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OCTOBER 14, 2017 - At the last possible moment, Milton resident Sylvain Filion pulled a rabbit out of his hat at Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday night to secure his third straight and fifth overall Lampman Cup title as the leading harness racing driver in the Ontario Sires Stakes program. Heading into the $1.8 million eight race Super Final showdown, Filion was tied with Trevor Henry for top spot in the standings with 348 points. The lead seesawed between the two men through the first five races, with Filion winning one contest and Henry finishing second in two, and a second victory by Filion put them back level at 362 points with two races remaining. Capturing the second last race with two-year-old pacing filly Percy Bluechip, Henry appeared to have secured his third Lampman Cup title, but Filion came back in the last battle to score a win with lightly rated Tymal Peacemaker and knock Henry out of top spot by a single point. "It's not over yet, we'll keep going at it," said Filion, prophetically, after knotting things up in the sixth race. "It's a good competition me and Trevor, I think whoever wins deserves it. Trevor's having a good go, he's working hard at it, we're both working hard at it, and it's fun to watch." Filion drove in all eight races and scored a trio of victories with three-year-old trotting gelding R First Class, three-year-old trotting filly On A Sunny Day and three-year-old pacing gelding Tymal Peacemaker, adding 20 points to his total. Arthur, ON resident Henry drove in seven races and, in addition to the win with Percy Bluechip, finished second twice and third once for 19 points. While Tymal Peacemaker was a longshot, both R First Class and On A Sunny Day were heavily favoured and delivered commanding victories over a rain-soaked surface that started the evening rated "Good" with a one second variance, but was downgraded to "Sloppy" with a two second variance by the ninth race. From Post 3 in the evening's second $225,000 Super Final Filion put R First Class on the front before the halfway marker and the Kadabra son was never threatened, trotting home to a two and one-quarter length victory over LMC Mass Gem and Tycoon Seelster in 1:54.4. Guelph resident Ben Baillargeon trains the gelding for owner-breeders Thomas and Elizabeth Rankin of St. Catharines, ON and the group is excited about what the future holds for the trotter, who wrapped up his 12 race sophomore campaign with seven wins, four seconds and earnings of $307,246. "I hate that it's time to stop with him, but we'll be back next year," said Baillargeon. "He's awesome, I mean, he's getting stronger and stronger you know," added Filion. "I'm anxious to see him as a four-year-old. He's such a nice horse, big, strong, I'm just fortunate to drive him." R First Class Four divisions later the reinsman expressed similar sentiments about On A Sunny Day, who took command before the half and cruised to a four and one-half length triumph in 1:55.2. Winter Sweet Frost was second and Majestic Kat was another four and one-half lengths back in third. "I thought she was the best one in there and I didn't want to try to be fancy or anything you know, I wanted to avoid road trouble, so I decided to race her on the front end," noted Filion. "She's probably not her best on the front, but it was good enough tonight." The regular season point leader, On A Sunny Day is trained by Luc Blais of Lochaber Ouest and owned by Determination of Montreal, QC. The talented daughter of Muscle Mass boosted her career earnings over $546,000 with the victory, her tenth lifetime. On A Sunny Day With the Lampman Cup title on the line, Filion also opted for front-end tactics with Tymal Peacemaker in the last Super Final. Starting from Post 9, the Mach Three gelding went after the lead heading by the half and, once he reached the front end, simply pulled away from the field, powering under the wire nine lengths on top in 1:51.2. Red John finished second and Sports Column was third. "He was good tonight, and he did it on his own, I was just a passenger," said Filion. "Leaving the gate he was a little more aggressive than he is usually and I just took a shot down the backside, I didn't really know what to do, and I just cleared the front and from there he was on his own." The reinsman steers Tymal Peacemaker for his father Yves Filion's Bayama Farms Inc. of Saint-Andre-D'Argenteuil, QC and Stephane Larocque of Carlisle, ON conditions the gelding, who was the Grassroots champion as a two-year-old. Tymal Peacemaker Henry's victory with two-year-old pacing filly Percy Bluechip put him within a whisker of claiming the Lampman Cup title and may have caused trainer Dr. Ian Moore to extend her freshman campaign through next weekend's Breeders Crown Eliminations at Hoosier Park in Indiana. Sent off as the second choice behind her division co-leader Kendall Seelster, Percy Bluechip returned to her dominant early season form on Saturday, reaching the wire three and one-quarter lengths on top in 1:53.4. Play The Bell finished second and Kendall Seelster was third. "I'm just going to talk to Trevor and see how she was," said Moore. "We might go to the Breeders Crown maybe, I don't know, she's only had eight starts, so we've been kind of saving her a bit." Moore shares ownership of the daughter of Shadow Play with his partners in the Shadow Two Stable of Puslinch, James and Wilma Mackenzie of Ennismore, ON and Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC. The filly's fifth victory of the season was the first Super Final win for both Moore and Henry. Percy Bluechip Mark Horner also hoisted his first Super Final trophy when The Joy Luck Club captured the three-year-old pacing filly title, sailing home four lengths ahead of stablemate Action Majesty and Dudesalady in 1:51.2. Guelph resident Gregg McNair conditions the filly for owner-breeder Horner of St. Marys and R A W Equine Inc. of Burlington, ON, and Doug McNair piloted the Camluck daughter to the victory. "We're just elated right now," said Horner, who trained the filly until late June when he decided to hand her over to McNair. "She's always been really good, well mannered, well natured. She was meant to be a champion, and she is." The Joy Luck Club Doug McNair recorded a second Super Final win in the two-year-old pacing colt division, guiding Western Passage to a 1:51.3 score for trainer Casie Coleman of Cambridge. Jimmy Freight and Sports Legend rounded out the top three. Coleman shares ownership of the Sportswriter gelding with her long-time partner in the West Wins Stable, Ross Warriner of Burlington, along with John and McKinlay Fielding of Toronto and Calhoun Racing Ltd. of Chatham, ON. Western Passage Local filly Kadabra Queen capped off her near perfect Ontario Sires Stakes season with an impressive come-from-behind score in the two-year-old trotting filly final, reeling in Henry and pacesetter Smoke And Mirrors for a one-half length victory in 1:57.3. Illusioneesta also closed well to be third. Brantford resident Scott Coulter crafted the win for trainer Chad Milner of Campbellville, owner-breeder Mileo Monte's Harness Horsepower Inc. of Campbellville and his brother Frank Monte of Markham, ON. "She went one, two, three, four, with a little bit of luck we would have had a fifth one, she just broke stride at the top of the stretch at Flamboro," said Mileo Monte of the division leading daughter of Kadabra and Queen Street. "I have got to give all the credit to Chad and his wife Kajsa, they have done a fantastic job for us. And I've got to give Georgie (Antonio) a lot of credit for looking after this horse and Scott Coulter for believing in the horse and coming out every time to race." Kadabra Queen Finally, the two-year-old trotting colt trophy went home with Kadabra colt Draft Year, who got a front-end steer from Milton resident Randy Waples to reach the wire three and three-quarter lengths ahead of T Barrr and Perfetto in 1:57.1. Guelph resident Brad Maxwell conditions Draft Year for Doug Millard of Woodstock, ON, Timothy Murray of Shawville, QC, Ben Mudry of Toronto, ON and Howard Taylor of Philadelphia, PA. Draft Year OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

