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JUNE 22, 2017 - Thursday, June 22 was an emotional day for harness racing driver Sylvain Filion. In the early morning hours the Milton, ON resident learned that his uncle, the legendary horseman Herve Filion, had passed away after a prolonged illness. Hours later Sylvain Filion was at Mohawk Racetrack, where he was scheduled to drive in nine of 10 races. In the first race he finished last, but he was the runner-up in the second and before the night was over he would record four victories, including one Grassroots triumph with three-year-old colt pacer Doc Semalu. "It was a pretty emotional day for me," admitted Filion at the end of the 10-race program. "I knew it was coming, we knew he was very sick, but it's always a shock when you hear that, you know." Filion's victories came in the fourth race with Toxicity, a three-year-old pacing gelding co-owned by his father Yves' Bayama Farms, in the sixth race with three-year-old trotting filly Royal Witch, in the seventh race with Grassroots competitor Doc Semalu, also co-owned by Bayama Farms, and in the ninth race with seven-year-old pacing gelding Crocadile Canyon. In addition to the four victories, Filion also recorded three runner-up finishes. Of the four victories, Filion's Grassroots triumph was particularly impressive, coming from Post 10 in Doc Semalu's first Ontario Sires Stakes start of the season. The pair was able to find a spot on the rail in fifth and held that position through fractions of :27, :56 and 1:24.3 before finding space coming off the final turn. Manoeuvered into an open lane in the stretch, Doc Semalu sprinted home to a three-quarter length victory over Dream Of Luck and Master The View in a personal best 1:54. "He's got a few issues, but he's got lots of go in him, and we were lucky enough to find a spot there closer to the front and everything opened up in the lane," said Filion. "It worked out good for us. He showed some grit." The win was the Mach Three son's second straight, the first coming at Rideau Carleton Raceway on June 15 with Yves Filion in the race bike. Stephane Larocque trains Doc Semalu for the elder Filion's Bayama Farms Inc. of Saint-Andre-D'Argenteuil, QC and Zoom And Fish Stable Inc. of Mont-Royal, QC. Doc Semalu Filion came close to making it five victories with Tremendous Play in the final $19,500 Grassroots division. After battling for the lead through the first two quarters the Shadow Play son did not have enough in reserve to secure the victory in the stretch, yielding to a fast closing Oak Island. Fan favourite Lindy The Kid also went by Tremendous Play, but caused interference while on a break and was placed back to seventh, elevating Tremendous Play to second and Bills Fella to third. "I thought he raced really, really good," said Filion of Tremendous Play, who is trained by Rockwood, ON resident Benoit Baillargeon for Claude Gendreau Stable Inc. of Buffalo Grove, IL. "He raced tough tonight, real tough." Oak Island was piloted to the three and one-half length victory by Elora, ON resident Bob McClure. The 1:53.2 victory was the Vintage Master colt's first in Ontario Sires Stakes action, and also marked trainer Justin Darling's first win in the provincial program. The Cambridge, ON resident conditions Oak Island for Hutt Racing Stable of Paoli, PA. Oak Island The other Grassroots trophy went home with Nascar Seelster, who got a head in front of Mach Déjà Vu and favourite Southwind General at the wire. Milton resident Randy Waples crafted the come-from-behind 1:53.1 score for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor and his partners Dave Boyle of Bowmanville, Mardon Stables of Loretto and James Walker of Port Perry, ON. Like Doc Semalu and Oak Island, Thursday marked Mach Three son Nascar Seelster's debut in the Grassroots winner's circle. All three colts will have an opportunity to add to their trophy collection in the third Grassroots event on July 13 at Mohawk Racetrack. Nascar Seelster Filion's successful evening was a fitting tribute to his uncle Herve, whose talent and prodigious work ethic saw him finish many days with multiple wins, often at more than one racetrack. Inducted into both the Canadian and US Harness Racing Hall of Fames, Angers, QC native Herve Filion won an impressive 16 seasonal dash titles and was the world's leading money-winning driver seven times during a career that spanned six decades and 15,180 victories. Knowing that his uncle was at peace, free of pain, and that he would soon gather with family to share memories and offer support allowed Filion to concentrate on his evening's work, but at the end of the program the third-generation horseman was simply looking forward to heading home. "I'm just happy this night is over, you know," he said on his way back to Milton. "I'll go kiss my daughter." Mohawk Racetrack will host its seventh Ontario Sires Stakes event on Tuesday, June 27 with the three-year-old trotting colts preparing to battle in their second Gold Series event. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

JUNE 19, 2017 - Father-son harness racing duo Gregg and Doug McNair picked up one win and one second in four Grassroots divisions at Grand River Raceway on Monday evening. The Guelph, ON residents kicked things off with a runner-up finish in the first $18,800 division, as fan favourite Shewearsthepants was nabbed at the wire by Manhattan Play. The three-year-old pacing fillies stopped the Grand River teletimer at 1:54.1 off fractions of :28.3, :56.4 and 1:25.2 posted by Doug McNair and Shewearsthepants. Casino Classic was three and three-quarter lengths back in third. Shadow Play daughter Manhattan Play was driven to her second straight Grassroots win by Campbellville resident Mike Saftic for trainer Nicky Comegna of Cambridge and owner Bruno Comegna of Burlington, ON. "She raced good," said Gregg McNair of Big Jim daughter Shewearsthepants. "She kind of got caught on the front end there, not her best spot, but that's a good filly that beat her. She's a nice mare, that mare (Manhattan Play). I like her; I've seen her race a few times." The McNairs scored their victory in the third Grassroots division as Loves Angel cruised home a four and three-quarter length winner in a personal best 1:55.1. Starting from Post 3, Doug McNair hustled Loves Angel off the gate and the Big Jim daughter led the field to a :28.2 opening quarter. Yielding to C Mary heading for the :56.3 half, McNair and Loves Angel sat behind the pacesetter through a 1:26 three-quarters and then powered out of the pocket in the stretch and sailed home to the win. "She's been a pretty nice filly, a bit surprising I think. She's come along better than I thought she was going to be," said McNair about Loves Angel. "She's a good bred little mare, never grew up very much, but looks like she's competitive with them anyways. "She had a nice little burst there when he moved her," added the trainer, who shares ownership of the filly with Jim Newton of Thornhill, ON and Kenneth Newton of Biggar, SK. The victory was the first this season for Loves Angel and also marked her first appearance in the Ontario Sires Stakes winner's circle. Gottalovemyshadow earned her third straight victory and second Grassroots trophy of the season with an impressive 1:53.3 score in the second division. From Post 1 the fan favourite controlled the pace, ringing up fractions of :27.1, :56.2 and 1:25.2 en route to a two and three-quarter length victory over Stellenbosch and Fading Shadow. The mile was just two-fifths of a second shy of the 1:53.1 Grand River Raceway track record for sophomore pacing fillies held by Seaside Rory and L A Delight. Moffat resident Jack Moiseyev conditions Gottalovemyshadow for Joanne Colville of Moffat, Nancy MacNevin of Essex and Emma Christoforou of Moffat, ON. In six lifetime starts the chestnut daughter of Shadow Play boasts a record of three wins and one third for earnings of $31,530. The final Grassroots division, contested in a driving rain, went to Check Mach and Guelph resident Scott Young, who sprinted by pacesetter and fan favourite Kloof Street in the stretch. The pair reached the wire one-half length on top in 1:57.1, a personal best for Check Mach. B Fifteen rounded out the top three while the McNair stable's third entry, Cams Lucky Star, finished out of the money in sixth. Young engineered the win from Post 1 for trainer Jerry Duford of Rockwood and his partner in Home Stretch Holdings Inc., Joanne Wray, along with Lloyd and Barbara Tylee of Grimsby, ON. The victory was the Mach Three daughter's first in Ontario Sires Stakes competition and her third of the season. "With the rail it was either cut it or sit the two-hole behind Travis (Cullen and Kloof Street), so when the option came to follow the favourite I said, 'Well, it works, I should be second'," said Young, who notched his first OSS victory of the season with the effort. "And, you know, she tightened up in the last turn, and when I moved her she paced by, so I was very happy with her." The three-year-old pacing fillies will continue their Grassroots rivalry on July 21 at Mohawk Racetrack, while the Gold Series fillies arrive at Grand River Raceway next Monday, June 26 for the second event on their calendar. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

