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Harness racing trainer Mark Steacy has only one starter in the 2017 Breeders Crown, but his history in these championship races makes Obvious Blue Chip an obvious horse to watch Friday night at Hoosier Park.   The Canadian horseman has had 11 finalists in Breeders Crown history, winning three of them, which isn't too bad of an average given the caliber of competition in these races. Steacy won the 2006 Breeders Crown Three-Year-Old Male Trot with Majestic Son, the 2007 Two-Year-Old Filly Pace with Stylish Artist and the 2009 Open Mare Pace with Hana Hanover.   "I usually don't enter in the Breeders Crown unless I think I have a good chance," Steacy said. "I think that's why I've been lucky - the horses that have raced in the Breeders Crown have all belonged."   Obvious Blue Chip is entered in the $500,000 3-Year-Old Filly Pace, race 9 on Friday, Oct. 27 at Hoosier Park, one of six championship events for fillies and mares at the Anderson, Indiana track. Even though she will be leaving from the second tier Steacy likes her chances.   "It seems when the big money is on the line she always gets a bad post, although I'd rather have the trailing position in the 10 hole than the eight or nine hole, so it could have been worse," Steacy said.   Owned by NLG Racing Stable and Stephen Klunowski, the daughter of Roll With Joe won her last start, wiring the field in the $225,000 New York Sire Stakes for her division. Steacy said he had been called before the Breeders Crown eliminations and was given the option of a bye into the final. He figured skipping the elimination just six days after her NY Sires Stake win would give the filly a bit of breather heading in to the Breeders Crown final. It also meant he didn't have to ship her as much from his stable in Guelph.   Steacy said Obvious Blue Chip, who is driven by Scott Zeron, is better coming from off the pace than racing on the front end.   "Last time out she was the favorite and racing on a half-mile track, so I think Scott thought that was the best way to control the race and as it turned out that was the right way to do it," Steacy said. "I think she's better on a bigger track and coming from off the pace."   Steacy said the filly was a well-conformed, good-sized yearling, but he wasn't sure about her prospects because she was by a relatively new sire in Roll With Joe and only the second foal of Put On A Clinic. She sold for $35,000 as a yearling at the Harrisburg Sale. As a 2-year-old, she recorded a victory in her first start but did not win again in nine other races, amassing $35,479.   "She was very lazy training down early as a 2-year-old and never showed any above-average ability," Steacy said. "The one thing I liked about her was she always tried. She always gave you a little bit more when you asked for it. She never showed anything spectacular, but she always tried and seemed to have that little kick coming home.   "Unfortunately, she drew some bad post positions (in big races), but she could go with them. Coming into this year, I never fully expected she was going to be the best in the New York program. But, she's got a big heart and tries all the time."   She won the $257,850 Empire Breeders Classic final at Tioga Downs in August, and four races later placed third in the Jugette. There doesn't appear to be any standout in the Breeders Crown 3-Year-Old Filly Pace, which is why Steacy likes his chances with Obvious Blue Chip.   "When she left the barn (to ship to Indiana) on Wednesday, she was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and I think she's going into the race in great form," he said. "I don't think it's as strong a field of three-year-old fillies compared to last year. It's very open. Some horses step up on certain days and hopefully Friday night will be her day."   By Perry Lefko for Breeders Crown

SEPTEMBER 5, 2017 - Ontario's three-year-old trotting fillies wrapped up their Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots regular season at Mohawk Racetrack on Tuesday evening and, by virtue of one win and two seconds, harness racing trainer Mark Steacy landed three fillies in the Grassroots Championship. The first $18,800 division saw point leader Gisele Treelane maintain her flawless record in Grassroots action with a 1:56.3 score. The Daylon Magician daughter and driver Jack Moiseyev of Moffat, ON posted wins in four Grassroots legs for a total of 200 points. Murray Brethour of Sunderland, ON trains Gisele Treelane for owner-breeder Patricia Whittaker Trust of Aspers, PA. Starting from Post 4, Gisele Treelane used Mark Steacy trainee Stritch as her windbreak, tipping into the outer lane behind Stritch and driver James MacDonald heading for the three-quarters and then out-sprinting the pair in the stretch. The duelling leaders were one length ahead of third-place finisher Holiday Promise. "I kind of like her, I always thought she was going to be the best one besides Delcrest (Magicstar)," said Steacy of Stritch, comparing her to stablemate Delcrest Magicstar, who won three Grassroots divisions before jumping up to the Gold Series. "She should be good in the final too if she draws right." The runner-up effort moved Stritch into seventh spot in the point standings with 110. The Majestic Son daughter is owned by David Reid of Glenburnie, ON, James Feeley of Pine Bush, NY, Bridle Path Stables Ltd of Ossining, NY and Stephen Klunowski of North York, ON. Gisele Treelane In the second division Steacy trainee Ticket To Seattle was the one taking advantage of a wind break in the outer lane and sprinting down the stretch to a one-half length victory. Another daughter of Majestic Son, Ticket To Seattle trotted under the wire in a personal best 1:56.1, outsprinting favourite Crystal Gumdrop and Jilona. No worse than fifth in her six regular season appearances, Ticket To Seattle was also a winner in the July 1 Grassroots event at Dresden Raceway and finished with 150 points, tied for third in the standings with stablemate Delcrest Magicstar. "She kind of slipped a little bit there mid-season, she just got on a line a little bit, we've been working on that," said Steacy of Ticket To Seattle. "She looks like she's coming together again now, at the right time I hope. James (MacDonald) gave her a perfect steer tonight too, and that always helps. "At the start of the year I thought she was going to be even maybe a borderline Gold horse and then, whether it was allergies or what not, she just kind of slipped mid-summer," the Lansdowne, ON resident added. "It just kind of knocked her off, she'd pick away at her feed and wouldn't clean it and stuff, and now she's a lot more comfortable and happy and it showed tonight." Landmark 9 Racing Stable of Kingston, ON, Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC and David Reid of Glenburnie, ON share ownership of Ticket To Seattle. Ticket To Seattle The last Grassroots trophy went home with Bustingattheseams, who swung out three-wide to get a clear look at the finish and then powered away to a three and one-half length victory in 1:56.4. Milton resident Steve Condren crafted the win for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor and his co-owner Dave Boyle of Bowmanville, ON. The win boosted the Kadabra daughter to second in the standings with 172 points from three Grassroots wins, one third, one fourth and one seventh. Also sprinting hard to the wire was Steacy trainee Late Shift, finishing one length ahead of Kuil Deva. The runner-up effort gave Late Shift 90 points, one point shy of the top ten. Should one of the fillies in front of her bow out of the Sept. 30 Grassroots Championship, Late Shift could join her stablemates in the $50,000 season finale and give Steacy a quartet of sophomore trotting filly hopefuls. "It makes it a little easier, but there's still another couple good ones in there too, Murray Brethour's (Gisele Treelane) looks pretty good," said Steacy of his chances in the championship. Steacy and Guelph resident MacDonald train and drive Majestic Son filly Late Shift for Landmark 9 Racing Stable of Kingston, David Reid of Glenburnie, Stephen Klunowski of North York and Claus Jorgensen of Etobicoke, ON. Bustingattheseams On Thursday evening the three-year-old trotting colts and geldings and three-year-old pacing fillies will wrap up their Grassroots regular season at Mohawk Racetrack, competing in Races 1, 4, 6, 7, and 10. The first race goes in behind the starting gate at 7:30 pm. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com To view results click the following link: Tuesday Results – Mohawk Racetrack. Ontario Racing