OCTOBER 11, 2017 - Eight harness racing division champions will be crowned on Saturday during the $1.8 million Super Finals at Mohawk Racetrack and the Ontario Sires Stakes season finale will also determine the 2017 Lampman Cup winner. Drivers Sylvain Filion and Trevor Henry are tied atop the Lampman Cup standings with 348 points, meaning the fight for top spot could extend all the way through the final race of the season. "I didn't think I was near the front, I didn't think I had enough points," said Milton, ON resident Filion, who made a late run up the standings in the final weeks of the regular season to catch early leader Henry. "We'll give him a run for it. I'm sure he thinks the same way too." Reigning title-holder Filion has amassed a record of 27 wins, 24 seconds and 15 thirds from 138 Ontario Sires Stakes starts and Henry has scored 24 wins, 17 seconds and 28 thirds from 145 starts. Henry's mounts have earned $1,310,532, while Filion's have banked $1,289,859. Filion has prevailed in the driver race four times, in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016, while Henry captured his first title in 1996 and added a second in 2007. "It's always nice to be on top, that's always good. If you're not up there you're not making any money," said a pragmatic Henry. The Arthur, ON resident has mounts in seven of the eight Finals while Filion will appear in all eight. Bolstering both men's chances of adding another Lampman Cup to their resume are commitments to division point leaders, with Henry steering three-year-old pacing filly leader Action Majesty, two-year-old pacing colt leader Shadow Moon and two-year-old pacing filly co-leader Percy Bluechip and Filion piloting three-year-old trotting filly leader On A Sunny Day. Heading into the $225,000 Super Final off a track, Ontario Sires Stakes and Canadian record set at Grand River Raceway on Sept. 27, On A Sunny Day will be among the heaviest favourites on Filion's dance card and the reinsman is optimistic about her chances of landing the division title. "She drew pretty good. I think if we get the right trip she has a really good shot," said Filion of the Luc Blais trainee who will start from Post 3 in the eighth race. "She comes in on top form, and she's been trotting really good." While Henry has been aboard division leaders Shadow Moon and Percy Bluechip for all of their Ontario Sires Stakes starts, and will send the Dr. Ian Moore trainees after their respective division titles from Post 6 in Race 5 and Post 5 in Race 9, Saturday will mark his first appearance in Action Majesty's race bike. "Gregg had asked me to drive the one," said Henry of the Gregg McNair trainee, who will start from Post 8 while her stablemate The Joy Luck Club lines up at Post 6 with Doug McNair in the bike. "She looks all right, but that's a tough bunch too." Among the horses Henry expects to put up a fight in the three-year-old pacing filly showdown is reigning Super Final champion Yaris Bayama, who will start from Post 10 with Filion at the helm. "Two of my father's didn't draw so well, Tymal Peacemaker and Yaris Bayama," noted Filion. "But he came down this week and trained them on Tuesday before the qualifiers and he said that they trained really good. He was a little disappointed with that draw, but he said that they were going in in top form so hopefully we get a good trip." Yves Filion's Bayama Farms owns Yaris Bayama and Tymal Peacemaker, and both horses are trained by Stephane Larocque. Three-year-old pacing gelding Tymal Peacemaker will line up at Post 9 in the tenth race, the only Super Final in which Henry does not have a mount. Henry will also spend some time on the outside of the starting gate Saturday, beginning with two-year-old trotting filly Smoke And Mirrors, who gets Post 10 for trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman in the second race. "She raced really well there (Mohawk) her last start (Sept. 25), come from a long ways out. She's in good shape I think," said Henry of the Kadabra daughter. "She has the ten-hole though, which will be tough." Henry will also pilot two-year-old trotting gelding Perfetto for Norman from Post 4 in the sixth race, the only contest that will see him start elbow to elbow with Filion, who steers Jimmy Takter trainee Cousin Rickard from Post 5. In the three-year-old trotting colt battle Henry will steer On First from Post 9 for his wife, trainer Shannon Henry, and his co-owners David Darocy and James Fleming, while Filion has R First Class for trainer Benoit Baillargeon. "He's been racing really, really good and his last start there (Sept. 25) he really won easy," said Filion of R First Class, who drew Post 3 in the third race. "I was talking to Ben yesterday, he said he trained good this week and he's all ready for Saturday. We drew good and I just cross my fingers I'm able to avoid traffic and troubles. If we get a clear track I think we've got a good shot." In addition to Action Majesty Henry also picked up a drive aboard three-year-old trotting filly Paradise Image (Post 8) for trainer Mike Keeling and Filion landed Allerage Stargazer (Post 2) in the two-year-old trotting filly division for trainer Paul Reid, St Lads Neptune (Post 4) in the two-year-old pacing colt division for trainer Carl Jamieson and two-year-old pacing filly Machnhope (Post 10) for trainer Bill Robinson. Reid, who will also start two-year-old trotting gelding Torches Pirate (Post 7), three-year-old trotting filly Sweet Of My Heart (Post 5) and two-year-old pacing fillies Just Her Luck (Post 1) and Kendall Seelster (Post 2) on Saturday, has worked with both Filion and Henry this season and says it is no surprise they are in a battle for top spot in the driver standings. "I have utmost respect for both of them. I would put them on any horse of mine, either one of them," said Reid. "I think Trevor's the more aggressive guy and seems to get along with any trotter or pacer, whereas Sylvain is more relaxed, he seems to create the same speed, but in a more relaxed way." Whether making their first appearance behind a horse or guiding one of their regular mounts, both Filion and Henry will be battling to the wire in every race on Saturday, hoping to deliver a Super Final trophy to each horse's connections. "It's going to be a big day for the breeders and the owners," said Filion, noting the Lampman Cup race is of secondary concern. "They've been watching their horses all year and cheering for them all year and now they get to see them in the Final. That's a big night for them." Mohawk Racetrack's first race goes in behind the gate at 7:30 pm on Saturday, with the eight $225,000 Super Finals going postward in Races 2 through 6 and 8 through 10. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

CAMPBELLVILLE, October 10 - The 2017 Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) harness racing season will come to a close with the $1.8 million Super Finals this Saturday (October 14) at Mohawk Racetrack. A total of eight $225,000 championship races will be contested to decide the best Ontario sired two and three-year-olds. The eight Super Final events have been carded as Races 2,3,4,5,6,8,9,10 and are part of a 12-race card. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Here is a quick glance at each of the eight $225,000 OSS Super Finals. Race 2: 2-year-old Filly Trot Kadabra Queen (PP8, Scott Coulter) is four for nine this season with all four victories coming in OSS Gold events. The Chad Milner trainee has risen to the occasion in stakes action and will be looking to add to her bankroll of $215,880 for owners Harness Horsepower Inc. and Frank Monte. She was the only horse in this division to win multiple Gold events during the regular season. Race 3: 3-year-old Colt & Gelding Trot Ben Baillargeon trainee R First Class (PP3, Sylvain Filion) is two for four in Gold events this season and comes into the Super Final with lots of momentum. The gelded son of Kadabra has won six of his last nine starts and during that stretch also had a runner-up finish in the Simcoe Stakes. Magic Night (PP1, Louis Philippe Roy), Capteur De Reve (PP2, Dan Dube) and Lmc Mass Gem (PP5, Doug McNair) also each had two Gold victories during the regular season. Race 4: 3-year-old Filly Pace Trainer Gregg McNair is poised to clean up in this division, as he sends out the strong duo of The Joy Luck Club (PP6, Trevor Henry) and Action Majesty (PP8, Henry). Action Majesty went three for five in Gold races this season, while The Joy Luck Club, who sports an incredible 13 for 21 record this year, was two for five. Yaris Bayama (PP10, Filion) will try to build off her victory in the most recent Gold, but has a tough post to overcome. Race 5: 2-year-old Colt & Gelding Pace This championship has the ability to be the race of the night. Nine different rookies won Gold events this season and all nine will be competing in Saturday's Super Final. Jimmy Freight (PP2, Jonathan Drury) and Shadow Moon (PP6, Henry) were the only two-time Gold winners during the regular season. Race 6: 2-year-old Colt & Gelding Trot A competitive field of nine rookies will clash in this $225,000 championship. There was no two-time Gold winner during the regular season, as six different rookies captured Gold divisions. McNair trainee T Barr (PP9, Mike Saftic) finished just ahead of Alagna student Levitation (PP8, Doug McNair) atop the standings. Race 8: 3-year-old Filly Trot Luc Blais trainee On A Sunny Day (PP3, Filion) is the horse to beat in this nine-horse field. The daughter of Muscle Mass is five for 10 this season and was victorious in three of five Gold events, including the most recent leg on September 27. Race 9: 2-year-old Filly Pace Kendall Seelster (PP2, Randy Waples) has stamped herself as a special filly over the last month and will look to add to her impressive bankroll of $426,985. The Paul Reid trainee is a four-time winner this season and has finished first or second in nine of 10 starts. Her biggest payday was a runner-up finish in the $500,000 Shes A Great Lady. Dr. Ian Moore trainee Percy Bluechip (PP5, Henry) will be looking to take the spotlight back. The Shadow Play filly won her first four starts in impressive fashion, but has since been held winless in her last three starts. Race 10: 3-year-old Colt & Gelding Pace The final championship race should be a dandy, as this division has been competitive all season. The Blake MacIntosh trainee Sports Column (PP10, McNair) finished atop the regular season standings after winning two of five OSS starts. The field of ten also includes Gold division winners Bills Fella (PP1, Saftic), Dreamfair B J (PP2, Roy), Mc Mach (PP5, Henry), Histoire Enchantee (PP6, Dube) and Nascar Seelster (PP7, Waples). Saturday's card also features a mandatory payout on the Jackpot Hi-5 (Race 12). The carryover coming into the mandatory payout is $978,779.26. A program proof for Saturday's card can be viewed by clicking here. Post time Saturday is 7:30 p.m. Mohawk Jackpot Hi-5 Mandatory Payout set for Saturday Horseplayers from all over will be locked in on Saturday’s (October 14) final-race (Race 12) at Mohawk Racetrack for the latest Jackpot Hi-5 Mandatory Payout. The carryover heading into Saturday’s mandatory payout is $978,779.26, which is the largest pool ever carried over into a Mohawk or Woodbine Standardbred Jackpot Hi-5 mandatory payout. The current carryover began forming on July 6 and grew until last Saturday (October 7). A total of $261,179 in new money was wagered into the Jackpot Hi-5 during Saturday’s final offering of the wager ahead of the mandatory payout. With nearly $1 million being carried over into Saturday, the total Jackpot Hi-5 pool could reach $3 million. The last two Standardbred Hi-5 mandatory payouts (March 11, 2017 and December 23, 2016) saw $1.4 million and $2 million of new money wagered, respectively. This Saturday’s Jackpot Hi-5 event is a Non-Winners of 3 Races or $42,000 Lifetime featuring an overflow field of 12 pacers. The purse for the event is $30,000 and all starters will receive money. The Jackpot Hi-5 requires horseplayers to select the top-five finishers in order and features a $0.20 minimum wager and a 15 per cent takeout. The Jackpot Hi-5 will wrap up a strong 12-race card on Saturday, which also features the $1.8 million Ontario Sires Stakes Super Finals. The top two and three-year-olds in Ontario will compete in eight $225,000 championship races. A program proof for Saturday’s card can be viewed by clicking here. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

