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The Woodbine Mohawk Park racing surface was in peak condition for Saturday's rich card of racing and Ontario's top three-year-old pacing colts took full advantage of the speedy surface in a pair of $95,600 Gold Series divisions. Charged with warming up the sizeable crowd for the marquee events, the $600,000 Canadian Pacing Derby and $651,000 Maple Leaf trot, the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings did not disappoint. Kicking off the stakes action in Race 3, heavy favourite Backstreet Shadow went to the front soon after the :27.2 quarter posted by Sharp Action Money and never looked back. Through a :55.3 half and 1:23 three-quarters, Backstreet Shadow maintained a comfortable lead, cruising home a one and three-quarter length winner in a personal best 1:49.2. Levis Day closed hard to be second and Sharp Action Money was third. "He's a nice horse and had a good post and a bit of luck," said trainer Richard Moreau. "It all worked out." Yannick Gingras piloted Backstreet Shadow from Post 1 for Puslinch, Ontario resident Moreau and owners Lindsey and Connie Rankin of Lexington, Michigan. The win was Backstreet Shadow's first in Ontario Sires Stakes action and his fifth in 10 sophomore starts. With one win, one second, one fifth and one seventh, the Shadow Play son finishes the regular season with a total of 82 points and will advance to the Oct. 13 Super Final at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Unfortunately, as the pacers raced down the stretch in the first division, trailer Ali caught a shoe and fell. While the gelding was unharmed, trainer-driver Patrick Lachance suffered a broken leg and was transported by ambulance to Milton District Hospital. Six races later, and one race after Mcwicked captured the Canadian Pacing Derby in 1:49, The Downtown Bus recorded his own personal best in the second Gold division. Like Backstreet Shadow, The Downtown Bus powered to the front just after the :27 quarter and was on cruise control for the remainder of the race. Leading by just over one length through the :55.1 half and 1:22.4 three-quarters, The Downtown Bus and driver Tim Tetrick opened up a three length lead in the stretch and stopped the teletimer at 1:49.3. Fan favourite St Lads Neptune was second and early leader Yacht Seelster was third. "I bought his grandmother in foal with his mother from Harrisburg (in 2006), and we really thought we had something special last year at two, and just one issue, maybe some bad management, one issue after another, and his season didn't amount to anything," said trainer Jeff Gillis. "We got off on the right foot this year and he continues to improve. Having Tetrick doesn't hurt either. He seems to really get along with him." Mississauga resident Gillis shares ownership of The Downtown Bus with Ellen Ott of Buffalo, New York. The partners have watched the son of Mach Three and Slimsplace tally seven wins and $176,683 in 18 starts this season. Saturday's victory was the gelding's second in the Gold Series and gives him a total of 117 points and third-place in the division standings. With a break of six weeks until the Super Final, Gillis said the Sept. 8 Simcoe Stakes at Woodbine Mohawk Park is a possibility for The Downtown Bus, as is a bit of time off. "He's eligible to the Simcoe next week and I guess off that mile I'll go ahead and race him in it. I wasn't in love with the idea of racing Grand Circuit company, but I don't know, he looks like he deserves a shot," said the horseman. "We'll probably try and freshen him a little bit and have him clicking on all cylinders for the Super Final." The top 10 point earners advance to the $225,000 Super Final on Oct. 13 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Following the second Gold division, lightly rated Crazy Wow and driver Jody Jamieson raced to a 1:51.1 victory in the Maple Leaf Trot. Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to the Campbellville oval on Monday evening, with three $19,500 Grassroots divisions for the two-year-old trotting colts and geldings. The youngsters will compete in Races 2, 6, and 10 on Monday's program, which gets under way at 7:10 pm. From the Ontatio Sire Stakes  

AUGUST 26, 2018 - Rideau Carleton Raceway rolled out the red carpet for the three-year-old trotting colts on Sunday evening, welcoming both the Grassroots and Gold Series competitors for a total of four Ontario Sires Stakes divisions. In the first $94,800 Gold Series contest, local colt Stormont Ventnor delivered an impressive effort to claim his second Gold win of the season. Starting from Post 4 the heavy favourite spent the bulk of the mile in the outer lane as Joey Bats trotted to fractions of :29.1, :58.4 and 1:26.4, but around the final turn Stormont Ventnor caught the pacesetter and proceeded to draw away to a six and one-quarter length victory in 1:55.4. Joey Bats settled for second and Perfetto was third. Regular reinsman Phil Hudon piloted Stormont Ventnor to the victory for trainer Kevin Benn of Napanee and owner-breeder Eric Baker of Long Sault, Ontario and said the Justice Hall son is in top form heading toward the last regular season event. "He was really sharp tonight. He seems as fresh as he was when he started the season," said Hudon. "The Benn's have done a great job keeping him on his 'A' game, and I'm lucky enough to get the drive." With 126 points earned through two wins, one second and one eighth-place result in the first four Gold events, Stormont Ventnor currently sits in second spot in the division standings, 24 points behind Run Director, who captured the other $95,600 Gold division. Starting from Post 3, Run Director settled into fourth as Say You Do hit the opening quarter in :28.4. As Henderson Seelster took over top spot heading for the :59.3 half, driver Sylvain Filion tipped Run Director into the outer lane behind Mister Magic and was content to follow that horse past the 1:28.1 three-quarters. As the colts straightened up in the stretch Filion gave the heavy favourite a clear look at the finish and Run Director powered home to a one and one-quarter length victory in 1:56.4. Henderson Seelster finished second and Say You Do was third. "He was awesome today. Sylvain said he wanted to go so badly he had to be careful when he moved him three deep. The colt wanted to go too fast, too quick, he wanted to make sure we stayed trotting," said Ben Baillargeon, who trains Run Director for owner-breeders Tom and Elizabeth Rankin of St. Catharines, Ontario. "He was real good today, but he's been good all along. We didn't have too many hiccups with him, and I think the best is yet to come." The son of Kadabra and Keep The Spirit has tallied two wins and two seconds in his four Gold Series starts and will take a second run at the best sophomore trotters in North America in the September 1 Simcoe Stakes at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Run Director was third in his elimination and sixth in the final of the Goodtimes Stake in June. "We have him in the Simcoe next week, this Saturday coming up, so this race will be a good tightener for him," said Baillargeon. "He is eligible to the Canadian Trotting Classic too, but we'll go week-by-week. Our main goal is the next Gold at Mohawk (Sept. 27) and the Super Final (Oct. 13)." Having butted heads against Run Director and Stormont Ventnor through the first two legs of the sophomore campaign, Levitation made the move to the Grassroots on Sunday and found the winner's circle for the first time this season. The Kadabra gelding went gate-to-wire from Post 6 in a personal best 1:57.3 for driver Louis Philippe Roy. Daylon Phantom was one and one-half lengths back in second and Delcrest Holiday was three more lengths back in third. "He looks like a horse you have to be a bit careful with," said Roy, who made his first appearance in Levitation's race bike Sunday. "He showed me he wanted to run a few times, so I just made sure he went enough to win, making sure he was staying flat." Roy crafted the win for trainer Tony Alagna and owners David Anderson of Aurora, Ontario and Robert Leblanc of Austin, Texas. Local colt Majestic Fire captured the second $18,450 Grassroots division, getting away fourth from Post 1 and then rolling up the outside to catch pacesetter The Magic Number and claim the 1:57.3 victory by one and one-half lengths. The Magic Number settled for second and T Barrr rounded out the top three. James MacDonald drove the fan favourite to the win for trainer Mark Steacy of Lansdowne and owners David McDonald of Cornwall, David Reid of Glenburnie, Shelly MacMillan of Waterloo and A K Malik stable of Ottawa, Ontario. "He raced great. He gives you everything he has every time he goes behind the gate," said MacDonald of the Majestic Son gelding. "I knew if I could find him a decent trip and keep him out of trouble he would give me a big effort. "The trip worked out pretty good, and when I asked him to trot at the top of the stretch he had tons left and responded really good." Majestic Fire had also tested his skills against the Gold Series colts after making his sophomore debut in the Grassroots season opener. With their victories on Sunday, Levitation and Majestic Fire currently sit among the top 20 point earners who would advance to the September 21 Grassroots Semi-Finals, meaning their connections will have to choose between remaining in the Grassroots or returning to the Gold Series for the fifth leg of the campaign. The final regular season Grassroots event is September 10, while the last Gold Leg is September 27, both at Woodbine Mohawk Park. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