AUGUST 11, 2017 - Ontario's best three-year-old trotting colts and geldings will roll into Rideau Carleton Raceway on Sunday evening to compete for almost $250,000 in three harness racing Gold and three Grassroots divisions. The Ontario Sires Stakes program's leading trainer, Mark Steacy of Lansdowne, ON, will send out one Gold Series starter and two Grassroots contenders in Sunday's event, with Dream Massive helping to kick things off in the first $65,600 Gold Series division. "He's been good. He seems to show up, especially in most of his sires stakes, he holds his own quite well," said Steacy about the Muscle Mass colt, who will start from Post 7 in Race 2. "He's not real flashy, but he always seems to get the job done. Unfortunately he drew a tough post in a tough division this time, but I'm sure he'll do well." Dream Massive faces a field of six that includes the top three point earners in the division, Magic Night at Post 4, R First Class at Post 2 and Try Try Again at Post 1. With one win, one third and one fourth through the first three Gold Series events, Dream Massive currently sits fifth in the standings with 70 points. The colt's regular reinsman, James MacDonald, is representing Canada in the World Driving Championship which gets under way August 12 at Alberta's Century Downs, so Arthur, ON resident Trevor Henry will pick up Dream Massive's lines in Sunday's contest. "Trevor should be a good back-up plan," said Steacy, who trains Dream Massive for Michael Soehnlen of Dalton, OH. "I think he'll fit that horse good." Steacy's Grassroots starters, More Than Majestic and Dontcrampmystyle, will compete in the second and third divisions, lining up behind Posts 2 and 7, respectively. "They both should like Rideau I think," said Steacy. "I know that More Than Majestic will, because he's been over it a couple times now." More Than Majestic shipped into Ottawa in mid-July and has a hard-closing second and a win to his credit in two starts over the Rideau Carleton oval, on July 27 and August 3. The August 3 win was the Majestic Son gelding's second lifetime and came in a personal best 1:58.4. "Again, he's not a real flashy horse either, but he's always knocking on the door and he raced good last week," said the trainer. "I think he'll do okay." Steacy's son Clarke, who also makes his home in Lansdowne, will steer More Than Majestic in Sunday's sixth race for owners Landmark 9 Racing Stable of Kingston, ON, Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC and Bridle Path Stables Ltd. of Ossining, NY. Like Dream Massive, Dontcrampmystyle will be hampered by Post 7 in his quest for a second Ontario Sires Stakes victory. Another son of Muscle Mass, Dontcrampmystyle has one win, one second and one seventh through the first three Grassroots events and currently sits third in the standings with 77 points. "I'm not sure what he's in against, but he did get one OSS win and it's possible he could do that again," said Steacy, who conditions the gelding for owner-breeder Glenview Livestock Ltd. of Wallenstein, ON and will hand the lines over to Trevor Henry in the ninth race. "He's always kind of the same way, knocking at the doors, and if somebody makes an error he'll be there." The Grassroots competitors will be featured in Races 1, 6 and 9, with the Gold Series colts showing off their skills in Races 2, 8 and 13. The first race goes in behind the starting gate at 6:30 pm. In addition to the Ontario Sires Stakes battles, Rideau Carleton Raceway fans will also be treated to a Racing Under Saddle (RUS) contest in the fourth race. Among the trotters that will don a saddle and rider rather than a race bike and driver are three former Ontario Sires Stakes competitors, Thor Seelster, Amityville Lindy and Lets Leavem. Thor Seelster, who will start from Post 2 with Clinton, ON resident Natalie Elliott aboard, was a two-time RUS winner in 2015, Amityville Lindy makes his RUS debut from Post 4 with Stacey Reinsma, of Cambridge, ON, in the saddle, and Lets Leavem comes into Sunday's contest off an August 4 RUS victory at Grand River Raceway. Freelton, ON resident Sarah Town piloted Lets Leavem to the August 4 win and will be back in the saddle on Sunday, guiding the Angus Hall son from Post 5. Racing Under Saddle volunteers will be on hand all evening to answer questions about the program and fans are invited to meet the riders following the fifth race. More information about Racing Under Saddle is available at http://rusontario.com. Fans will also have an opportunity to win one of 10 Ontario Sires Stakes prize packages, with ballots available in the program. The first 100 people to arrive for the evening's festivities will receive a $2 betting voucher with their program purchase and all programs contain a coupon for a $2.50 hot dog and pop combo. In addition to Sunday's Ontario Sires Stakes event, Rideau Carleton Raceway will also host the final regular season Grassroots event for the two-year-old pacing fillies on Sunday, Sept. 10. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

JULY 1, 2017 - When Mark Steacy loaded the horse trailer bound for Dresden Raceway's Canada Day harness racing program he was hoping the five three-year-old trotting fillies on board would have a successful afternoon, but his imagination never stretched to the level of success the quintet actually delivered. "Obviously, when they left the barn this morning I never would have dreamed they would have had three wins, a second and a third," said the trainer. "Shawn did a good really job with them." Steacy's son Shawn orchestrated the afternoon's efforts, which saw Delcrest Magicstar nose out stablemate Stritch in the first $18,450 division, Magic Maddy sprint down the stretch to a head victory in the second division, Ticket To Seattle go gate-to-wire in the third and Late Shift lead through every station before settling for third in the final Grassroots contest. Driver James MacDonald crafted all three wins and Late Shift's third-place effort, while Jonathan Drury piloted Stritch to her runner-up finish. Both reinsmen reside in Guelph, ON. Delcrest Magicstar moved to the top of the sophomore trotting filly Grassroots point standings with her second straight win in the series. The daughter of Majestic Son and Stars Balance hit the wire in 2:01.3, rolling out from behind fan favourite P C Pipe Dream to nab pacesetter Stritch by a nose. Stritch and P C Pipe Dream finished second and third. Steacy conditions Delcrest Magicstar for driver MacDonald and his partners Peter Porter of Port Dover and Johnathan MacKinnon of Guelph, ON. "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 trainer, who calls Lansdowne, ON home. "But they're both nice fillies." MacDonald also employed come-from-behind tactics to land Magic Maddy in the winner's circle in the second division. Starting from Post 7 the pair sat fourth as Parkhill Nocredit led the field through fractions of :30.2, 1:01.4 and 1:32.4, then stepped out in the final quarter and trotted home to a 2:03.1 victory, keeping a head in front of Twin B Venus. Local filly Style Spotlight, trained by Mike Carther of Dresden for Malcolm and Robert MacPhail of Dover Centre, finished third. The win was the first in 14 career starts for Magic Maddy, another daughter of Steacy's former superstar Majestic Son. The trainer's father, Clarke Steacy of Lansdowne, shares ownership of the filly with David McDonald of Cornwall, David Reid of Glenburnie and A K Malik Stable of Ottawa. ON. "She's been a little disappointing this year," said the horseman of Magic Maddy. "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." With Post 4 in the third division, MacDonald opted to send Ticket To Seattle to the front right off the gate and the fan favourite rang up fractions of :30.1, 1:01.2 and 1:31.1 on her way to a two length victory in 2:01.1. Lady Justice and Jilona rounded out the top three. Landmark 9 Racing Stable of Kingston, ON, Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC and David Reid of Glenburnie, ON share ownership of Ticket To Seattle, who now has three wins and one second in five sophomore starts. Saturday's victory was the daughter of Majestic Son and Travelin Supergirl's first in Ontario Sires Stakes competition. "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 them 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," Steacy continued. As the field for the final division trotted away from the starting gate it looked like Steacy and MacDonald had a shot at scooping all four trophies. Late Shift steamed away from her peers, reaching the quarter eight lengths on top in :29.1. The filly, another daughter of Majestic Son, continued to lead at the :59.1 half, but she was under pressure by the 1:30.2 three-quarters and eventually gave way to winner Angora Seelster and runner-up Da Miracle. "She can get off the gate really fast," said Steacy. "She's got lots of speed for a piece, and you know we've been trying to do it both ways, race her in the two-hole or sit her at the back, but either way she's just not firing home like we want her to. Hopefully she'll get stronger as she goes." Angora Seelster earned her first Grassroots trophy with the 2:00.3 effort, which was engineered by Bob McClure of Elora, ON. Chris Matthews conditions the daughter of Holiday Road and Amazing Adventure for his partners in the Alot Of Sense Stable of Guelph, Lyons Brothers Stable of Georgetown and Jessica Breese Karn of Guelph, ON. The three-year-old trotting fillies will make their third Grassroots start at Grand River Raceway on July 19. 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. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing  