OCTOBER 2, 2017 - The sophomore pacers wrapped up their Ontario Sires Stakes regular season at Mohawk Racetrack on Monday evening and harness racing driver Sylvain Filion came within three lengths of sweeping all three Gold Series divisions. The Milton, ON resident piloted Histoire Enchantee to victory in the first $98,000 three-year-old pacing colt contest, sprinting away from the outside Post 10 to a :26.4 opening quarter. The fan favourites continued to lead the field through a :54.3 half and 1:21.4 three-quarters and held off a charging Bills Fella in the stretch for a neck victory in 1:50.4. Saulsbrook Lanny closed to be third. "He impresses me every time I drive him, he's getting better and better," said Filion. "Tonight from the 10-hole we left hard, Louis (Roy and Mach Deja Vu) came at us and he just kept digging. He raced really big tonight." Monday's appearance was Histoire Enchantee's first in the Ontario Sires Stakes program, but not his first in the winner's circle. The son of Shanghai Phil and Eclatante has six wins to his credit through 13 sophomore starts for trainer Maxime Velaye and owner-breeder Guy Corbeil of Mirabel, QC. Monday's Gold Series win more than doubled Histoire Enchantee's earnings, boosting his lifetime bankroll to $80,633. With one win in one appearance, Histoire Enchantee tallied 50 points in the race for a Super Final berth and sits fourteenth in the three-year-old pacing colt standings. The top 10 point earners will compete in the $225,000 Super Final at Mohawk on Oct. 14 and Histoire Enchantee could sneak in if some of the colts ahead of him in the point standings are not entered for the final. "Sometimes horses like him - he hasn't raced against the top colts all year, so he's kind of fresh," noted Filion. "It's probably perfect timing for him." Histoire Enchantee Three races later Filion scored his second Gold Series win, guiding three-year-old pacing filly Yaris Bayama to a 1:51.2 personal best. Yaris Bayama nabbed fan favourite The Joy Luck Club in the stretch, powering home to a two and one-quarter length victory. Dancing Shadows K was hot on The Joy Luck Club's heels in third. "When I moved her three-wide off cover, she really showed some grit," said Filion, who drives the filly for trainer Stephane Larocque of Carlisle, ON and his father Yves Filion's Bayama Farms Inc. of Saint-Andre-D'Argenteuil, QC. "That was probably her best race yet. I think she's coming into the Super Final in top shape." The win was the second of the season and the first in Ontario Sires Stakes action for Yaris Bayama, who was the Super Final and two-year-old pacing filly division champion last year. Through her first four Gold Series starts the daughter of Sportswriter and Lucky Josie tallied one second, one third and two fourths which, added to Monday's victory, gives her a total of 103 points and a berth in the Oct. 14 Super Final. Yaris Bayama In the second pacing colt division, Filion and Tymal Peacemaker turned for home with a one-half length advantage, but could not hold off a hard charging Dreamfair B J and had to settle for second, three lengths behind the winner. Tigers Way also closed hard to be third. "It was close, for a while I thought I had it," said Filion, who is also in a heated battle with Trevor Henry for his third straight and fifth overall Lampman Cup title as the leading driver in the Ontario Sires Stakes. "He raced good though; he just got picked up in the last sixteenth. If he draws good in the Super Final he's got a good shot." Dreamfair B J hit the wire in 1:50.3 for his second straight victory and his first in Ontario Sires Stakes action. The son of Big Jim and Dreamfair Orchid had finished second, third, fifth and sixth in his first four Gold Series starts and was sitting twelfth on the list heading into Monday's regular season finale. The victory boosted the gelding into third spot with 95 points and positions him as a serious contender in the season finale. Louis-Philippe Roy crafted the win for trainer Patrick Fletcher of Tillsonburg and owner-breeder John Lamers of Ingersoll, ON Dreamfair B J Mohawk Racetrack hosts one last evening of Gold Series action before the Super Finals, welcoming the two-year-old trotting colts and pacing fillies back to Campbellville for their last regular season event on Thursday, Oct. 5. The colts will kick things off at 7:30 pm in Race 1 and wrap up their season in Race 3, while the fillies compete in Races 6 and 8. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

SEPTEMBER 27, 2017 - Ontario's talented three-year-old trotting fillies brought Grand River Raceway's 2017 harness racing season to a thrilling conclusion on Wednesday evening as they battled to a track, Ontario Sires Stakes and Canadian record in the last race of the program. With $125,000 and the last set of points toward a Super Final berth on the line, the fillies were swinging for the fences early. Delcrest Magicstar left alertly from Post 1 and led the field of 10 to a :27.1 opening quarter, but Sweet Of My Heart also fired out of Post 8 and sprinted by Delcrest Magicstar soon after the quarter pole. In full gear around the second turn, Sweet Of My Heart reached the halfway marker in a sharp :56.1 and had opened up a gap of two lengths on her peers by the 1:25.3 three-quarters. Opting not to get involved in the early speed, driver Sylvain Filion had eased On A Sunny Day away from Post 3 and the fan favourites were sitting seventh at the quarter and sixth at the half. By the three-quarters Filion had tipped On A Sunny Day into the outer lane and the Muscle Mass daughter was gobbling up ground. She got a brief windbreak from Delcrest Magicstar, who led the field off the final turn, then kicked home to a one length victory. Delcrest Magicstar was second and Sweet Of My Heart stayed game for third. "I knew when I saw the half :56 that I was in a good spot," said Filion. "I knew they had to come back to me, it was almost impossible for them to keep going that speed, so that was very good for me. She just trotted home, it was just like a training mile for her." The 1:56 clocking took one-fifth of a second off the track, Ontario Sires Stakes and Canadian record first set by Sugar Wheeler in 2012 and then matched by Angies Lucky Star in 2013. "I was a little concerned before the race, her last start was just so-so, she wasn't quite herself," noted Filion, referring to the filly's sixth-place result in the Sept. 16 Elegantimage Final at Mohawk Racetrack. "But tonight she was back to her old self and she just felt super." The Milton, ON resident drives On A Sunny Day for trainer Luc Blais of Lochaber Ouest, QC and owner Determination of Montreal, QC. The victory was the filly's third in Gold Series action and she will lead the sophomore trotting fillies into the Oct. 14 Super Final with 180 points. In nine starts this season the daughter of Muscle Mass and Dicent No has posted five wins, two seconds and one third for earnings of $250,286. At two she captured four of six starts and banked $183,750. "He's (Blais) done a great job with her all year, and last year too," said Filion. "I've got a lot of faith in that filly." On A Sunny Day's connections will now be working to have her in peak form for the $225,000 Super Final at Mohawk Racetrack on Oct. 14. They will be looking for a little redemption for last year's Super Final when, sent off as the heavy favourite, On A Sunny Day made her first-ever break in stride and finished at the back of the field. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

