marker, Saftic sent Lexus Helios up the outside and the fan favourite had taken command by the 1:25.3 three-quarters. Turning for home with a healthy lead, Lexus Helios cruised under the wire a two and three-quarter length winner in a personal best 1:55.1. Warrawee Nuke closed well to be second and Canadian Princess was six lengths back in third.
Caledon Village resident Norm Dunstan bred, owns and trains Lexus Helios, who started her sophomore campaign in the Gold Series, recording a fourth-place result in both the elimination and final at Georgian Downs in July. In 13 starts this season the daughter of Ken Warkentin and Lexus Hall has accumulated five wins and one second for earnings of $68,050.
Saftic’s other Grassroots success came in the fifth division with Gerald Sloan trainee Thundering Ovation, who reeled in fan favourite Racing Dreams around the final turn and trotted home a two length winner in a personal best 1:56.2. Racing Dreams settled for second and Tymal Breezee was two more lengths back in third.
Joanne and Courtney Sloan of Harley own Thundering Ovation, who was gracing the Grassroots winner’s circle for the first time this season. The homebred daughter of Thunder Road and Shesintuff suffered from broken equipment in the June 23 season opener at Flamboro Downs and finished seventh. Through 10 starts the filly, last year’s Grassroots champion, has four wins and one second for earnings of $29,350.
Oakville resident Scott Zeron also scored the Grassroots driving double at Mohawk on Friday. The young reinsman picked up his first win of the evening aboard Italienne Girl in the third race. Sitting seventh while Sturdy As A Hall rang up fractions of :13.2, :27.3, :57.2 and 1:27, Italienne Girl circled out three-wide at the three-quarters and powered down the stretch to a one length triumph in 1:57. Radical Dreamer and Gourmandine also closed well to finish second and third, pushing the pacesetter into fourth.
Frank Antonacci trains Italienne Girl for Moni Market Breeders of Enfield, CT. Through seven starts the daughter of In Dix Huit has two wins and two thirds for earnings of $24,819. Like Lexus Helios, Italienne Girl started her season in the Gold Series, finishing seventh in her June 30 elimination at Georgian Downs.
Zeron also smiled for the Mohawk photographer following the last Grassroots division, posing alongside Girl Drama. Third for much of the mile, Girl Drama also used an impressive finishing kick to earn the one and one-half length victory in a personal best 1:55.4. Majic Trend finished second, with Ivana Hanover completing the top three.
The win was the second in Grassroots action for Girl Drama, who was also victorious at Rideau Carleton Raceway on July 6. The Majestic Son daughter is trained by Per Henriksen for ASA Farm of Norwood and Thomas Nurmi of Washington, DC. Through 11 sophomore starts Girl Drama has tallied an impressive record of four wins, two seconds and two thirds for earnings of $39,440.
The other Grassroots divisions were captured by Cool Creek Breeze, who was a five length winner in 1:56.2; Dancehall Mistress, who eked out a half-length score in 1:55.4; and One More Ginny, who overcame Post 10 to hit the wire three and three-quarter lengths on top in 1:55.2.
The three-year-old trotting fillies make their fourth Grassroots start at Hiawatha Horse Park on August 23.Grassroots action continues at Mohawk Racetrack on Monday, Aug. 13 with nine divisions for the two-year-old pacing colts. Post time for Monday’s program is 7:10 p.m.
To view Friday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Friday Results - Mohawk Racetrack.