May 25, 2017 - As part of the Ontario Sires Stakes season opener on Sunday, May 21 harness racing trainer Mark Steacy and driver Sylvain Filion were honoured for their 2016 Johnston and Lampman Cup victories. As the three-year-old trotting and pacing colts kicked off the Confederation Cup program at Flamboro Downs, Steacy and Filion were presented with commemorative Citizen Eco-Drive watches from Ontario Racing Executive Director Rob Cook. Steacy earned his first Johnston Cup title in 2016 with a point tally of 269, generated from 132 starts, 14 wins, 13 seconds and 21 third-place finishes in Ontario Sires Stakes action. Twenty-six different horses carried the Steacy stable colours in OSS action last season, banking a total of $603,540. Among the Lansdowne, ON resident's top performers were three-year-old pacing filly Grassroots champion Forever Liza, sophomore trotting filly Royal Charm and colt Sass, and two-year-old trotting colt Dream Massive. In the second race of the evening, Dream Massive did his part to kick-start Steacy's defense of the Johnston Cup title with a 1:58.1 victory in the sophomore trotting colt Gold Series opener. The Johnston Cup was established in 1993 in memory of Bruce Johnston, publisher of The Canadian Sportsman magazine. It is awarded annually to the leading trainer in the Ontario Sires Stakes program based on a point system that awards one point for each start, four points for each win, three points for each second and two points for each third. Filion achieved his second straight and fourth lifetime Lampman Cup winning season in 2016. Since his first win in 2012, the Milton, ON resident has only relinquished the title once, finishing third in 2014. Last season Filion teamed 199 Ontario Sires Stakes starters, recording 47 wins, 26 seconds and 23 thirds for earnings of $2,171,210 and 511 Lampman Cup points. Among Filion's top mounts were two-year-old pacing colt Grassroots champion Tymal Peacemaker, and division winners Streakavana (two-year-old pacing colt), Yaris Bayama (two-year-old pacing filly), Warrawee Roo (three-year-old trotting colt) and Emoticon Hanover (three-year-old trotting filly). The Lampman Cup has been awarded annually since 1987 and honours the memory of long time Ontario Jockey Club publicist Jim Lampman. Like the Johnston Cup, drivers are awarded one Lampman Cup point for each start, four points for each win, three points for each second and two points for each third. Steacy and Filion will have an opportunity to add to their 2017 point totals in the second Ontario Sires Stakes event of the season on Friday, May 26 at The Raceway at Western Fair District. The three-year-old pacing colts will square off in two $95,600 Gold Series divisions in Races 3 and 6, part of the London oval's signature Molson Pace Night which gets under way at 7:05 pm. For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com OSS Program Administration Ontario Racing

OCT. 12, 2016 - Mohawk Racetrack hosts the $2 million Ontario Sires Stakes Super Finals on Saturday, Oct. 15 and trainer Mark Steacy will cap off a career best year in the harness racing program by sending out starters in four of the eight division championships. With 263 points, Steacy is poised to capture his first Johnston Cup title as the top trainer in the Ontario Sires Stakes program. Heading into the season finale Steacy has a 39 point lead on reigning title-holder and eight-time winner Robert McIntosh and sits 42 points ahead of three-time winner Gregg McNair. He and his staff have harnessed 128 starters in the provincial program to date for 14 wins, 13 seconds, 20 thirds, 28 fourths, 12 fifths and earnings of $573,540. "I'm pretty proud of that," said Steacy of his career-best statistics. "Again, that's not just me, that's the staff too. "First of all you've got to have the great owners and then you've got to have the great help," the horseman added. "These guys work hard, and if it wasn't for them the results wouldn't be the same." In addition to his season-long Ontario Sires Stakes success, Steacy achieved a major milestone in August when his career earnings surpassed $20 million. Both accomplishments are part of a decade-long evolution in Steacy's operation that started when son Shawn joined the business. "It all happened probably in the last 12 years; we were kind of low key until about 12 years ago," said Steacy, a lifelong horseman who was introduced to harness racing by his father Clarke, Sr. "After Shawn graduated out of school and came on with me I was able to keep horses and race them rather than sell them, which I used to do before. I used to develop them, race them a few times in Ottawa or Montreal, and then sell them." For several years Shawn supervised a temporary operation near Mohawk during the peak months of the Ontario Sires Stakes season, but last fall father and son decided it was time to establish a more permanent base at the First Line Training Centre in Nassagaweya, ON. "Shawn was up here all winter this year. We've come up before with half a dozen or 10 horses and stayed for three or four months, and we've done that for 10 years or so, but we've never stayed all winter until this year," explained Steacy, who was honoured with the O'Brien Award for Horsemanship in 2007. "We're going to be here again all winter. I'll do my babies at home in Lansdowne, but we'll keep the older horses up here." Steacy has already acquired 18 yearlings and expects that number to climb as high as 25 before the sales season wraps up. While Shawn, who now makes his home in Guelph, ON, handles the older horses, Steacy will have the support of his younger son Clarke, Jr. when it comes time to start the yearlings. "I have Clarke on board too," said Steacy, adding that Clarke, Jr. has decided to switch his focus from catch-driving to training for the time being. "He's actually running the Lansdowne outfit right now, and so I think that's going to help us to even get to another level." All three men are currently focussed on finishing the Ontario Sires Stakes season on a high note, ensuring Dream Massive, Sass, Royal Charm and Nocturnal Bluechip are in peak shape for their respective $250,000 Super Finals on Saturday. Two-year-old trotting colt Dream Massive will kick things off from Post 6 in the first Super Final, and his connections are hoping the son of Muscle Mass minds his manners after making breaks in his last two Gold Series starts. "We trained him this morning (Wednesday), and he trained good, so hopefully," said Steacy, who conditions the colt for Michael Soehnlen of Dalton, OH. "I thought we had him sorted out there and he went out and made a mistake again last time. He just got bully in the hole. Off and on he's showed that he does have quite a bit of ability, but he can be his own worst enemy." Three-year-old trotting colt Sass gets Post 3 in the fifth Super Final of the card and Steacy is hoping the Kadabra colt has bounced back from a viral infection that showed up after the Oct. 6 Gold Leg at Mohawk. "He still got fourth, but that was his worst start," noted Steacy, who put the colt on a course of antibiotics after the race. "Hopefully he'll be good to go on Saturday; I think a healthy Sass has got a shot. Obviously you've got to have that thing called luck on your side, but if it is then I think he's got a shot." Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC bred and owns Sass, who has earned $177,980 in his career to date. Sophomore trotting filly Royal Charm landed Post 4 for her last Ontario Sires Stakes start and will be looking to continue the hot streak she has been riding through the last six weeks. After a pair of third-place finishes in the Simcoe Stakes and her Elegantimage Elimination, the daughter of Steacy's former superstar Majestic Son scored an upset win in the $436,000 Elegantimage Final and then finished second in the last Gold Leg. "She's finally coming together for us. We always knew she had a lot of go to her, and she's been behaving herself, touch wood, lately," noted Steacy. "As long as she does that, she's not a big horse getting off the gate, but she can always kick home good. "If she races respectable I think then she is eligible to the Breeders Crown, and I think the Matron, so it's possible that we could finish the year off with that," added the trainer, who conditions the winner of $341,462 for David McDonald of Cornwall, ON, Shelly MacMillan of Waterloo, ON, Hudson Standardbred Stables Inc. of Hudson, QC and Bridle Path Stables Ltd. of Ossining, NY. "We'll just have to see how Saturday goes first." Steacy's final entry comes in the three-year-old pacing colt showdown with Nocturnal Bluechip lining up at Post 9, alongside the reigning division champion Betting Line, who gets the outside Post 10. "He's got a tough post and he probably needs a better post more than them all," said Steacy of the Bettors Delight son. "He's been kind of a letdown this year, you know, a horse that's got lots of speed but just hasn't done what we expected of him. The way he's going, he's going to have to trip out really well." Landmark 8 Racing Stable of Kingston, ON, Jane Phair of Thornbury, ON and NLG Racing Stable of Wallkill, NY share ownership of Nocturnal Bluechip, who heads into the Super Final with lifetime earnings of $225,901. Guelph resident James MacDonald will steer Nocturnal Bluechip, Dream Massive and Sass, while Paul MacDonell, also of Guelph, pilots Royal Charm. Mohawk Racetrack's first race goes postward at 7:30 pm on Saturday, with the eight $250,000 Super Finals slated as Races 2 through 5 and 7 through 10. In addition to the on track excitement, Mohawk fans will receive an Ontario Sires Stakes ball cap when they purchase a program and can play the fun-filled OSS Trivia Spin and Win game for more great prizes. Ontario Racing