JUNE 13, 2017 - While three-year-old trotting filly Literally may not be poised to follow in the footsteps of her illustrious elder brother Dont Rush, the Dustin Jones harness racing trainee earned her second Ontario Sires Stakes trophy with a Grassroots win at Mohawk Racetrack on Tuesday evening. A Justice Hall half-sister to two-time Ontario Sires Stakes division champion Dont Rush, who is closing in on $700,000 in career earnings, Literally sprinted from seventh to first through the final quarter of the first $19,500 Grassroots division on Tuesday. With Jones in the race bike the filly hit the wire in a personal best 1:57.2, two and one-quarter lengths ahead of pacesetter and favourite Expose Yourself. Hudsons Ya Ya also closed well to finish third. "Wayne Henry's filly (Expose Yourself) qualified pretty good, I didn't know whether I would be able to beat her or not, but I thought just following along she'd be as good as they were, as good as the rest," said Waterdown, ON resident Jones, who bred, owns, trains and drives Literally. Tuesday's outing was the filly's first of the season and marked her second lifetime trip to the Grassroots winner's circle; she was also victorious in the Grassroots season opener as a two-year-old. Following that victory Jones moved Literally up to the Gold Series level for the remainder of the season, but he does not expect her to follow the same path this year. "She has a conformation issue that probably stops her from being like her brother," Jones explains. "She's got the heart that she wants to overcome it, but when they have interfering issues it's hard to. She won't probably be able to be competitive in the Gold because of that." Literally Looking ahead to the second Grassroots event of the season, on July 1 at Dresden Raceway, Jones is hoping at least one of Tuesday's division winners decides to make the move up to the Gold Series. Gisele Treelane and driver Jack Moiseyev of Moffat, ON laid down a :27.3 final quarter to take the second split for trainer Murray Brethour of Sunderland, ON and owner-breeder Patricia Whittaker Trust of Aspers, PA in a sharp 1:55.3. "Lucky I wasn't in with Murray Brethour's filly, I might hardly get a cheque," said Jones. "That's like a Gold filly." Like Literally, Gisele Treelane reeled in the pacesetter and fan favourite through the final quarter, storming from fifth to first. The Daylon Magician daughter hit the wire one length ahead of You Cant Afford Me with Hilarious Honey eight lengths back in third. The win was Gisele Treelane's second in four lifetime starts and her first in Ontario Sires Stakes action. Gisele Treelane The third division saw Bustingattheseams and Randy Waples find a sliver of daylight in the stretch and sprint under the wire to a 1:56.3 victory, three-quarters of a length ahead of Ticket To Seattle and favourite and pacesetter Anikadabra. Milton resident Waples engineered the win for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor and his partner Dave Boyle of Bowmanville, ON. The win was the Kadabra daughter's third straight and her first in provincial competition. Bustingattheseams The final Grassroots battle saw another charge from the backfield as Delcrest Magicstar roared home to a 1:56.1 triumph over Crystal Gumdrop and Millers Song, who went off as the fan's top choice and did all the work on the front end. "She got away in a good spot and the trip worked out great, you know it usually doesn't, but today it did and luckily she was good and we capitalised on it," said driver James MacDonald, who landed the filly in sixth from Post 10 and was able to tuck in behind P C Pipe Dream for the journey up the outer lane. "She was stepping down the lane," MacDonald continued. "Last year she was green, she'd kind of blow by and pull up a little bit when she'd clear, and tonight she didn't, she felt like a real horse, she blew by and kept trotting ahead." Guelph resident MacDonald shares ownership of Delcrest Magicstar with Peter Porter of Port Dover and Johnathan McKinnon of Guelph, ON. A winner of two Grassroots trophies last season, including one in the Semi-final, the daughter of Majestic Son and Stars Balance is trained by Lansdowne, ON resident Mark Steacy. Delcrest Magicstar Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday, June 22 with the second Grassroots event of the season for the three-year-old pacing colts. For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

JUNE 8, 2017 - April and May did not unfold quite the way Paul Reid had hoped, but the harness racing trainer is hoping Sweet Of My Heart's Gold Series victory at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday evening signals a change in fortune for his three-year-old trotting filly contingent. Heading into Thursday's contest Reid trainees Sweet Of My Heart, Holiday Promise and Winter Sweet Frost had made a total of 11 starts and Holiday Promise was the only one with a top five result, finishing second in an overnight event in April. On Thursday, however, Sweet Of My Heart went gate-to-wire in the second $95,600 Gold division and Holiday Promise closed hard to earn the runner-up spoils, leaving Paradise Image to settle for third. "I don't know, it just kind of took us a month to get things back on the right path," reflected Reid. A Gold Series winner at two, Sweet Of My Heart was one of Reid's favourites before injury cut her freshman campaign short after five starts. This season the trainer, who hails from De Leon Springs, FL, was hoping the filly would pick up where she left off, but the Angus Hall daughter has been somewhat less than compliant. "The Angus's, with most of them, once you can get them under control you've got a nice horse, but in between it can test your patience," said Reid ruefully, adding that he has recently changed his approach to the filly's training routine. "Kind of throwing my hands up a little bit saying, well we can't fight her you know, let's see if we can learn to rate that speed, rather than just trying to manhandle her and make her do what we wanted. She wasn't going to do that." The change in tactics paid off Thursday as Sweet Of My Heart reeled off a personal best 1:55, hitting the wire four and one-quarter lengths ahead of her stablemate. Louis-Philippe Roy engineered the win for Reid and owner-breeder Robert Key of Leechburg, PA. While Sweet Of My Heart competed in just five races last season, Holiday Promise made nine starts and capped off her freshman campaign with a third-place result in the Super Final. Like her stablemate, however, she had struggled to regain her form through her first few starts this season so Reid and owner-breeders Richard and Regina Beinhauer of Venetia, PA were relieved to see her finish strong on Thursday. "She's another filly that just really was better last year than she'd shown early this year, and I was real happy with the way she come around tonight," said Reid of the Holiday Road daughter. Sweet Of My Heart The only member of Reid's sophomore trotting filly trio that did not break out of her early season slump was Winter Sweet Frost - who threw a shoe going to the starting gate, made a break and finished seventh in the first Gold division - but the horseman is hoping better things are ahead for the reigning Super Final champion. "We're still kind of getting kinks ironed out of her too," said Reid, who conditions the Kadabra daughter for Robert Key. "It's been a combination of little things. She didn't ship well from Florida - it kind of stressed her - and then in May she went to The Meadows for a bit and just kind of bounced around there. And just all that travel time with a filly that didn't have to do a lot of travelling last year, she just doesn't seem to handle that well." Reid has until the second Gold Leg, which goes postward July 2 at Georgian Downs, to get Winter Sweet Frost back on track and ready to defend her division title. The current favourite to claim the sophomore division crown is Magic Presto, who delivered her third straight victory over the Mohawk Racetrack oval in the first Gold division, sprinting home to a personal best 1:53.3 over Royal Witch and Gravitator. With Trevor Henry of Arthur, ON in the race bike, Magic Presto landed in third from Post 7 and Henry was content to watch Stuck In My Spanks lead the field to a :26.4 quarter and :56.3 half. Just past the half Henry sent the heavy favourite up the outside and by the 1:25.2 three-quarters she was pulling alongside Stuck In My Spanks. Without much urging from Henry, Magic Presto then cruised down the stretch to the three length victory. "She's so easy to drive, you can place her wherever you want off the gate, so that makes her so nice," said Henry from the winner's circle. "She's just, she's awesome." Henry crafted the win for trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman and owners Melvin Hartman of Ottawa, Herb Liverman of Miami Beach, FL, David McDuffee of Delray Beach, FL and Little E LLC of New York, NY. Magic Presto Mohawk Racetrack fans will be treated to a second helping of three-year-old trotting fillies next Tuesday, June 13 as the Campbellville oval hosts the division's first Grassroots event. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

