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Louis-Philippe Roy won his first Super Final at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Saturday and then won two more to lay emphatic claim to the Lampman Cup title as the leading driver in the Ontario Sires Stakes program. A joyful group met the 28-year-old in the winner's circle after his first victory, as he guided two-year-old trotting filly HP Titania Runner to a narrow 1:57.4 score over Champagne Jane and favourite Presto Change O. "Those owners are maybe not the first ones, but among the first people that got me stake drives in Quebec," said Roy of owner-breeders Claude Hamel of Ayer's Cliff and Michel Damphousse of Louiseville, Quebec. "So the fact that they put confidence in me and now they are kind of rewarded with that win, I am happy for them." Woodbine-Mohawk Park fans sent the division point leader off as the second choice from Post 5 and HP Titania Runner charged from seventh to first in the last quarter to secure the championship. The E L Titan daughter wrapped up her freshman season with a record of four wins in eight starts and earnings of $248,650. While his first victory paid tribute to the past, Roy's second Super Final win had him looking toward the future. The reinsman teamed up with Keystone Concrete to deliver a giant-slaying upset in the two-year-old pacing colt and gelding division, laying down a :26.3 final quarter to collar Bettors Wish and Metro Pace winner Stag Party in 1:52. All three colts are by sire Bettors Delight. "For a while I was saying to myself, 'I will be third' and I would have been happy with a third, but then I seen Stag Party get a little tired so I said, 'I will probably get there for second', but that horse -sometimes horses they'll fight until the last one to pass, they'll just get to their head and kind of hang on a little bit, but this one he just kept going and he even went by the last horse," said Roy. "He's a really nice horse. I can't wait, if I have the opportunity, to drive him again at three." Roy drove Keystone Concrete to his fifth win in seven starts for trainer Rob Fellows of Rockwood, his wife Yolanda Fellows, and her co-owners Arpad Szabo of Bradford, Ontario and Blair Corbeil of Beaumont, Alberta. The win boosted the colt's earnings to $214,850 and Szabo was already looking forward to spending his share. "Maybe I can buy some more yearlings now because I am going to the sale tomorrow to spend the money I made. It's not going to stay in my pocket very long," said Szabo with a laugh, adding that Keystone Concrete had been something of a Cinderella story for his owners. "I never thought he was going to make it this far. He started in the Grassroots and he wound up in the Gold, and win the Gold, and beat a horse like Stag Party." Roy's third Super Final victory was the perfect end to his 2018 Ontario Sires Stakes season, coming with three-year-old pacing colt Jimmy Freight, who took him to open stake races across North America this summer. On Saturday night the pair battled harder than they had all season in the provincial program, using a late kick to nab stablemate and pacesetter Backstreet Shadow in the stretch for a one-half length victory in 1:50.2. St Lads Neptune was awarded third-place when The Downtown Bus was placed back to fifth for causing interference. "I knew I was going to float, I didn't want to rush him to go in the lead," said Roy of his strategy from Post 9. "Last start he raced really good, and the start before he got, I think, a little bit tired of racing on the front, and I really wanted not to end the season that way, like end it on a good note. He's been so much dominant in the Ontario Sires Stakes this year that I think he deserved that win." The soon-to-be Guelph resident drives Jimmy Freight for trainer Richard Moreau of Puslinch and owner Adriano Sorella of Guelph, Ontario. The Sportswriter son went undefeated through the Gold Series this season, winning four legs and the Super Final. His sophomore record stands at nine wins, four seconds and three thirds in 17 starts for earnings of $691,239. Three-year-old trotting colt point leader Run Director also wrapped up his season with a Super Final victory and owners Tom and Elizabeth Rankin of St. Catharines, Ontario were delighted to be joined in the winner's circle by the colt's namesake, Rankin Cancer Run director Mary Ann Edwards. "He emailed me one day and said, 'Would you mind if I named a male horse after you?'" recalled Edwards. "So it was an honour to be here tonight for this and this man is unbelievable, it's unbelievable what he does in our community." "She keeps saying karma, you know you'll get repaid back, so I named the horse after her and he's done nothing but win," said Tom Rankin, who was certain the colt was going to finish second at the head of the stretch. After a breather behind pacesetter Stormont Ventnor around the final turn, Run Director and driver Sylvain Filion powered down the stretch to a one and one-half length victory in 1:54.2 Stormont Ventnor settled for second and Jula Downton was well back in third. Guelph resident Ben Baillargeon conditions the Kadabra colt for the Rankins. Three-year-old pacing filly Percy Bluechip repeated as Super Final champion, going gate-to-wire in 1:52 for driver Yannick Gingras. Kendall Seelster and Quints Dream finished one length back in second and third. "I wanted to race her on the front, I really did," said Gingras of the Shadow Play daughter. "That was the game plan." The New Jersey-based reinsman drove Percy Bluechip to the win for trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable LLC of Fredericktown, PA, Weaver Bruscemi LLC of Canonsburg, PA, Purnel And Libby LLC of Delray Beach, FL and Donald Emond of Taunton, MA. Gingras picked up a second Super Final victory with two-year-old pacing filly Summer Charm, who scored a 1:52.3 upset over division point leader Better Single and Quebec Blue Chip. Dave Menary trains the Bettors Delight daughter for Thomas Dillon of Anson, ME. Kadabra daughter Smoke And Mirrors kicked off the $1.8 million night with 1:55.3 victory in the three-year-old trotting filly division, hitting the wire two and three-quarter lengths ahead of Superlative and Illusioneesta. Trevor Henry crafted the win for trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman and owners Melvin Hartman of Ottawa, David McDuffee of Delray Beach, FL and Little E LLC of New York, NY. Forbidden Trade claimed the two-year-old trotting colt and gelding crown with a 1:56.2 triumph over Southwind Avenger and Only For Justice. Bob McClure drove the Kadabra colt to the win for trainer Luc Blais and owner Determination of Montreal, Quebec. "When you got a season like that you want to win the final," said Blais, who trained the colt to a division leading four regular season victories. "That's a lot of pressure believe me, but it is an amazing feeling." From the Ontario Sire Stakes  