CAMPBELLVILLE, ON - With the 1-9 favorite Caprice Hill being locked at the pylons for the entire mile, Royal Charm capitalized off a third-over trip to win the harness racing $436,000 Elegantimage stakes at Mohawk Racetrack in 1:54.4 at 33-1. Dream Child secured the lead off a :27 quarter, sweeping by Emoticon Hanover towards the pylons. Side Bet Hanover raced in third alongside Celebrity Eventsy, who inched towards leader Dream Child off a :55.4 half. Into the final turn, Celebrity Evensty pressured Dream Child, while Flowers N Songs and Royal Charm followed from second and third over, keeping Caprice Hill stuck at the inside racing seventh. Celebrity Eventsy slid by Dream Child passed the three-quarters in 1:24.4. Caprice Hill had some room to sling up the inside, but, after having to evade Dream Child fading to the back, she was caught behind a wall of horses that enveloped stretch-leader Celebrity Eventsy. Flowers N Songs had tipped off her cover as well as Royal Charm and Dewdle All Day. Royal Charm edged by Flowers N Songs as Dewdle All Day rushed down the centre of the track. Royal Charm held on at the wire, with Dewdle All Day finishing second, Flower N Songs third, and Emoticon Hanover sneaking up the inside to finish fourth. Royal Charm, a three-year-old filly trotter by Majestic Son from the Yankee Glide mare Queen Of Grace, is owned by David McDonald, Shelly Macmillan and Bridle Path Stables, trained by Mark Steacy, and was driven by Paul MacDonell. Winning her sixth race in her 18th career start, Royal Charm has amassed $315,212 in earnings. "It never feels bad when you win a race like this," MacDonell said. "It's a prestigious race, and I'm just happy to win it for Mark [Steacy] and his connections. They've been supporting this filly right through. She was coming up to a good race and did it tonight." "She doesn't leave very well," MacDonell also said. "It's been a thing for her all year where she struggles to get away from the gate. As it turned out tonight, she was within five lengths at the quarter pole and then the flow started to develop on the outside, so she got up third over, and she always has a good kick coming home." "Caprice [Hill] is really good, and fortunately for us she got locked in," Steacy said. "You got to be lucky to be good, too." Royal Charm returned $67.50 to win and $122.50 to place; there was no show wagering. Dewdle All Day, finishing second at 91-1, paid $314.00, producing a $2 exactor that returned $1,299.40. Ray Cotolo for WEG Communications

SEPT. 16, 2016 - Harness racing trainer Mark Steacy went into Friday's Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots Semi-finals with a 22 point lead in the Ontario Sires Stakes trainer standings, and went home with a little bigger cushion between himself and eight-time Johnston Cup winner Bob McIntosh and three-time winner Gregg McNair. "There's a lot of guys that can win a lot of races, so I don't get too focussed on that," said Steacy about the Johnston Cup point race. "But if that's where we are, it's nice to say you're in front of them guys, because they're pretty good." Steacy sent out five starters in the eight sophomore Semi-finals on Friday and recorded two wins, one third, one fourth and one seventh. First off the starting gate for the Steacy stable was three-year-old trotting filly Anneli Hanover, who sat third for much of the mile before shaking loose in the stretch and grabbing a one-half length victory in a personal best 1:55. Trumpets and Roadmapper closed hard to be second and third, Windsong Magic was fourth, and fan favourite Magical Valentine and pacesetter Could It Be Magic finished in a dead-heat for fifth, which will leave one of the fifth-place finishers in the Also Eligible slot for next Saturday's Championship. "She's been a pleasant surprise," said Steacy of Anneli Hanover. "She was very ordinary last year at two, and started out that way this year, and then all of a sudden she just started to race good. She won four or something in a row, and then she got in a little slump for a couple of races, but she raced good at Flamboro (Sept. 4) and she was very good today. I hope the timing's good for next week." Steacy trains Anneli Hanover for his wife Katherine Steacy of Lansdowne, Landmark 8 Racing Stable of Kingston, David McDonald of Cornwall and Barry White of Ottawa, ON. In 15 sophomore starts the daughter of Majestic Son and Above All Hanover has posted seven wins, one second and one third for earnings of $52,560. Anneli Hanover Guelph resident James MacDonald engineered Anneli Hanover's victory, and also piloted the other four starters from the Steacy stable, whose second win came with pacing filly Forever Liza. Starting from the outside Post 10, MacDonald settled fan favourite Forever Liza in sixth and watched as Trilife and Selling The Dream battled to a :26.1 quarter and :54.3 half. Heading for the 1:23.1 three-quarters MacDonald sent Forever Liza up the outside behind Killean Finale, and in the stretch the pair reeled in the leaders and hit the wire three-quarters of a length on top in a personal best 1:51.3. Killean Finale settled for second, ahead of Westsluckycam, Selling The Dream and Tonightimlovingyou. "James did a great job. In the 10-hole you never know what can happen, it's tough, but he did a great job, he got her spotted well, and got her covered up, and she's always got that little kick coming for home," said Steacy. "She's tough that little mare. "She's never been a real good gaited mare, but she's getting better and better all the time," the trainer continued. "She's got what you want in a racehorse, and that's heart." Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC owns the Bettors Delight daughter Forever Liza, who now has six wins, four seconds and one third to her credit through 15 sophomore starts for earnings of $81,010. Forever Liza The other pacing filly Semi-final was captured by Free Show and driver Trevor Henry of Arthur, ON, who reeled in seven horses in the final quarter to secure the one length victory in 1:51.3. Fan favourite Windsun Glory was second, Top Royal finished third, MacDonald piloted Steacy entry Bernadette into fourth and division point leader Noone To Depend On was fifth. Dave Menary of Cambridge, ON conditions Free Show for Hutt Racing Stable of Paoli, PA. A Gold Series competitor and winner of $205,776 at two, the Badlands Hanover daughter has struggled to find her footing in the sophomore division, posting three wins, one second, three thirds and earnings of $58,770 through 14 starts. "I had high expectations for her, you know she's such a nice mare, and after last year we were really looking forward to her," said Menary. "She hasn't been bad; she just hasn't had a lot of luck. I think she's a little bit better than a Grassroots filly, but not quite as good as the Gold fillies, and hopefully we can end the year on a good note." Free Show The other trotting filly Semi-final was captured by Henry and Magical Steph, who has also had a tumultuous sophomore season. Friday's 1:55.3 victory over division point leader Myretirementticket, favourite Sunrise Avenue, True Muscle and Traviata, was just Magical Steph's third in eight starts and trainer Gary Lance is hoping the Kadabra daughter has finally turned the corner on a year that started with surgery at The Ohio State University. "She had a lot of trouble this year. I took her to Ohio State University to get some work done on her in January and she had some implications from the surgery and then she had to go back in and have more surgery," said Lance. "And she had an entrapped epiglottis about six weeks ago, so we had to get Dr. Llewellyn in to look at that. We hoped for a big year this year, but sometimes it just doesn't happen." Lance and his partners in GL Racing Inc. of Port Perry, ON were hoping Magical Steph could match or improve on the five victories and $72,400 she tallied as a two-year-old, but they will settle for a strong finish to the season. Magical Steph Trotting colts Muscles For Life and Georgies Pockets set up a repeat of last season's division showdown, winning their respective Semi-finals for the second straight year. Reigning division champion Muscles For Life posted a 1:55.2 score in the first split on Friday for driver Doug McNair and trainer Gregg McNair of Guelph, ON and owner Jarold Hawks of Jeddo, MI. The Muscle Mass son controlled the tempo in spite of starting from Post 9 and hit the wire one and three-quarter lengths ahead of Windsun Missile. MacDonald and Steacy trainee French Bastille were another length back in third, with Bow Ties N Bourbon and Manofmanyimages rounding out the top five. Muscles For Life Georgies Pockets and trainer-driver Jack Moiseyev of Moffat, ON captured the second Semi-final with a late sprint that saw them get a neck in front of fan favourite P L Jerico and Mass Balance in 1:55.1. Holiday Party and Dynamic Edge finished fourth and fifth. "Before the race somebody asked to buy him, and I said I'm not selling him. I named him after my father, my late father, so I won't sell him," said Ron Ruggles, who bred and owns the Muscle Mass colt through his M T Pockets Stables of Pompano Beach, FL. "He's going to be tough for the Final. I'm very excited." Georgies Pockets The evening wrapped up with the pacing colt Semi-finals, which went to Bettors Delight sons Arsenic and Continual Hanover. Arsenic and driver Doug McNair held off division point leader and reigning champion St Lads Moonwalk for a neck victory in 1:51.1. Bettor Memories, Inspiration View and Perseverant also advanced to the Grassroots Championship. Scott McEneny conditions Arsenic for his wife Michelle McEneny of Waterdown, Brad Grant and Teresa Davidson of Milton, ON. Arsenic St Lads Moonwalk's stablemate Continual Hanover delivered a 1:51.2 effort in the other Semi-final. Moffat, ON resident Jody Jamieson drove the Jack Darling trainee to the one-half length victory over Imsporty, Sports Authority, Kokanee Seelster and Big Place. Cambridge, ON resident Darling owns and trains both St Lads Moonwalk and Continual Hanover. Continual Hanover The top five finishers from each Semi-final will return to Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday, Sept. 24 for the Grassroots Championships. Post time for the Grassroots Championship program, worth a total of $400,000, is 7:30 pm. Ontario Racing