JUNE 6, 2017 - Trainer Dustin Jones opened the three-year-old trotting colt Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots season with harness racing victories in the first two divisions, but the Waterdown resident is hoping Tuesday's contest at Mohawk Racetrack will be the only time this season Try Try Again and Northern Major earn him a Grassroots double. "We might give both them colts a start in non-winners of two before the Gold and then make up our mind what we want," said Jones. "Well for sure, Try Try Again's going (to the Gold), and then maybe Northern Major also." Try Try Again earned his promotion to the Gold level with an impressive 1:56.2 victory in Tuesday's first race. Starting from Post 4 with Campbellville, ON resident Chris Christoforou, Jr. in the race bike, the heavy favourite got away sixth and watched Yo Yo Mass, Forte and Parkhill Nonstop battle their way through a :28 opening quarter and :58 half. Heading for the 1:26.3 three-quarters Christoforou sent Try Try Again up the outside and the Kadabra colt rapidly reeled in the leaders and then powered down the stretch to a three and one-half length victory. Parkhill Nonstop settled for second and Masster Blue trotted into third. Jones shares ownership of Try Try Again with Ecuries Daniel Plouffe Inc. of Bromont, QC, Noblock Racing Stable of Collingwood, ON and Andrea Lea Racing Stables Inc. of Lakefield Gore, QC. Unraced at two, Try Try Again has been flawless through three starts at Mohawk this season, posting a personal best 1:55.1 in a non-winners of two races test on May 29. "I thought he was probably my best horse in the barn last year and he had a knee issue so I had to shut him down for the year," said Jones. "Now he's shown that he's Gold, for sure," the horseman continued. "I'd like to race him in a non-winners of two the week before the (June 27) Gold, that'll be his next start, and then the Gold, hopefully, if everything works out as planned. You have to go week-by-week, but that's the plan for him." Try Try Again Northern Major kept the party rolling for the Jones stable with a tremendous late rush in the second $15,950 Grassroots division. With Arthur, ON resident Trevor Henry in the race bike, Northern Major hustled away from Post 7, but found himself parked on the outside in fourth at the :27.2 quarter. Henry eased off the gas and had found a spot on the rail in seventh by the :57.4 half, but at the 1:28.1 three-quarters the pair were out in the middle of the racetrack and seven lengths behind the leaders. As the colts turned for home Henry finally found an open lane and when he asked Northern Major for another gear the Kadabra gelding proved to have a shot of nitro in the tank. Sprinting down the stretch Northern Major reeled in the leaders and hit the wire one-half length ahead of favourite Santini and another length up on Amanforallseasons in 1:58.2. "That was a surprise, because we made a bridle change on him, we went from blinkers to open, and I think that helped him a lot," said Jones of Northern Major's first lifetime win. "Actually that's the fastest last quarter he trotted this year, maybe he's just starting to get into shape. "Last week (June 1) he made a break and, I don't really know, he just sort of jumped it off, or skipped it off," added the trainer. "I'm glad that everything worked out (tonight), because he sort of got a pretty tough first quarter and then he was like four or five wide in the last turn, so it was a pretty good mile actually. We were pretty encouraged with that effort." Owned by Synerco Ventures Inc. of Toronto, Northern Major had been winless through 14 starts prior to Tuesday's Grassroots triumph. With three weeks until the next Ontario Sires Stakes events for the three-year-old trotting colts - Mohawk hosts the Gold colts on June 27 while Hiawatha Horse Park hosts the Grassroots division on July 1 - Jones has time to decide which direction Northern Major will be heading for his second provincial start. "He's a great big tall horse and I think he just needs to come into himself a bit," the horseman noted. "I think once he gets it all figured out he might improve." Northern Major The other three Grassroots divisions saw favourites Warrawee Shipshape, P C Silent Drive and Rose Run Speedster take home the hardware. Warrawee Shipshape and owner-driver Eddie Green of Ohsweken, ON controlled the tempo for the bulk of the third Grassroots division, sailing home one and one-quarter length winners over R First Class and More Than Majestic in 1:58. The Muscle Mass son was also a Grassroots winner at Mohawk as a two-year-old. Paul Reid of De Leon Springs, FL conditions Warrawee Shipshape, who boosted his lifetime earnings to $55,645 with Tuesday's victory. Warrawee Shipshape In the fourth division, P C Silent Drive also did all the heavy lifting on the front-end and then battled down the stretch to fend off challenger Dontcrampmystyle, hitting the wire a neck on top in 1:58.3. Blood Moon rounded out the top three. Curtis Clements engineered the win for his father, breeder and trainer Peter Clements. The Dobbinton, ON residents have guided the Cornaro Dasolo gelding to a record of four wins and two seconds in six starts this season. P C Silent Drive The final Grassroots split went to Rose Run Speedster, who put a nose in front of pacesetter Lucys Man at the wire. Majestic Streak was third in the 1:58.2 mile. Rene Allard of Matamoras, PA trains and shares ownership of the Windsong Espoir colt with Rose Run Speedster Stable of Guelph, ON and Louis-Philippe Roy engineered the victory. The win was the first this season for Rose Run Speedster, who was a two-time Gold Series winner at two. Rose Run Speedster Ontario Sires Stakes trotting action continues at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday, June 8 with the three-year-old trotting fillies competing in a pair of $95,600 Gold Series divisions. The fillies will launch their sophomore Gold series careers in Races 1 and 3, with the first race getting under way at 7:30 pm. For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: To view results for Tuesday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Tuesday Results – Mohawk Racetrack. Ontario Racing

JUNE 1, 2017 - With two Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series events for sophomore pacers in the books, harness racing trainer Tony O'Sullivan is batting .500, taking home two of four trophies awarded. The Cambridge, ON resident earned his second piece of Gold Series hardware at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday evening when three-year-old pacing filly Soiree Seelster slipped up the inside to an impressive two length victory. Turning for home the fans' second choice appeared to be hemmed in on the rail, but pacesetter and favourite Windy Sport drifted out just enough to allow driver Sylvain Filion to urge Soiree Seelster home to the 1:52.2 triumph. "I had to risk it," said Milton, ON resident Filion, who fired Soiree Seelster out of Post 6 and dropped in behind the favourite. "I didn't want to overdrive her, and I was just hoping to get some room down the lane. I was lucky enough opened up." Roselily closed hard to be second and Action Majesty finished third in the first of two $95,600 Gold divisions, while Windy Sport faded to seventh. Trainer O'Sullivan shares ownership of Soiree Seelster with Domenic Chiaravalle of Hamilton and Lorne Keller of Exeter, ON. The trio also share ownership of sophomore pacing colt Happy Trio, who was a Gold Series winner at The Raceway at Western Fair District on May 26. "It's a good group, Domenic and Lorne are easy to train for, and we all think the same," said O'Sullivan. "It's a good partnership." Last season the partners agreed to stop with Soiree Seelster after just four starts, in spite of a record of three wins, including two Gold Series victories, and one third. The daughter of Big Jim and Smilesplace was suffering a few growing pains and O'Sullivan, Chiaravalle and Keller felt her talent warranted caution and a focus on the big picture. "We just decided that it would be better to put her away and let her regroup for this year," recalled O'Sullivan. "I would have been able to get her to the Super Final, but because I thought she was a good filly I didn't want to do anything that might hurt her for this year." Soiree Seelster made her sophomore debut in the SBOA Stake eliminations at Mohawk on May 13, finishing fifth. In the May 20 final she made a bobble behind the starting gate and was a dozen lengths behind the leaders at the quarter pole, but stormed home to earn second-place. Off that effort O'Sullivan was confident the filly was poised for success in Thursday's Gold Series opener. "I was hoping she would race as well as she did last week, with no bad luck," said the