Two years ago Louis-Philippe Roy watched the harness racing Super Finals on television, having made just four starts in the 2016 Ontario Sires Stakes program. On Saturday, Oct. 13, when the very best in the province once again gather at Woodbine Mohawk Park for the $1.8 million season finale, the reinsman has a starter in all eight races and will be looking to secure his first Lampman Cup title as the program's leading driver. "What I find special is that I got a drive in all eight races and all eight horses are from different trainers," said Roy. "I think it kind of proves how much support I had from all the trainers here in Ontario through the year." After a breakout season in 2016 that saw him top the driving ranks at both Rideau Carleton Raceway and Hippodrome Trois-Rivieres and garner the Future Star title at the O'Brien Awards, Roy made the move to the Woodbine Entertainment Group circuit. The move not only served as a rocket-launcher for the Mont-Joli, Quebec native's career - he would finish 2017 as one of the top three drivers in all of Canada - it gave him the opportunity to drive a wide variety of young horses for the first time since he climbed into a race bike as an 18-year-old on the Quebec Fair Circuit. "Last year I got a lot of experience because, especially the two-year-olds, when you start driving them early in the season it's quite different than the older horse," explained the now 28-year-old. "So I think last year I got a lot of experience and this year I kind of proved that I adjust my driving style to whatever horses, and whatever are the needs for the horses, especially for their development." Last season Roy finished in the top 10 among Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) drivers, appearing in 120 races and driving 21 winners, 11 second-place finishers and 13 third-place finishers to earnings of $777,308. With that experience under his belt, Roy made a serious commitment to the program in 2018, even giving up his spot in the National Driving Championship to steer three-year-old pacing filly Shower Play in a Sept. 25 Gold Series event, and that dedication has paid off. Heading into Saturday's season finale the reinsman has made 150 OSS starts and produced 33 wins, 20 seconds, 15 thirds and earnings of $1,313,507. He sits atop the Lampman Cup race with 372 points, 21 points ahead of two-time winner Trevor Henry and 23 ahead of five-time winner and reigning champion Sylvain Filion. Among Roy's Super Final mounts are three division point leaders, freshman pacing filly Better Single, two-year-old trotting filly HP Titania Runner and three-year-old pacing colt Jimmy Freight, and six of the eight head into Saturday night's test off wins in their most recent Gold Series start. "I will be disappointed if I don't win one Super Final this weekend because I think I've got a lot of good chances, maybe not big favourites, but a lot of horses that can do it," said Roy, who recently purchased a townhouse in Guelph, Ontario. "So I sure hope to get my first Super Final win on Saturday." Jimmy Freight was the heavy favourite in all four of his Gold Series starts this season and that is unlikely to change in spite of the colt's outside post. Roy will steer the Sportswriter son from Post 9 for trainer Richard Moreau of Puslinch and owner Adriano Sorella of Guelph, Ontario and is hoping the division leader can maintain his flawless record in OSS action. "I would have liked for sure to be inside of Backstreet Shadow because Yannick (Gingras) raced him on the front I think the four times he drove him," said Roy of Jimmy Freight's stablemate, who will start from Post 5. "Jimmy can do it from wherever, he doesn't really mind, but it sure is a little more work going from the Post 9 and trying to figure a trip." In addition to Backstreet Shadow and Gingras, Roy expects The Downtown Bus and driver Tim Tetrick to be tough from Post 4. The driver also anticipates that the $225,000 contest, slated as Race 10 on Saturday's program, will serve as an impressive closing act for the 2018 OSS season. "Jimmy Freight, like a few months ago, was, I would say, the king of the division and you couldn't expect almost anybody to beat him," said Roy. "But the way The Downtown Bus and Backstreet Shadow have been racing lately I think is going to give us a good show for the last race." Roy also expects the two-year-old pacing colts and trotting colts to serve up an exciting show for fans. With the favourites in both divisions drawing advantageously, the talented youngsters will be free to show off the full range of their skills. "Stag Party (Post 1), Bronx Seelster (Post 5), Bettors Wish (Post 6), they all drew good positions," said Roy of the freshman pacing colt contest, where he will steer Bettors Delight son Keystone Concrete from Post 3 for trainer Rob Fellows of Rockwood, his wife Yolanda Fellows and her co-owners Arpad Szabo of Bradford, Ontario and Blair Corbeil of Beaumont, Alberta. "Dream Nation, the whole year, has been very good and especially lately, the last two starts. He keeps improving a little bit, but I also know it's a good class of two-year-old trotters this year that they have in Ontario," said the driver of his two-year-old trotting colt mount, who will start from Post 4. "And the two other ones that I think are two of the best, Forbidden Trade (Post 2) and Okeanos (Post 5), they both drew good too. All of us three drew good, so I think it's going to be a good race." Roy steers Archangel gelding Dream Nation 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. Dupont and the owners of two-year-old trotting filly HP Titania Runner (Post 5, Race 6), Claude Hamel