SEPTEMBER 10, 2017 - Rideau Carleton Raceway wrapped up its 2017 Ontario Sire Stakes season with the final Grassroots event for the harness racing two-year-old pacing fillies on Sunday evening. In the first $18,800 Grassroots division heavy favourite Neon Moon cruised to a three length victory over Color Envy and Love Kills, taking control just after the :27.4 quarter and leading the field of seven through a :57 half and 1:26.1 three-quarters on her way to the 1:54.3 victory. "She is a very fast filly, so I thought she would probably cut the mile," noted Jack Darling, who bred, owns and trains Neon Moon. "She is very game and looked strong at the wire." Louis-Philippe Roy engineered the win, which was the fourth in five Grassroots starts for the daughter of Sportswriter and Beach Of A Time. With a third in her other Grassroots start Neon Moon finished the regular season with 212 points and sole ownership of top spot in the division standings. She and the other nine top point earners will compete in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 30. "There is a gap of three weeks until the final, so I hope there will be a race for her at Mohawk before then," said Cambridge, ON resident Darling, whose Write Me A Song also finished in the top 10, but will not compete in the final due to an injury that brought her freshman campaign to an early close in mid-August. Heading into the second division Askmysecretary was sitting on the edge of a championship berth, tied for ninth with 70 points. Sent off as the fans' fourth choice the Mach Three daughter left smartly from Post 5 for local reinsman Brett MacDonald, reaching the quarter in :27.4. Manotick, ON resident MacDonald opted to let favourite Duchess Dolly take the lead before the :57.1 half and then watched from the pocket as Sunday Afternoon challenged the leader through the 1:26.2 three-quarters. In the stretch MacDonald fired Askmysecretary out of the pocket and the filly pulled away to a three-quarter length victory, leaving Duchess Dolly to settle for second. Hammering Haley rounded out the top three. The win was Askmysecretary's second in Grassroots action and boosted her point total to 120, putting her sixth in the standings and securing her berth in the championship. Ted MacDonnell of Allenford trains the winner of $25,672 for his partners Leonard Gamble of Etobicoke and Tony Lawrence of Hanover, ON and says Askmysecretary has become a true professional through her eight race freshman campaign. "I honestly thought she was possibly a Gold filly for a little while, until some of the bear cats right off the bat came out, and then we quickly changed our mind, but she's been good in that she has had very few hiccups really," said MacDonnell. "She's been pretty easy, pretty easy on us to look after and she's pretty push button, she's nice gaited and behaves well and does everything right. Sylvain Filion did a great job bringing her along for me and that shows up now, it's meant a lot. "Being a Mach Three they can tend to get a little warm, so that's what Sylvain really worked on, her manners, and now she's two fingers no matter what you do with her," the horseman added. Like Darling, MacDonnell would like to see Askmysecretary have one more race under her belt before the Sept. 30 Grassroots Championship, but is pleased to be heading into the post season off a victory. "That heads her into the final in nice shape, so that's good," said MacDonnell. The top 10 two-year-old pacing fillies will join the top point earners from the other seven Grassroots divisions at Mohawk Racetrack for the Sept. 30 Grassroots Championships, with a total purse for all eight finals of $400,000. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

SEPTEMBER 4, 2017 - A fierce late summer storm caused a delay in Monday night's Ontario Sire Stakes program at Mohawk Racetrack, but the rain did not dilute the efforts of the harness racing freshman Grassroots competitors. The second of three divisions of two-year-old trotting fillies went to post during the worst of the rain, just after racing officials had downgraded the Mohawk surface from "fast" to "sloppy", but the conditions did not faze Sheza Chunkymonkey as she picked up her second Grassroots trophy. Starting from Post 4 trainer-driver Travis Henry settled Sheza Chunkymonkey in fourth as Small Budget hit the quarter in :29.1. As Small Budget tussled with favourite Magical Lady through the :59.4 half, Henry sent Sheza Chunkymonkey up the outside and the Majestic Son daughter was threatening the favourite by the 1:30.1 three-quarters. Hugging Magical Lady's shoulder as they turned for home, Sheza Chunkymonkey slogged down the stretch to a one-half length victory in 2:03.1. Magical Lady settled for second and Princess Stephanie closed well to be third. "Nobody likes the mud, but she's big and she got through it fine," said Henry of the filly's rain-soaked victory. Henry conditions Sheza Chunkymonkey for his wife Maddi Henry of Embro and Princeton Farms Inc. of Princeton, ON and the horseman admitted the filly's size has not always been a strong point. "She was very overweight, to the point where we thought she was in foal, that's where she got her name," recalled Henry, adding that he considered giving up on the hefty filly during the earliest days of her education. "Maddi trained her down, because I wasn't a big fan. She just wouldn't pay attention and would make breaks for no reason." In five career starts Sheza Chunkymonkey has been flawless, finishing no worse than fourth, and with two Grassroots wins and one fourth the filly has 108 points and is currently tied for top spot in the division standings. Sheza Chunkymonkey The other two-year-old trotting filly Grassroots trophies went home with Ladydini and Ms Miller. Ladydini earned her first-ever win in the first $19,150 division with a come-from-behind 2:00.1 effort for driver Rick Zeron of Oakville, trainer Scott McEneny of Waterdown, ON and owner M And L Of Delaware LLC of Wilmington, DE. Billie Holiday was second and Dalliance Seelster finished third behind Kadabra daughter Ladydini. Ladydini Ms Miller earned her second Grassroots win with a 2:03.1 score over Warrawee Trip and Stonebridge Rhyme. The Southwind Lustre daughter was driven to the win by Louis-Philippe Roy for trainer Joe Pereira and owners William Johnstone and William Gillan of Thorold, ON. Ms Miller In two-year-old pacing colt action, St Lads Neptune extended his win streak to four with his second Grassroots victory. The Mach Three son and driver Jody Jamieson started from Post 7 and sat just off the pace through the :27.4 quarter and :58 half clocked by Durham Town. Sent after the leader heading for the 1:27.2 three-quarters, St Lads Neptune opened up a six and one-half length lead in the stretch and hit the wire in 1:57. Howmac Dancer was second and Durham Town settled for third. "Neptune has always shown ability, and to this point I haven't even stretched him out yet," said Jamieson. "I think he'll be in the Metro (Sept. 16) next, so that'll be about as tough of a test as he'll ever see." The Moffat, ON resident drives St Lads Neptune for his father, trainer Carl Jamieson of Rockwood, and Thomas Kyron of Toronto, ON. The gelding got off to a late start, making his debut on July 29, after battling sickness early in the summer and he also missed an August 11 start due to sickness. "He's had health issues all summer. My dad's whole barn was sick in July and half of August," explained Jamieson. Monday's win boosted St Lads Neptune into fourth spot in the Grassroots division standings. The top 10 point earners from six regular season events will compete in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship at Mohawk on Sept. 30. St Lads Neptune Lightly rated Wild West romped to a seven length victory in the third $19,850 pacing colt division, recording his first lifetime win in 1:57.1. Northern Rebel finished second, Letjimmytakeover was third and favourite Lucky Michael was fourth. "He has one good kick to him, so I was hoping the flow would take him to where he needed to go, and it did. He paced home handily," said driver Phil Hudon, who tipped the gelding out three-wide at the three-quarter marker. "I drove him a few starts back (Aug. 8) and was first up with him early. He raced well then, but I thought if I used him late it would be more beneficial, and it was." Guelph resident Hudon piloted the Badlands Hanover son to the win for trainer Chad Milner of Campbellville, ON and owner James Crawford of Erieville, NY. Wild West The other two Grassroots divisions were captured by Mach Three sons Pretty Handsome and Gold Rush, both making their debut in the Ontario Sires Stakes winner's circle. Pretty Handsome and driver Jonathan Drury reached the finish in a sharp 1:53.2 before the track was downgraded by three seconds. Notabadgame finished second and Lucky Match was third. Drury crafted the win for trainer Andrew McCabe of Guelph-Eramosa Township and owner Glenview Livestock Ltd. of Wallenstein. Pretty Handsome In the last division Gold Rush sprinted from ninth at the half to first, pacing under the wire three and one-quarter lengths ahead of favourite Atomic Seelster and When You Dance in 1:57.1. Campbellville resident Chris Christoforou, Jr. piloted Gold Rush to the win for trainer Gregg McNair of Guelph and his partner Robert Chapple of Chatham, ON. Gold Rush Both the two-year-old pacing colts and two-year-old trotting fillies make their last Grassroots start on Sept. 12, the fillies at Flamboro Downs and the colts at Mohawk. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Mohawk Racetrack on Tuesday evening with three Grassroots divisions for the three-year-old trotting fillies. The first division goes postward at 7:30 pm. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