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 30 - The value of picking your post position after an elimination victory isn't getting to select your exact spot on the harness racing gate, but rather eliminating any chance of a drawing a poor post. Half a length is all that separated rookie pacing filly Happy Hannah from securing a great post position to drawing the dreaded ten-hole in the $427,000 Shes A Great Lady final at Mohawk Racetrack this Saturday night. Trained by Mark Steacy, Happy Hannah entered last Saturday's 'Great Lady' eliminations with a victory and a pair of seconds in three starts. The daughter of Well Said was sent to the front by driver Randy Waples and led the field into the backstretch before heavy favourite Candlelight Dinner made a brush to the lead. Happy Hannah was in a fantastic spot to make the final following the undefeated leader. However, victory became an option when Candlelight Dinner began to fade at the top of the lane and Happy Hannah angled from the rail to take over top spot. Appearing to be on her way to a victory, the Steacy trainee got picked off in deep stretch by a charging Thats My Ticket and finished second. "She cleared a little bit too early in the stretch and being young she got lost," said Steacy. "I think if she would have just come a little bit later she would've got the job done." The second-place effort secured Happy Hannah a spot in the rich final, her connections $8,750 plus a guaranteed cheque in the final and kept her record of top two finishes intact. The downside to finishing second, landing post ten in the open draw. Staying away from the negatives, Happy Hannah appears to be a Grand Circuit player and Steacy believes she is getting stronger with each start. "Unfortunately (finishing second) cost us the post position, but she has only had three or four starts and she is getting better each time." The first foal out of Hallie Gallie, a daughter of the great Galleria, Happy Hannah sold for $90,000 at last year's Harrisburg Yearling Sale and showed her trainer talent and some sass training down. "She was a little witch," noted Steacy. "She was hard to break and she still is a little bit of a witch, but I like that little attitude in them anyways. She always showed a real nice gait and lots of ability from the start." After finishing second in her debut on July 25, Happy Hannah broke her maiden the next week in 1:53.4, pacing a :26.3 final-quarter. Through four starts, she has banked $45,637 for owners Stan Klemencic, Hudson Standrdbrd Stb Inc. and Hutt Racing Stable. While Happy Hannah will have to overcome post ten in Saturday's final, her stablemate Obvious Blue Chip did just slightly better in the draw by landing post eight. The daughter of Roll With Joe was making just her third start in last Saturday's 'Great Lady' elimination and finished fifth to qualify for the final. A $35,000 purchase out of Harrisburg, Obvious Blue Chip is owned by Nlg Racing Stable and Stephen Klunowski. A winner in her career debut, Steacy pointed out that he didn't originally plan on entering 'Obvious' in the event, but got his arm twisted by her original driver. "Actually James (MacDonald) talked me into putting her in that race because she raced pretty good the start before." Obvious Blue Chip rallied in her elimination from last at the top of the lane to finish fifth by pacing home in :27.2. She has paced a final-quarter of :27.2 or better in all three of her starts. "She raced really well," said Steacy. "She got shuffled back and still came on and got in, unfortunately she got the eight-hole, but if they go hard at the front, she could sneak in there for a piece." Obvious Blue Chip will attempt to put her strong closing speed to use and rally for a share in Saturday's final, but don't expect to see Happy Hannah at the back of the pack. "I wouldn't doubt that Hannah will probably have to go a little bit at the start," Steacy said. "You can't pull last, I don't think, but that will be up to Randy." Steacy's fillies will have to play with the hands they have been dealt for Saturday, but whether they can make some noise or not, the future appears bright. Here is the full field for Saturday's $427,000 Shes A Great Lady Final PP/Horse/Sire/Trainer 1. Candlelight Dinner - American Ideal - Casie Coleman 2. Thats The Ticket - Roll With Joe - Chris Ryder 3. World Apart - Art Major - Linda Toscano 4. Idyllic Beach - Somebeachsomewhere - Jimmy Takter 5. Everyones Watching - Artiscape - Tony Alagna 6. Agent Q - Western Terror - Aaron Lambert 7. Awash - Somebeachsomewhere - Tony Alagna 8. Obvious Blue Chip - Roll With Joe - Mark Steacy 9. Blameitonthenight - Mach Three - Tony Alagna 10. Happy Hannah - Well Said - Mark Steacy   Mark McKelvie

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 23 - The Mark Steacy barn has been on a roll this season at Mohawk Racetrack and Tuesday evening they celebrated a special harness racing milestone. Three-year-old pacing filly Stylish Beachwhere got back to her winning ways with a 1:52.3 front-end score for Steacy. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere was winless in her last two starts heading into Tuesday's contest after winning three in a row to begin her career. Tuesday's victory was the first for Steacy on the WEG Circuit since surpassing $20 million in career earnings last Saturday night at Pocono Downs with Nocturnal Bluechip in a Consolation of the Battle of Brandywine. Steacy was presented with a sign recognizing his accomplishment in the winner's circle following Stylish Beachwhere's victory. Steacy has enjoyed plenty of success over the course of his career, most notably with superstars Majestic Son ($1.9 million - 1:52.2) and Hana Hanover ($1.2 million - 1:48.4). His trainees have visited the winner's circle 1,472 times during his career. This season, Steacy sits second in the Mohawk meet Trainer Standings with 33 victories. Overall, his barn has 49 wins this season with the most recent victory from Stylish Beachwhere pushing the stable over $1 million in seasonal earnings. Mark McKelvie