of Ayer's Cliff and Michel Damphousse of Louiseville, Quebec, are people that gave Roy opportunities to drive stakes horses when he was still developing his skills on the Quebec Fair Circuit, so a Super Final win with either of those horses would be especially meaningful for the driver. "They've been with me for a longer part; I've been racing for them in Quebec in stakes races," said the reinsman. "All the times you win with, like I would say smaller connections, it makes it a little more, not more exciting, but more rewarding." Roy's other shots at Super Final glory will come with three-year-old trotting filly Collateral Beauty from Post 7 in Race 2, three-year-old trotting gelding Barney Mac from Post 7 in the seventh race, and three-year-old pacing filly Big Thong from Post 2 in Race 9. Roy had expected to drive Fan Hanover and Simcoe Stake champion Shower Play in the sophomore pacing filly final, but her connections chose not to enter when she did not train as well as expected earlier this week. "Rene (Dion) called me on Tuesday morning when it was time to put her in and said he wasn't going to put her in because she wasn't exactly how he expected her to be," explained Roy. "He didn't want to take any chances. He wanted to make sure she was 100 per cent before they race her again." In spite of the filly's absence from his roster of mounts, Roy is hopeful that he will be able to strike 'Driving a Super Final Champion' off his bucket list on Saturday. Woodbine Mohawk Park's Saturday, Oct. 13 program gets under way at 7:10 pm and the eight $225,000 Super Finals will go postward in Races 2, 3 and 5 through 10. From the Ontario Sire Stakes  

There was very little movement in the point standings as the two-year-old trotting colts and fillies gathered at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Thursday evening for their last regular season Gold event. Three of the four Gold Series divisions were captured by the favourites and the fourth went to the fans' second choice, Presto Change O. Starting from Post 3 driver Sylvain Filion eased the often fractious Presto Change O away from the starting gate and settled in third behind Cambridge Kate, who led the field of trotting fillies to a :28.4 opening quarter. Filion continued to sit third with Presto Change O as Cambridge Kate carried on to a :58.3 half, but heading toward the 1:28.1 three-quarters the veteran reinsman tipped his charge into the outer lane. Presto Change O stayed focussed on the wire and sailed home to a three and one-quarter length victory in 1:57.1. Pocket-sitter Mercedes Talma was second and Tommi Canu Hearme completed the top three. "Sometimes she loses her focus and she just jumps it off. She's learning, but she's a slow learner," said Filion. "She's full of potential though. If she stays at it and she keeps her focus she's probably the best in there, but it's always a question if she behaves you know. She keeps me on my toes." The Milton resident drives Presto Change O for trainer Paul Reid and owner-breeder Robert Key of Leechburg, PA. The pair was also victorious in the July 27 Gold event at Woodbine Mohawk Park and picked up a third in the Aug. 10 event at the Campbellville oval. As a result the Kadabra daughter heads into the Oct. 13 Super Final ranked third in the division with 115 points. "Paul Reid did a heck of a job to have her still going," said Filion. "I wouldn't think at the beginning of the year she'd be still going at this time, she was so big and immature, but he worked hard with her and it paid off." Driver Louis Philippe Roy captured the other $96,400 trotting filly division with fan favourite HP Titania Runner. Like Filion, Roy eased his filly away from Post 2 and settled in the middle of the pack as Petro Hall recorded a :28.1 quarter and :58.3 half. Roy send HP Titania Runner up the outside behind Teddys Littleangel and the challengers had overtaken the pacesetter by the 1:27.1 three-quarters. A strong finishing kick propelled HP Titania Runner to a narrow 1:56.4 victory over Teddys Littleangel, with Petro Hall five lengths back in third. "She's got as much talent as Dream Nation, for example, but she's always had something that happened to her that meant she couldn't show that talent," said Roy of the E L Titan daughter. "She win her two first Gold and then she got some breaking issues so Rene (Bourassa) finally decided to go with the trotting hopples, so I think that's what makes her a little bit safer." After the filly made breaks in three of her last four starts trainer Rene Bourassa added hopples to HP Titania Runner's equipment bag and qualified her on Sept. 27. The filly was flawless in the qualifier and Thursday's effort lowered her personal best by almost one second. Bourassa conditions HP Titania Runner for owner-breeders Claude Hamel of Ayer's Cliff and Michel Damphousse of Louiseville, Quebec. The filly will lead her peers into the $225,000 Super Final with 151 points. Roy also piloted two-year-old trotting gelding Dream Nation to a 1:55.3 personal best in the first $98,800 Gold division for the gents. As he did with HP Titania Runner, Roy settled the gelding in mid-pack from Post 5 and then made his way up the outer lane as Southwind Avenger and Only For Justice traded blows through the :27.2 quarter and :56.2 half. By the 1:26 three-quarters Dream Nation had drawn level with Only For Justice and he trotted down the stretch to a three-quarter length win in 1:55.3. Southwind Avenger finished second and Okeanos closed hard to be third. "From Day 1, from the first time I was at Jacques Dupont's farm training him, he never did anything wrong," said Roy. "He's actually I think as good, or probably the best he's been so far over the year, so he's not tired yet." Thursday's victory was Dream Nation's third in Gold Series action and puts him in second in the standings with 187 points. In nine starts the son of Archangel has finished no worse than third, scoring six wins and banking $187,290 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, QC. The last trotting colt Gold division went to Forbidden Trade, who also travelled up the outer lane and reeled in the pacesetters to record his fourth Gold Series win in 1:58.2. Fingals Wave and CT Conabra were two and one-quarter lengths behind the fan favourite in second and third. Bob McClure piloted Forbidden Trade to his sixth win in eight starts for trainer Luc Blais and owner Determination of Montreal, Quebec. The Kadabra son sits atop the division standings with 208 points and McClure is looking forward to taking on the best-of-the-best in the Oct. 13 Super Final "I couldn't feel better," said the driver. "He's in tip-top form and is a real professional." The top 10 point earners from both the trotting colt and trotting filly divisions will return to Woodbine Mohawk Park for their lucrative Super Finals on Oct. 13. Joining the trotters in the season finale will be the two-year-old pacing colts and fillies, who wrap up their regular season at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Saturday, Oct. 6. The colts will compete in Races 2 and 8, while the fillies battle in Races 3 and 6. Post time is 7:10 pm. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