trainer. "Sylvain said he just tried to get her into gear and get her attention a little bit and she just kind of goosed herself, got a little bit sideways behind the gate, and just made a little break." If all goes according to plan, Soiree Seelster will make her next start in eliminations for the Fan Hanover stake at Mohawk on June 10, hoping to advance to the June 17 final on Pepsi North America Cup Night. The three-year-old pacing fillies return to Gold Series action on June 26 at Grand River Raceway and while O'Sullivan is not sure he can maintain his .500 average in the sophomore pacing division, he is optimistic about Soiree Seelster's ability to contend with Ontario's best this summer. "We'll try," said the trainer with a laugh. "It's going to get hard, but we'll try. The colts it's going to get hard, but if Soiree stays good I think she'll be in good shape." The second Gold Series trophy awarded on Thursday evening went home with Blameitonthenight, who powered up the outside to hit the finish in a personal best 1:52.3. Last year's Super Final winner Yaris Bayama was second and Dudesalady finished third. Jonathan Drury of Guelph, ON engineered the win from Post 2 for trainer Tony Alagna of Manalapan, NJ and his partners Crawford Farms Racing of Syracuse, NY and Donna Lee of Manalapan. "I was really hoping not to be first over, but they were rolling along pretty good and mine felt great, and I figured they might come back to me a little bit," said Drury from the winner's circle. "She's a real tough little filly and I've seen her grind it out first over before, and I was hoping she could do it again." A daughter of Mach Three and What Could Be, Blameitonthenight was also a Gold Series winner at two and made her sophomore debut in the SBOA Stake, finishing fifth in her elimination and ninth in the final. Next up on Mohawk Racetrack's action-packed Ontario Sires Stakes schedule are the three-year-old trotting colts, making their Grassroots debut on Tuesday, June 6. For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

MAY 29, 2017 - Three-year-old pacing filly Gottalovemyshadow picked the perfect time to deliver a peak harness racing effort, posting her first lifetime victory in the $19,500 Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots opener at Mohawk Racetrack on Monday evening. "I always kind of liked her, she's just had little problems, but now, she seems to be hitting on all eight now," said trainer-driver Jack Moiseyev after the victory. Starting from Post 7, Gottalovemyshadow and Moiseyev got away from the starting gate in fourth, but had taken command of the race before the half-way marker. The duo never faced a serious challenge and cruised home two and one-quarter length winners in 1:53.3. Rose Run Samantha stalked Gottalovemyshadow throughout the mile to secure second and Kloof Street closed hard to claim third-place honours. The win came in Gottalovemyshadow's fourth lifetime start. The Shadow Play daughter made her debut at Mohawk on April 20, finishing fifth, followed that up with a third-place result on May 4 and then tested her mettle against the province's best in the May 13 SBOA Stake eliminations, finishing fourth and earning a berth in the final. However, she came up sick before the May 20 Final and missed battling for a share of the $132,130 purse. "We give her a try last year and she was just immature. I liked her, she showed a lot of speed, she just wasn't matured enough, so we turned her out and brought her back," said Moiseyev of the filly's tardy arrival to the races. "I'm kind of hoping she turns into a Gold filly in a couple starts, you know." The Moffat resident conditions Gottalovemyshadow for Joanne Colville and her daughter Emma Christoforou of Moffat and Nancy MacNevin of Essex, ON. The partners acquired the striking chestnut filly at the 2015 Forest City Yearling Sale for a sum of $19,000, of which Gottalovemyshadow has now repaid $14,130. C Mary opened the Ontario Sires Stakes festivities in the evening's second race, rolling off cover at the top of the stretch and getting a head in front of pacesetter Deprived in a personal best 1:53.1 Southwind Geo rounded out the top three. Gottalovemyshadow Campbellville, ON resident Chris Christoforou, Jr. piloted Mach Three daughter C Mary to her first Ontario Sires Stakes win and fourth lifetime victory for trainer Tim Myers of Leamington, ON and owner-breeder J R Stables LLC of Clinton Township, MI. C Mary Campbellville resident Mike Saftic also scored a Grassroots win on Monday, guiding Manhattan Play to her first success of the season in a personal best 1:52.3. The Shadow Play daughter took command of the race heading by the three-quarters and sailed under the finish one and one-quarter lengths ahead of Loves Angel and another length ahead of Style Snapshot. Saftic engineered the win for trainer Nicky Comegna of Cambridge and owner Bruno Comegna of Burlington, ON. A Gold Series competitor at two, Manhattan Play boosted her lifetime earnings to $44,266 with her second lifetime victory. Manhattan Play The final piece of Grassroots hardware was awarded to Shewearsthepants, who overcame the outside Post 10 with a late rush that saw her reel in fan favourite Treasures Pearl. Like the other three division winners, Shewearsthepants posted a personal best 1:53, hitting the wire one and three-quarter lengths ahead of her rivals. P L Kahluaa completed the top three. Trainer Gregg McNair and his son, driver Doug McNair, both of Guelph, ON, engineered the victory for owner-breeders Anatolia Farm LLC of New Holland, PA. The Big Jim daughter was also a Grassroots winner at two, earning her first provincial victory last August at Mohawk. Shewearsthepants The fillies will make their second Grassroots start at Grand River Raceway on June 19, while Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Mohawk on Thursday, June 1 with two Gold Series divisions for the three-year-old pacing fillies. The fillies will battle in Races 3 and 6 on Thursday's program, which gets under way at 7:30 pm. For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing  

MAY 26, 2017 - Happy Trio lived up to his name in Friday's sixth race at The Raceway at Western Fair District. The harness racing three-year-old pacing colt put broad smiles on the faces of his three owners as he cruised to an impressive victory in the second of two Ontario Sire Stakes $95,600 Gold Series divisions. "I'm pumped, I'm so proud of him. That's a hell of a mile," said trainer Tony O'Sullivan after Happy Trio halted the teletimer at 1:53, just one-fifth of a second shy of the track record for sophomore pacing colts. Starting from Post 1, driver Doug McNair of Guelph, ON sent Happy Trio directly to the front and the pair never faced a challenge as they rang up fractions of :27.2, :56.3 and 1:24.4 en route to the 1:53 score. Fireball followed the pacesetter throughout the mile and finished two and one-quarter lengths back in second, while fan favourite Streakavana finished five lengths back in third. "All I said to Dougie was, you know, you can let him pace out of there and after that it's up to you. He's really, really quick," said O'Sullivan. "And at the half I was pretty confident because Dougie really had a good hold of him and that's what that horse likes. He likes to feel brave, and Dougie is pretty good at making one feel brave." Cambridge resident O'Sullivan shares ownership of Happy Trio with Lorne Keller of Exeter and Domenic Chiaravalle of Hamilton, ON. The win was the Mach Three son's first of the season through two outings and his second lifetime. As a two-year-old, Happy Trio was a Gold Series winner at Mohawk Racetrack and banked $157,145 in nine starts. "I'm so proud of him, because it was the toughest division by far, on paper, and there are horses in here that have paced faster and done better," said O'Sullivan. "But he was a good horse last year. He made good money and he never, I think he raced bad once, other than that he was always right there." Happy Trio will have an opportunity to earn another piece of Ontario Sires Stakes hardware when the three-year-old pacing colts make their second Gold Series start at Mohawk Racetrack on July 1. The other $95,600 Gold division on The Raceway's action-packed Molson Pace program went to fan favourite Walter Mitty, who overcame early interference to score a 1:56.3 victory. Happy Trio's stablemate in the O'Sullivan barn, Calvin K, finished one and three-quarter lengths back in second and Dreamfair B J was third for owner-breeder John Lamers of Ingersoll. Louis-Philippe Roy piloted Walter Mitty to victory in his Ontario Sires Stakes debut for trainer Richard Moreau and owners Synerco Ventures Inc. of Toronto, ON. The win boosted the Mach Three gelding's lifetime record to two wins, two seconds and two thirds in six starts for earnings of $65,560. In the evening's grand finale, the $150,000 Molson Pace, fan favourite Bit Of A Legend N took control early and never looked back, cruising home a one and three-quarter length winner over last year's Molson Pace champion Evenin Of Pleasure. Sunfire Blue Chip finished third. Jordan Stratton engineered the win for trainer Peter Tritton and owner Harry Von Knoblauch Stable of San Diego, CA. The victory boosted the New Zealand bred pacer's earnings to $1.6 million. For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: 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: OSS Program Administration Ontario Racing