SEPTEMBER 2, 2017 - Ontario Sires Stakes action returned to Flamboro Downs on Saturday with two Grassroots divisions for the harness racing two-year-old trotting colts. In the first $18,100 division Stormont Ventnor finally found his way to the winner's circle after a trio of runner-up finishes. Flamboro fans made the son of Justice Hall their top choice and Stormont Ventnor and driver Phil Hudon made it clear from the start that the fans were on the right track. Starting from Post 1 the pair established early control and never faced a challenge, rolling through fractions of :30.4, 1:02.2 and 1:32.3 on their way to a four and three-quarter length win in 2:02.1. P L Louigi and Audacious finished second and third. "The colt raced great. I scored him out to get a good feel of him and he scored out great, so I let him trot on out and then got the fractions all in my favour and he did the rest," said Hudon, who has driven the colt in three of his four Grassroots starts. "He's a nice little colt." Guelph resident Hudon crafted the win for trainer Kevin Benn of Napanee and owner-breeder Eric Baker of Long Sault, ON. In his four Grassroots starts Stormont Ventnor has accumulated $23,412 and 125 points, which puts him atop the division standings with one regular season event remaining at Grand River Raceway on Sept. 13. The second $18,450 division saw Leaderofthepack return to the Grassroots winner's circle, cruising along on the front end to his second win in 2:04.2. Starting from Post 3 Leaderofthepack and driver Ryan Holliday posted fractions of :31, 1:02.3 and 1:34.3 on their way to the one and one-half length victory over Radical Attempt and North And South. Favourite Barney Mac made an early break and finished fifth. "He raced good," said Holliday. "We got the control thing, so that always helps on a half-mile, but he was a little better tonight too. It was his third week in a row he's raced, and I think he's just getting a little tighter, so that helped." Holliday piloted Leaderofthepack to the win for his father, trainer David Holliday, and brother, Ben Holliday, all of Mount Forest, ON. In five starts the Angus Hall son has two Grassroots wins and one third-place finish, recorded in the August 26 Balanced Image Final at Hanover Raceway. With 103 Grassroots points, he sits third in the division standings heading into the final contest of the regular season. The top 10 point earners after the Sept. 13 event will compete in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 30. "The colt seems to be getting a little stronger, so hopefully he can hold his form together the next couple weeks here," said Ryan Holliday. "If we can keep him good for the next two, we'll be all set." Ontario Sires Stakes action will return to Flamboro Downs on Tuesday, Sept. 12 with the last Grassroots event of the regular season for the two-year-old pacing colts. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

AUGUST 27, 2017 - Georgian Downs wrapped up its 2017 Ontario Sires Stakes harness racing season with a trio of $19,500 Grassroots divisions for three-year-old trotting fillies on Sunday evening. Leading off the stakes action was Crystal Gumdrop, who swept from fifth to first in the final quarter to record her first win of the season. The Angus Hall miss hit the wire three-quarters of a length ahead of Millers Song and one and one-half lengths ahead of pacesetter Angora Seelster in a personal best 1:56.3. "She's been racing good. She's been trotting some good back halves, she just hasn't been getting away the greatest and it seems she doesn't want to pass the last one," said driver Mike Saftic. "But the rail helped today, she got away better, and Dunc opened her up, so this time when she poked her head in front she kept going, so that was nice. I think it gets her into the top 10 so the guys are happy." Campbellville resident Saftic engineered the win for trainer Duncan Brewer of Waterdown and his partner Randell Urquhart of Hamilton, ON. In the first three Grassroots Legs, Crystal Gumdrop recorded two seconds and one fourth so Sunday's victory boosted her point total to 108, good enough for fifth spot in the standings with one regular season event remaining. The top 10 point earners from the six regular season events will compete in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 30. One race later Gisele Treelane moved into a tie for top spot in the division with her third Grassroots victory. Starting from Post 9 the Daylon Magician daughter and driver Jack Moiseyev eased away from the starting gate and were 12 lengths off the pace when Whole Lot Of Sugar hit the quarter in :27.3. Seventh at the :58.2 half, Moiseyev sent the fan favourite three-wide at the 1:27.1 three-quarters and she powered down the stretch to a one and one-half length victory in 1:57. Powerful Mission followed Gisele Treelane under the wire, but had made a late break and was placed back to fourth for failing to lose ground. Pacesetter Whole Lot Of Sugar was elevated from third to second and Hudsons Ya Ya moved from fourth to third. Moffat resident Moiseyev engineered Gisele Treelane's third straight victory, her sixth on the season, for trainer Murray Brethour of Sunderland, ON and owner-breeder Patricia Whittaker Trust of Aspers, PA. She currently shares top spot in the point standings with Delcrest Magicstar. The final division went to Anikadabra, who also moved into the top 10 with the win. Starting from Post 2 the filly left smartly and then settled in behind Expose Yourself as she led the field of 10 through a :28 quarter and :57.2 half. Soon after the half, driver Rick Zeron sent Anikadabra after the lead and the fan favourites had a half-length margin by the 1:26.2 three-quarters, which they opened to two lengths before the 1:56 finish. Holiday Promise finished second and Jilona rounded out the top three. "That filly raced really, really good tonight. I was quite pleased with her," said Zeron, who drives the Kadabra daughter for trainer Rob Fellows of Rockwood, ON. "Actually Rob had told me her last race that she was coming around and she was getting much better, which she was, she win over at Mohawk (Aug. 14) and then he told me last night that she'll be even better tonight. "She was flawless tonight, I knew she was in the post parade, she felt good. And I got off the gate and Wayne Henry got around me and I moved her back, I went back to the front, and she did the rest on her own," the Oakville, ON resident continued. "She was back to herself, which is great, it's great to have her back, it's just a great ride to drive her when she's this good." Fellows missed the filly's second straight Grassroots win, opting instead to spend time with his brand new granddaughter. The horseman conditions Anikadabra for owner-breeders Edward Wilson of Seagrave, ON and Michael Pozefsky of Saratoga Springs, NY. With her second victory and a third-place result in three Grassroots appearances, last year's Grassroots champion currently sits fourth in the point standings with 112. The three-year-old trotting fillies will make their last regular season Grassroots appearance at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 5. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