AUGUST 19, 2018 - Write Me A Song took control of the three-year-old pacing filly Gold division with a track, Ontario Sires Stakes and Canadian record performance at Georgian Downs on Sunday evening. In rein to Paul MacDonell, Write Me A Song sprinted away from Post 2 to a :26.3 opening quarter and never relinquished control. Through a :55.1 half and 1:22.2 and three-quarters the Sportswriter daughter was completely in command and she had enough in reserve to hold off a late sprint from Quints Dream and secure the neck victory in 1:51. Stablemate Neon Moon shadowed Write Me A Song from start to finish and took the third-place share of the $125,000 purse. "Everything went pretty well," said Jack Darling, who owns and trains both Write Me A Song and Neon Moon. "It was just one of those races that was, you know the big field, and you had to take advantage of the post position and just give her a chance. She was very sharp going in, both her and Neon Moon, they were just as sharp as they can be going in. "And she's got to be, because there are just some tremendous fillies in there, very tough," the Cambridge resident added. The 1:51 clocking took one-fifth of a second off the track and Ontario Sires Stakes record set by Village Janus in a July 2011 Gold Elimination. The Canadian record had been shared by Village Janus and Michelles Power, who logged her 1:51.1 effort over Rideau Carleton Raceway's five-eighths mile oval in an August 2007 Gold Final. "I didn't know what the track record was, but it doesn't surprise me that she went in 1:51," said Darling. "Like I said, it's a tremendous group of fillies, I knew they'd go fast and I knew she was sharp, I was just hoping she could get the job done." The only three-year-old pacing filly with two Gold Series wins to her credit, Write Me A Song finished second in the May 26 season opener at The Raceway at Western Fair District, third at Woodbine Mohawk Park on June 23 and was victorious at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 20, giving her a total of 137 points. Shower Play, who finished fourth in Sunday's test, is 54 points back in second. Sunday's victory was Write Me A Song's fourth straight. Between the June 23 and July 20 Gold Legs she swept her elimination and the final of the Kin Pace, lowering the track record to 1:54.3 in the July 8 final. Darling opted not to race Write Me A Song between her July 20 win and Sunday's Gold Leg, instead sending her out in an August 10 qualifier at Woodbine Mohawk Park which she won in 1:51.3. The horseman may follow a similar strategy heading into the fifth and final Gold Leg, scheduled for September 25 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. "I'm going to be really easy on her. I didn't race her between her last start and this one, I just wanted to kind of keep her fresh and happy and hoping for a big effort. She's got to race so tough. Whatever class she races in at WEG it's so tough, you've just got to be a little bit careful and just kind of pick your spots and manage her a little bit," noted the horseman. "I'll have to give her at least one more start before the next one (Gold). She's not eligible to the Simcoe, so I've got no other stakes for her." Sunday was Neon Moon's first Gold Series start of the season. Competing at the Grassroots level the filly, also a daughter of Sportswriter, had finished third in the first two events of the season and then delivered a track record 1:52.4 effort at Grand River Raceway in the August 6 event. With 74 points she currently sits seventh in the Grassroots standings, while the 12 points she earned in Sunday's Gold Leg put her in a tie for eleventh in the Gold standings. The top 20 point earners advance to the Grassroots Semi-Final, while the top 10 move on to the Gold Series Super Final. "I'll take a look at the situation later on. I guess I've got options, just the fact that I've got Write Me A Song in there makes me think I should probably go Grassroots with Neon Moon, but I don't know," said Darling. "I'll play it by ear, week-by-week." The three-year-old pacing fillies wrap up their Grassroots campaign at Flamboro Downs on September 4, with the Semi-Final on September 21 and the Championship on September 29, both at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The fillies served as the warm-up act to Georgian Downs signature race, the $75,000 Earl Rowe Invitation Trot, and Dancer Hall got a confident front-end steer from Sylvain Filion to capture the 2018 title. The Deweycheatumnhowe four-year-old trotted under the wire in 1:52.2, four and three-quarter lengths ahead of B Yoyo and Catch The Dream. Paul Reid trains Dancer Hall for 1187422 Ontario Inc. of Ottawa, Ontario. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

AUGUST 16, 2018 - Sophomore trotting fillies were the stars of the show at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Thursday evening, competing in a pair of Gold Series divisions, and while one filly's connections were ready to celebrate the others were headed straight back to work. The first $95,600 contest saw daughters of top Ontario sire Kadabra sweep the podium. Starting from Post 2, fan favourite Smoke And Mirrors and driver Trevor Henry took command heading by the halfway marker and were able to cruise home to a two length victory in 1:56.1. Pocket-sitter Collateral Beauty finished second and Miss Loo Loo Belle closed well to be third. Richard "Nifty" Norman conditions Smoke And Mirrors for Melvin Hartman of Ottawa, Ontario, David McDuffee of Delray Beach, Florida and Little E LLC of New York, New York, and while the horseman was satisfied with the win he admits the filly has not regained the form that saw her earn $163,236 in the Ontario Sires Stakes program at two. "She looks good on the track and she's sound and trotting good, but she just looks like she's waiting to get beat," said the New Jersey-based trainer. "I don't really know what it is, but she doesn't get to the wire. Last year she used to charge home all the time and now she really looks like she doesn't want to be there." Cambridge, Ontario resident Anthony Haughan handles the Ontario arm of Norman's operation and soon after Smoke And Mirror's first victory of the season the horsemen were discussing strategies to boost her performance. "I was just talking to Anthony Haughan there. I said maybe we just change her attitude around, try and change a few ways we do work with her," said Norman. "And she's a good eater, but most horses have stomach problems somewhere along the line, so I think maybe we'll just start doing that, maybe treat her stomach a little bit and see if we can get her a little happier. "We've got quite a big break now until the next Gold. I'll probably race her somewhere in between, but it's a good opportunity to get her a little better," noted Norman. "Time to freshen her up a little bit and see if we can make her a little better." The three-year-old trotting fillies do not make their fifth Gold Series start until October 2 at The Raceway at Western Fair District, just one week before the Oct. 13 Super Final. In the second division Sorceress Seelster had things her own way from Post 5, sailing through fractions of :27.4, :57.2 and 1:26 on her way to a three and three-quarter length victory in a personal best 1:54.1. Superlative finished second in her Gold Series debut and fan favourite Illusioneesta was third. Scott Wray engineered the win for trainer Jack Wray of London and his partner Thomas Wray of Schomberg, and the whole Wray family was on hand to celebrate the filly's second Gold Series win and the driver's 37th birthday. "We've got a little celebration back at the farm after. It wasn't going to be as good if we didn't win, but she might be a blow out now," said Scott Wray to Woodbine Mohawk Park's Chad Rozema in the winner's circle. The win was Sorceress Seelster's third in six starts this season, with all three coming over the Woodbine Mohawk Park oval, two in Gold Series action and one in a July 12 overnight event. The only hiccup in her sophomore campaign to date was a break in the July 21 Gold event at Georgian Downs, but Wray was confident the return to Campbellville would find the Holiday Road daughter back in the winner's circle. "After that last race she was here (July 12) I was so impressed. I got home and I watched the replay and I thought, wow, the sky is the limit," said Wray. "And then we went to Georgian and the track was a little inconsistent, and she wears flip-flops. Around the first turn I could feel she was kind of fumbly and then around the last turn I thought, oh please don't do it, and she did it. So I had a lot of faith tonight that this track and these turns would be the answer." Provided she remains happy and healthy, Sorceress Seelster will have an opportunity to test her skills against the best trotting fillies in North America. She is eligible for the Aug. 24 Casual Breeze Stakes and the Sept. 8 Elegantimage eliminations, both at Woodbine Mohawk Park and both expected to feature Hambletonian winner Atlanta. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Monday, Aug. 20 with six Grassroots divisions for the two-year-old pacing fillies. The novice pacers will battle in Races 3, 5, 6, 8, 10 and 11 on the Monday evening program, which gets under way at 7:10 pm. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