May 21, 2017 - Three-year-old trotting colt Rosberg won the first Ontario Sires Stakes event of the season at Flamboro Downs on Sunday and was immediately promoted to the head of the class in harness racing trainer Julie Walker's stable. "He is now; if he wasn't, he is now," said the Carlisle resident with a laugh. Rosberg and driver Louis-Philippe Roy left smartly from Post 2 in the first $64,800 Gold Series division and had opened up a 10 length lead by the quarter-mile mark, which they reached in :29. The pair continued to sail along well ahead of the field through a :57.4 half and 1:27.3 three-quarters, and although favourite Tycoon Seelster mounted an impressive late charge, Rosberg and Roy reached the finish line one length the best in 1:58. Tycoon Seelster settled for second and Resita finished third. "The reason I came to Flamboro is because he's a handy horse, and it showed," explained Walker. "He likes to trot a half, and some of the horses don't that are faster, so it worked out good." Walker shares ownership of the son of Manofmanymissions with Ronald Piers of Georgetown and Layhoon Chan Brunner of Etobicoke, ON. A two-time Grassroots winner as a freshman, Rosberg now boasts a lifetime record of four wins, two seconds and one third in nine starts for earnings of $115,200. "He's done everything right, right from day one," said Walker. "He can go on any size of track, that's the nicest thing about him." Rosberg The second Gold Series division went to Dream Massive and driver James MacDonald of Guelph, ON. Starting from Post 3, the pair sat behind pacesetter Scene A Magician through fractions of :29.1, :59.1 and 1:28.2 before reaching up at the wire to record the half-length victory in 1:58.1. Scene A Magician finished second and Mister Muscle completed the top three. Mark Steacy of Lansdowne, ON conditions Dream Massive for Michael Soehnlen of Dalton, OH and the trainer is looking forward to another productive season with the Muscle Mass colt. At two, Dream Massive was a Gold Series winner in early August and finished third in the season ending Super Final in October. "It's kind of an open division I think, so hopefully we can have some fun with him this summer," said Steacy of the three-year-old trotting colt class. Dream Massive The final Gold Series contest went to On First, who went gate-to-wire from Post 6 for driver Trevor Henry. The 1:58.1 victory was the Holiday Road gelding's first, coming in his fifth lifetime start. Shannon Henry conditions On First and the Henry's, who call Arthur home, share ownership of the trotter with David Darocy of Windsor and James Fleming of Bayfield, ON. Speedycrest finished second and favourite Lmc Mass Gem was third. On First Also featured on Flamboro Downs' Confederation Cup program were three Grassroots divisions for the three-year-old pacing colts and owner-trainer Jack Darling of Cambridge and driver Jody Jamieson of Moffat, ON teamed up to win two. Both Southwind General and Frontier Seelster delivered impressive front end performances in their sophomore debuts, halting the teletimer in 1:54.3 and 154:4, respectively. "I am hoping they're going to be Golds," said Darling of his victorious pacing colts. "They are both nice big horses, great strides on them, and we'll just see how they mature." Sunday's win, which saw him best Heza Big Dealer and Beach Volley Ball by three and one-half lengths, was Southwind General's second lifetime. The Sportswriter son also made a victorious debut in the Grassroots program last season before moving up to the Gold Series and earning $53,850 through seven freshman starts. Frontier Seelster hit the wire four and three-quarter lengths ahead of Rodeo Sports and co-favourite Osborne Seelster. Sunday marked the Artistic Fella son's debut in the Ontario Sires Stakes program and was his third lifetime victory in six starts. Darling also sent out a starter in the other $18,450 Grassroots division, with Jamieson guiding The Dark Shadow to a fifth-place result behind Blackjack Seelster, Makasi, Dial The Bossman and Vintage Grand. Blackjack Seelster hit the wire three-quarters of a length on top in 1:55.2, giving driver Louis-Philippe Roy his second Ontario Sires Stakes win of the evening. Trainer Colin Johnson of Repentigny, QC shares ownership of Artistic Fella son Blackjack Seelster with Thomas Kyron of Toronto and Mac Nichol of Burlington, ON. In the evening's finale, the $176,000 Confederation Cup, Trevor Henry returned to the winner's circle with a triumphant steer aboard elimination winner Western Fame. The pair led the field from start to finish, rolling through fractions of :26.2, :55.2 and 1:23.4 before holding off a charging Check Six for the 1:51.4 win. The other elimination winner, Sintra, finished third. Henry engineered the win for trainer Jimmy Takter and owner Brittany Farms of Versailles, KY. Western Fame The three-year-old trotting colts return to Gold Series action on June 27 at Mohawk Racetrack, while the three-year-old pacing colts make their second Grassroots start at Mohawk on June 22. Ontario Sires Stakes action will return to Flamboro Downs on Sept. 2 with the fifth Grassroots event for the two-year-old trotting colts. For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

MAY 19, 2017 - The 2017 Ontario Sires Stakes season will kick off on Sunday, May 21 at Flamboro Downs as part of the Dundas racetrack's $460,600 Confederation Cup harness racing program. Ontario's best three-year-old trotting colts and geldings will highlight the Confederation Cup pre-show, competing in the Gold Series season opener. Waterdown, ON resident Scott McEneny will send out Tycoon Seelster in the first of three Gold Series divisions. The Angus Hall gelding was a three-time Ontario Sires Stakes winner as a two-year-old and finished second in the season ending Super Final. "He's come back pretty good this year," said McEneny, who conditions Tycoon Seelster for Chris Storms of Picton, ON. "He was a little bumpy last year, he didn't have the best gait, but he seems to be coming back a little better this year. He got a lot bigger, a lot thicker, over the winter." Tycoon Seelster and regular driver Paul MacDonell of Guelph, ON will start from Post 4 in Race 1 of the Confederation Cup program, going postward at 7 pm, with the other two $65,600 Gold Series battles scheduled for Races 2 and 5. Also making their 2017 Ontario Sires Stakes debut on the Confederation Cup undercard are the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings, competing in the first Grassroots event of the season in Races 4, 6, and 8. Prairiecreekprince and driver James MacDonald of Guelph will lead the pacing colts onto the half-mile oval, starting from Post 1 in the first $18,450 division for trainer Dave Menary of Cambridge, ON. "He's a nice big strong colt, he doesn't have very many lifetime starts so I'm hoping that he can kind of mature into a useful horse," said Menary, who trains the Mach Three gelding for Ryan Morefield of Brighton, MI. "I was happy with his second qualifier (May 15) and he drew really good on Sunday - the exact opposite of Sintra - so I'm super happy about that." In addition to first-time Ontario Sires Stakes starter Prairiecreekprince, Menary will also send out former Ontario Sires Stakes star Sintra from Post 8 in the evening's main event. Another son of Mach Three, Sintra was a commanding two and one-half length winner in his Confederation Cup elimination, halting the Flamboro teletimer at 1:52.4. "That's a big hurdle to overcome, but if anybody can do it I think he can," said the trainer of the gelding's outside post position in the $176,000 Final. Menary, whose operation is based at a farm no further than a Dustin Johnson tee-shot from the Flamboro Downs entrance, shares ownership of Sintra with Brad Gray of Dundas and Michael Guerriero of Brampton, ON. The gelding heads into Sunday's final undefeated in the first three starts of a four-year-old campaign that has seen him triumph in an April 29 overnight event at Mohawk Racetrack, the May 6 opening leg of the Graduate Series at The Meadowlands, and last weekend's Confederation Cup Elimination. Regular reinsman Jody Jamieson of Moffat, ON will pilot Sintra in his bid for a fourth win on Sunday. "The four-year-olds are really lucky, most of the starts are front loaded," noted Menary. "The Confederation Cup, and the Graduate Series, and even the Prix D'Ete in Quebec, they're all a little bit earlier in the year so before they have to test, you know these are nice horses, but before they have to test the real deep waters it gives them a chance to get started with their own kind." Scott McEneny will also harness a starter in the Confederation Cup Final, sending out Mr Wiggle Pants with Doug McNair aboard from Post 7 in the eleventh race. Mr Wiggle Pants, owned by Brad Grant of Milton, ON, finished third behind Western Fame in his elimination. In addition to Sunday's outstanding program of racing, Flamboro Downs fans will be treated to a host of trackside activities including giveaways and prize draws, stilt walkers and face painters to entertain the youngest fans, a miniature horse race and live music by local band Speakeasy. Details about the Confederation Cup program are available at For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing Follow the OSS on Social Media! @ONTSSNews  