AUGUST 27, 2017 - Clinton Raceway hosted its last Ontario Sires Stakes event of the season on Sunday afternoon and harness racing reinsman Tyler Moore captured two freshman pacing colt Grassroots divisions and added a pair of overnight wins to his tally for the driving grand slam. "I was kind of hoping I would win one or two races today - like I always want when I go to Clinton - and enjoy the afternoon, I love it, going there," said Moore, who has been near the top of the Clinton driving standings all summer. "And sometimes you get these great moments where you have a big day like this. Like two Grassroots wins is one thing, but to win two more on the same day, that really made me happy and made for a great afternoon." Moore kicked off his successful afternoon with an overnight win behind Sporty Diva in the second race and captured the first of his two Grassroots wins one race later. Starting from Post 6 with Atomic Seelster, Moore opted to power off the gate and was matching strides with favourite Pokerface Bluechip at the :29.3 opening quarter. Clearing to the front, Atomic Seelster paced through fractions of :59 and 1:28.3 and then pulled away in the stretch to a two and one-half length victory in 1:58.3. Dam Lucky finished second and Pokerface Bluechip settled for third. "Dad was pretty high on him as a baby when he was training him down. He was one of his best, and he just kind of started to stall coming to the end of it," said Moore, who crafted the win for his father, trainer Dr. Ian Moore of Puslinch, ON. "I drove him two weeks ago (Aug. 16) at Grand River, and he really needed that trip. I went nice, cheap and easy fractions and he kicked right home. He went home a winner that day and he would have felt a lot better for that, so today I just kind of aired him out, and you know Clinton's a real small, tight half-mile track, especially for a two-year-old out of the six-hole, and he handled it really well. I thought he was great." Dr. Moore and his partners in the Shadow One Stable of Puslinch, Shawn Murphy of Charlottetown, PEI and Darcy Murphy of Rothesay, NB share ownership of Atomic Seelster, who was a $100,000 purchase from the Forest City Yearling Sale. Sunday's win was the Shadow Play son's second straight in Grassroots action following two starts in the Gold Series, where he finished third and eighth, and the elimination and consolation of Grand River Raceway's Battle of Waterloo, where he was fourth and third. "He is a sweetheart to drive, he's perfect gaited, he's a very nice horse. He will make a really good racehorse one day," added Moore. "Today he went a big mile, he was parked near to the quarter-pole and the heavy favourite sat on his back the whole mile and couldn't even get to him." After a second overnight win with Thrift Shop in the eighth race, Moore was back in the bike for the last of the four $18,800 Grassroots divisions. Opting for a similar approach, Moore sent Lucky Michael from Post 5 to the front and the pair cruised through fractions of :30, 1:00 and 1:29.2 on their way to a one length victory in 1:58. Fan favourite and division point leader Family Sports was second and On The Take was three more lengths back in third. "I had some high hopes on him today, especially once he was leaving out of the gate, because he was getting out of there really well and he literally, he just made front real easy, and he sat right back in my lap like he should, and when I asked on him he was there," said the Campbellville, ON resident. "To be honest I think he was just as impressive as the other horse." Moore says while his father's early expectations of Atomic Seelster were lofty, they were significantly less so for Lucky Michael, who was always closer to the back of the pack than the front during the winter training sessions. However, since making his debut in the Grassroots season opener at Mohawk Racetrack on July 10 the son of Camluck has posted one win, one second, one third and one fourth in Grassroots action and clocked a personal best 1:56 in an overnight event at Mohawk on July 27. "He's a big horse and with age and maturity, that should help, and he will get a lot better. Who knows how much better he will be, but I can see him getting to be a top horse one day, because he's just a baby and they learn so much in such a quick time, and he's so dopey and kind of just mellow-headed," said Moore, who drives the colt for owner-breeder Jeffrey Snyder of New York, NY. "Like today, he was just wandering over the track, just doing his thing, and then when I wanted him to go he just picked right up and was gone." The other two Grassroots divisions were captured by Louis-Philippe Roy, who guided Zen Da Ballykeel to a 2:00 score in the second division and St Lads Neptune to a 1:58 win in the third. The win was the first lifetime for Zen Da Ballykeel, who is trained by Richard Moreau of Puslinch for owner-breeder Ballykeel Racing Inc. of Tillsonburg, ON. The son of Mach Three bested Blue Moose by a head, with Wild West a length behind the duelling the leaders in third. Sunday was the first Grassroots appearance for St Lads Neptune, but the Mach Three son is no stranger to the winner's circle, having won his first two starts for trainer Carl Jamieson of Rockwood and his partner Thomas Kyron of Toronto, ON. The gelding hit the wire two and one-half lengths ahead of Sizzling Summer and Notabadgame. In addition to the Grassroots action, the Vanastra Curling Club was trackside on Sunday conducting a 50/50 draw, silent auction and barbecue. The club raised a total of $4,200 thanks to the generosity of Clinton Raceway fans. The two-year-old pacing colts and gelding will make their fifth Grassroots start at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 4. Clinton Raceway wraps up its 2017 harness racing season next Sunday, Sept. 3 with the annual Charity Drivers Challenge where Tyler Moore and fellow Clinton regular Ryan Holliday will take on six of Canada's top drivers in a benefit for the Clinton, Brussels and Seaforth branches of the Royal Canadian Legion. Post time for Sunday's event is 1:30 pm. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

AUGUST 19, 2017 - Ontario's talented Ontario Sire Stakes three-year-old pacing colts will light up Georgian Downs on Sunday evening in advance of the Innisfil oval's harness racing signature event, the $75,000 Honourable Earl Rowe Invitation Trot. The pacing colts will kick things off at 6 pm in the first race and maintain the excitement in Races 4 and 7. Division point leader Dream Of Luck will be looking to pad his lead from Post 4 in the third $18,800 Grassroots division, squaring off against a field of seven that includes number three colt Kazimoto at Post 8 and eighth-ranked Frontier Seelster from Post 7. "He trained down, as a two-year-old, as a top colt, but he needed time to mature," said trainer Jeff Gillis of Dream Of Luck's journey to the top of the standings. "I thought he was a Gold colt, I really thought he was a pretty nice colt, but through the winter he didn't really race very good at all. Since we put him on Lasix (May 21) he's been very consistent and he actually, I think he's getting better." In four Grassroots appearances Dream Of Luck has recorded two wins, one second and one fourth for a point tally of 133, nine points ahead of rival Southwind General. The Camluck gelding also has a pair of overnight wins to his credit and has banked $57,009 lifetime for Mississauga, ON resident Gillis and his partners Mac Nichol of Burlington, ON and Gerald Stay of Buffalo, NY. In addition to Dream Of Luck, Gillis will send out Major Athens in the Honourable Earl Rowe Invitation Trot, getting Post 6 for the Race 9 contest. The Andover Hall son comes into Sunday's test off a pair of seventh-place finishes south of the border, but Gillis is hopeful that the winner of $758,855 lifetime is poised for a sharper effort. "He was racing really well until we went down to Ohio (June 10) and I didn't think he raced very good there and he's struggled a bit in a couple recent efforts, but he schooled well and I'm happy with the way he's heading into the race," said the trainer, who conditions Major Athens for Howard Taylor of Philadelphia, PA. "Hopefully we have some trip luck. There's obviously some quality horses in there, but I think he can contend in there with the right trip." It will be up to Georgian Downs' leading driver Bob McClure to find the right trip for both Major Athens and Dream Of Luck. Sunday's appearance will be McClure's first behind both horses, but Gillis is confident in the young reinsman's ability to put the pair in contention. "I've got tremendous confidence in Bob. He's been very professional with me at all times, and I really appreciate that, and he's always well prepared, he's always watched replays," said Gillis. "I think he's got a bright future." Elora, ON resident McClure has been on a roll in recent weeks, capturing the Dream Of Glory Trot at Hanover Raceway on August 5 and the Battle of the Belles at Grand River Raceway on August 7. In addition to Dream Of Luck he will steer Grassroots contenders Silverinyourpocket from Post 1 in the first race and Ugottobinittowinit from Post 5 in the second division. Along with the exciting racing action, Georgian Downs has a full slate of family fun activities lined up for fans on Sunday, including a giant maze, Toy Story 3 inflatables, baseball pitching cage and air brush and glitter tattoos. All the excitement gets under way at 6 pm. "It's a great night for racing, hopefully a lot of people come out," said Gillis. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