Ten sophomore trotting fillies made the trip to The Raceway at Western Fair District on Tuesday evening to compete in a pair of $94,000 Gold Series divisions, and both races featured upsets as the favourites failed to live up to fan expectations. Apprentice M scored her first win of the season in the first division, inheriting the lead around the final turn when pacesetter Zorgwijk Sophia and fan favourite Illusioneesta made breaks as they battled for control. Unfazed by the chaos, the steady Apprentice M and driver Paul MacDonell simply carried on down the stretch to a 2:01 victory. Miller Time also delivered a flawless effort to finish three-quarters of a length back in second and Illusioneesta recovered quickly enough to claim third. "That's why they race horses," said the philosophical MacDonell. "She's pretty solid gaited, which helps on the half-mile track, and then as you saw, things worked out." MacDonell steers Apprentice M for trainer John Bax of Campbellville, Ontario and owner Menhammar Stuteri AB of Paris, Kentucky. In her four previous Gold Series starts the Kadabra daughter had recorded one second, one third and two fifths. Tuesday's victory pushed her point total to 97 and puts her in fourth spot in the standings heading into the Oct. 13 Super Final. "She just hasn't really kicked in like she probably should have, but again I think she's got $100,000 made, so it's hard to knock her," said Guelph, Ontario resident MacDonell. "It's late in the season and a few of the fillies are getting tired and stuff, so you can take advantage of that sometimes." Tuesday's victory pushed Apprentice M's 2018 earnings to $109,253 and put her less than $10,000 shy of $200,000 lifetime. MacDonell finished second with Bax trainee Magical Lady in the other division, following Collateral Beauty and driver Louis Philippe Roy as they went gate-to-wire in 1:59.2. Pocket-sitter Town Hall Justice settled for third, well ahead of favourite Smoke And Mirrors, who took herself out of contention with an early break. The win was Collateral Beauty's second in the Gold program. The Kadabra daughter was also victorious at Georgian Downs on July 21 for trainer Herb Holland and owner Carolyn MacIsaac of Milton, Ontario. "She's a little bit of a lazy filly, but looking at her lines, it seems like she takes her job a little more seriously when there's big money on the line," said Roy, who was making his first appearance in the filly's race bike. "Herb told me she's better when you put her into play right off the gate, so that was the plan today and it worked good." With two wins, one second and one seventh in four Gold Series starts, Collateral Beauty heads into the $225,000 Super Final tied for second with 127 points. Tuesday's win bumped the filly's sophomore earnings to $123,800. The top 10 point earners from the five regular season events will now head to Woodbine Mohawk Park for the Oct. 13 Super Final. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

When Wayne McGean was warming up Bronx Seelster at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday night the trainer figured the two-year-old pacing colt's win streak was going to be halted at two. The youngster was sluggish and did not seem keen to engage his Ontario Sired peers in the fourth Gold Series event of their season. "I'm telling you, I didn't like him warming up tonight," said McGean. "He was quiet and I told Trevor (Henry) that." Driver Trevor Henry lined up at Post 9 with the division leader and settled the colt in fifth as Fast N First led the field to a :27 opening quarter. Fast N First had a brief tenure on the lead before being overtaken by Better Than Cash, who in turn was quickly demoted by Bettors Wish heading by the :55.1 half. As the lead changed hands in front of him, Henry had tipped Bronx Seelster into the outer lane and once the colt caught the fading early leaders he was able to tuck in behind Bettors Wish through the 1:23.1 three-quarters and into the stretch. Sliding out from behind Bettors Wish well into the lane, Henry asked Bronx Seelster for another gear and the fan favourite delivered, powering home to a one length victory in 1:52. Bettors Wish settled for second and Perkins finished well behind the leaders in third. "I didn't think he was going to win it. At the third flag pole down he was still a length and a half off," admitted McGean. "Trevor got after him and he just got him out off the wheel, and he just dug in. He's got such determination. He's just so determined and he fights on, he doesn't take back. He's just one of them horses, they're hard to find." The win was Bronx Seelster's third straight over the Woodbine Mohawk Park oval and his third in Gold Series competition, putting him atop the division standings with 175 points. In 10 starts the son of Big Jim and Tarport Baccarat has netted seven wins and two seconds for earnings of $341,810. He posted his personal best 1:51.2 winning his Sept. 7 Champlain Stakes division against some of North America's best young pacing colts. "Myself, Brent Bradbury and Dave Mercer are on a big roll, we're on a roll we never ever dreamed of," said the Nova Scotia resident of his Capers 3 Stable partners. "And to cap it all off Better Single win the next race, the eighth race, and Dave Mercer, my partner, owns half of that one, so he had two Golds back-to-back." Mercer barely had time to finish