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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SEPT. 14, 2016 - Carl Jamieson has decades of experience preparing horses for the Ontario Sires Stakes post season and the harness racing trainer says three-year-old pacing filly Noone To Depend On is in peak form heading into Friday's Grassroots Semi-final at Mohawk Racetrack. "She should be shaping up real good," said Jamieson. "She's ready to rock and roll." Noone To Depend On scored three wins and one third in her four regular season Grassroots outings for a division leading 162 points and has a sophomore record of four wins, two seconds and one third in 14 starts. The daughter of Santanna Blue Chip and Tipsy Taters has added $49,810 in earnings to the $48,480 she earned as a two-year-old, when she finished second in her Semi-final and fourth in the Grassroots Championship. "I think she's a lot better than she was last year," noted Jamieson. "She had some growing problems last year and this year she's been sound all year and racing really good." The Rockwood resident shares ownership of Noone To Depend On with his daughter Brandy Jamieson, who makes her home in Milton, ON. A one-quarter share in the filly was Brandy's birthday gift last year, an annual tradition Jamieson admits comes packaged with an ulterior motive. "I usually give her a piece for her birthday. Means I don't got to pay no paddock fees on them then," said Jamieson with a chuckle. "She usually paddocks her own horses." Making it a full-on family affair, Moffat, ON resident Jody Jamieson drives the filly for his father and sister and will steer Noone To Depend on from Post 6 in Friday's $20,000 Semi-final. She heads into the test off a mini-vacation following her win in the August 21 Grassroots event at Rideau Carleton Raceway. "I told him, you've got to take this filly, she's on the top of her game," said Jamieson, who has had to find substitute reinsmen in seven of the filly's 14 starts. "We've been keeping her pretty fresh all year really. We didn't race her a lot, just trying to keep her right and sound for the Grassroots Final." Once the Grassroots post season wraps up Jamieson will give Noone To Depend On one start against the Gold Series fillies, on Sept. 30 at Mohawk Racetrack, before sending her to Harrisburg for the November mixed sale. The horseman typically sells his three-year-olds to make room for yearlings, although he has scaled back from the days when he would send out 20 to 30 starters per year in the Ontario Sires Stakes program. "We only had eight babies all last year, to start with. We qualified six, one we stopped with, and then a couple others I made the decision we had to turn out, they weren't good enough," noted the trainer, who added that he will start shopping for this season's yearlings at the Sunday, Sept. 18 Canadian Yearling Sale. Noone To Depend On goes postward in the second three-year-old pacing filly Semi-final on Friday, slated as Race 4. The top five finishers from each Semi-final will return to Mohawk on Saturday, Sept. 24 for their $50,000 Grassroots Championship. The three-year-old trotting fillies will kick off the sophomore Grassroots Semi-final battles at 7:30 pm on Friday, competing in Races 1 and 6. The trotting colts wage their battles in Races 2 and 8, while the pacing fillies go back-to-back in Races 3 and 4. The three-year-old pacing colts wrap things up in Races 9 and 12. Friday's event completes the Semi-final round - the two-year-old finalists will be determined on Thursday evening - which advances the top five finishers from each Semi-final into the $400,000 Grassroots Championship Night at Mohawk on Sept. 24. Ontario Racing

With the continued strength of the Ontario Sires Stakes program and the $2 million Owners’ Bonus beginning in 2017, Ontario Sired harness racing colts and fillies will once again be hot commodities at the fall yearling sales. Between the Grassroots Series and Gold Series, the Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) program will pay out an estimated $13 million in 2017. In 2016 horses in each Grassroots division raced for $18,000, while Gold Series competitors in each leg split $210,000 between divisions. Post season action will see the Grassroots contenders compete in $20,000 Semi-finals and a $50,000 Championship for each age-sex-gait category, while the Gold Series Super Finals go postward for $250,000. “The OSS program continues to offer owners a great avenue to maximize the earning potential of their OSS