Woodbine Mohawk Park hosted five Grassroots divisions on Monday, Sept. 20 and there were not many surprises as the two-year-old pacing fillies and three-year-old trotting colts wrapped up their regular season.
Trainer Murray Brethour had a successful night, as Better Catch Girl and Crème Delight finished first and second in the opening $22,850 pacing filly split and Goudawon captured the second division.
Woodbine Mohawk Park fans sent Better Catch Girl off as their top choice from post six and driver Bob McClure of Rockwood, ON had the filly on the engine by the :27.3 quarter. They sailed along through a :57 half and 1:26.1 three-quarters and then opened up a three length margin in the stretch, halting the teletimer at 1:53.3. Crème Delight, who started from Post 10, shadowed her stablemate into second and Sunjet Ray rounded out the top three.
“Vic Puddy owns her actually. He was going down to the Gold Cup and Saucer for two or three weeks and he asked me if I would take her, and she came up here and she kind of got better all the time. The last couple of times she’s raced real good. Vic, he got back up here and I said, ‘You want her back?’ And he said, ‘No, she’s racing good.’ So he left her with me,” said Brethour. “She’s just a nice filly to be around and actually, the one that finished second in that race, I’ve got them buddied up and they go out together.”
Mountain, Ont. resident Victor Puddy shares ownership of Better Catch Girl with 10462217 Canada Inc. of Gloucester, Ont. Monday’s win was the Betterthancheddar daughter’s second straight and her first in Ontario Sires Stakes action. With one win, two seconds and one sixth, the filly heads into the October 9 Grassroots Semi-Final ranked fourth in the standings with 103 points.
Goudawon earned her first Ontario Sires Stakes victory with a second-over trip from post 11 for driver Chris Christoforou of Campbellville, Ont. Swinging into an open lane in the stretch, the Betterthancheddar daughter kicked into gear and caught Ribbon Ridge at the wire in a personal best 1:53.3. Day To Party also closed hard to be third, leaving favourite Dewitt For Josie to settle for fourth.
“She was kind of a crazy one to break in, but she’s kind of settled down. She still gets a little hot the odd time, I’ve got a hood on her and everything, but she’s turned out to be a pretty nice mare,” said Sunderland, Ont resident Brethour, who trains the filly for owner/breeders Brenda, Mark and Anthony Lane of Norwood, Ont. “I don’t know whether that will get enough points to get her in the Semi-Final or not.”
Combined with third and sixth-place results from her first two Grassroots starts, the win boosted Goudawon’s point total to 65 points and vaulted her from 38th to 10th in the division standings.
Better Catch Girl and Goudawon will be joined in the Semi-Finals by Crème Delight, who finished fifteenth with 58 points, and Morethanmyhometown, who finished right behind her stablemate with 53 points in spite of a disappointing result in the third division on Monday.
Delight Bayama emerged victorious in the third division to stretch her perfect Grassroots record to three wins. In spite of interference on the final turn that saw driver Sylvain Filion have to check the filly’s momentum, Delight Bayama laid down a :27.1 final quarter to catch fan favourite In The Mood and pacesetter Speaker Nancy in the final strides. The 1:52.3 clocking was a personal best for the Bettors Delight daughter, who has only been bested once this season.
“She’s a nice filly, so far this year she’s done everything that’s been asked and she did it well,” said Milton, Ont. resident Filion, who drives Delight Bayama for trainer Jean Tourigny and his father Yves Filion’s Bayama Farms Inc of Saint-Andre-D’Argenteuil, Que. “And it’s always fun to win with a homebred, you know, that was born and raised on the farm in Lachute.”
The first $22,500 three-year-old trotting colt division saw Sweet Soul David extend his lead atop the point standings with a gate-to-wire score in 1:55.2, crossing the wire three-quarters of a length in front of favourite Harry. Stonebridge Armour was four lengths back in third.
Louis-Philippe Roy of Guelph, Ont. engineered the Kadabra gelding’s fourth Grassroots win for trainer Patrick Lang of Ancaster and his co-owners Simon Swindells of Little Britain, Garth Bechtel of Meaford and Paul Kleinpaste of Orangeville, Ont. Sweet Soul David wraps up the regular season with 225 points.
The Prince, in rein to Paul MacDonell of Guelph, Ont., scored his second Grassroots win in the second $22,850 split, stepping into an open lane in the stretch and powering away to a two and one-half length victory in a personal best 1:53.4. Tokyo Seelster and Four Wheelin followed the fan favourite across the line.
“He just keeps on improving and I can’t be happier,” said trainer Chantal Mitchell. “Last week (September 13) he got a great trip and raced seemingly flat, but Paul (MacDonell) said he wasn’t getting a hold of the track and was working harder, so we got him freshly shod and he was flawless tonight. Paul has done a great job having him in the right spot, and teaching him, and The Prince has really blossomed because of it.”
Mitchell and her partners in Party Don’t Stop Racing of Waterdown, Ont. share ownership of the Archangel gelding with Imagine Stable of L’Ange-Gardien, Que. The win boosted The Prince into third spot in the standings with 100 points.
The top 20 point earning two-year-old pacing fillies and three-year-old trotting colts will return to Woodbine Mohawk Park next week for their Grassroots Semi-Finals. The two-year-olds compete on September 30 and the three-year-olds on October 1, all looking for a top five finish to score a berth in the Grassroots Championships on October 9.
Next up on the Woodbine Mohawk Park Ontario Sires Stakes schedule is the Grassroots regular season finale for the three-year-old trotting fillies on Tuesday, Sept. 21. The fillies will battle for $22,500 in the third and sixth races on the 7 p.m. program.
To view results for Monday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Monday Results – Woodbine Mohawk Park.