celebrating Bronx Seelster's victory before he was heading back out to the winner's circle with two-year-old pacing filly Better Single, who parlayed a pocket trip into a neck victory in a personal best 1:53.4. Pacesetter Powerful Chris settled for second and Be Best was three lengths back in third. All three fillies are by sire Betterthancheddar. James MacDonald engineered the win for trainer Anthony Beaton of Waterdown and Sydney, Nova Scotia resident Mercer who share ownership of the consistent youngster. "She's picked up a cheque every time she's stepped on the track for us, and like I say, fingers crossed, hopefully she continues for the next two starts," said Beaton. "I'm pretty sure we're planning on the next start for next Saturday in the Gold, and then the Super Final, obviously." Friday's victory was Better Single's second in Gold Series action and boosted her to the top of the division standings with 117 points. In eight starts the filly now has two wins, one third, one fourth and four fifths for earnings of $157,885. Cafe Society won the other $98,000 pacing filly Gold division, getting up late for the 1:55.1 victory after the fans' top four choices got snarled up coming off the last turn. Turncoat was two and one-quarter lengths back in second and fan favourite Ideation Hanover finished third. Jonathan Drury piloted Café Society to her first-ever Gold Series win for trainer Casie Coleman and her partners in the West Wins Stable of Cambridge, Kevin McKinlay of Holland Landing and Jim Fielding of Toronto, Ontario. Like Better Single, Café Society is a daughter of Coleman's former trainee Betterthancheddar. The other $97,200 pacing colt division went to Sports Teen, who also closed from mid-pack in the wind and rain to claim the neck victory. The son of Sportswriter hit the wire in a personal best 1:53.1, just ahead of Twin B Watching and fan favourite Better Up. Louis Philippe Roy, who currently sits atop the Ontario Sires Stakes drivers' standings, crafted the colt's second straight win for trainer Paul Reid and owner Robert Key of Leechburg, PA. The two-year-old pacing colts and fillies will wrap up their Gold Series regular season at Woodbine Mohawk Park next Saturday, Oct. 6. This Saturday, Sept. 29 the Campbellville oval hosts the $400,000 Grassroots Championships, with eight division finals going postward in Races 1 through 3, and 5 through 9. The Championships get under way at 7:10 pm. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

Run Director wrapped up the three-year-old harness racing colt trot regular season with his third Gold Series victory on Thursday evening, circling the Woodbine Mohawk Park oval in 1:54.1. Starting from Post 8 driver Sylvain Filion eased the heavy favourite away from the starting gate and trotted along in the outer lane waiting for a wind break. Just past the :27.4 quarter rung up by Joeys Bats, driver Phil Hudon obliged by tipping second choice Stormont Ventnor out of the four-hole. Heading by the :56.3 half Winning American edged out in front of Stormont Ventnor, who skipped off stride as the colts advanced toward the 1:25.3 three-quarters. After powering out three-wide around a stalled Winning American, Run Director swung off the final turn in lock-step with pocket-sitter Jula Downtown. The colts waged a fierce battle all the way down the stretch with Run Director prevailing by a head in 1:54.1. Perfetto finished four and one-half lengths back in third. "I thought tonight he had to work, especially after the two run in the last turn, I thought it would have been a little easier. He won the race, but he had to work hard tonight," said trainer Ben Baillargeon. "I have to say that I was a little surprised. I thought it would have been easier, but they made us earn our money tonight. He raced tough." Guelph resident Baillargeon conditions Run Director for owner-breeders Tom and Elizabeth Rankin of St. Catharines, Ontario. Thursday's win boosted the colt's sophomore record to five wins, four seconds and one third in 14 starts for earnings of $282,455. In five regular season appearances, the son of Kadabra and Keep The Spirit won three Gold events and finished second in the other two, giving him a division leading 200 points. In addition to his Ontario Sires Stakes appearances, Run Director also tackled the best sophomore trotting colts in North America on four occasions this season. Following his August 26 Gold Series win at Rideau Carleton Raceway Baillargeon sent the trotter out against open company in the Simcoe Stakes and Run Director finished a hard-closing second. While it had not originally been part of the trainer's plan, Run Director's Simcoe result earned the colt a shot in the Sept. 15 Canadian Trotting Classic where he finished sixth. "He raced so good in the Simcoe we gave him a shot in the Canadian Trotting Classic," explained Baillargeon. "He raced good, but bad posts, he always gets bad posts." In his four open stake appearances Run Director has drawn Posts 6, 7, 8 and 9, a trend Baillargeon hopes will not extend to the Oct. 13 Super Final. The top 10 point earners from the five regular season Gold events will return to Woodbine Mohawk Park for the $225,000 Super Final. With just over two weeks until the lucrative season finale, Baillargeon says Run Director will likely make one more start before he wraps up his Ontario Sires Stakes career. "I'll probably have to do something with him. He likes to race," said the trainer. "I cannot leave him off two and a half weeks, I'll have to get him in a race somewhere." Woodbine Mohawk Park continues to showcase the Ontario Sires Stakes program this week, hosting the fourth Gold Series event for the two-year-old pacing colts and fillies on Friday, Sept. 28 and the $400,000 Grassroots Championships on Saturday, Sept. 29. Post time for both programs is 7:10 pm. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