AUGUST 15, 2018 - On Wednesday evening the top two-year-old pacing colts and fillies in Ontario made Grand River Raceway their stage for the second straight week, and Stag Party wrote his name in lights with a commanding track, Ontario Sires Stakes and Canadian record performance in the second Gold division. Starting from the advantageous Post 1, Stag Party moved smartly off the gate and parked Battle of Waterloo champion Bronx Seelster through a :26.3 quarter. When Bronx Seelster finally backed into the pocket driver David Miller took his foot off the gas and Stag Party cruised to a :55.4 half and a 1:24.3 three-quarters. In the stretch Miller asked the fan favourite to pick up the tempo once again, and Stag Party drew away to a five length victory in 1:52.3. Bronx Seelster finished second and Stag Party's stablemate in the Casie Coleman barn was third. "I wasn't expecting to break the track record with him, but I thought he'd be pretty good," said Coleman. "I wasn't expecting that kind of a mile, but he did it well in hand and Dave hardly had to speak to him much finishing, so I was real happy with him." The 1:52.3 mile shaved two-fifths of a second off the 1:53 track and Canadian record set by two-year-old pacing colt Tarpon Hanover in the 2012 Battle of Waterloo Final and took a full second off the 1:53.3 Ontario Sires Stakes record for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings on a half-mile track established by Warrawee Needy at Flamboro Downs in 2011. Coleman conditions the son of Bettors Delight and My Lady Day for her partners in the West Wins Stable of Cambridge, John Fielding of Toronto, Mac Nichol of Burlington and McKinlay & Fielding of Toronto, Ontario. The partners acquired the colt for $125,000 at last fall's Harrisburg Yearling Sale and have watched him record three wins and one second through his first four starts, banking $113,900. Stag Party will make his next start in the August 25 Nassagaweya Stakes at Woodbine Mohawk Park and, as long as he continues to impress his connections, will follow that up with several more starts against the best young horses in North America. "He's got the four big ones at Mohawk next, the Nassagaweya, Champlain and the Metro, so he'll be gearing up for those ones next," said Cambridge resident Coleman. "I might have to dodge a couple of those Ontario Sires Stakes, just with how busy his schedule is going to be. I'll play it by ear when we get up closer to it." Miller made the trip to Grand River specifically to drive Stag Party, to get a feel for the colt before they head into the open stake events, and the New Jersey resident was pleased with the youngster. "I was really impressed with him. I told them, when I got off the bike, I said I'll be there when he races next week. That's a pretty good stamp of approval," said Miller with a chuckle. "He left the gate very well and his manners were good and I'm excited about him. I baby raced probably 500 babies this year and I had to go all the way to Canada to get one like that." The other $96,400 pacing colt Gold division was captured by Battle of Waterloo runner-up Bettors Wish, who cruised home to a two and one-half length victory in 1:55. Keystone Concrete finished second and Coleman trainee Better Up was promoted from fourth to third when his stablemate Sporty Mcsportster, in rein to Miller, suffered interference in the stretch from eventual third-place finisher Sports Teen. As a result, Sports Teen was placed from third down to sixth, behind Sporty Mcsportster. Guelph resident Paul MacDonell piloted fan favourite Bettors Wish to his second Gold win for trainer Chantal Mitchell and owners Chris Ryder of Allentown, New Jersey, Bella Racing Ltd. of Delaware, Ohio, Fair Island Farm Inc. of Versailles, Kentucky and Kenneth Solomon of Coral Springs, Florida. The Bettors Delight son was a $20,000 purchase from the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale and has posted four wins, one second, one third and earnings of $185,438 in his first six starts. Trainer Dave Menary and driver Jody Jamieson swept the $97,200 pacing filly divisions with Battle of the Belles champion Quebec Blue Cup and runner-up Ideation Hanover. Both fillies controlled the tempo from start to finish, with Ideation Hanover cruising from Post 1 to a 1:55 victory in the first split. Kylie Seelster finished one length behind the fan favourite in second and Menary trainee Blossom Onthebeach was third. Menary Racing Inc. of Rockton, Michael Guerriero of Brampton and Alan Alber of Thornhill, Ontario share ownership of Ideation Hanover. The Bettors Delight daughter was a $50,000 acquisition from the Harrisburg Yearling Sale and boasts a record of two wins, two seconds, one third and $101,600 through five starts. Quebec Blue Chip romped to her third straight victory over the Grand River oval, pacing under the wire seven lengths ahead of favourite Sweet Young Thing and Crisp Mane in 1:56. Menary Racing Inc., Michael Guerriero, Kenneth Ewen of Georgetown and Bruce Norris of Caledon East own the Sportswriter daughter, who was a $40,000 purchase from Harrisburg. Through six starts she now has four wins, one second and one third for earnings of $167,488. "I kind of figured both fillies would be on the front, and that's the way it worked," said Menary, who will also give the fillies a chance to test their skills against the best in North American in the upcoming Eternal Camnation Stake at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Aug. 25. "In the last couple weeks I think they've earned the opportunity," said the horseman. "Hopefully they can carry this, translate it to the bigger track." The two-year-old pacing colts and fillies will return to Gold Series action on September 28 at Woodbine Mohawk Park in the fourth of five regular season events. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Grand River Raceway on Monday, August 27 with the fourth Grassroots event for the three-year-old trotting fillies. From the Ontario Sire Stakes  

AUGUST 10, 2018 - When the two-year-old trotting fillies returned to Woodbine Mohawk Park for their third Gold Series event on Friday evening, harness racing driver Jody Jamieson had an opportunity to make amends for a decision he made in the July 15 season opener. In that event Jamieson chose Shesa Sweetheart over Cambridge Kate and watched as the filly he had qualified and driven in one overnight event swept to victory with Louis Philippe Roy in the race bike while he settled for fourth with the pacesetting fan favourite. With Shesa Sweetheart absent from Friday's contest trainer Carl Jamieson chose to give his son a second chance at steering Cambridge Kate and the reinsman took full advantage of the opportunity, guiding the filly to her second straight Gold victory. "I made the right choice this time," Jamieson quipped. "Actually, I didn't have any choice so I was happy that Dad gave me the call on her tonight." Starting from Post 8 the pair trotted strongly away from the start and settled briefly in third as Royaltys Pearl took the field to a :28.3 quarter. Soon after the quarter-mile pole Jamieson sent Cambridge Kate after the lead and the filly was showing the way by the :59.2 half. Under pressure from Presto Change O around the final turn, Cambridge Kate reached the thee-quarters in 1:28.4 and then dug in through the stretch to secure a one and one-quarter length victory in a personal best 1:57.3. Angies Luckeylady closed well to be second and Presto Change O was third. "She's just perfect really, she does nothing wrong on the track and just goes," said Moffat resident Jamieson of the fan favourite. "I had the chance to retake the lead easily tonight, so I did, and she did the rest." Rockwood resident Carl Jamieson shares ownership of Cambridge Kate with Glengate K Farms of Erin and Dr. Robert Boyce of London, Ontario. The daughter of E L Titan and former Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) competitor Aimees Image was a $44,000 acquisition from last fall's London Selected Yearling Sale and has recouped $85,400 through her first four starts. Cambridge Kate While he may have missed out on a second win aboard Cambridge Kate, driver Louis Philippe Roy still made an appearance in the OSS winner's circle, guiding HP Titania Runner to victory in the second $98,800 division. The second of three winners the 28-year-old would steer on Friday's program, HP Titania Runner also marked the 1,000th career win for the native of Mont-Joli, Quebec. Roy, who currently sits atop the OSS driver standings, eased HP Titania Runner away from Post 3 and watched from mid-pack as Petro Hall rolled to a :28.3 opening quarter. Moving steadily up the outside behind Royal Rhythm as Petro Hall carried on to a :58.3 half and 1:28.2 three-quarters, HP Titania Runner turned for home with a clear view of the finish line and powered by the leaders to a 1:57.3 victory. Petro Hall settled for second, one and one-half length behind the fan favourite, and Champagne Jane closed hard to finish third. "She's a nice filly with a lot of speed. I had to be a little bit careful with her tonight to keep her trotting, but she wasn't tired at the end, so I hope she keeps on showing more and more," said Roy. "I'm happy for the owner-breeders. They are among the first people that gave me stakes drives while I was racing in Quebec, so to win Golds here with them is very nice." Roy steers the daughter of E L Titan and $466,034 winner Canaco Runner for owner-breeders Claude Hamel of Ayer's Cliff and Michel Damphousse of Louiseville, Quebec and trainer Rene Bourassa of Fergus, Ontario. In two starts the filly has earned $82,600 and shares ownership of top spot in the division standings with Cambridge Kate and Petro Hall, each filly tallying 100 points in the first three Gold events. The two-year-old trotting fillies will make their fourth Gold Series start at Flamboro Downs on September 25. Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Woodbine Mohawk Park on Thursday, August 16 with the fourth Gold Leg for the three-year-old trotting fillies. Post time for the program is 7:10 pm. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