JUNE 14, 2016 - Six $18,000 Grassroots divisions were featured on Mohawk Racetrack's Tuesday evening program as the harness racing three-year-old trotting fillies opened their 2016 season. Things got off to a quick start as Magical Valentine and trainer-driver Jack Moiseyev fired to the front before the halfway marker and sailed home to a 1:56.2 personal best in the first division. In just her fourth lifetime start, Magical Valentine bested a pair of freshman Grassroots winners, Traviata and Dewdle All Day. Moffat, ON resident Moiseyev conditions the daughter of Kadabra for M T Pockets Stables of Pompano Beach, FL. The win boosted Magical Valentine's sophomore record to two wins, one second and earnings of $19,500 in three starts. The sharp tempo was maintained in the second division as favourite Magical Steph and Myretirementticket battled through fractions of :27.2, :56 and 1:26.1 before yielding in the stretch to a hard-closing Royal Charm. After pushing out three-wide to get a clear look at the leaders, Royal Charm and trainer-driver Mark Steacy powered down the stretch to a one-half length victory in 1:55.4. Myretirementticket stayed game for second and Its All About Sam trotted into third. "Royal Charm is a well-bred filly that has always shown a lot of speed, but has been hampered by tie-up problems and immaturity," said Steacy of the Majestic Son-Queen Of Grace daughter. "Hopefully her problems are now behind her so we can continue to see what she can do." The Lansdowne, ON resident conditions Royal Charm for Shelly MacMillan of Waterloo, ON, David McDonald of Cornwall, ON, Hudson Standardbred Stables Inc. of Hudson, QC and Bridle Path Stables Ltd. of Ossining, NY. Tuesday's win was the filly's first in six outings. Fan favourites Dayliner and Paul Walker also delivered a sharp mile in the third division, trotting under the wire in 1:56, one and one-quarter lengths ahead of Powerful Glare and Silky Flashy Nfast. The win - a new lifetime mark for the Muscle Mass daughter - was Dayliner's second in 16 appearances. Walker trains and drives the filly for his wife Brenda Walker of Owen Sound, ON. The first-time winner trend continued in the fourth division as Jody Jamieson stepped into the race bike behind True Muscle and guided the filly to a one and one-half length victory in 1:57.1. Fan favourites Could It Be Magic and I Want Kandy settled for second and third behind the first time winner. "She's just a sweet OSS filly that seems to want to do everything you ask," said Jamieson, who piloted the Muscle Mass daughter to the win for trainer Keith Jones of Barrie, ON and owner Randy Zhok of Dover Centre, ON. "I liked her so much that I'm going to go to Georgian Downs to drive her in the Alliance Final on Sunday (June 19)," added the Moffat resident. P C Cantore earned her first Ontario Sires Stakes trophy in the fifth Grassroots division, reaching the Mohawk Racetrack finish line two lengths ahead of Smash Hit and Zorgwijk Queen. Arthur, ON resident Trevor Henry piloted the daughter of Cornaro Dasolo and Balladeer to the 1:57.2 victory for owner-breeder-trainer Peter Clements of Dobbinton, ON. Unraced at two, P C Cantore now has four wins in six starts and earnings of $21,592. The final Grassroots trophy was awarded to Majestic Mistress, who hung on for a neck victory after battling pacesetter Absolut Seelster from the halfway marker onward. Majestic Mistress and driver Ryan Holliday stopped the teletimer at 1:58.1, holding off favourite P L Jill and second choice Magical Wonder. The win was the Majestic Son daughter's first in seven outings. "It was nice to get the monkey off our back with her," said driver Ryan Holliday of Mount Forest, ON. "She can trot enough; it's just a matter of keeping her at task. I think she's getting the hang of it." Holliday's father Dave, also of Mount Forest, conditions Majestic Mistress for owner-breeder Ron Corbett of St. Jacobs, ON. The three-year-old trotting fillies will make their second Grassroots start on July 1, during Dresden Raceway's Canada Day celebrations. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Mohawk Racetrack this week, with the three-year-old pacing colts taking centre stage on Thursday with six Grassroots divisions and the three-year-old pacing fillies stepping to the forefront on Friday with seven Grassroots splits. Post time for both programs is 7:30 pm. For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing  

Nocturnal Bluechip made his Ontario Sires Stakes debut at the harness racing meeting at Mohawk Racetrack on Tuesday and sailed to an effortless win in the first of two $105,000 Gold Series divisions. Starting from Post 5 Nocturnal Bluechip and driver Paul MacDonnell of Guelph, ON led the field of two-year-old pacing colts and geldings to the quarter in :27 and then allowed Cruise Patrol to take command heading for the :55.1 half. Content to sit in second through the 1:23.1 three-quarters, MacDonell rolled Nocturnal Bluechip back to the front coming off the final turn and the colt powered home to a five and one-half length win in a personal best 1:51.1. Arsenic and Stonebridge Beach paced into second and third. “I spotted him at Blue Chip Farm last year and loved his looks and conformation,” recalled trainer Mark Steacy, who bid $97,000 for the son of Bettors Delight and Mcarts N Crafts at the 2014 Harrisburg Yearling Sale. “I passed on a few at Harrisburg to go after him. I thought at the time I overpaid, but was happy to have him.” Nocturnal Bluechip made his first lifetime start in an Aug. 11 overnight event at Mohawk, finishing fifth. In his next two overnight outings the colt posted a win and a second, so Steacy entered him in the Sept. 12 Champlain Stakes at Mohawk, where he finished second to Gold Series regular Betting Line. In just five starts Nocturnal Bluechip has almost repaid his purchase price, earning $93,601 for owners Landmark 8 Racing Stable of Kingston, ON, NLG Racing Stable of Wallkill, NY and Jane Phair of Wasaga Beach, ON. “He trained down very lazy, but always enjoyed his work,” noted Lansdowne, ON resident Steacy. “We gave him a late qualifier hoping to be good in the latter half and possibly catch the Breeders Crown.” The two-year-old pacing colts and geldings will compete in their last Gold Leg on Oct. 1 at Flamboro Downs, with the top 10 point earners from the regular season advancing to the $250,000 Super Final at Woodbine Racetrack on Oct. 10. If everything continues to go well for Nocturnal Bluechip, eliminations for the Breeders Crown are Oct. 16 at Woodbine, with the finals slated for Oct. 24. Trainer Dave Menary is also contemplating a Breeders Crown appearance for Nvestment Bluechip, who captured the second Gold division on Tuesday. From Post 6, reinsman Jody Jamieson of Moffat, ON fired Nvestment Bluechip out to a :27 quarter and eventually yielded to fan favourite Betting Line, who hit the half in :54.4. Betting Line continued to lead through the 1:24.1 three-quarters and was still on top when the colts turned for home, but Nvestment Bluechip rolled out of the pocket and hit the wire one-half length on top in a personal best 1:51.1. Betting Line settled for second and Voracity completed the top three. “I think we’re all pretty confident in him. He’s been a good colt all the way along, but everything’s really, really coming together,” said Menary. “His confidence is up, and our confidence is up in him.” The Cambridge, ON resident shares ownership of Nvestment Bluechip with Michael Guerriero of Brampton, ON, Denis Breton of Welland, ON and Thomas Kyron of Toronto, ON. In eight starts the son of Shadow Play and Hazes Zure Bet has posted four wins — three in the Gold Series and one in the Champlain Stakes — and one third for earnings of $219,283. The only disappointing performance on the pacer’s record came in the $685,000 Metro Pace Final when he made a miscue behind the starting gate and finished out of the money in sixth. “He can get a little sideways the odd time, and it was just bad timing, he made a little bobble for two steps, but it was at the wrong time on the wrong night,” said Menary. “When you’re going for that kind of money and you don’t even get a shot at it, that was pretty disappointing that week, but each week he is making up for it.” A $40,000 acquisition from the Harrisburg Yearling Sale, Nvestment Bluechip moved ahead of Voracity and Betting Line to take over top spot in the Gold Series standings with 158 points. Next up on Mohawk Racetrack’s Ontario Sires Stakes calendar is the 2015 Grassroots Championship Night this Saturday, Sept. 26, featuring $50,000 Grassroots showdowns in Races 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 and 11.   Ontario Horse Racing