Whether they reach the winner's circle in Saturday night's Grassroots Championships at Woodbine Mohawk Park or not, Scott Young and Julie Walker have already had milestone years in the Ontario Sires Stakes program. While not met with great fanfare, their achievements have been deeply meaningful for two people who never dreamed of doing anything other than driving and training Standardbred racehorses. "I've been committed to be a driver my whole life; it's all I ever wanted to do," said Young, who won more Ontario Sires Stakes races this season than in his eight previous years in the provincial program, including a Grassroots Semi-Final victory with two-year-old trotting filly Rebellious Lady. "It was awesome, especially to win with Rebellious Lady, because she's been good all year. So for her to just keep going in the right direction, that was pretty cool," said the 25-year-old of his first post-season win. "Any time you can win a Sires Stakes of some sort, let alone be in a Semi-Final or Grassroots Final, it's always good." The Guelph resident will steer Rebellious Lady from Post 2 in the first of eight $50,000 Grassroots Finals on Saturday's program. The filly is trained by his father Bob Young and owned by Hugh Fitzpatrick, also of Guelph. In seven starts the daughter of Angus Hall and Radical Missy has tallied two wins, one second and one third for earnings of $28,754. She captured last Thursday's Semi-Final in a personal best 1:59.1. "I was very happy with her last week, she raced tough first over again," said Young about the filly. "I'm just looking for her to behave, and I can see her definitely hitting the board on the weekend. "If everything goes right, hopefully she can even be a Gold filly at three," added the reinsman, whose OSS victories to date have all come in the Grassroots program. "She's very long, she's got great manners, great gait and very pleasurable to drive, so if she grows up next year and fills out and everything it wouldn't surprise me if she even could be a Gold filly." Young will also compete in the second Grassroots Final, steering two-year-old trotting gelding Lariat Seelster from Post 7 for his father and partners Robert Deveau of Toronto, Frank Chiaravalloti of Downsview and Jaftica Stable of Guelph. The son of Kadabra and Ladycane squeaked into the final with a fifth-place result in last week's Semi-Final, but had won two straight over the Woodbine Mohawk Park oval prior to that outing. "Larry had a rough outside trip last week, but that comes with the nine-hole sometimes. He actually hasn't been drawing very good all year," noted Young, who returns to the gelding's race bike on Saturday for the first time since July 31, replacing Roger Mayotte. "But it looks like there's quite a bit of speed in that race, so hopefully maybe work out some kind of trip and, you know, I think he's good enough to go with them, he's just going to need them to maybe battle a little bit up front and pick up some pieces. "Larry is a very, very big colt. He's learning to go speed. I think Larry is going to be a very, very nice three-year-old and an even better four-year-old and an even better five-year-old," the reinsman added. "I think he's just going to get better with age." Julie Walker has the same opinion about two-year-old trotting filly At Will, who won the other Semi-Final on Sept. 20. The daughter of Kadabra and Excuse My Face returns to Woodbine Mohawk Park for Saturday's final riding a two-race win streak over the Campbellville oval and recorded a personal best 1:58.1 in the Semi-Final, but Walker is most excited about her long-term prospects. "This whole year has just been building up to her three-year-old year. She's never been pushed this year," the trainer explained. "That's all I kept thinking was how - I've been raised, you know with the Walker family, to have old horses and teach them how to be racehorses - so I am really excited for her three-year-old year." At Will's Semi-Final victory pushed Walker's 2018 win tally to 21, the first time the 36-year-old has recorded more than 20 wins since hanging up her solo shingle in 2012, and marked her first victory in the OSS post-season after a trio of runner-up results with Oaklea Uptown, Massive Muscles and Rubber Duck. "It doesn't seem like a big year when you look at guys like Mark Steacy and Bob McIntosh, but I believe with At Will's win the other night I went over 20 wins," Walker noted. "I think I have 21 wins now, and that's actually the highest for me, which, like I said, doesn't seem like a lot, but at least it's progression. "It's always just been, for me, to get them in there has been special," the Carlisle resident added. "I've never had a heavy favourite, I don't think, like At Will." Whether the filly and driver Sylvain Filion can find the winner's circle from Post 7 or not, At Will has already given Walker and her co-owners Layhoon Chan Brunner of Etobicoke and Ron Piers of Georgetown a special ride this summer. "It's kind of a nice story. Fred Brunner came to us, it must have been five, six years ago, and asked us to take care of the mare. He didn't think she was going to have very many more foals so he said, money aside, who would you breed to? And I said well, no doubt, Kadabra, and the mare actually caught, which was unbelievable, and then threw out a filly on top of that," recalled Walker. "Fred was living with cancer, he was very sick for quite a while, and he gave us 20 per cent of the mare along with Ron Piers got 20 per cent. He actually passed away in June and he would have been very happy to see her as big and strong and as good as she's doing." While At Will has met and exceeded her owners' hopes and expectations, their other Championship entrant, three-year-old trotting ridgling Takter, has enjoyed a more turbulent ride through the provincial program. The son of Johnny William and Toss Up snuck into the Semi-Final with just three Grassroots points and rode his first interference-free trip in a month to a fourth-place finish and a berth in Saturday's final, where Filion will steer him from Post 3. "It's been a disappointing year for him, because he came out really strong," said Walker. "We've always thought he was better than what he has been showing, and I am just hoping that comes back at the right time. He did race better to get into the final than he has, he's still going to be a long shot, we know that, but he's there and he's better than he has been." Walker and Young are clear-eyed about the chances of capping off their milestone seasons with a Grassroots Championship, acknowledging that the competition is fierce in all three divisions, but both are content in the knowledge that their efforts earned them a place on the starting gate among the province's best human and equine athletes. Saturday's $400,000 Grassroots Championship gets under way at 7:10 pm, with the province's best squaring off over the Woodbine Mohawk Park oval in Races 1 through 3, and 5 through 9. Complete entries are available at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/entries/data/e0929wbsbsn.dat. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