AUGUST 9, 2018 - Roger Mayotte has been expecting big things from Okeanos since the harness racing gelding arrived in his barn last October and on Thursday night the two-year-old trotter put all the pieces together and gave the Mississauga resident a trip to the Gold Series winner's circle for his birthday. "I was hoping," said Mayotte with a chuckle. "I was hoping. "He's very, very nervous, a high strung horse. He's been an ongoing project that way through the winter," the 62-year-old continued. "We had to get him over that stuff, but he's always showed us some speed and the gait." Okeanos showed off both his gait and speed in Thursday's victory at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Starting from Post 7 in the second $67,200 Gold division, Mayotte settled the gelding in seventh as Lifetime Royalty stormed out to a :27.4 opening quarter. The pair joined the parade up the outer lane heading for the :57.2 half and by the 1:26.3 three-quarters they were three-wide and Mayotte was reaching for another gear. Okeanos responded with a burst that saw him reel in the leaders and claim a one-half length victory in 1:56.4. Southwind Avenger also closed hard to claim second and fan favourite Dream Nation was third. The win was Okeanos' first, coming on the heels of a break in the July 16 Gold Series season opener and a hard-closing second in the July 31 Grassroots leg, both at Woodbine Mohawk Park. "He's been showing a lot of promise all along and when he broke in that first Gold there, in my mind he was going to be first or second, the way he was starting to change gears. Unfortunately I think it was my fault, I might have just startled him a bit," reflected trainer-driver Mayotte, who also shares ownership of the gelding with his partners in the Just In Time Stable of Mississauga and R A W Equine of Burlington, Ontario. "We decided to go to the Grassroots instead of going to Georgian to keep him on the big track; he's a fairly big colt." Mayotte noted that the long-legged son of E L Titan will also miss the Sept. 24 Gold Leg over Grand River Raceway's half-mile, but is eligible to the Aug. 31 Champlain Stakes and the Sept. 8 William Wellwood Memorial eliminations at Woodbine Mohawk Park. So long as he remains happy and healthy Okeanos will return to the Gold Series for the Oct. 4 event at Woodbine Mohawk Park, hoping to score another top finish and tally enough points to land one of 10 berths in the season ending Super Final. Through his first two Gold starts the gelding, a $62,000 purchase from the London Selected Yearling Sale, has accumulated 51 points. Okeanos Forbidden Trade padded his point total with a 1:57.4 victory in the first Gold division, besting Cool Clifford by one and three-quarter lengths. Isnt He An Angel was seven lengths back in third. Bob McClure piloted the heavy favourite to his second Gold Series win for trainer Luc Blais and owner Determination of Montreal, Quebec. The Kadabra colt also triumphed in the July 16 season opener. "He's been a complete professional right from the start, he acts like an aged horse," said McClure, who felt the colt may have been at his most impressive in the July 29 Gold Leg at Georgian Downs, where he finished fourth. "Last week was probably his most impressive mile, he was just beat a head for second. Three of the previous week's winners were in together and he had the nine-hole and got away last," the Elora resident told Woodbine Mohawk Park's Chad Rozema in the winner's circle. "I think he showed he's one of the best, if not the best colt in the division right now." A $110,000 purchase out of the Harrisburg Yearling Sale, Forbidden Trade has accumulated 108 points and $65,076 in his first three starts. Forbidden Trade The final division saw Royal Rob make a successful transition from the Grassroots to the Gold, scoring a second straight victory in 1:56.3. Knight Angel was two and one-quarter lengths behind the fan favourite in second and pacesetter CT Conabra was third. "He's a nice colt. He's smart and has a great gait," said driver Trevor Henry, who also piloted Royal Rob to a Grassroots victory at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 31. "He has all the tools to be a good one." Hall of Fame horseman Bob McIntosh of Windsor bred Royal Rob and shares ownership of the Royalty For Life son with Dave Boyle of Bowmanville, Ontario, Gordon Wright of Charlotte and Randy Liepa of Livonia, Michigan. Thursday's victory gives the trotter 50 points toward a Super Final berth with two regular season events remaining. Royal Rob On Friday evening Woodbine Mohawk Park will showcase the two-year-old trotting fillies in a pair of Gold Series divisions, scheduled as Races 5 and 9 on the 7:30 pm program. For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

AUGUST 4, 2018 - Balmy temperatures set the stage for fast harness racing miles at Woodbine Mohawk Park during the Campbellville oval's Civic Holiday celebration Saturday night, and none of them were faster than the 1:48.3 clocked by Jimmy Freight in his fourth straight Gold Series victory. Firing away from Post 6 in the second $96,400 Gold division, Jimmy Freight took command before the :26.1 quarter and driver Louis Philippe Roy opted to maintain the sharp pace through a :54.1 half and 1:21.3 three-quarters. Turning for home just over two lengths on top, Jimmy Freight had opened up a three and three-quarter length margin on pocket-sitter Backstreet Shadow by the 1:48.3 finish. The Downtown Bus was four more lengths back in third. "The only thing I didn't like with Backstreet Shadow, Doug's (McNair) horse, being on my back is that that horse can be really quick," said Roy to Woodbine Mohawk Park's Jason Portuondo in the winner's circle. "So I just wanted to make sure we didn't turn it into a sprint for the last quarter, because I think that horse, for a quarter or an eighth, he can be as fast as Jimmy. The only thing, I don't think for now he can handle, he can't carry that speed. "All of these horses, most of them can come a 26 second last quarter, just the same as Jimmy, so if he is too far (back) going into the last turn, I think that is the only way he can get beat," the reinsman added. Jimmy Freight will make his next start against some of the top colts in North America in the Carl Milstein Memorial at Northfield Park next Saturday, August 4, and the Sportswriter son will be looking to improve on the fourth-place finish he posted in the July 14 Meadowlands Pace. "Jimmy is leaving Tuesday morning, going to Andrew Harris for the Carl Milstein Memorial at Northfield Park Saturday," said trainer Richard Moreau. "We are hoping for a good post, fingers crossed." Adriano Sorella of Milton, Ontario owns Jimmy Freight, who has posted seven wins, one second, two thirds and one fourth in 11 starts this season, banking $306,639. With his flawless record of four wins in four Gold Series starts the colt also has a commanding 200 points in the division standings. Jimmy Freight The first Gold division was captured by St Lads Neptune, making his first visit to the winner's circle since the season opener at Flamboro Downs on May 20. Starting from Post 5, St Lads Neptune and driver Jody Jamieson landed in third behind early pacesetter When You Dance. The pair remained on the rail through the :28.2 quarter, :56 half and 1:23 three-quarters, but when space opened up behind the duelling leaders in the stretch Jamieson fired the fan favourite into an open lane and St Lads Neptune sprinted to a one and one-half length victory in a personal best 1:50.3. Yacht Seelster finished second and When You Dance rounded out the top three. "I'm ecstatic," said driver Jamieson, who shares ownership of St Lads Neptune with his father Carl Jamieson of Rockwood and Menary Racing Inc. of Rockton, Ontario. "He responded well after a tough trip to, and at, Ottawa two weeks ago (July 22) - he scoped sick with a guttural pouch infection and pimples and the lot. After being treated with antibiotics for over a week we couldn't train him like we would have normally, so we were concerned about his fitness. "That's one of the reasons I was hesitant to move him tonight, even as the betting favourite," the Moffat resident continued. "Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good, and lately I've need to be quite lucky." The win brings the Mach Three son's sophomore record to two wins and three seconds in eight starts for earnings of $149,020. With a total of 130 Gold Series points, St Lads Neptune sits second in the division standings. The top 10 point earners following the fifth Gold leg, at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept. 1, will advance to the season ending Super Final. St Lads Neptune Next on Woodbine Mohawk Park's Ontario Sires Stakes calendar is the third Grassroots event for the two-year-old trotting fillies on Tuesday, August 7. The fillies will compete in Races 2, 6, and 8 on the 7:30 pm program. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