SEPT. 9, 2015 - Southwind Shania clocked the quickest mile in a quartet of harness racing Grassroots divisions for the two-year-old pacing fillies at Grand River Raceway on Wednesday evening. In rein to Arthur, ON resident Trevor Henry, favourite Southwind Shania fired straight to the front from Post 4 and sailed through fractions of :27.2, :56.3 and 1:26.3 on her way to a 1:56.3 clocking. Dancin Inthe Nude and Northern Prima were three lengths back in second and third. "Hopefully tonight is a step in the right direction for her," said trainer Casie Coleman. "She trained down like a real good filly, I thought like a Gold and maybe open calibre, and things haven't panned out. She's been disappointing so far." Coleman shares ownership of Southwind Shania with her partners in the West Wins Stable of Cambridge, ON, Let It Ride Stables Inc. of Boca Raton, FL and Steve Calhoun of Chatham, ON. Wednesday's victory was the Sportswriter daughter's first in nine starts, with three of them coming in the Grassroots program and two at the Gold Series level. With just one win, one third and one fourth in her Grassroots appearances, Southwind Shania finished short of the cut off for the Grassroots post season. Coleman said the filly will have an opportunity to maintain her forward progress in a few more overnight events before being sold in November. "She is a nice filly, but I don't believe Grand Circuit, so she will be sold in Harrisburg," said the Cambridge resident. Driver Trevor Henry also piloted St Lads Smokin Hot to a win in the final Grassroots division of the evening. Also starting from Post 4, Henry settled St Lads Smokin Hot into third as Noone To Depend On rolled out to a :28.3 opening quarter. Heading for the :58.2 half Henry tipped the fan favourite into the outer lane and St Lads Smokin Hot had taken control before the 1:27.3 three-quarters. From there the filly cruised home to a two length victory in 1:57.2, besting Endless Legacy and Buttermilk Hanover. Richard Moreau of Puslinch, ON conditions St Lads Smokin Hot for Holland Racing Stable of Niagara-On-The-Lake, ON. In five Grassroots starts the No Pan Intended daughter posted two wins, two thirds and one sixth for a point total of 127, good enough for fifth spot in the division standings. "She's a big filly that only gives as much as she has to, but she is game and they will know she is there next week," said Henry, who will steer the filly in one of two $20,000 Semi-finals at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 17. The largest margin of victory on the evening went to Divas Image, who hit the wire 10 and one-half lengths ahead of the third division field in a sharp 1:56.4. Stonebridge Pearl and Tempus Seelster followed the fan favourite down the stretch into second and third. Guelph, ON resident Paul MacDonell crafted the win, the filly's second of the season, for trainer Mark Steacy of Lansdowne, ON and his partners Bannon Stables of Napanee, ON and Diane Bertrand, Edmonton, AB. The partners also bred and raised the daughter of Bettor's Delight and Rocknroll Diva. "She is a real sweetheart of a filly that we bred because we really believed in her mother, but she was injured badly at two," explained Steacy. "Although she's small, Diva has a great gait and lots of brains," the trainer continued. "We have raced her from off the pace in most of her races and I think it has allowed her to develop into a very nice filly who should go into the Semi-final very brave." Divas Image finished the regular season with one win, two seconds, two thirds and one fifth in six Grassroots starts, earning 129 points and putting her in fourth spot in the standings. The other $18,000 Grassroots division was captured by Im In Luv who tipped out of the outer lane turning for home and paced under the wire a one length victor in 1:58.1. Pocket-sitter Glorious Delight finished second and the leader of the outer lane parade, Specialcelebration, finished third. "She got a perfect trip and she responded well," said Moffat, ON resident Jody Jamieson, who guided the filly to her second Grassroots victory. "Semi-finals next." Jamieson's father Carl of Rockwood, ON trains Im In Luv and shares ownership of the Badlands Hanover daughter with Thomas Kyron of Toronto, ON and George Harrison of Preston, England. In six Grassroots outings the filly posted two wins, two fourths and two fifths for a total of 126 points and sixth spot in the standings. Wednesday's event completed the regular season events for all eight Grassroots divisions. The top 20 point earners from each two-year-old division will battle in Semi-final action at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 17 and the three-year-olds on Sept. 18. The top five finishers from each Semi-final will make their way back to Mohawk on Sept. 26 for the Grassroots Championships. The Ontario Sires Stakes program makes one more stop at Grand River Raceway, a Gold leg for the two-year-old pacing fillies on Monday, Sept. 21. Ontario Horse Racing

In the spring of 2012 three pacing fillies were born at Oak Knoll Stables in Campbellcroft, ON and named OK Heartbeat, OK Heavenly and OK Hallelujah by their breeders Ken Morden and Caroline Thornton. After spending the first 18 months of their lives frolicking at Oak Knoll, the fillies entered the care of trainer Mark Steacy, where they learned how to wear a harness, pull a jog cart, take guidance from a driver, and pace around a racetrack. All three fillies proved adept at their new roles and last season they all raced in the Grassroots program, with OK Heavenly and OK Hallelujah competing in the Grassroots Championship. This season the fillies have continued where they left off and at Mohawk Racetrack on Monday night, in the last regular season event, all three secured a berth in the three-year-old pacing filly Grassroots Semi-finals; OK Hallelujah with a win and OK Heartbeat and OK Heavenly with third-place finishes. "They have been a lot of fun since there were born, raised, bought, broke, trained, paddocked and trucked to race together," said Steacy. "I don't know what they will do when someday they will have to be separated." The fillies delayed their eventual separation with Monday's strong efforts, starting with OK Heartbeat in the first Grassroots division. The Mach Three daughter and driver Jody Jamieson closed hard to finish just a neck behind winner Lovely Erin and runner-up Twin B Honour. Twin B Honour and driver Jonathan Drury carved out fractions of :26.2, :54.2 and 1:22.3, but could not hold off favourite Lovely Erin and Doug McNair at the wire. It was the second straight Grassroots win for Lovely Erin, a Sportswriter daughter trained by Ron Adams for numbered company 1362313 Ontario Ltd. of Windsor. The 1:52.2 clocking was a personal best for Lovely Erin, who finished the season in eighth with 112 points. Her third-place result saw OK Heartbeat wrap up the regular season in twelfth spot with 80 points. The filly is owned by Oak Knoll Stables, Higgs Boys Stable of Gananoque, ON, Conrad Leber of Montreal, QC and Wheelhouse Racing Stable of Mississauga, ON. The next OK filly on the Mohawk starting gate was OK Heavenly who, with Jamieson in the race bike, hit the wire four lengths behind duelling leaders Stonebridge Quest and Aniston Seelster. Heavy favourite Stonebridge Quest reeled off fractions of :27.2, :56.3 and 1:25 and then battled down the stretch for a neck victory in 1:53 over a charging Aniston Seelster. Stonebridge Quest completed her regular season with a flawless record of four wins in four Grassroots starts and 200 points, putting her atop the three-year-old pacing filly leaderboard. Trevor Henry of Arthur, ON drives the Camluck daughter for trainer Andrew McCabe of Rockwood, ON and owners Glenview Livestock Ltd. of Guelph-Eramosa, ON and Angie Stiller of Arva, ON. Her third-place result left Sportswriter daughter OK Heavenly in tenth spot in the division standings with 106 points on behalf of Oak Knoll Stables, Conrad Leber, Wheelhouse Racing Stable and Richard Karper of Saint-Laurent, QC. Of the three nursery-mates, OK Hallelujah delivered the most impressive result of the evening, rocketing down the stretch to a two and three-quarter length victory over Machmeter and Southwind Geisha in a personal best 1:52.2. Katherine Steacy of Lansdowne, ON shares ownership of OK Hallelujah with Oak Knoll Stables, Conrad Leber and Wheelhouse Racing Stable. The win was the Sportswriter filly's second in Grassroots action and boosted her from eighteenth in the standings to eleventh, sandwiched between her stablemates. Guelph, ON resident Phil Hudon piloted OK Hallelujah to the win. "I always though Heavenly was the best, but tonight the other two raced better," noted Steacy. "Hallelujah is probably the hardest trier of the three. "All three have been fairly consistent when drawing decent post positions," the Lansdowne resident continued. "They went through a period of sickness, but hopefully will be healthy from here on." OK Heartbeat, OK Heavenly and OK Hallelujah - along with the other 17 fillies in the top 20 - will now begin preparations for the Sept. 18 Semi-finals at Mohawk, with the goal of finishing in the top five and earning a berth in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship, back at the Campbellville oval on Sept. 26. The two-year-old trotting fillies will also wrap up their Grassroots regular season over the Mohawk Racetrack oval on Tuesday, Sept. 8, competing in Races 1, 2, 3, 6 and 8. The first race goes postward at 7:25 pm. Ontario Horse Racing