It is not every day a driver can win Gold Series events at two different racetracks, but Louis Philippe Roy accomplished the harness racing feat on Tuesday evening, steering two-year-old trotting filly Blue Magic to a win at Flamboro Downs and three-year-old pacing filly Shower Play to a victory at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Roy kicked off his winning evening at Flamboro Downs, guiding Blue Magic to a gate-to-wire victory in 1:59.4. The win was the freshman trotting filly's first in Gold Series action and moved her into contention for a post-season berth. "Most of the time I drive for Susie Kerwood and Rene Dion I'm happily surprised with the result," said Roy, who drove Kadabra daughter Blue Magic to the win for trainer Kerwood and owner Tommy Andersson of Rockwood, Ontario. Roy's comment would prove prophetic as the reinsman teamed up with trainer Rene Dion in the three-year-old pacing filly event at Woodbine Mohawk Park a few hours later. Starting from Post 1, Roy and Dion trainee Shower Play got away in the middle of the 10-horse field, content to watch Write Me A Song and driver Jody Jamieson ring up a :28.1 quarter. Heading for the :56.1 half Roy sent the fan favourite up the outer lane, enjoying a brief wind break from pocket-sitter Percy Bluechip and driver Yannick Gingras just before the 1:24 three-quarters. As the fillies squared up in the stretch Percy Bluechip was leading the way, but Shower Play shifted into another gear and had a neck in front of last year's division champion by the 1:52.3 finish. Kendall Seelster was three and one-half lengths back in third. "She was simply the best, one more time," said Roy. Tuesday's win was the filly's third straight and her second in Gold Series action. In 16 lifetime starts the daughter of Shadow Play and Alice Emily has tallied nine wins, five seconds, one third and one fourth for earnings of $516,800. Rockwood residents Dion and Kerwood share ownership of Shower Play with Martin Leveillee of St-Blaise-Sur-Richelieu, Quebec, who was on hand for Tuesday's victory. "I've been excited since last year," said Leveillee when Woodbine Mohawk Park's Chad Rozema asked if he was looking forward to racing Shower Play in the Oct. 13 Super Final. "I was at Georgian Downs last year with Sylvain (Filion) when he drove, he said she can fight in the Gold and we kept her in the Grassroots, but from that day she never did a bad race. She did not always win, but she always threw good races and that is pretty phenomenal. "Other horses do this too, Kendall (Seelster) and Percy (Bluechip) and Write Me A Song, too, but I own this one," added Leveillee with a laugh. With their regular season complete, Shower Play and her three-year-old pacing filly peers will now begin preparations for the $225,000 Super Final. The top 10 point earners will return to Woodbine Mohawk Park for the lucrative season finale on Oct. 13. Roy, who currently has a narrow lead in the Lampman Cup race for the leading driver in the Ontario Sires Stakes program, will have three more opportunities this week to pad his point tally as Woodbine Mohawk Park hosts the three-year-old trotting colts in Gold action on Thursday, the second last Gold event for the two-year-old pacing colts and fillies on Friday and the $400,000 Grassroots Championships on Saturday evening. Post time for all three programs is 7:10 pm. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

After making waves in open harness racing stake action in recent weeks, the two-year-old trotting fillies returned to Gold Series competition at Flamboro Downs on Tuesday for the second last event of the regular season. Blue Magic captured the first $96,400 division, rocketing away from Post 4 and playing catch me if you can with the field of eight. On top by three and one-half lengths at the :27.4 quarter, driver Louis Philippe Roy kept his foot on the accelerator to the :57.1 half and the 1:27 three-quarters. Pocket-sitter Witches N Angels started to close on Blue Magic around the final turn and looked like she would storm by the pacesetter in the lane, but Blue Magic dug in for a neck victory in a personal best 1:59.4. Fan favourite Teddys Littleangel was eight lengths back in third. "I don't know much about the filly, I sat behind her only twice, but she's well-gaited and goes around turns perfectly. She likes the half-mile track," said Roy. "Most of the time I drive for Susie Kerwood and Rene Dion I'm happily surprised with the result." Susie Kerwood trains Blue Magic for Tommy Andersson of Rockwood, Ontario. The win was the Kadabra daughter's second this season - she was also victorious in the Aug. 7 Grassroots event at Woodbine Mohawk Park - and boosted her earnings to $68,221. With one regular season event remaining, Blue Magic sits in tenth spot in the division standings with 53 points, 50 more than she had on Tuesday morning. The top 10 point earners advance to the season ending Super Final. Tommi Canu Hearme also bolstered her point total with a 2:01.2 win in the second $96,400 division. Starting from Post 8, driver Chris Christoforou dropped the filly into fourth on the rail as Petro Hall rolled out to a :29.4 quarter and a :59.4 half, opening up a six length lead on the field of eight. Heading for the 1:29.3 three-quarters pocket-sitter Champagne Jane and Tommi Canu Hearme started to narrow Petro Hall's lead and the fillies turned for home ready to battle. Champagne Jane attacked on the outside and Christoforou sent Tommi Canu Hearme up the inside and on to the one length victory. Petro Hall hung on for second and Champagne Jane was third. "Chris is so good, he's just so calm out there. He just got her away out of the eight-hole into the four-hole and then went up the passing lane," said trainer Dustin Jones. "It worked out good, because we needed a win for points." Tommi Canu Hearme won her Champlain