eligible two and three-year-olds,” said Walter Parkinson, president of the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association. “The incentive to buy Ontario Sired and/or Ontario Bred yearlings has never been better,” Parkinson continued. “Without leaving the province to race, owners will be eligible to earn a pro rata portion of a $2 million Owners’ Bonus, based on their earnings in overnight races.” Starting in 2017 owners of Ontario Sired or Ontario Bred two and three-year-olds will share in the $2 million purse bonus. Owners of horses that are both Ontario Sired and Ontario Bred will receive double the bonus. In addition to the clear benefits of racing in Ontario, throughout 2016 Ontario Sired horses once again demonstrated their ability to compete on the North American stage. Three-year-old pacing colt Betting Line captured his Somebeachsomewhere division, the North America Cup, Carl Milstein Memorial and Battle of the Brandywine, in addition to four Gold Series legs, and three-year-old pacing filly L A Delight won the Nadia Lobell. Three-year-old trotting fillies Caprice Hill and Emoticon Hanover swept their Casual Breeze and Simcoe divisions, while Celebrity Eventsy won her Hambletonian Oaks elimination and the Moni Maker, and Flowers N Songs captured the Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial. The 2016 aged pacing mare division has been dominated by Ontario Sires Stakes graduates Lady Shadow and Solar Sister. Lady Shadow claimed victory in the Golden Girls and Lady Liberty, while Solar Sister captured the Sam ‘Chip’ Noble III Memorial Pace and the Artiscape. Both mares, in addition to Betting Line, Caprice Hill and L A Delight, surpassed the million dollar mark in earnings in 2016. “Ontario Sired horses continue to excel in Grand Circuit action on both sides of the border,” said Parkinson, “Continually proving the quality of the Ontario Sired product.” Buyers hoping to acquire one of next season’s Ontario Sired superstars can find them at the following yearling sales: The Canadian Yearling Sale: Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016 Forest City Yearling Sale: Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale: October 4 to 8, 2016 The Black Book – Harrisburg: November 7 to 11, 2016   Shape the future, become an SBOA Director All those interested in helping the SBOA work toward a healthy and sustainable Standardbred breeding industry are invited to submit a nomination for the position of director. The SBOA Board is comprised of 12 members, with four directors elected each year for a term of three years. All voting members are eligible for nomination as a director, with elections taking place at the Annual Meeting in January 2017. Complete details and nomination forms are available at www.standardbredbreeders.com or from any current director and must be received at Box 371, Rockwood, ON N0B 2K0 no later than 5:00 pm on December 1, 2016. (SBOA/Sandra Snyder)

SEPT. 7, 2016 - Facing the end of his Ontario Sires Stakes career, three-year-old trotting gelding Windsun Missile came up with his first Grassroots win of the harness racing season at Grand River Raceway on Wednesday evening. Starting from Post 5, trainer-driver Per Henriksen dropped Windsun Missile onto the rail in fourth as fan favourite Wildwild Men stepped out to a :28.1 opening quarter and a :58.3 half. Heading for the 1:27.4 three-quarters Henriksen was able to follow driver Steve Byron and Rose Run Rudi up the outer lane, and rolling off the final turn he shifted Windsun Missile into overdrive. The gelding fired around the leaders and hit the wire three-quarters of a length on top in a personal best 1:57.2. JLs Bad Moon Risin and Mass Balance also closed well to be second and third. "He's pretty quick off of cover like that, especially when he's good," said Henriksen. "When he's no good, he's absolutely no good, but right now he's very good." The wayward trotter picked the perfect time to improve, as Wednesday's win boosted his Grassroots point total to 71, good enough for a top 20 spot in the standings and a berth in the Sept. 16 Semi-finals. "He's just not a very smart horse," said Henriksen. "In a race he's perfect, two fingers in the race, but home training he can be a little aggressive and warming up he can be aggressive. You just put him on the gate, turn him loose, let him take care of himself, and in the race he's two fingers, absolutely perfect." Through 11 sophomore starts Windsun Missile has accumulated two wins, one second, one third and earnings