OCT. 15, 2016 - Super Final night 2016 served as a coronation for several of the Ontario Sires Stakes program's harness racing stars and a coming out party for others. Leading reinsman Sylvain Filion, who had locked up his fourth Lampman Cup title well before the post season got under way, piloted three of his eight Super Final mounts to victory on the $2 million program at Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday. The Milton, ON resident guided two-year-old pacing filly Yaris Bayama, three-year-old trotting colt Warrawee Roo and three-year-old trotting filly Emoticon Hanover to victory in their respective division finals. "Every race means something, but Finals like that, it's even more," said Filion. "Like that Yaris Bayama, my dad raised her, on the farm where I was raised, so that made it quite special. I'm sure you can see many examples like that here tonight; it sure does make it special." Off a trip up the outer lane, Yaris Bayama sprinted home to a one length victory over Fade and Aint Three OK in 1:53. Carlisle, ON resident Stephane Larocque conditions the filly for Yves Filion's Bayama Farms Inc. of Saint-Andre-D'Argenteuil, QC. The daughter of Sportswriter wrapped up her freshman season with a record of five wins, one second and two thirds in 10 starts for earnings of $231,820. Filion teamed up with trainer Luc Blais of Lochaber Ouest, QC and owner Determination of Montreal, QC for his second and third Super Final victories. In the three-year-old trotting colt battle Filion, who is also a three-time winner of the O'Brien Award as Canada's leading driver, once again used come-from-behind tactics to guide Warrawee Roo to a one length victory over Will Take Charge and Dia Monde in 1:53.4. "I feel good for them guys, they were real disappointed with the filly, she made a break, she was heavy favourite, and you know the grooms, the trainer Luc Blais, they work hard all year on them horses and it's not as easy as it looks, there's a lot of work, a lot of hours behind that," said Filion, who had finished at the back of the field with two-year-old trotting filly favourite On A Sunny Day three races earlier. "So that one there feels real good with that horse. He's always shown me a lot of talent, but he's been making breaks. Luckily tonight Luc put it all together and he was real strong." Majestic Son colt Warrawee Roo boosted his three-year-old record to five wins, one seconds and one third in 14 starts with the Super Final victory, giving him a total of $246,421 in earnings. One race later Filion stalked fan favourite Caprice Hill until the head of the stretch, when he detected a chink in the defending champion's armour and sent Emoticon Hanover after the win. The filly hit the wire one and one-quarter lengths ahead of Caprice Hill, who was one length ahead of Wanaka, in a personal best 1:53.1. "Turning for home I saw Timmy (Tetrick) kind of chasing his filly and I said maybe we have a shot," said Filion. "She's a real decent filly. She can leave the gate real fast and she stuck to Timmy's helmet. I think maybe Caprice Hill wasn't quite herself tonight, that's why we got to beat her." Emoticon Hanover, a daughter of Kadabra and former Ontario Sires Stakes star Emmylou Who, will make her next start in the Oct. 22 Breeders Crown Eliminations at The Meadowlands, aiming to make the Oct. 29 Final. Saturday's victory boosted her sophomore record to seven wins, two seconds and two thirds in 13 starts for earnings of $485,418. Mohawk Racetrack fans remained glued to their seats until the very last Super Final, waiting to see if three-year-old pacing colt Betting Line could extend his win streak to 14 from the outside Post 10, and the son of Bettors Delight did not disappoint. Driver David Miller and Betting Line were almost five lengths back at the three-quarters, but the heavy favourite rocketed home in :26.3 to defend his Super Final title, hitting the wire one length ahead of pocket-sitter Gerries Sport and pacesetter Sintra in 1:49.3. "A little bit worried at the head of the lane there," admitted trainer Casie Coleman in the winner's circle. "But Betting Line does that once in a while. He knows where the wire is. I've never had a horse that knows where the wire is as much as Betting Line. He just digs right in when he hits the flag poles there and makes sure he's on front at the wire." Cambridge resident Coleman and Betting Line's other owners Ross Warriner of Burlington, Christine Calhoun of Chatham and Mac Nichol of Burlington, ON lingered in the Mohawk winner's circle following his Super Final victory, the colt's last outing on Canadian soil. He will compete in the Breeders Crown at The Meadowlands at the end of October and in the Hap Hansen Pace at Dover Downs in November and then move into his new accommodations in the stallion barn at Hanover Shoe Farms in Pennsylvania. Betting Line leaves home with a lifetime record of 20 wins, three seconds and two thirds in 27 starts and earnings of $2,238,518. Sophomore pacing filly L A Delight also defended her Super Final title, battling to a head victory over a hard-closing Bad As Leader in 1:50.3. Party In Rome rounded out the top three. "She does a lot of her own talking on the racetrack," said trainer Bob McIntosh of the filly, who went undefeated in her Ontario Sires Stakes career. "She's just a good filly, and she just wants to win, and that's something you can't teach them, it's bred right in them." "It's her attitude. She wouldn't let them by," added driver Randy Waples of Milton, who piloted the filly to the win. "But credit where credit is due, as great as she is, for him to keep her the way he has for two straight years - and every time that she's raced for big money he's had her exactly the way you want her to be - it says a lot for the trainer." Windsor resident McIntosh bred and owns L A Delight with Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington, ON and C S X Stables of Liberty Center, OH. In her 27 career starts the daughter of Bettors Delight and West Of L A has recorded 20 wins, two seconds and two thirds for earnings of $1,351,663. Like Betting Line, her next start will come in the Breeders Crown, but McIntosh added that, so long as she remains strong and healthy, fans will see her back on the racetrack in 2017. Fans will also be looking forward to seeing two-year-old trotting colt Mass Production back in action next season. The son of Muscle Mass and All Time Favorite closed out his freshman campaign with an Ontario Sires Stakes record performance, sailing home eight and three-quarter lengths the best in 1:54.4. Tycoon Seelster and Dream Massive finished in second and third behind the fan favourite. Trainer Rick Zeron of Oakville piloted Mass Production to the win for his partners Jim Walker of Port Perry, Bruno Dipoce of Wasaga Beach, ON and Rene Allard of Matamoras, PA. In nine starts the gelding posted five wins, one second, one third and earnings of $285,673. "There was some stuff going on there that, you're kind of wincing, hoping that your horse can stay out of the trouble or not have anybody run into him or make a break; all those things are possible with two-year-old trotters," said co-owner Jim Walker of the race, which saw two colts make early errors. "But it was great, and, you know, we enjoyed it all year. He won three of the five Golds and this, there's nothing more you could ask for in an Ontario Sired horse; it's a great program." Winter Sweet Frost captured the two-year-old trotting filly Super Final title with a 1:55.4 personal best in a race that also saw several youngsters make miscues. In rein to Guelph, ON resident Doug McNair, Winter Sweet Frost cruised home a one and one-half length winner over Gravitator and Holiday Promise. Paul Reid conditions the daughter of Kadabra for owner-breeder Robert Key of Leechburg, PA. Driver Jonathan Drury recorded his first Super Final victory in the two-year-old pacing colt division, guiding longshot Arsenal Seelster to a come-from-behind 1:53 score. Drury and Arsenal Seelster hit the wire one and three-quarter lengths ahead of Yogi Bayama, who was one length ahead of Machin A Trick. "It was very unexpected actually," said Drury, who crafted the win for trainer Colin Johnson of Repentigny, QC and his partners Thomas Kyron of Toronto, ON, Brian Paquet of Quebec, QC and Ecurie JGC Enrg. of Laval, QC. "I thought I was maybe a little too far out of it at one point, but they kind of bunched up at the head of the lane and my colt kicked home strong." The Guelph, ON resident had a career-best year on the Ontario Sires Stakes circuit in 2016 and is hoping to be back among the top drivers next season after recovering from a Nov. 25 shoulder surgery that will see him sidelined for three to six months. The reinsman has until May before the 2017 Ontario Sires Stakes season gets under way, with this year's two-year-olds hoping to reclaim their championship form and a new crop of pacers and trotters aiming to carve out a place in the provincial history books. Mass Production L A Delight Yaris Bayama Warrawee Roo Emoticon Hanover Arsenal Seelster Betting Line 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