Stakes division at Woodbine Mohawk Park on August 30, but before Tuesday she had not enjoyed much luck in the Gold Series, finishing fifth in the first two legs and eighth in the third. "What happened was, she had two fifths and then she had the rail and made a break, and then I qualified her with the trotting hopples," explained Jones. "I should have probably had the trotting hopples on her sooner, but she just kept showing that she could go good without them and I just figured that she would get going, but then it was getting too late in the year. We couldn't take any more chances." Jones shares ownership of Tommi Canu Hearme with Hebert Horses Inc. of Saint Sauveur, Quebec and Sjoblom Stable of Jakobstad, Finland. The Waterdown, Ontario resident went to last year's London Selected Yearling Sale specifically to purchase the daughter of Royalty For Life and Tommi My Girl and has never regretted that decision. "I went back on the Sunday and I waited all day to buy her because she was (hip number) 300 and something," recalled Jones. "I was hoping to buy her around $35,000 and somebody was bidding against me $1,000 a shot up until $41,000. Forty-one thousand was my last bid, and I was stretching myself then, but then I ended up selling pieces of her after. "She trained great all winter, she was my best trotting filly all winter, my best trotter actually I thought, the one that had the most speed," he added. "I'm pretty proud of that little trotter." With 61 points Tommi Canu Hearme currently sits eighth in the division standings and will be looking to add to that in the regular season finale on Oct. 4 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

Canadian harness racing history was rewritten at Grand River Raceway for the second time this season as Ontario's top two-year-old trotting colts and geldings gathered at the Elora oval for Gold Series action on Monday evening. Five of the six top-ranked trotters in the division squared off in the second $64,800 Gold division and delivered a performance worthy of the pre-race hype. Fan favourite Dream Nation went straight to the front from Post 1 and led the field of six to a :28.3 opening quarter. Coming off the second turn driver Bob McClure moved Forbidden Trade into the outer lane from fourth and the pair pressed Dream Nation through a :59.1 half and a 1:27.3 three-quarters. Matching strides turning for home, Dream Nation and Forbidden Trade battled all the way to the wire with Forbidden Trade getting a neck in front in 1:56.4. Southwind Avenger finished third. The 1:56.4 mile was a track, Ontario Sires Stakes and Canadian record for Forbidden Trade. The previous OSS and Canadian record for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings on a half-mile track was 1:57.4, set by Daylon Magician at Flamboro Downs in 2010. In August two-year-old pacing colt Stag Party also lowered the track, OSS and Canadian record in a Gold Series event at Grand River. "I was very impressed tonight, the way he did that, you know, first over. He never quit," said trainer Luc Blais. "He trained good this week, and I had a good feeling for tonight, but I knew we had a big division, there were lots of good horses in that race." Bob McClure piloted the son of Kadabra and former OSS star Pure Ivory to the win for Blais and owner Determination of Montreal, Quebec. In seven lifetime starts Forbidden Trade, a $110,000 yearling purchase, now has five wins, three of them in Gold Series action, and sits atop the division standings with 158 points. "He's been that good all year," said McClure. "I thought he was one of the best colts, if not the best, all year. He hasn't done much wrong this year. Every week he's coming late, coming late, coming late, and I don't think I've seen him get tired yet." Elora resident McClure was back in the Ontario Sires Stakes winner's circle after the third $65,600 division with Only For Justice, who went straight to the front from Post 4 and never relinquished the lead on the way to a 1:57.3 personal best. Fan favourite Fingals Wave and Gold Edition were seven lengths back in second and third. Dany Fontaine trains Only For Justice for owner-breeder Ecurie Gaetan Bono Inc. of Montreal, Quebec. The win was the Justice Hall son's third straight, coming on the heels of a pair of victories in the second leg and final of the Quebec Breeders Cup at Hippodrome Trois-Rivieres. With breaks in two of his three previous Gold Series starts, Only For Justice has accumulated 58 points and currently sits ninth in the point race. The top 10 point earners will advance to the $225,000 Super Final at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Oct. 13. "He wants to race. He gets around a half so handy and he can leave the gate so fast, this place is his bread and butter," said McClure. "He's a very fast horse though. He deserves to be in the Super Final for sure." The trotting colts set the speed bar high right from the start Monday as Knight Angel and driver Sylvain Filion equalled the previous two-year-old trotting colt and gelding record with a 1:58.1 effort in the first $65600 division. Fan favourite Royal Rob took early command and led the field to a :29.2 quarter and 1:00 half before feeling the pressure from Knight Angel. The colts duelled through a 1:29.1 three-quarters before Knight Angel dug in to catch the leader by a neck in the stretch. While Your Up was four lengths back in third. Freelton resident Shane Arsenault trains Knight Angel for his partners Justin Fisher of Cambridge, Gary Leeming of Simcoe and Guiseppe Mascia of Mississauga, Ontario. The win was the first in six starts for the son of Archangel and Dream Taker, who struggled with breaks throughout the early stages of his career. With one win and two seconds in Gold action, Knight Angel moved into fourth spot in the standings with one regular season event remaining. The two-year-old trotting colts will make their fifth and final regular season Gold Series appearance at Woodbine Mohawk Park on October 4. Grand River Raceway wraps up its 2018 season this Wednesday, Sept. 26 with the National Driving Championship. Post time for Wednesday's program is 6:30 pm. From the Ontario Sire Stakes  

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

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