of $26,280 for owners Steve Organ of Aurora, Asa Farm of Norwood and Darryl Drain of Tweed, ON. The partners acquired the son of Kadabra and Windsun Hampton from the 2014 Harrisburg Yearling Sale for $40,000 as a result of Henriksen's long association with the gelding's maternal family. "The family, I love this family," Henriksen explained. "I had three or four sisters and brothers to the mother, and they keep on going forever. So I think he'll be a horse that you want to try to keep, because they seem to make money all the time, and just keep on plugging and keep on plugging." While Windsun Missile's connections were celebrating his first Grassroots win, Golden Son captured his fourth and moved to top spot in the point standings with 205 points. Starting from Post 7 in the midst of a downpour, driver Sylvain Filion sent Golden Son straight to the front and the fan favourite rang up fractions of :29.1, :59.4 and 1:30.4 on his way to a three length victory in 2:00. V For Victory finished second and Asterix was third. "To me he is the best," said trainer Richard Moreau of his star pupil. "I drove from Montreal to Grand River today and he didn't disappoint me. We are looking forward to the next one." Golden Son will lead the top 20 point earners to the Sept. 16 Semi-final at Mohawk Racetrack, where he will look to finish in the top five and advance to the Sept. 24 Grassroots Championship. Puslinch, ON resident Moreau conditions the Majestic Son gelding for Gary and Fay Clark of Oriskany Falls, NY. The other two division winners captured their second Grassroots trophies of the season at Grand River Raceway on Wednesday, assuring them both of a post season berth. Dynamic Edge and driver Doug McNair went gate-to-wire in the first $18,000 division, trotting across the finish line in a personal best 1:57.1. Dewy Dont Cheat finished two lengths back of the favourites in second and Chestnut Schofield was two more lengths back in third. "He's a nice gaited, big, strong trotter," said Guelph resident Doug McNair. "He went a big trip tonight. He's been getting sharp the last three starts." The reinsman's father Gregg McNair of Guelph conditions Dynamic Edge and shares ownership of the Muscle Mass gelding with numbered company 1187422 Ontario Inc. of Ottawa, ON. Muscle Ave captured his second straight Grassroots victory in the other division, taking command just after the half and cruising home to a one and one-half length victory in 1:56.1. Fan favourite Makers Mass finished second and Tough Get Going was well back in third. Mississauga resident Roger Mayotte piloted Muscle Ave to the win for trainer Ben Wallace of Puslinch and his partner Larry Ainsworth of Petrolia, ON. The win improved the Muscle Mass gelding's sophomore record to three wins, two seconds and one third in 14 starts for earnings of $48,370. The top point earners will now begin preparations for the Sept. 16 Semi-finals, in hopes of advancing to the $50,000 Grassroots Championship on Sept. 24. Both the Semi-finals and the Championship take place at Mohawk Racetrack. Grand River Raceway fans have one more opportunity to catch some of Ontario's finest in action when the Elora oval hosts the fourth Gold Series division for the two-year-old pacing colts and pacing fillies on Monday, Sept. 19. Ontario Racing

SEPT. 4, 2016 - Flamboro Downs kicked off its 2016 Ontario Sires Stakes schedule on Sunday evening with the Grassroots regular season finale for the harness racing three-year-old trotting fillies. The first $18,000 Grassroots division rolled in behind the Flamboro Downs starting gate in the sixth race and Sunrise Avenue powered straight to the front from Post 3 and never looked back, ringing up fractions of :29.1, :59.4 and 1:29.4 before reaching the finish in 1:58.4. The Power Of Many and Anneli Hanover were two and one-quarter lengths back in second and third. The reason why I dropped her back down into the Grassroots is she hasn't been strong enough for me this year," said trainer-driver Rick Zeron. "I've really struggled with keeping her strong and that's the reason why she was back in the Grassroots tonight, because she can handle the Grassroots." Sunrise Avenue started her sophomore campaign at the Grassroots level, posting one sixth and one second-place result, then moved up to the Gold Series level for two starts, where she finished seventh in both efforts. Zeron conditions the daughter of Kadabra and Miss Wisconsin for his partners Millar Farms of Newmarket, James Walker of Port Perry and Noblock Racing Stable