OCT. 6, 2016 - After finishing third in five straight Ontario Sire Stakes Gold Series starts, stretching back to September 2015, three-year-old trotting gelding Dia Monde grabbed a win in the last regular season harness racing event of his career at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday evening. In rein to Milton resident Randy Waples Dia Monde left smartly from Post 6 and landed second behind early leader Dunvegan Don, who led the field to a :27 opening quarter. Waples continued to sit on the rail as fan favourite Bee In Charge took control heading for the :57.1 half, and then tipped Dia Monde into the outer lane heading by the 1:26.1 three-quarters. With a clear look at the finish line, Dia Monde shifted into overdrive and powered under the wire a one and three-quarter length winner in 1:54. Tony Soprano also closed well to be second, leaving Bee In Charge the third-place finisher's spoils. "He raced good, we're pretty tickled with him finally getting that win," said Puslinch resident June Durand, who shares ownership of Dia Monde with her husband, trainer Tom Durand, and Allan Smith of Oakville, ON. The victory boosted Dia Monde into fourth spot in the division standings, with 98 points, heading into the Oct. 15 Super Final. Through all 13 of his sophomore starts the son of Deweycheatumnhowe and Lady Bar has three wins, two seconds, five thirds and earnings of $163,612. Dia Monde is the second foal out of Lady Bar - a half-sister to former Durand trainee Clarice Marie ($313,400) - that Smith and the Durand's have owned, and it was their long familiarity with the family that first drew the partners to Dia Monde. "We had Littlejack Hanover and he was small, he was a Donato (Hanover), and then when we went to look at this colt he was twice the size, a big, strong colt," recalls June Durand. "And the thing we liked about him is, Looking Hanover ($1,125,136) was the other good horse out of the family and he's a Muscles Yankee and Deweycheatumnhowe is out of Muscles Yankee, so it's kind of going back to that same cross, and he's a big beautiful horse. We paid lots for him, but I think he was worth it." The gelding was a $70,000 purchase at the 2014 Harrisburg Yearling Sale, and Smith says he has repaid their investment in ways that cannot be reflected on a balance sheet. "We've been fortunate enough we've had some good stakes horses and done well financially, but it's more the fun of winning," said Smith. "Being with Tom and June - all the work they do to pick out the right horses and get them where they do with a small stable - I'm pretty impressed with what they do and I've always supported it and always will." Dia Monde The partners will be hoping Dia Monde can continue his winning ways into the $250,000 Super Final, where he will face division point leader Muscle Hustle, the winner of the other $105,000 Gold division on Thursday. Sent off as the fan favourite, and also in rein to Waples, Muscle Hustle took control just after the :28 opening quarter and rolled through a :58.1 half and a 1:26.3 three-quarters without facing a challenge. Muscle Hustle hit the wire one length ahead of Holiday Party and two more up on Will Take Charge in 1:54.1. "Muscle Hustle, he was awesome, last quarter :27.3, won fairly handy, and everything is good with him," said trainer Per Henriksen of the division point leader. "He's healthy and everything." Thursday's outing was Muscle Hustle's first in just over a month, he was sidelined with his second bout of sickness this season following a third-place result in the Sept. 3 Simcoe Stakes, but Norwood resident Henriksen expects the colt to be in top shape for next week's finale. "He didn't race for four weeks, but his race here should make him even better," said the horseman, who conditions the son of Muscle Mass and Crown Laurel for Ecurie Bergh Inc. of Norwood. In his five Gold Series starts Muscle Hustle logged three wins, one second and one fifth for 180 points, and trotted to an Ontario Sires Stakes record 1:52.2 over the five-eighths mile surface at Georgian Downs. Through 12 starts this season he has tallied seven wins, two seconds and one third for earnings of $239,832. Henriksen also trains Bee In Charge, who finished third behind Dia Monde, and said the fan favourite tested sick after the race. "Bee In Charge didn't race as good as I thought he was gonna do, and we scoped him and he had some mucous so he is obviously a little sick," said Henriksen. "We've just got to get him healthy for the Super Final." Muscle Hustle Heading into the Super Final off wins aboard both Muscle Hustle and Dia Monde puts Waples in the difficult position of choosing between two horses that appear to be prime shape for the post season. "They're both really nice horses. I really haven't made up my mind. It'll probably just go by post position, I think that's the way it will go anyways," said Waples. "We'll see what happens, see how they come out of it. "I was really happy with the pair of them you know. I thought Muscle Hustle was the best in his class as long as things went his way and he was healthy," the reinsman continued. "And Dia Monde, I know that horse can beat anybody out there, but he just hasn't really been putting it all together his last couple, but tonight he really showed up, he put a big, big effort in tonight." Waples is also the regular reinsman for superstar sophomore pacing filly L A Delight and trotting filly Caprice Hill. Both fillies were victorious in their freshman Super Finals and both head into this year's test undefeated in regular season Gold Series action. With a total of $2 million up for grabs in eight divisions, Super Final night gets under way at 7:30 pm at Mohawk on Saturday, Oct. 15.. Ontario Racing

OCT. 3, 2016 - Ontario's top two-year-old trotting colts and pacing fillies got clear skies and a fast harness racing track at Mohawk Racetrack on Monday evening to bring the curtain down on their Ontario Sire Stakes Gold Series regular season. Division point leader Mass Production got things off to a quick start, capturing the first $105,000 trotting colt split in a sharp 1:55.3, just three-fifths of a second shy of the Ontario Sires Stakes record. Starting from Post 6 with trainer Rick Zeron in the race bike, Mass Production landed on the rail in third as Themanofmydreams reached the opening quarter in :27.3. Heading by the :58.1 half Zeron tipped Mass Production into the outer lane, and then dropped back in behind Themanofmydreams for a breather heading by the 1:27.1 three-quarters. As the colts squared up in the stretch, Mass Production accelerated away from his rival to a one length win. Themanofmydreams finished second and fan favourite Scene A Magician was seven and one-quarter lengths back in third. "The way the stakes race schedule was, the month off really enhanced this horse, and he's fresh as a daisy, straight as an arrow, and he just did everything exactly in tune the way I wanted him to tonight," said Zeron. "I wasn't quite sure that he'd trot in 1:55 tonight, but when I moved him at the head of the lane he was full of himself, and he was still full of himself at the wire too." Monday's outing was Mass Production's first since the Sept. 2 Champlain Stakes at Mohawk, where he finished fifth. In his five Gold Series starts the son of Muscle Mass and All Time Favorite posted three wins, one second and one third and leads the freshman trotting colts into the Oct. 15 Super Final with 187 points. Oakville resident Zeron shares ownership of Mass Production, a $32,000 purchase at last fall's Canadian Yearling Sale, with James Walker of Port Perry, Bruno Dipoce of Wasaga Beach, ON and Rene Allard of Matamoras, PA. The Super Final will be the gelding's last start of the campaign and Zeron said the OSS record could be in jeopardy. "If it's a nice night on the 15th, we may take a shot at that," said the horseman. "My assistant trainer, Shayne Barrington, he'll do the homework on him and get him prepared, and we'll speak together and get a game plan for the 15th, and take it from there." Mass Production Tycoon Seelster captured the second trotting colt division with a powerful finish, hitting the wire in 1:58. Paul MacDonell crafted the come-from-behind outing, which saw Tycoon Seelster ease away from Post 9 and settle in seventh as fan favourite Rose Run Speedster led the field to a :29 quarter. Heading for the :58.1 half MacDonell edged the gelding into the outer lane and started to reel in the leaders, picking