Two-year-old trotting colts were the headliners at the harness racing meeting at Georgian Downs on Saturday evening, with 57 colts battling in seven Grassroots divisions. French Bastille captured the first Grassroots trophy of the freshman trotting colt campaign, hitting the wire in 2:01.1 for trainer-driver Mark Steacy. French Bastille reeled in pacesetter and fan favourite Clone The Tone through the stretch, reaching the wire one-quarter length on top. Stormont Viceroy finished two more lengths back in third. Lansdowne, ON resident Steacy conditions French Bastille for Landmark 8 Racing Stable of Kingston, ON, Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC and Bridle Path Stables Ltd. of Ossining, NY. The partners acquired the son of Kadabra and $639,981 winner Brigham Dream for $55,000 at last fall's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. In the second $18,000 division Mass Balance got a pocket trip behind pacesetter Wildwild Men before rolling out in the stretch and accelerating away to a three and one-quarter length victory in 1:59.3. Wildwild Men trotted into second, with Terrain Seelster earning the third spot when Holiday Party made a late break and was placed from third back to fourth. Bob McClure piloted the Muscle Mass son to the win for trainer Chris Beaver of Delaware, OH and owner Synerco Ventures Inc. of Toronto, ON, and Georgian Downs' leading reinsman was impressed with the trotter. "He's a very nice young trotter with the attitude of a four-year-old," said McClure, who resides in Orangeville, ON. "He has a bright future." The third division was the first of two captured by driver Travis Henry of Brantford, ON and trainer Shannon Henry of Arthur, ON. Starting from Post 8, Travis Henry sent Zagster straight to the front and the pair never looked back, sailing home one and one-quarter length winners in 2:02.1. Money Mission and Muscle Time rounded out the top three. Muscle Mass gelding Zagster is owned by Trevor Henry Stables Inc. of Arthur, ON and John MacLeod of Kincardine and was a bargain $3,000 purchase at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale last fall. Through two qualifiers and one Grassroots appearance the colt is undefeated. Im A Mate scored the quickest mile of the seven divisions, trotting under the wire in 1:59.1 for driver Don Dupont and trainer Marie Dupont of Loxahatchee, FL. The fan favourite bested pacesetter Rose Run Rudi by three and one-quarter lengths with Romeo another length back in third. Roy Dobbins of Bryant, AL bred and owns Im A Mate, a son of Muscle Mass and Im A Checkmate. Among the colt's half-siblings is $799,117 winner Prayer I Am. Travis and Shannon Henry returned to the winner's circle following the fifth division when United BI caught pacesetter Chestnut Schofield at the wire. Just one-quarter of a length separated the colts at the 2:00.1 finish, with Eyeseenow seven lengths to the rear in third. Nick Petrusich of Hamilton, ON and Trevor Henry Stables Inc. share ownership of United BI, who was a $35,000 acquisition at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. Georgies Pockets went gate-to-wire in the sixth division, stopping the Georgian Downs teletimer at 1:59.4. Asterix and Dynamic Edge were four and one-quarter lengths back in second and third. Milton, ON resident Steve Condren crafted the victory for trainer Melvin Turcotte of Coconut Creek, FL and owner-breeder M T Pockets Stables of Pompano Beach, FL. The colt is the son of Muscle Mass and former OSS competitor Striking Pockets. The final Grassroots trophy of the evening was captured by Cool Creek Victory, who toured the Georgian Downs oval in 2:02.1, besting Dial K and Some Peach. Eddie Green of Ohsweken, ON owns, trains and drives the son of Windsong Espoir, who was a $30,000 purchase from the Canadian Yearling Sale. The two-year-old trotting colts will make their second Grassroots start at Clinton Raceway on Sunday, July 19. Georgian Downs fans will be treated to the Gold Series debut of the two-year-old trotting fillies on Sunday evening. The freshman fillies are featured in Races 2, 4, 6, and 8 on the July 12 program, which gets under way at 6 pm. Ontario Horse Racing

Mark Steacy has a pretty good batting average in the Breeders Crown. The harness racing trainer of Harper Blue Chip, who is entered in this year's Three-Year-Old male trotting final, has won three finals with 10 starters and narrowly missed a fourth. "I've been kind of lucky as far as the Breeders Crown," he said. "We haven't raced in a lot of them, but I guess we've made the best of what we've been in." He won with Majestic Son in the Three-Year-old Colt Trot in 2006, Stylish Artist in the 2007 Two-Year-Old Filly Pace and Hana Hanover in the 2009 Open Mare Pace. She placed third the year before in her division. Steacy narrowly missed a fourth win last year, finishing second by only a neck with Sunshine Beach, who started eighth in the field of nine and was parked a good deal of the way. Asked to pick if any of his winners stand out from the rest, Steacy chose Majestic Son, who would go on to win Horse of the Year Honors in Canada that season. "By far my best horse was Majestic Son," he said. "He was a great horse, comparable to any of the three-year-old trotters that have raced. That's how I feel about him." Majestic Son, with Trottin' Trevor Ritchie handling the lines, won by a third of a length, beating odds-on favorite Glidemaster, who won the Hambletonian. Hana Hanover, driven by the Minister of Speed, George Brennan, registered a win at more than 13-1 odds in a time of 1:48 4/5, the fastest mile of her career. "Hana Hanover was a real gutsy mare, not so much blessed with talent, but she just had a big heart and tried real hard all the time," Steacy said. Stylist Artist, also driven by Brennan, went postward in her race at just under 5-1 odds, leaving from the rail. She sat in second for part of the race, dropped back to fourth, albeit by only a half length, and poured it on with a final quarter mile in 27 3/5 to prevail by 1½ lengths. "Stylish Artist was a nice filly, but she got lucky," Steacy said. "She got a very nice trip and it just worked out well. George Brennan drove her perfectly. She was a nice mare, but not a great mare." Harper Blue Chip, who finished third in the Hambletonian at 45-1 odds, is one of 10 entered in his Breeders Crown. He will face two of trainer Jimmy Takter's horses - Nuncio and Father Patrick - who are also entered. (Harper Blue Chip subsequently drew post nine, and was assigned a morning line of 12-1) "It's hard to compete against him when he has two real live horses like he has," Steacy said. "If his horses are 100 percent healthy and everything, realistically we're not going to be first or second in that race, but it's been a long year and Father Patrick is vulnerable now, and Nuncio beat (Harper Blue Chip) by three-quarters of a length last time out (in the Matron), where we were back four or five lengths at the start of the summer. So I think we're closing the ground on these horses. The horse that scares me a lot if Riina Rekila's (EL Titan, which won the Erskine in his last race). He's a nice horse and I think he's peaking at the right time. I'm quite worried about that one as well. Post position is going to mean a lot. (EL Titan subsequently drew post 10) "Finishing third (in the Hambletonian) was probably the best I expected to happen. There's nothing like winning the Hambletonian, which I'd like to do some day, but going up against (Takter's horses) and finishing third was like a win because we were such a long shot." Harper Blue Chip, a $40,000 yearling purchase, has won six of 14 starts this year and $657,029 after winning four of eight last year and $196,883. He is undefeated in four Ontario Sires Stakes races this season. He is owned by Landmark 6 Racing Stable that includes Steacy, David R McDonald, David K Reid and George R Judson. McDonald and Reid have been with Steacy since the early 1980s. Judson is another longtime client and the octogenarian is enjoying his Great Success in the business with Harper Blue Chip. "I knew George was looking for a nice horse and I felt this was going to be a nice one, so we swung a deal where I sold my 25% share to him in the horse's two-year-old year and it's worked out really well for him," Steacy said. Landmark 6, led by Howard Pearce of Kingston, is a syndicate that owns one quarter of the horse. Steacy and Pearce started putting together syndicates six years ago to give relative new owners in the business a chance to be involved in a group with minimal financial risk. Some of the original syndicate members have reinvested in the subsequent Landmark groups. "Fortunately for Landmark 6, they got the ultimate horse in Harper Blue Chip," Steacy said. "That's made it even more rewarding for the Landmark groups. He's been our best horse, by far, but we've had a couple nice ones, but nothing like Harper Blue Chip. When we cash out at the end of the year, they're all going to make money in this group." As part of the process of creating the syndicates, the members have to relinquish their investment after the horses' three-year-old seasons. The members pay up front to cover all the costs through to the end of the three-year-old year. "That quarter will probably be sold, we'll just have to figure out a price," he said. "If a good enough offer came along, we'll sell the whole horse. It would have to be a decent offer because I think this horse can make a very nice aged horse as well. I know it's tough for four-year-olds but there's a few more opportunities next year for four-year-olds. And the Majestic Sons have shown they can go on as four-year-olds." Steacy's 2013 three-year-old pacing star, Sunshine Beach was recently retired to stand stud at Seelster Farms. He had a tough four-year-old campaign winning only one of 10 races and a mere $27,330 after winning eight of 20 last year and $913,702. He was one of the few to pin a loss on Captaintreacherous. Sunshine Beach battled with a bladder stone problem all of his three-year-old season, which was not publicized, and this year he had to endure a kidney stone issue. "It took its wear and tear on this poor horse," Steacy said. "He was a very talented horse and he got off to a slow start because he had a few complications early at two, and once we got that figured out he matured into a nice three-year-old." "He was parked every step of the mile from the eight hole (in the Breeders Crown) and just got beat," Steacy said. "He was a champion three-year-old, maybe a half a step behind Captaintreacherous." By Perry Lefko, for the Breeders Crown

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