AUGUST 17, 2017 - Fresh off a runner-up performance in the Hambletonian Oaks, Magic Presto returned to Ontario Sires Stakes harness racing competition at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday and cruised to her second Gold Series win of the season. Starting from Post 1, driver Trevor Henry settled Magic Presto in third as Winter Sweet Frost rang up early fractions of :28.1 and :57.1. Heading for the 1:26.1 three-quarters Henry sent the heavy favourite to the outside and Magic Presto coasted down the stretch to a one length victory in 1:55.1. Winter Sweet Frost finished second and Gravitator was third. "Nice and handy and not too hard a run, so I was pleased with the way things worked out," said trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman. "We've got a really busy month coming up, so anytime you can get a relatively easy run, it's good for everybody." In the next month Magic Presto and her peers have a series of open stake races at Mohawk starting with the Casual Breeze on August 25, followed by the Simcoe Stakes on Sept. 1 and the Elegantimage eliminations Sept. 9, with the final on Sept. 16. The last Gold Series event goes postward at Grand River Raceway on Sept. 27 and the season ending Super Final is Oct. 14 at Mohawk. With that schedule in mind Norman said Magic Presto will enjoy a lighter than normal training routine in the coming weeks, but overall the New Jersey-based trainer is pleased with the filly's condition at the mid-point of her sophomore campaign. "She's in really good shape physically, she's carrying a lot of weight, so I'm really happy with that part of it," said the trainer. "She's pretty laid back, and she's a good eater; she's a pretty happy horse, so not much worries her." In her 18 career starts the laidback daughter of Kadabra and In The Mean Time boasts a record of nine wins, five seconds and two thirds for total earnings of $755,159. Norman trains the filly for Melvin Hartman of Ottawa, ON, Herb Liverman of Miami Beach, FL, David McDuffee of Delray Beach, FL and Little E LLC of New York, NY. Magic Presto Sweet Of My Heart also picked up her second Gold Series win on Thursday, although her journey back to the Ontario Sires Stakes winner's circle was far more tortured than Magic Presto's. Both fillies scored their first Gold Series win at Mohawk on June 8, but since then Magic Presto has not been worse than second racing against the very best fillies in North America while Sweet Of My Heart checked herself out of two straight Gold Legs after making breaks behind the starting gate and was forced to requalify. "That running off a couple starts was no fun for anybody," said trainer Paul Reid. "When you don't even get to race because you're on the break, that makes for a long night." After the miscues Reid and his wife Laurie teamed up with driver Jody Jamieson and the group has been working tirelessly, on and off the racetrack, to keep Sweet Of My Heart on an even keel. Their efforts paid off Thursday as the Angus Hall daughter got away cleanly from Post 6 and led the field through fractions of :27.1, :57.1 and 1:26 on her way to a 1:55.4 victory, keeping a head in front of fan favourite and division point leader On A Sunny Day. Majestic Kat was well back of the leaders in third. "Jody did a good job of keeping her quiet in the post parade. Usually, as soon as she sees the starting gate, a little switch flips, and he's been putting her right up on it and just kind of letting her get more relaxed behind it, kind of forcing her to get more relaxed behind it," said Reid, who trains Sweet Of My Heart for owner-breeder Robert Key of Leechburg, PA. "And we've schooled her a couple times, and he qualified her for me, and he's been working with me so we've re-rigged her and right now she's controllable, so that's our main thing. If she's controllable she can trot with them. Otherwise, you've seen what can happen when she's not." For his part, Jamieson was pleased with Sweet Of My Heart's performance, but said there is still room for improvement from the winner of $207,900. "Tonight she was much improved, but she's still not back to where she was when Louis (Roy) won with her early in the summer," said the Moffat, ON resident, referring to the 1:55 personal best the filly recorded in her June 8 victory. Sweet Of My Heart Like Magic Presto, Sweet Of My Heart is eligible to all of the open stake events in the coming weeks, but Reid said the decision to compete in each event will depend on the filly's performance in the days leading up to the entry deadlines. Mohawk Racetrack continues to showcase the Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series this weekend, hosting the two-year-old trotting colts and fillies on Friday, August 25 and the two-year-old pacing colts and fillies on Saturday, August 19. Post time for both events is 7:30 pm. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

AUGUST 14, 2017 - Mohawk Racetrack hosted the second leg of the harness racing World Driving Championship on Monday evening and Ontario's talented three-year-old trotting fillies showed off their skills to the international audience in four $19,150 Grassroots divisions. Reigning Grassroots champion Anikadabra opened the program with her first victory of the season, touring the Mohawk oval in 1:56.4. Sent off as the fan favourite, the Kadabra daughter controlled the tempo for most of the mile, reaching the wire three-quarters of a length ahead of Kuil Diva and Millers Song. Oakville resident Rick Zeron piloted Anikadabra to the win for trainer Rob Fellows of Rockwood and owner-breeders Edward Wilson of Seagrave, ON and Michael Pozefsky of Saratoga Springs, NY. Bested just once in Grassroots action as a two-year-old, Anikadabra now has one win and one third under her belt in two sophomore starts. Anikadabra The second division saw Hudsons Ya Ya earn her first Ontario Sires Stakes win, powering out of Post 7 to take control of the lead and trot home a three-quarter length winner over favourite Inner Drive and Late Shift in 1:57. Guelph resident Paul MacDonell crafted the victory for trainer John Bax of Campbellville, Glengate Farms of Mississauga, Don Allensen of Wyoming, ON and Dave Hudson of Dallas, TX. "She always had a lot of potential," said Bax. "She's from a pretty good mare, and we thought a lot of her - we paid a lot for her - but I hope now that she's kind of over the hump. "She's got lots of power, she's a big strong mare, but now she seems to be getting a little racier and a little more sure-footed." The daughter of Kadabra and $224,136 winner Angostura was a $70,000 purchase out of the 2015 Harrisburg Yearling Sale. She made eight starts last season, four of them in the Ontario Sires Stakes program, and recorded one win and one third in overnight action. This season she has made 10 starts and now has two wins and two thirds to her credit for lifetime earnings of $38,691. "She had a bunch of issues last year and she was a little slow getting going this year. I've had a viral issue in the barn for most of the spring and part of the summer," explained Bax, "The bloods are just starting to get back to normal, so I'm hoping that it's onward and upward from here." Hudsons Ya Ya Moffat resident Jack Moiseyev piloted Gisele Treelane to her second Grassroots win of the season in the third division, closing from fifth to first through the final quarter. The fan favourites stopped the timer at 1:55.4, one and three-quarter lengths ahead of Whole Lot Of Sugar and Moni Justice. Murray Brethour of Sunderland, ON trains the daughter of Daylon Magician for owner-breeder Patricia Whittaker Trust of Aspers, PA and bumped the filly up to the Gold Series level after she won her division of the Grassroots season opener at Mohawk on June 13. One fifth and one third-place finish prompted the return to the Grassroots and Monday's win boosted Gisele Treelane into third spot in the Grassroots point standings. The top 10 point earners after six regular season events will compete in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship at Mohawk on Sept. 30. Gisele Treelane In the evening's final division, Bustingattheseams moved into second place in the point race with her second Grassroots win. Another daughter of Kadabra, Bustingattheseams hit the wire in a personal best 1:55.2, three-quarters of a length ahead of Crystal Gumdrop and Ticket To Seattle. Milton resident Randy Waples steered Bustingattheseams to the victory for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor and his partner Dave Boyle of Bowmanville, ON. Bustingattheseams In addition to competing in the four races that contributed to their World Driving Championship rankings, four of the drivers also made an appearance in the Ontario Sires Stakes events. Canada's representative James MacDonald of Guelph had mounts in all four divisions, finishing third twice (Late Shift and Ticket To Seattle), fourth and eighth. Marcus Miller, representing the United States, finished fifth in the first division, Bjorn Goop, who represents Sweden, finished sixth in the third division and Dexter Dunn, the defending world champion from New Zealand, finished seventh in the last division. The World Driving Championship makes its third stop at Georgian Downs on Tuesday evening, with a first race post time of 7:15 pm. The three-year-old trotting fillies will make their fifth Grassroots start at Georgian Downs on August 27, while their Gold Series peers arrive at Mohawk Racetrack for their fourth leg on Thursday, August 17. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