JULY 29, 2018 - Competing under fair skies and on a fast harness racing track at Georgian Downs on Sunday evening, the Ontario Sire Stakes two-year-old trotting colts and geldings took their game to a whole new level. Kicking things off in the first $67,200 division was Jumpshot, who sprinted home to a neck victory in 1:58.2, a full second faster than any of the miles clocked in the first Gold Leg, which was raced over a rain soaked Woodbine Mohawk Park oval. Starting at Post 6, Jumpshot and driver Sylvain Filion got away in the middle of the nine-horse field and watched Montevideo lead the field to a :29.3 quarter and a 1:00.1 half. Heading for the 1:29 three-quarters fan favourite Tymal Houdini took control of the pace and Filion moved Jumpshot out behind attacker Allthefixins. Turning for home less than two lengths separated the top three colts, but it was Jumpshot who closed hardest to claim the victory. Tymal Houdini settled for second and Allthefixins was one-half length back in third. "He was always a nice trotter and last time I raced him in Mohawk, when I removed to the front, he didn't really want to clear, he tried to pull up a bit," said Filion. "So tonight I was being extra careful to make sure he had cover and we were lucky enough to get a second over trip, which helped a lot, and he felt really strong." Filion drives Jumpshot for trainer Jean Francois Maguire and owner Ecuries Richelieu Inc. of Venise-En-Quebec, Quebec. The son of E L Titan finished third in the Gold Series season opener, getting caught in the stretch by Forbidden Trade and Tymal Houdini when he eased up. Prior to the July 16 season opener, Jumpstart had finished third in a June 21 overnight event and won a July 5 contest, both at Woodbine Mohawk Park, so Filion is confident that he will be able to add to his $48,544 in earnings. "He's very athletic and he's got all the abilities to go fast, he's just got to put it all together," noted Milton, Ontario resident Filion. "Like most two-year-olds, they're all still learning and they each learn at their own rate. Sometimes you need to be patient." The second division saw Dream Nation scorch around the Georgian Downs oval to a 1:56.3 victory, equalling the track record for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings. Southwind Avenger finished three and one-half lengths behind the fan favourite and Tymal Tullo was another half-length back in third. Louis Philippe Roy was in his usual spot in Dream Nation's race bike. Through three starts the pair has tallied three straight victories, two in Gold Series action, and $66,700 for trainer Jacques Dupont and owners Les Ecuries Dorleans Inc. of Repentigny, Ecurie CSL of Sorel-Tracy, Gestion C. Levesque 2005inc of St-Hyacinthe and Marc Camirand of Montreal, Quebec. The son of Archangel and Mississippi Dream was a $42,000 purchase at the 2017 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. The final division saw CT Conabra go gate-to-wire from Post 2, sailing home six and three-quarter lengths ahead of Magical Journey in 1:57.4. A Royal Line was five more lengths back in third. The win was CT Conabra's first, and came as a relief to driver Jody Jamieson, who had been alarmed when the Kadabra colt faded to sixth in the Gold Series season opener. "He's always been training down like a monster, so when he raced quite sub-par last time out I was very concerned," admitted Jamieson. "Dad (Carl Jamieson) said that he had been sick and that he couldn't train him at all between the qualifier (July 3) and the first OSS, so he felt that was the only issue. "I was as nervous for tonight's race as I can remember being for a race in a long time," the driver continued. "I always thought he was the second coming, so I felt him and I both had a lot of explaining to do if he raced sub-par again. Thankfully he was tremendous tonight and I really didn't have any anxious moments after the gate got away." The Moffat resident shares ownership of CT Conabra with his father, trainer Carl Jamieson of Rockwood, Ontario. The elder Jamieson purchased the colt from last fall's Harrisburg Yearling Sale for $18,000 after he was sent back into the sales ring for a second time. "I wasn't really going to buy any horses at the Harrisburg Sale, I just happened to be there, putting in time, and I seen this horse come in and I looked at him and I said, geez that's a nice colt," the elder Jamieson recalled. "I didn't bid him and it was stuck at $17,000 in the back, two guys at the back had a tie bid, so they said we're selling this horse again. When they sell a horse again it's usually just between them two guys, but the horse come in to sell him and they kind of waited what seemed like five minutes, and I said $18,000 - sold. So I made one bid and got him." Once CT Conabra arrived at Jamieson's farm he soon became convinced that his impulse buy had been an excellent decision. The colt was flawless from his first day in harness. "I think I could've went in 3:00 minutes the day I broke him. He was a beautiful gaited horse, just beautiful gaited, easy, everything. I loved him," recalled the trainer. "So we paid him up in everything, the Hambletonian for next year, all that kind of stuff. He's a very nice horse." CT Conabra and his peers will have another opportunity to impress their connections in the third Gold Series leg on August 9 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Ontario Sires Stakes excitement returns to Georgian Downs on Tuesday, August 14 with the third Grassroots event 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: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

JULY 27, 2018 - After capturing a division of the Grassroots season opener, two-year-old trotting filly Teddys Littleangel made a successful transition to the Gold Series with a victory at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday evening. Starting from Post 4 in the first of three $67,200 splits, Teddys Littleangel landed in fourth as Giving It All took the field of eight to a :28.1 opening quarter. Teddys Littleangel was still sitting in the middle of the pack at the :58.1 half, but driver Paul MacDonell soon had the filly rolling along up the outside behind the fans' second choice Kenogami Darling and she reached the 1:28.1 three-quarters less than four lengths behind Giving It All. Rolling off the final turn MacDonell pointed Teddys Littleangel at the wire and the Archangel daughter powered home to a 1:57.4 victory, holding off a late charge from Silver, who finished one-half length back in second. Royal Rhythm was a length behind the duelling leaders in third. "Well, with a two-year-old you never know what to expect really, but it didn't shock me, she'd been training well heading into it, and hopefully we have her over a few of her little quirks," said trainer Ted MacDonnell of the filly's 1:57.4 effort. "I wasn't even, time wise I really didn't even look at it that much to see, I was just more interested in the win." The mile took almost three full seconds off the 2:00.3 mile Teddys Littleangel recorded in her Grassroots victory at Georgian Downs on July 14 and was the quickest of Friday's Gold divisions. With victories in both of her starts the daughter of Archangel and Pine Knolls has earned $42,825 for owner-breeder Leonard Gamble of Etobicoke, Ontario. Friday's victory was not only the first Gold win for Teddys Littleangel, it was the first for veteran horseman MacDonnell. "I've knocked on the door a lot of times, but that's the first Gold win I've had so it was pretty exciting," said the Allenford, Ontario resident, who admitted even driver MacDonell was surprised to hear that a Gold win was missing from his resume. "Even Paul Mac said that, he said, 'No you're kidding', I said, 'No it's true'. I've won big races before, just not a Gold. So that was nice." Teddys Littleangel and MacDonnell will aim to add to their Gold Series win total when the freshman trotting fillies return to Woodbine Mohawk Park on August 10 for their third Gold leg. A five-time winner of the Lampman Cup as the leading driver in the Ontario Sires Stakes program, Sylvain Filion is no stranger to the Gold Series winner's circle and he made two more visits on Friday evening. In the second division the Milton, Ontario resident sent Petro Hall straight to the front from Post 5 and never looked back. The fan favourites rolled through fractions of :29.3, 1:00.1 and 1:30.1 on their way to a one and one-half length victory in 1:59.2. HP Bruxelles finished second and Angel For Life was well back in third. "I had seen her race and I baby-raced her early on (June 14) and I always liked her. And I felt that, in the field that she was in tonight, that if I could get her to the front and control the pace that she would be tough to beat," said Filion of the gate-to-wire effort. "She can leave fast and she can settle in good, so that's a big plus for a two-year-old trotting filly." Filion engineered the victory for trainer Victor Puddy of Mountain and owners Lloyd Stone of Portland, James Ruhl of Tara, Dr. Charles Hall of Erin and Michael Kwietniowski of Guelph, Ontario who acquired the daughter of Angus Hall from the 2017 London Selected Yearling Sale for $15,000. Sixth in a conditioned event at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 6 and a narrowly beaten second in the Gold Series season opener at Georgian Downs on July 15, Petro Hall has already accumulated $50,200 in her brief career. After donning his mud gear Filion eased Presto Change O away from Post 6 in the last division and sat briefly in third as favourite Strip It Down AS trotted to a :30.1 opening quarter. Heading for the 1:00.3 half the reinsman sent Presto Change O after the lead and the filly had put more than two lengths between herself and the field by the 1:30 three-quarters, a margin she carried through to a 2:00.3 victory. Angies Luckeylady closed well to be second and Strip It Down AS was a distant third over a rain-soaked oval which had been downgraded from fast to sloppy between Races six and seven. "She's not as handy as the other one and she can be a little grabby," said Filion of the Paul Reid trainee. "Last time in Georgian (July 15) we got interfered with leaving the gate, but I felt she didn't trot as good, she didn't get a hold of the track too good, so I think Paul made a few adjustments and tonight she was pretty good. "We got in the three-hole and then the horse in front was trying to pull up a bit and mine was getting a little aggressive so I moved her to the front, and once I cleared it was home free," he continued. "She's a big strong filly, she's still learning. She's not as handy as the other one, but I think she'll learn and she'll be a very good filly later on." Paul Reid trains the Kadabra daughter for owner-breeder Robert Key of Leechburg, Pennsylvania and through three starts Presto Change O has earned $37,100. Next up on Woodbine Mohawk Park's Ontario Sires Stakes calendar are the two-year-old trotting colts, who will compete in their second Grassroots event on Tuesday, July 31. The colts will compete in Races 2, 6 and 9 on the program, which gets under way at 7:30 pm. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