of Collingwood, ON, and says the partners are confident the filly will eventually mature into a stronger trotter. "I will move horses from time to time, put them in sales and stuff like that, and I really want to keep this filly, because I think, if she can develop over the winter, I think she's going to be an open trotting mare for me next year as a four-year-old," the Oakville, ON resident explained. In the short term, Sunday's victory extended Sunrise Avenue's Ontario Sires Stakes season through the Sept. 16 Grassroots Semi-final at Mohawk Racetrack. All three of Sunday's winners will compete in the Semi-finals in spite of spending time competing at both the Gold and Grassroots levels this summer. In the second division, Could It Be Magic returned to the Grassroots after one start at the Gold level and picked up her second Grassroots win. The Kadabra daughter powered out to the front from Post 2 and led the field through fractions of :28.3, :58 and 1:27.2 on her way to a season's best 1:57.1. Fan favourite Magical Valentine settled for second, six and one-quarter lengths behind Could It Be Magic, and Moonlight Cocktail was two more lengths back in third. Trainer-driver Wayne Henry of Arthur shares ownership of Could It Be Magic with Fred Brayford of Alliston, and the partners have been disappointed that the filly has not regained the freshman form that saw her win six of 10 starts and bank $195,156. "She didn't come back this year the way that we'd hoped," said Brayford. "I think she's got a couple of wins in the Grassroots, but that's about it." Through eight sophomore starts Could It Be Magic has tallied two wins and two seconds and earned $27,000. She wraps up the Grassroots regular season with 125 points, good enough for a top 10 ranking in the division standings. Myretirementticket went to the top of the standings with her third Grassroots win of the season in the last division. In rein to Paul Mackenzie the Cornaro Dasolo daughter controlled the tempo through fractions of :28.4, 1:00, 1:28.2 and sailed home a one length winner in a season's best 1:57.4. Windsong Magic and Roadmapper rounded out the top three. "You go out, you parade her, you score her down, she's good, and put her nose on the gate and she knows what it's all about," said Mackenzie. "So she's not hard to drive, she's really good for a trotter to drive, she's very consistent, and if you ask her to leave she can leave, or you take her back, do whatever you like, she's handy. She's just a real nice filly in that class." Like Sunrise Avenue and Could It Be Magic, Myretirementticket dabbled in the Gold Series, making two starts and netting two fifth-place cheques from her battles against the division's top tier fillies. "He said he tried her in the Golds, but she can't go with Caprice Hill and them, so he put her back in the Grassroots, she's real competitive here," said Puslinch resident Mackenzie, who piloted the filly to victory for trainer-owner-breeder Eli Wagler of Ingersoll, ON. "She's been really good to him from a two-year-old right up to now." The other 17 top point earners will join Sunrise Avenue, Could It Be Magic and Myretirementticket in the Sept. 16 Semi-finals, with the top five finishers from each Semi-final earning a berth in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 24. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Flamboro Downs on Thursday, Sept. 8 with the last regular season Grassroots event for the exciting two-year-old pacing colts. Racing gets under way at the Dundas oval at 6 pm. Ontario Racing

AUGUST 30, 2016 - When harness racing trainer Ben Wallace lost eight two-year-olds in the January 4 barn fire at Classy Lane Training Centre, the Puslinch resident expected to spend the summer stakes season watching from the sidelines. Thanks to the support of his owners and other members of the harness racing industry, that has not been the case and on Tuesday evening at Mohawk Racetrack Wallace posted his first Ontario Sires Stakes victory of the season. In rein to Mississauga resident Roger Mayotte, who also lost four horses in the fire, three-year-old trotting gelding Muscle Ave made his way up the outer lane from Post 9 and then sprinted down the stretch to catch pacesetter Mass Balance by a neck. Mission Man finished third in the 1:56.1 mile. "It was a bit of a surprise to be honest. He's kind of been a bit of a disappointment for the last three or four races - and I don't put that all down to his fault, there were some things that I may have done that I shouldn't