up cover from Majestic Streak before the 1:28.2 three-quarters. Rolling off the turn MacDonell shifted Tycoon Seelster into high gear and the gelding powered to a one-half length victory over Mister Muscle and Capteur De Reve. Guelph resident MacDonell piloted Tycoon Seelster to his second Gold Series win for trainer Scott McEneny of Waterdown and owner Chris Storms of Picton, ON. The son of Angus Hall and Travelin Lavec came into the regular season finale off a pair of qualifiers following a break in the Sept. 2 Champlain Stakes, and McEneny said an easier couple weeks are in store for the young trotter, who was a $23,000 purchase at the 2015 Forest City Yearling Sale. "He's had a pretty rough last two or three weeks trying to get him qualified, and trying to get him a little better than what he was, so it's just a matter of, just get him a little freshened up," said the trainer. "It's been a long season. "I think he's going to be a nice horse next year," McEneny added. "We've seen him grow so much over the last two or three months, so he's a little bumpy going, but he wants to go forward." Tycoon Seelster Three races later the two-year-old pacing fillies stepped to centre stage, and driver Doug McNair and Action Majesty stuck to the come-from-behind script on their way to a 1:52.3 victory. Starting from Post 6, McNair dropped the fan favourite into fourth on the rail as Fade led the field to a :27 quarter. After the :56.1 half rung up by Future Headlines, McNair tipped Action Majesty to the outside and the filly made steady gains on the leader heading for the 1:24.3 three-quarters. Once she reached the stretch Action Majesty hit her top gear and sailed home a one and one-half length winner in a personal best 1:52.3. Early leader Fade finished second and Yaris Bayama closed for third. "She raced good again tonight. She has only raced fair one time and she had an excuse," said McNair, referring to the filly's fifth-place result in the Sept. 19 Gold Leg at Grand River Raceway. "It was a tough drive and she was a little sick. I think she's in good shape heading into the Super Finals." The Guelph resident pilots Action Majesty for his father, trainer Gregg McNair of Guelph, ON, and owner-breeder Kenneth Sommer of Sheffield, OH. In five starts the daughter of Royal Mattjesty and Action Grin has logged four wins and one fifth for earnings of $125,250. She heads into the post season ranked third with 105 Gold Series points from three appearances. Action Majesty Aint Three Ok made it four straight off the pace winners, doing all the work up the outside in the second pacing filly division and then battling down the stretch to a one-half length win in a personal best 1:53.1. Bid Writer and Blameitonthenight followed Aint Three Ok up the outside lane and into the second and third-place spots. Regular reinsman Trevor Henry of Arthur engineered the win, the filly's second straight in Gold Series action, for trainer Mike Weller of Georgetown, ON and Chuck Grubbs of Louisville, KY. Weller took over training duties on the daughter of Mach Three and Aint Given Up from Ohio-based conditioner Steven Carter in mid-June and said the filly has surpassed his early expectations. "She's awful small, so I said, 'Well, we'll give her a whirl,' and she's turned out really good," said Weller from the winner's circle. "She tries, every day; she loves her job." Monday's victory was Aint Three Ok's second in Gold Series action and gives her a freshman record of three wins and three seconds in eight starts for earnings of $190,300. She heads into the Oct. 15 Super Final at the top of the division standings with 150 points from two wins and two seconds in four Gold outings. Aint Three Ok The top 10 point earners from each division, two-year-old trotting colt and pacing filly, will return to Mohawk Racetrack for their respective $250,000 Super Finals on Saturday, Oct. 15. The 2016 Ontario Sires Stakes regular season comes to a close on Thursday night at Mohawk with two Gold Series divisions for the three-year-old trotting colts. The first race gets under way at 7:30 pm and the colts will battle in Races 2 and 3. Ontario Racing

OCT. 2, 2016 - Ontario's top three-year-old trotting fillies closed out their Ontario Sire Stakes Gold Series season with a pair of impressive miles over an off harness racing track at Flamboro Downs on Sunday evening. Emoticon Hanover took over top spot in the division point standings with a track record effort in the second $105,000 Gold division. Driver Sylvain Filion fired the fan favourite away from Post 6 and dropped in second behind pacesetter Magical Steph as the Grassroots champion took the field to a :28.3 quarter. Filion allowed Magical Steph to continue her work on the front end through a :58.3 half and a 1:27.3 three-quarters and then sent Emoticon Hanover after the lead. The filly powered down the stretch to a three length victory in a track record 1:56.3. Dewdle All Day trotted into second, leaving Magical Steph to settle for third. "I was a little concerned going to the first turn, there was a horse made a break, two horses made a break, and mine got a little bumpy," said Filion. "I thought maybe mine would jump for a while, but she settled as soon as she hit the backside, so I was real happy with that. I was just being extra careful in the turns, so I moved her down the backside and I knew she had tons of go, I knew if she stayed flat that she was going to win for sure." Filion engineered the track record effort for trainer Luc Blais of Lochaber Ouest, QC and owner Determination of Montreal, QC. The 1:56.3 mile took two-fifths of a second off the 1:57 record shared by former Ontario Sires Stakes competitors Condi Lane (2008), Miss Paris (2012) and Riveting Rosie (2014). The win was Emoticon Hanover's third in Gold Series action and, combined with a pair of seconds, gives her 200 points and top spot in the sophomore trotting filly standings. In 12 sophomore outings the daughter of Kadabra and Emmylou Who has only missed the board on two occasions, logging six wins, two seconds and two thirds for earnings of $360,418. In addition to her Gold Series success the talented young trotter has held her own in open company, winning her Casual Breeze and Simcoe Stakes divisions. "She's been pretty good throughout the season and she feels like she's even getting stronger now," noted Milton, ON resident Filion. "I know she'll be coming into the Super Finals in top form, because she's been racing so good and she's still fresh." Flowers N Songs earned her second Gold Series trophy in the other division, employing a similar come-from-behind strategy. Starting from Post 2, driver Doug McNair settled the filly in fourth as Major Muscle stepped out to :29.3 quarter and a :59 half. Heading for the 1:28.3 three-quarters McNair sent the fan favourite up the outside behind Elegantimage champion Royal Charm, and turning for home Flowers N Songs shifted into high gear, sailing under the wire one and one-quarter lengths in front in 1:57.3. Royal Charm finished second and pocket-sitter Tymal Tempest was third. "She's been a pleasure to drive all year," said Guelph, ON resident McNair. "She gives it 100 per cent every week." Unraced at two, Flowers N Songs made her debut at Pennsylvania's The Meadows at the beginning of February and made her first stakes start in the Celias Counsel Series at Mohawk Racetrack in April. In addition to her pair of Gold Series trophies, the daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe and Pleasures Song has captured one leg of the Celias Counsel, the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Stake Final, the Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial and her Elegantimage Elimination. Through 25 starts she has tallied 10 wins, six seconds and three thirds for earnings of $460,284. "We've just been going week by week, basically, and she's held up to a pretty tough schedule," said trainer Paul Reid of De Leon Springs, FL, who conditions Flowers N Songs for owner-breeder Robert Key of Leechburg, PA. "She's a very nice filly to be around, always happy, really loves her work, which has made the kind of season she's had possible," Reid added. "Some of the fillies aren't quite as cooperative, and she's been very cooperative with everything we've wanted to do. She's a good keeper, she eats good, so she's been a joy to have." While most of her peers will spend the next two weeks preparing for the Oct. 15 Super Final, Flowers N Songs will be heading to Lexington, Kentucky's The Red Mile for the Oct. 9 Kentucky Filly Futurity. The filly is also eligible to the Oct. 22 and 29 Breeders Crown. "She's just a real nice filly, and like I said we've still got a full schedule ahead of us, so we're just taking her week by week," said Reid. "Hopefully we can make them all." Flowers N Songs and Emoticon Hanover will go head-to-head in the Oct. 15 Super Final at Mohawk Racetrack, battling against eight other leading point earners for a share of $250,000 and the three-year-old trotting filly division title. Ontario Racing

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