JULY 23, 2018 - Ontario Sired two-year-old pacing colts took over Woodbine Mohawk Park on Monday evening, competing for a total of $337,850 in two Gold and eight Grassroots divisions. Bronx Seelster moved to the top of the division standings with his second straight Gold Series victory in the evening's eighth race. Driver Trevor Henry eased the colt away from Post 7 and settled him in fifth as Arcane Seelster led the field to a :26.4 opening quarter. Heading for the :56.1 half Henry moved the fan favourite into the outer lane and then edged the colt out three-wide heading by the 1:24.2 three quarters. Just three-quarters of a length behind pacesetter Arcane Seelster at the top of the stretch, Bronx Seelster sprinted home to a one and three-quarter length victory in 1:52. Caviart Rockland also closed hard to be second and The Regulator was third. "I like the little horse, he's all right, and he raced great tonight," said Arthur, Ontario resident Henry from the winner's circle. "He's just a little horse, but he's got a good brush to him." Henry piloted Bronx Seelster to the win for trainer Wayne McGean of Sydney Mines and Capers 3 Stable of Sydney, Nova Scotia, who offered up $22,000 for the colt at last fall's London Selected Yearling Sale. The son of Big Jim and Tarport Baccarat now has two Gold wins and one second in overnight action on his resume through four lifetime starts, giving him earnings of $86,500. "January on I liked the colt, and I had opportunity to go away on trips and I wouldn't go, because I liked this colt," admitted McGean to Woodbine Mohawk Park's Chad Rozema. "And he come along the way I thought he would really; he's all right." Bettors Wish earned the win in the other $98,800 Gold division when Stag Party was ruled to have interfered with him near the halfway marker. As a result Stag Party, who crossed the line one-half length in front, was place back to second and Bettors Wish was moved up to first. Sunshines Finest was two lengths behind the duelling leaders when they crossed the wire in 1:51.2. The win was the second lifetime for Bettors Wish, who captured a July 5 overnight event at Woodbine Mohawk Park before finishing third to Stag Party in the July 12 Gold Series opener. Guelph resident Paul MacDonell has piloted the Bettors Delight son in all three of his outings on behalf of trainer Chantal Mitchell of Hamilton, Ontario. Chris Ryder of Allentown, New Jersey, Bella Racing Ltd. of Delaware, Ohio, Fair Island Farm Inc. of Versailles, Kentucky and Kenneth Solomon of Coral Springs, Florida share ownership of Bettors Wish, who was a $20,000 US purchase at the 2017 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. Better Moonon Over paced to one of the fastest miles of the eight Grassroots divisions, rolling out of the pocket in the stretch and pulling away from pacesetter Moonshine Kisses to a three-quarter length victory in 1:52.4. Face the Challenge finished two more lengths back in third. Campbellville resident Chris Christoforou, Jr. crafted the win for trainer Blake MacIntosh of Cambridge, and MacIntosh admitted he was pleasantly surprised with the Betterthancheddar son's effort. "He was in the second group (training down) and he was a nice colt, but he just didn't show the speed," said the trainer. "I was as shocked as anybody today when he win in 1:52.4, that was a good mile out there for a two-year-old. "I'm really happy for Dan and Kim, they've had some rough luck the last couple years and this colt looks like he's going to be a nice little colt for them," MacIntosh added, referring to the gelding's owner-breeders Kim and Dan Sergeant of Straffordville, Ontario. "He does everything right, and he tries every time, and he's just one of those little colts that keeps improving every start." Better Moonon Over will make his fourth lifetime start in the Battle of Waterloo eliminations at Grand River Raceway on July 30, along with his stablemates Sports Hero, Da Delightful and Fast N First, who finished second, third and fifth in their respective Grassroots divisions on Monday. The other Grassroots divisions were captured by Prairie Midnight in 1:54.1, Quickstar Bluechip in 1:55.3, JMs Delight in 1:52.4, Battle Strong in 1:53, Machdavid in 1:53.3, Cliffhanger in 1:54 and Keystone Concrete in 1:53.1. The two-year-old pacing colts and gelding will make their third Grassroots start on August 14 at Georgian Downs, while the Gold Series competitors make their third start on August 15 at Grand River Raceway. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Tuesday evening with three Grassroots divisions for the two-year-old trotting fillies. The fillies will open the program at 7:30 pm in the first race and will also compete in Races 2 and 8. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

JULY 22, 2018 - After two weeks spent south of the border taking on the best three-year-old pacing colts in North America, Jimmy Freight returned to the Ontario Sires Stakes program on Sunday and delivered his third straight commanding Gold Series victory, circling the Rideau Carleton Raceway oval in 1:50.3. The clocking was a new track record for three-year-old pacers. Driver Louis Philippe Roy sent Jimmy Freight directly to the front from Post 2 and the heavy favourite cruised through fractions of :27.4, :56.4 and 1:23.3 on his way to the two and three-quarter length victory. Sharp Action Money finished second and JM Jack Of Hearts was four more lengths back in third. "Louis turned around a few times to make sure he was having good control of this race, and it worked out perfect," said trainer Richard Moreau. Puslinch resident Moreau conditions Jimmy Freight for Adriano Sorella of Milton, Ontario. Through 10 starts this season the Sportswriter son has posted six wins, one second and two thirds, banking $258,439. Prior to Sunday's start he had been in New Jersey competing in The Meadowlands Pace where he finished third in his July 7 elimination and fourth in the July 14 final. "I guess he has to get used to travel now," said the trainer with a chuckle. "I think we have Mohawk next, for another Gold (August 4), and then going back to the States on the 11th. It's (Carl Milstein Memorial) an eight horse field and they go for $400,000 US." Sunday's victory made Jimmy Freight the fastest sophomore pacing colt to tour Rideau Carleton Raceway and was just one-fifth of a second shy of the 1:50.2 three-year-old track record set by Camluck gelding Michaels Power in a Gold Final on August 26, 2012. The second $96,400 Gold division was captured by The Downtown Bus, who led the field through fractions of :26.2, :55.2 and 1:23.2, fighting off challenges from Pretty Handsome and favourite St Lads Neptune before pacing away in the stretch to a two and three-quarter length victory in 1:51.1. Taste Of History and Grantmeawish closed well to secure second and third. "He raced great. I used him up a couple of times and he still held them off," said driver Doug McNair. "It was a huge effort tonight." Guelph resident McNair piloted The Downtown Bus to his first-ever Ontario Sires Stakes win for trainer Jeff Gillis of Mississauga, Ontario and Ellen Ott of Buffalo, New York. Gillis and Ott also bred the son of Mach Three. In 14 sophomore starts The Downtown Bus now has five wins, two seconds and four thirds for earnings of $103,315. In addition to the pair of Gold Series divisions, Rideau Carleton Raceway also hosted three Grassroots splits for the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings, and after starting their season at the Gold level, both When You Dance and Casimir Richie P found success in their respective Grassroots divisions. Fan favourite When You Dance hit the wire three and one-quarter lengths ahead of Pokerface Bluechip and Stock in 1:52. Guy Gagnon piloted the Mach Three son to the win for trainer Ben Wallace of Puslinch, Ontario, Daniel Plouffe of Bromont, Quebec and Birnam Wood Farms of Boca Raton, FL. Also sent off as the favourite, Casimir Richie P romped home to a six and one-quarter length victory in 1:52.3 for driver Tyler Moore of Campbellville, trainer Dr. Ian Moore of Cambridge and their partner Michael Goldberg of Toronto, Ontario. My Teen Idol was second and Mighty Mach third. The final $18,450 division saw Hudson Phil earn his second Grassroots victory of the season with a pacesetting 1:52.3 effort that saw him hit the wire one and one-quarter lengths ahead of Gold Rush and Luka Shenko. Guelph resident James MacDonald crafted the win for trainer Mark Steacy of Lansdowne, Ontario and owner-breeders Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, Quebec. Both a Grassroots and a Gold winner at two, Hudson Phil had made one appearance at each level before Sunday's victory. "Phil's always been a nice colt, but just a touch behind a few of the Gold horses, so we'll try the Grassroots for the time being," said Steacy. "He will go back to Hippodrome 3R for his next start and then return to Mohawk." On July 15 Hudson Phil captured his division of the first leg of the Coupe Des Eleveurs at Hippodrome 3R and will return to the Quebec oval for the July 29 second leg. The Gold Series colts and geldings will compete in their fourth event on August 4 at Woodbine Mohawk Park, while the Grassroots competitors make their fourth start at Clinton Raceway on August 5. Ontario Sires Stakes excitement returns to Rideau Carleton Raceway on Sunday, August 26 with the fourth Gold and Grassroots legs for the three-year-old trotting colts. From the Ontatio Sire Stakes