have and changed some things on him - but he's come around and he looks like tonight he's the horse that I actually bought into, so I'm pretty happy," said Wallace. "I mean he was out the whole mile and I think he came a pretty good quarter finishing too." The 1:56.1 clocking was a personal best for Muscle Ave, who has tallied two wins, two seconds and one third in 13 starts this season for earnings of $39,370. The victory, along with a pair of fourth-place finishes in his first two Grassroots outings, gives Muscle Ave 66 points and puts him among the division's top 20 with one regular season event remaining. The top 20 point earners at the end of the six regular season events will advance to the Semi-finals at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 16, with the top five from each Semi-final earning a berth in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship at Mohawk on Sept. 24. "He's got one more (Grassroots) start I guess next Wednesday (Sept. 7), I don't think he's even in the hunt to get in the final, but if he wins again I think he might be," said Wallace. "Another win and that would put him right into the mix, and then who knows what happens. We're pretty happy with him anyway, he'll be a nice useful for horse for a couple years to come I think, so we're looking forward to it." Wallace shares ownership of the Muscle Mass son with Petrolia, ON resident Larry Ainsworth, who moved the trotter into Wallace's barn as soon as the trainer resumed operations. "Larry's great, I mean I lost everything last winter and he was one of the first guys on board," said Wallace, who lost 17 horses in the fire, along with all of his equipment. "I'm very thankful to Larry Ainsworth for helping me out, to get started back up again. He was one of the very first phone calls I received, and I certainly appreciated it, and he dropped me off a couple of nice horses, and well, the rest is history, as they say." Thanks to the support of people like Ainsworth and long-time owner Brad Grant of Milton, among others, Wallace has built his stable back up to 15 horses and competed in both the Ontario and Pennsylvania Sires Stakes programs this summer. Tuesday's victory was one small milestone in the trainer's journey back to full operating capacity. Muscle Ave In addition to Muscle Ave, Golden Son, Gonna Fly and P L Jerico all posted Grassroots victories at Mohawk on Tuesday. Golden Son delivered his third Grassroots win and eighth victory of the season in the first $18,000 division, going gate-to-wire from Post 1 for driver Trevor Henry. The Majestic Son gelding stopped the teletimer at 1:55.3, reaching the wire one-half length ahead of Agent Dinozzo. Innovative Force was two more lengths back in third. Arthur resident Henry piloted Golden Son to the win for trainer Richard Moreau of Puslinch, ON and owners Gary and Fay Clark of Oriskany Falls, NY. Golden Son Division point leader Gonna Fly sprinted from eighth to first in the final quarter of the third Grassroots division, hitting the wire in 1:57. Dynamic Edge and Zlatan were one length back in second and third. Milton resident Steve Condren drove Gonna Fly to his third Grassroots win for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor and his partner Earl Hill, Jr. of Ohsweken, ON. In 10 sophomore starts the Kadabra colt has four wins and two seconds for earnings of $44,900, and leads the three-year-old trotting colt standings with 175 points. Gonna Fly The final Grassroots trophy was awarded to P L Jerico, who took control before the half and cruised to a three and one-quarter length victory in 1:55.4. French Bastille and JLs Bad Moon Risin completed the top three. It was the first Grassroots win for P L Jerico, who is trained by Matthew Dupuis for owner-breeder Prince Lee Acres of Uxbridge, ON. Campbellville resident Mike Saftic engineered the victory, the Manofmanymissions gelding's fourth. P L Jerico The three-year-old trotting colts will wrap up their regular season at Grand River Raceway on Wednesday, Sept. 7. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday, Sept. 1 with the last regular season Grassroots event for the three-year-old pacing colts. The colts will battle for a post season berth in Races 4, 7, and 9. Post time at the Campbellville oval is 7:30 pm. For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

