Sweet Soul David jumped out to a commanding lead in the three-year-old trotting colt standings with his third Grassroots victory in the first of three $21,000-plus divisions at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Tuesday (Aug. 24).
Driver Louis-Philippe Roy fired the favourite away from post 4 and Sweet Soul David led the field through fractions of :28.2, :59 and 1:28.1. Emerald Wings, Harry and Walkonthemoon tried to reel in the pacesetter in the stretch, but Sweet Soul David dug in for a neck victory in 1:56.1. Emerald Wings finished second and Harry was third in the $21,800 opener.
“He’s not a big horse, but he’s really slick gaited. His future is probably on a half-mile track when he gets older,” said Roy, adding that the gelding is probably not at his best on the front end. “I was parked in Rideau the whole way with him, just sitting with him, and when I asked him he chased them pretty hard so I feel like he’s better chasing. On the front he’s kind of waiting on them a little bit, that’s probably why last time I beat him with Four Wheelin.”
In addition to Tuesday’s victory, Roy also piloted the Kadabra gelding to victory in the July 3 Grassroots season opener at Hiawatha Horse Park and the July 11 leg at Rideau Carleton Raceway. In the Aug. 10 event at Woodbine Mohawk Park, the Guelph, Ont. resident opted for Four Wheelin and the pair caught Sweet Soul David and driver Sylvain Filion in the final strides. With a record of three wins and one second, Sweet Soul David has accumulated 175 points toward a berth in the Oct. 1 Grassroots Semi-Finals, 63 points ahead of his nearest rival.
Patrick Lang of Ancaster trains Sweet Soul David for his co-owners Simon Swindells of Little Britain, Garth Bechtel of Meaford and Paul Kleinpaste of Orangeville, Ont.
Tokyo Seelster got his first win of 2021 in the second $22,150 Grassroots division. Also starting from post 4, Tokyo Seelster settled in fourth as favourite Highland Mowgli led the field to a :27.4 quarter and a :57 half. Highland Mowgli powered to a 1:25.3 three-quarters, but driver Doug McNair and Tokyo Seelster were one the move and had collared the pacesetter by the top of the stretch. Diehard Seelster mounted a late challenge, but Tokyo Seelster hung on for a nose victory in a personal best 1:55.1. Pocket-sitter Rosies War Bonds finished third.
“He was a great two-year-old, I couldn’t wait for him to finally get his picture taken at three,” said Puslinch, ON resident Richard Moreau, who trains the Kadabra gelding for Michael and Sam Sergi of Canton, N.Y. and Braveheart Racing of Ottawa, Ont. “He has everything for him to be a good horse; he’s just had a disappointing year.”
A two-time Gold Series winner at two, Tokyo Seelster started his sophomore campaign at that level, but could not crack the top three. Before Tuesday’s win the Kadabra son’s best finish through seven starts was a runner-up effort in a July 19 overnight.
The Prince also benefitted from a move down to the Grassroots in the third $21,800 division. Starting from post 5 driver Paul MacDonell sent the heavy favourite straight to the front and The Prince rolled through fractions of :28.2, :57.2 and 1:26.3 on his way to a personal best 1:54.4. Arlanda and Stonebridge Armour finished three lengths back in second and third.
Chantal Mitchell trains The Prince for her partners in Party Don’t Stop Racing of Waterdown, ON and Imagine Stable of L'Ange-Gardien, Que. and opted to start the gelding’s provincial career in the Aug. 9 Gold Leg at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The Prince finished a hard-closing sixth, but with the post season looming Mitchell decided a move to the Grassroots was in order.
“If it would have been two divisions (Aug. 9) I think he had a shot at getting a good cheque in there, but being one division and never having raced in stakes, Paul (MacDonell) took a more conservative approach. He put him behind Macho Martini, who was a good horse to follow, but the trip just didn’t really work out,” said Mitchell. “If I knew it was only going to be seven horses (in the Gold) yesterday I would have put him in, but we’ve got to get points if we want to make one of the finals.”
The Prince was late arriving to the Ontario Sires Stakes program due to an extended growth spurt in his two-year-old year and Mitchell is hoping that the slow start will benefit the trotter over what she hopes will be a long career.
“We liked him last year training and then when he got into that growth spurt, he’d get uneven, I’d give him a couple weeks, and then he’d even out, and then he’d be uneven again. So I said, ‘You know what, I don’t want to push this horse. If we turn him out now and let him grow, I think he has the talent to be a good racehorse’,” said Mitchell. “So we’re just trying to look after him and then hopefully we have a nice racehorse in the long run.”
The trainer and her partners now face a decision heading into the last leg. To be eligible for the Grassroots Semi-Final horses must have two regular season starts under their belt. Qualifying for the Gold Series Super Final requires two regular season starts or minimum of 50 points. The last Grassroots Leg goes postward Sept. 20, while the last Gold Series event is scheduled for Oct. 4, both at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
Next up on Woodbine Mohawk Park’s Ontario Sires Stakes schedule are the three-year-old trotting fillies, who will square off in their fourth Grassroots Leg on Monday, Aug. 30.
(Ontario Sires Stakes)
To view Tuesday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Tuesday Results - Woodbine Mohawk Park.