JULY 21, 2018 - Georgian Downs hosted both the Gold and Grassroots legs for the thee-year-old trotting fillies on Saturday evening and Illusioneesta took sole control of top spot in the Gold Series standings with her second straight victory in the provincial program. Starting from Post 3 in the second $95,600 Gold division, Illusioneesta and driver Chris Christoforou, Jr. employed their usual come-from-behind tactics, getting away in the middle of the pack and allowing Magical Lady to ring up fractions of :28, :59.1 and 1:28.4 before shifting into high gear and sprinting home to a one length victory in 1:58. Magical Lady settled for second and pocket-sitter Gotta Pay To Play was third. "That's what she do, she don't like to go early, she likes to race at the end of it, and that's where the money is," said trainer Per Henriksen of the fan favourite. She's nice, very nice, and she's made a pile of money so far this year, and quite a few Golds and the Super Final left, if everything goes right." Norwood resident Henriksen conditions Illusioneesta for Harbor Racing Stable LLC of Aurora and Asa Farm of Norwood, Ontario. Through eight sophomore starts the Kadabra daughter has tallied four wins and three thirds for earnings of $191,546. "And you know, she's just such a pleasure to be around and don't have no issues or nothing," added Henriksen. "The only thing we've got to watch with her is that we don't feed her too much, because she'd look like a drum if you'd let her." With two wins and one second through the first three Gold events Illusioneesta has accumulated 125 points, putting her almost 50 points ahead of the competition with two events remaining. In the first Gold division, Collateral Beauty earned her first-ever Ontario Sires Stakes victory with a come-from-behind trip that saw her reel in the leaders through the stretch and trot under the wire in 1:58. Apprentice M finished two and three-quarter lengths back in second and Town Hall Justice was third. "She raced phenomenal for me, I was extremely happy. She's very nice to drive," said reinsman Rick Zeron, who drove the filly to the win for trainer Herb Holland and owner Carolyn MacIsaac of Milton, Ontario. "She seems to be just getting better and better every week, and I was extremely happy for Herb and Carolyn, because they're hard-working people and they love their horses." The win was the Kadabra daughter's first through six starts this season and boosts her lifetime earnings to $79,504. Seventh in the Gold Series season opener, the win also bumped Collateral Beauty up to 52 points, putting her among the top 10 point earners. All three Grassroots divisions were also captured by first-time OSS winners. Fan favourite Stormont Charlotte led off with a 1:57.3 victory in the first $19,150 division for driver Scott Coulter and owner-trainer Alan Fair of Ancaster, Ontario. The Justice Hall daughter bested Hopes Solo and Power And Grace. In the second division Robert Shepherd steered fan favourite Pretty N Well to a 2:00.4 score for trainer Mark Johnson and owner-breeder Denise Ball of Bailieboro, Ontario. Northern Lightning finished second and Gradabra was third, giving Ontario trotting sire Kadabra a sweep of the top three spots. The final Grassroots division saw Sharpes Summer Series winner Superlative retain her hold on the Georgian Downs winner's circle. Making her Ontario Sires Stakes debut, Superlative allowed P L Layla to control the early tempo, leading the field through fractions of :28.1, :57.4 and 1:27 before kicking into gear in the final quarter and storming home to a three length victory in 1:57.3. P L Layla settled for second and Frick was third. Thornton resident Stephen Byron was in Superlative's race bike for the win, as he has been for all five of her lifetime starts. After a bobble in her May 21 debut the Holiday Road daughter has been flawless, sweeping both legs and the final of the Sharpes Summer Series and Saturday's Grassroots division. Rob Walker, Jr. of Sharon trains Superlative for his partners Brilo Farms of Sharon and A J Cachia Sales Ltd. of Newmarket, Ontario. Superlative and her peers will have an opportunity to add to their Grassroots point tally in the fourth event on August 27 at Grand River Raceway, while the Gold Series fillies will compete in their fourth event at Woodbine Mohawk Park on August 16. Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Georgian Downs next Sunday, July 29 with the second Gold event for the two-year-old trotting colts. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

JULY 20, 2018 - Three-year-old harness racing filly Kendall Seelster paced into the Ontario Sires Stakes history books at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday evening, laying down a record setting 1:49.4 mile to win her $94,800 Gold Series division. The mile took two-fifths of a second off the 1:50.1 clocked by former Ontario Sires Stakes star Michelles Power over the Campbellville oval in 2007 and was just the latest in a series of outsized accomplishments by the diminutive Kendall Seelster, who hit the wire three and one-half lengths ahead of favourite Shower Play and Sudden Passing. "She's still a medium-sized, compact filly, she was probably one of the smallest ones in that race," said trainer Paul Reid, who conditions Kendall Seelster for 1187422 Ontario Inc. of Ottawa, Ontario. "She's the exception to the rule." The victory, which saw the pocket-sitting Kendall Seelster and driver Randy Waples sprint up the inside when pacesetter Sudden Passing drifted to the right in the stretch, was the filly's first in Gold Series action this season. In the May 20 season opener at The Raceway at Western Fair District she finished third and in the June 23 leg at Woodbine Mohawk Park she faded to sixth after doing all the work on the front end. Following the June 23 result Reid sent the daughter of Shadow Play and Kiddie Cocktail out in two overnight races at Woodbine Mohawk Park, on July 6 and 14. Using near-identical come-from-behind tactics in both races, Milton resident Waples guided the filly to two victories, the first in 1:51.4 and the second in 1:51.2. "She definitely needed to get bravened up, and she needed the work honestly. She just was lacking some speed work when I got her, some speed miles, so we just basically had to race her into shape," explained Reid, who returned to Ontario from Florida in early May. "She just wasn't into what I wanted race shape, and the extra miles, you'd like to have them in May, but it ended up we had to do them in the last couple weeks. Now hopefully we can carry on from here." Now that she has regained the form that saw her win two Gold Series divisions, a Champlain Stakes division and $453,985 at two, Reid expects Kendall Seelster will see action in a few more overnight events at Woodbine Mohawk Park before the fourth Gold Leg at Georgian Downs on August 19. For his part, trainer Jack Darling was quite happy Write Me A Song had landed in the other Gold division on Friday. "Both divisions are tough, but the other one I thought was tougher, obviously, they went 1:49.4," said the Cambridge resident. "Kendall was pretty awesome tonight." While Kendall Seelster sat in the pocket through fractions of :26.4, 56.1 and 1:23.2, sprinting home in 26 seconds to the 1:49.4 record, Write Me A Song took command of the first division early. Last year's division champion Percy Bluechip led the field to a :27.4 quarter, but driver Jody Jamieson soon had Write Me A Song on the move and the filly was comfortably out front by the :57 half. Continuing to lead through the 1:24.1 three-quarters, Write Me A Song dug in down the stretch to hold off a fast closing Play The Bell and secure the 1:51.2 victory. Kendall Seelster's stablemate Just Her Luck completed the top three. "I was hopeful. She won that race in Clinton (July 8 Kin Pace Final) and she was very good, but she was stepping up to a lot tougher competition," noted Darling, who also owns the Sportswriter daughter. "I was really happy with her. She's a very honest filly." Darling made two more appearances in the Woodbine Mohawk Park winner's circle Friday, the first with three-year-old pacing filly Neon Moon, who won an overnight event in preparation for her next Grassroots start, and the second with two-year-old pacing filly Powerful Chris, who delivered an impressive 1:52.1 victory in the last of three $68,000 Gold Series divisions for the novice pacing lasses. Darling bought a share in Powerful Chris after a commanding victory in her July 10 Grassroots division caused owner-trainer John Pentland to be inundated with offers to purchase the daughter of Betterthancheddar and Cell Power. "Obviously she was very impressive last week so he was getting some pretty good offers for her, but he wanted to keep her himself to race, which I don't blame him," explained Darling. "So anyway, he called me and offered me a piece of her, and I was pretty impressed with her last week, so I took a piece. "I think he did me a favour by offering me a piece of her. She was just awesome again tonight," admitted Darling, who has known Dorchester, Ontario resident Pentland since his earliest days in the business. "She just looks like something special so far." Bob McClure of Elora, Ontario, who has driven Powerful Chris in all of her qualifiers and races, also acquired a share of the filly through his Syllabus Stable. The other two-year-old pacing filly Gold divisions went to Springbridge Sassy in 1:53.4 and Crisp Mane in 1:52.3. The novice pacing fillies make their third Gold Series start at Grand River Raceway on August 15. Woodbine Mohawk Park features another big card of Ontario Sires Stakes racing on Monday, July 23 with eight Grassroots and two Gold Series divisions for the two-year-old pacing colts. The Grassroots colts will kick things off at 7:30 pm in the first race and carry on through Races 2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 10 and 11, while the Gold colts square off in Races 4 and 8. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