AUGUST 13, 2017 - Rideau Carleton Raceway harness racing fans were treated to an impressive display of speed and skill as the Ontario Sires Stakes arrived in the nation's capital on Sunday evening. With almost $250,000 on the line all six Gold and Grassroots winners recorded new personal bests, Try Try Again established a new speed record for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings, and the reigning Lampman Cup champion, Sylvain Filion, captured two Gold Series divisions and four overnight events. Try Try Again opened the Gold Series competition in the evening's second race and the fans' second choice delivered a commanding front-end performance that saw him lower the track record to 1:54.4. Magic Night finished one and one-half lengths back in second while Life Well Lived was well behind the leaders in third. "He got off the gate well in third, I removed him to the front and he was very strong from there," said Try Try Again's regular reinsman Chris Christoforou, Jr. "He was very good tonight." Campbellville, ON resident Christoforou engineered the mile for trainer Dustin Jones of Waterdown, ON and his partners Ecuries Daniel Plouffe Inc. of Bromont, QC, Noblock Racing Stable of Collingwood, ON and Andrea Lea Racing Stables Inc. of Lakefield Gore, QC. The clocking took three-fifths of a second off the former track record for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings, set by Ontario Sired superstar Arch Madness in a 2007 Gold Series contest, and lowered Try Try Again's personal best by two-fifths of a second. With two wins and one second in three Gold Series starts, the son of Kadabra and Sweetspellosuccess currently sits second in the division standings with 125 points and is assured of a berth in the $225,000 Super Final at Mohawk Racetrack on Oct. 14. Filion piloted the winners of the other two Gold Series divisions, taking the first with LMC Mass Gem and the second with Capteur De Reve. Starting from Post 4, LMC Mass Gem led from start to finish, sailing across the wire in a personal best 1:55. Mister Muscle was one and one-quarter lengths back in second, with Head Turning Jag two more lengths behind in third. With two wins and two thirds in four Gold Series starts, LMC Mass Gem sits third, just one point behind Try Try Again, in the division standings. Nick Gallucci of Brantford trains the homebred son of Muscle Mass and Hornby Gem for Loredana Cirillo of Kleinburg, ON. Capteur De Reve enjoyed a ground-saving trip behind pacesetter On First in the last Gold division, tipping out in the stretch and trotting home to a one length victory in a personal best 1:56.1. On First settled for second and Try Try Again's stablemate Northern Major rounded out the top three. Filion crafted the win for trainer Max Velaye and Ecuries Provoquante of Mirabel, QC. It was the Muscle Mass son's second of the season and came in his 2017 Ontario Sires Stakes debut. Euro Gap posted the fastest win of the three Grassroots divisions, sprinting down the Rideau Carleton Raceway stretch to a 1:55.4 personal best ahead of Yo Yo Mass and Santini. Arthur, ON resident Trevor Henry piloted Euro Gap to the victory, his first in Ontario Sires Stakes action. "He looked good today. Trevor (Henry) said he was really good," said trainer Scott McEneny, who had to watch the gelding's winning effort on his phone after a delayed flight saw him arrive in Ottawa just 10 minutes before post time. "He's got a lot of talent; he's just had his days. His gait's not the best, he's a little pacey, and sometimes the track just doesn't suit him because of his feet." McEneny conditions Euro Gap for his wife Michelle McEneny of Waterdown and Brad Grant and Teresa Davidson of Milton, ON. The win was the third lifetime for the son of Manofmanymissions, who has also made two appearances at the Gold Series level this season. The other two Grassroots divisions went to Federal Flex son Bred For Greatness and Manofmanymissions son Vesuvio Bi, who trotted under the wire in 1:58.2 and 1:56.4, respectively. Bred For Greatness reeled in Radical Road and Motown Jackpot in the stretch to score his first lifetime victory for driver Bob McClure of Elora, trainer Shane Weber of Welland and owner-breeders Thomas and Elizabeth Rankin of St. Catharines, ON, while Vesuvio Bi took command at the half and sailed home a three and one-quarter length winner over Short Term Memory and Masster Blue. Travis Henry of Embro, ON drove Vesuvio Bi to the win for trainer Martin Lachance of Guelph, ON and owners Lachance Racing Stable of Millstone Township, NJ and Dan Mogridge of Hillsdale, ON. The Grassroots colts and geldings will now head to Hanover Raceway on August 26 for the fifth event of their season, while the Gold Series competitors make their last regular season start at Mohawk Racetrack on September 25. Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Rideau Carleton Raceway on Sunday, Sept. 10, when the two-year-old pacing fillies will compete in their last regular season Grassroots event. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: 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 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: Ontario Racing

AUGUST 7, 2017 - Grand River Raceway's harness racing  Industry Day got off to a thrilling start for owner-breeder Michael Kwietniowski when three-year-old pacing gelding Kazimoto captured his first-ever Ontario Sires Stakes victory. Starting from Post 2, Kazimoto and driver Alfie Carroll of Iona Station, ON were fourth through the early going and then tipped into the outside lane heading for the half. Steadily advancing on pacesetter and fan favourite The Dark Shadow, Kazimoto had a nose in front when the colts turned for home and had expanded that to one and one-half lengths by the 1:56 finish. Rebel Voyager closed well to be second, leaving The Dark Shadow to settle for third. "He's been getting better and better and seems to be, he was always bad gaited on a half, and he seems to be good now," said Erin, ON resident Kwietniowski. "It was our first win in the Sires Stakes, hopefully we can keep him good until the end of the year for the Final." The win was Carroll and Kazimoto's fourth straight and boosted the Caseys Bonanza gelding up the division point standings into third. Vic Puddy of Mountain, ON conditions the gelding, who will be looking for one of 10 spots in the season ending Grassroots Championship at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 30. "I'm just pumped. I bred him and everything," added Kwietniowski. "I'm just ecstatic right now." Division point leader Dream Of Luck scored his second Grassroots win in the second $18,800 division, cruising through fractions of :28.2, :58.1 and 1:27.1 on his way to a 1:55.1 score over Play For Gold and Thrownoutofbetter. "He won easy today. He got fractions his own way, but he was real good, strong at the wire, good last quarter," said Guelph-Eramosa Township resident Doug McNair, who crafted the win for trainer Jeff Gillis of Everett, ON and his partners Mac Nichol of Burlington, ON and Gerald Stay of Buffalo, NY. "They actually weren't that high on him for a while, but he's getting a lot better each start I think, hopefully that'll braven him up." With two wins, one second and one fourth in Grassroots competition, the son of Camluck and Dream Of Mimi has 133 points and has virtually assured himself of a spot in the Grassroots Championship. The final Grassroots trophy went home with Cambridge, ON resident Jack Darling, whose Southwind General battled to a 1:56.4 score over Ugottobinittowinit and Heza Big Dealer, surviving interference in the first turn and hanging on in the stretch for the one-half length victory. The win was Southwind General's second of the season, he also captured the Grassroots season opener over the Flamboro Downs half-mile on May 21. "He qualified great, and his first start at Flamboro he was a beast, and since then he's just been kind of there. So it's nice to get a win with him finally," said driver Jody Jamieson of Moffat, ON. "I guess it was since the last Grassroots at Flamboro when he won on a half-mile, it seems like he can hide a bit in the turns when they can't get going on him, and he can hold them off a bit in the stretch." "He's a huge horse, he's almost 17 hands, but he gets around a half good," added Darling, who owns and trains the son of Sportswriter, currently sitting second in the standings, nine points behind Dream Of Luck. In the $139,250 Battle of the Belles for Ontario Sired two-year-old pacing fillies, Grand River Raceway's leading driver, Bob McClure scored his first victory in one of the Elora oval's signature events, piloting elimination winner Play The Bell to a 1:54.4 stakes record. After sitting in the outer lane through much of the mile, McClure and Shadow Play daughter Play The Bell hit the wire six and one-quarter lengths ahead of Rendezvous Hanover and Lady Bubbles. "I actually I didn't mind my mare - she's pretty tough and she's handy - so I was happy coming first up," said McClure. "I really felt I had the best filly and I just wanted to keep her out of trouble." The Elora resident crafted the win for trainer Casie Coleman and her partners in the West Wins Stable of Cambridge, Mac Nichol of Burlington and Calhoun Racing Ltd. of Chatham, ON. It was the second stakes win of the long weekend for the driver, who also captured the Dream Of Glory Trot Final at Hanover Raceway on Saturday. "It was a great weekend, and you know what, I attribute it all to some really great people who put me down to drive, and some really nice horses, and a lot of racing luck, and that's what you need in this game," said the 26-year-old McClure. "Obviously it's easy to do my job when horses like that filly of Casie's are so well prepared. She drives like a car and really it makes life a lot easier." In the afternoon's finale, the $200,200 Battle of Waterloo, driver Corey Callahan copied McClure's strategy, sending Simple Kinda Man up the outer lane and holding on for a three-quarter length victory in 1:55. Lightly rated Hudson Phil and fan favourite Burning Midnight rounded out the top three. Scott McEneny of Waterdown, ON trains Simple Kinda Man for M And L Of Delaware LLC. The win was the Sportswriter colt's second in six lifetime starts. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

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