JULY 18, 2018 - Grand River Raceway hosted its first Ontario Sires Stakes event of the season on Wednesday evening and local drivers Bob McClure and Doug McNair swept six of the nine Gold and Grassroots divisions. McClure teamed up with trainer Keith Jones of Barrie and owner Douglas McCarthy of Holland Landing, Ontario to sweep both of the three-year-old trotting colt and gelding Gold divisions. In the first $94,800 split McClure left strongly from Post 3 with Henderson Seelster and settled the colt in second as Sicario sprinted out to a :28 quarter, :58.3 half and 1:28.1 three-quarters. In the stretch McClure sent Henderson Seelster around the tiring pacesetter and the colt powered home to a one and one-quarter length victory in 1:57.2. Heavy favourite Run Director was second and Barney Mac rounded out the top three. "Both of Keith's are really good on a half, he has them set up and good gaited, so half-miles are an advantage to those two for sure," noted McClure. "Henderson can get a bit hot, so the pace didn't slow down very much and when he got out, he really exploded out of the hole, I didn't expect it, but he raced super. I was really happy with him." Henderson Seelster did not race in the Ontario Sires Stakes as a two-year-old, but in three sophomore starts at the Gold Series level the son of Holiday Road has now tallied one seventh, one third and one win. Wednesday's triumph boosted the trotter's lifetime earnings to $102,454. The second $95,600 Gold division saw McClure fire Joey Bats out of Post 6 and control the tempo, laying down fractions of :28.3, 1:00 and 1:29.2 on the way to a two length victory in 1:58. Fan favourite Stormont Ventnor was second and Winning American finished third. "He's a really nice horse to drive," said McClure. "At Woodbine Mohawk (Park), the stretch sometimes gets a little long for him, but he's really good gaited and he's really manageable and, like I say, he gets around a half like a hoop on a barrel, so I expected him to race good today and he did, we were really moving going into that last turn. "He got cheap fractions, which didn't hurt, but he did race really well," the Elora resident added. "Once he got the half in a minute I figured they'd have to do some racing to catch him." Like his stablemate, Holiday Road gelding Joey Bats did not race in the Ontario Sires Stakes last season, but he now has one win, one third and one seventh to his credit through three Gold Series appearances this season, boosting his earnings to $107,140. McClure completed the Ontario Sires Stakes hat trick in the fifth $18,450 two-year-old pacing filly Grassroots division, guiding Royalty Again to her first lifetime win in a 1:59.2 clocking. Favourite Rella Tivity was one-half length back in second and Sugar Shadow, driven by Doug McNair, was third. "She had a lot of racing luck which never hurts," admitted McClure. "It couldn't have worked out any better for her, but when she did get room she paced forward, so you can't knock her, she won." McClure crafted the victory for trainer Leon Mansfield and Antonia Smith of Strathroy, Ontario, who offered up $6,000 for the Royal Mattjesty daughter at last fall's London Selected Yearling Sale. McNair collected his three Ontario Sires Stakes wins in the Grassroots divisions, guiding Bens Jenna, Kylie Seelster and Sports Flix to victory in the first, sixth and seventh splits. Bens Jenna recorded the quickest mile of the seven divisions, hitting the wire in 1:57.1, one and one-quarter lengths ahead of Ideation Hanover and Paris Rose. Ron Adams of LaSalle conditions the Mach Three daughter for David Kryway of Amherstburg and 1362313 Ontario Ltd. of Windsor, Ontario, who acquired the filly for $16,000 from the 2017 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. Kylie Seelster paced home in the second fastest time, fighting off a top-of-the-stretch challenge from Whitehaven Beach to reach the wire two lengths the best in 1:57.4. Favourite Whitehaven Beach settled for second and Karans Choice was third. Gregg McNair of Guelph trains Kylie Seelster for his partner Keith Waples of Puslinch and Dr. Chris Robson of London, Ontario. The trio purchased the filly from the London Selected Yearling Sale last fall for $44,000. "The first filly is a handy little filly and she raced good, that was a good trip," said Doug McNair about Bens Jenna. "The second filly (Kylie Seelster) raced tough. She's been off a couple of weeks, so it was another impressive mile tonight." One race later the McNairs returned to the winner's circle with Sports Flix, who paced home one and one-half lengths ahead of favourite Lady Maya and Southwind Thundra, driven by McClure, in 2:00.3. James Fraleigh of Dresden, Ontario owns the daughter of Sportswriter and $1.3 million winner Moving Pictures, offering up $13,000 for her at the London Selected Yearling Sale. "She's been getting better since her first qualifier (June 29) and she got a good trip tonight," said McNair. "They didn't go as much as the rest, but she got the job done." The other three Grassroots divisions went to Better Now in 1:59.1, Jessicas Legacy in 1:58 and Twin B Friendly in 1:58.3. Heading into the evening's final race, a preferred trot, tied with three wins each, McNair and McClure put on a show for Grand River fans. First and second turning for home, McClure urged favourite Katch Kanna home to a one length victory in 1:59, leaving McNair to settle for second with pacesetter Spartan Victory. "Me and Dougie both had three going into the last. He cut the mile and I got by him late, and I was doing some chirping, I think," said McClure with a chuckle. The two-year-old pacing fillies make their third Grassroots start on August 20 at Woodbine Mohawk Park, while the three-year-old trotting colts will make their fourth Gold Series appearance on August 26 at Rideau Carleton Raceway. Grand River Raceway's second Ontario Sires Stakes event is on Monday, August 6, when the third three-year-old pacing filly Grassroots event will be part of the Elora oval's annual Industry Day celebration. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

JULY 16, 2018 - Grey skies parted to reveal a double rainbow and Ontario Sires Stakes hopefuls evolved into Gold Series winners as the two-year-old trotting colts and geldings made their provincial debut at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Monday evening. Capturing the first $52,200 Gold Series division was Lifetime Royalty and driver Doug McNair, who eased away from Post 7 and used a late sprint to propel them to a one and one-quarter length victory in 2:01. Fan Favourite Knight Angel also closed well over the rain-soaked surface to be second, while pocket-sitter Isnt He An Angel was third. "We paid for him to be a good colt, and he trained down like a good horse all winter. I was always very high on him," said trainer Scott McEneny, who offered up $100,000 for the youngster at last fall's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. "That's a good way to start the season." The Waterdown resident shares ownership of Lifetime Royalty with Brad Grant of Milton and Martwest Racing Stable of Mississauga, Ontario. The son of Royalty For Life and Cha Cha Glide has two relatives that have earned more than $1 million - American-bred What The Hill and former Ontario Sires Stakes star Majestic Son - and McEneny had a bold circle around his name in the Lexington sales catalogue. "I loved him, he was a gorgeous colt at the sale, and I just said to Brad, I said I'd really like to take him home, and we did," the trainer recalled. "We had to pay for him - $100,000 for first crop Ontario Sired was pretty good money -but he was just gorgeous, he looks the part, and he always has been the part." Prior to Monday's victory, Lifetime Royalty had posted runner-up finishes in his June 25 and July 3 qualifiers and in a July 9 two-year-old conditioned event at Woodbine Mohawk Park, giving him an early season bank balance of $29,600. The second division saw driver Louis Philippe Roy employ similar tactics with Dream Nation from Post 5. The pair got away near the back of the pack and then advanced up the outer lane, taking control around the final turn. Through the stretch the fan favourites drew away to a four and one-half length victory in 1:59.4. Tymal Tullo was second and Tennessee Titan finished third. "There's some young trotters that can get aggressive a little bit, so they drive you more than you drive them, but this one, he'll do what you want," said Roy, who drove the Archangel gelding to the win for trainer Jacques Dupont and owners Les Ecuries Dorleans Inc. of Repentigny, Ecurie CSL of Sorel-Tracy, Gestion C. Levesque 2015 Inc. of St-Hyacinthe and Marc Camirand of Montreal., Quebec. "I trained him maybe four or five times with Jacques, even before qualifying him, and every time, just perfect attitude, doing what you want." Flawless through his June 25 qualifier and a July 2 two-year-old conditioned event at Woodbine Mohawk Park, Dream Nation has earned back $33,100 of his $42,000 purchase price from the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. The third division saw another come-from-behind performance from fan favourite Southwind Avenger and driver Trevor Henry, who sat fifth through the first half of the mile and then accelerated up the outer lane to a three and one-half length victory in 1:59.4. Henry engineered the victory from Post 8 for New Jersey-based trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman and owners Mel Hartman of Ottawa, Ontario, David McDuffee of Delray Beach, Florida and Little E LLC of New York, New York, and the veteran reinsman found the victory uniquely satisfying. "I always liked the colt, when he was a yearling I went and looked at him at the sale, but I knew we wouldn't be able to afford him," explained the Arthur, Ontario resident. "I always had in the back of my head, at least if he turns out I'll have shot to drive him, because I liked the colt, I watched videos of him, I really liked him." The hammer fell at $77,000 for Southwind Avenger at the Lexington sale and the colt delivered a pair of qualifying victories at Harrah's Philadelphia before shipping north to compete in the Ontario Sires Stakes. The final division saw an impressive late sprint by Forbidden Trade land reinsman Bob McClure in the Gold Series winner's circle for the first time in his career. Starting from Post 8, McClure and the son of Kadabra and former Ontario Sires Stakes superstar Pure Ivory hit the wire in 1:59.2, reeling in Tymal Houdini and fan favourite Jumpshot. "I've had about six seconds, but no (Gold) wins," explained the 27-year-old reinsman, who drove the colt to the win for trainer Luc Blais and owner Determination of Montreal, Quebec. "He almost over trotted coming out of the turn, but it's his first lifetime start, and once he got his head down and going he was doing some trotting." A $110,000 purchase from the Harrisburg Yearling Sale, Forbidden Trade delivered a 28 second last quarter to earn the victory. All four colts will have an opportunity to add to their provincial resume in the second Gold Series event on July 29 at Georgian Downs. On Thursday the three-year-old trotting colts make their first Grassroots stop at Woodbine Mohawk Park, competing in Races 5 and 8. Thursday's first race goes behind the starting gate at 7:30 pm. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

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