AUGUST 29, 2016 - Georgian Downs will wrap up its 2016 live harness racing schedule on Tuesday by giving fans an opportunity to visit the Ontario Sires Stakes winner's circle. Fans can select their favourite horse in the third two-year-old pacing filly Grassroots division by placing their "Be A Winner" contest ballot in the horse's ballot box. One "Be A Winner" finalist will be selected from each ballot box and each finalist will receive an Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) t-shirt, ball cap and lanyard badge, along with a $15 win-place-show wager on their chosen horse. After cheering home the sixth race contestants, the finalist representing the victorious filly will join in the winner's circle celebrations for a commemorative photograph. The winning finalist will also receive a trophy, an OSS jacket and golf shirt, and a $50 wagering voucher. Among the fillies hoping to be part of the "Be A Winner" celebrations is Sheer Talent, who will start from Post 6 in the third $18,000 Grassroots division. The Badlands Hanover daughter heads into the race off a locked-in sixth-place result in the August 22 Grassroots event at Mohawk Racetrack, and trainer Carmen Auciello believes she is poised for a big outing. "Actually, I think she's good enough to win," said the Stouffville, ON resident. "Last week, if she gets room anywhere, she's probably in the top three easy. So I'm looking forward to seeing her at Georgian, because she can get around any size track, and I think she's a real nice filly." Robert Burgess of Cedar Valley, ON owns Sheer Talent, who was a $20,000 purchase at last fall's Forest City Yearling Sale. The filly was a 1:56.2 winner in an overnight event at Mohawk on August 4, but has yet to crack the top three in three Grassroots outings. "Two of the Grassroots at Mohawk she was locked in, and never had a chance to get out, I think we had a fifth and a sixth, and the one time we did give her a shot she came up sick," said Auciello. "So if you look at her lines, she's a lot better than her lines show." Jonathan Drury will steer Sheer Talent in the sixth race, and the Guelph, ON resident will also be aboard her stablemate Mystical Moon from Post 1 in the second Grassroots division. "She kind of needs it, she has a bit of gate speed, but not quite enough to overcome a tough post," said Auciello of the filly's advantageous starting position. "Looks like she's going to be right beside the favourite (Anderson Seelster) and hopefully follow her all the way around, that would be nice." After a second-place result in the July 8 Grassroots season opener at Mohawk Racetrack, Mystical Moon tested the Gold Series waters, finishing eighth in the July 18 event at Mohawk. Back at the Grassroots level the Mach Three daughter made a break and finished ninth at Mohawk on August 11 and was sixth in the August 22 event at the Campbellville oval. "She's a racehorse," said Auciello about Mystical Moon, a $14,000 yearling purchase from the Forest City Yearling Sale who he co-owns with Stephen Klunowski of North York, ON. "I mean she's never been real flashy, she's a little bit lazy, but she looks like she's one that might develop into a nicer three or four-year-old once she fills out. Right now, she has the speed; she's just still learning what it's all about. "Sheer Talent's a better filly right now, she's just a lot more developed and a lot more mature," added the trainer. "If you look at her, she looks like a four-year-old, whereas the other one (Mystical Moon) looks like a two-year-old, so physically she's a lot more developed. I wouldn't say mentally she is, that's kind of what's holding her back. She can look at something and jump over it or just make breaks for no reason, that's her only downfall." Tuesday's test is the fifth on the two-year-old pacing filly Grassroots calendar, with the regular season finale slated for Sept. 8 at Flamboro Downs. The top 20 point earners at the conclusion of the regular season will advance to the Sept. 15 Semi-finals at Mohawk Racetrack, with the top five finishers from each Semi-final earning a berth in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship at Mohawk on Sept. 24. The fillies will compete in Races 3, 5 and 6 on Tuesday's program, with the first race rolling in behind the Georgian Downs starting gate at 7:15 pm. In addition to the Grassroots and "Be A Winner" excitement, Georgian Downs will also announce the winner of the season-long Habitat for Humanity 50/50 draw and treat fans to $1 hot dogs and pop starting at 6 pm. Ontario Racing

AUGUST 28, 2016 - The second straight night of Ontario Sires Stakes action at Georgian Downs featured five $18,000 Grassroots divisions for the harness racing three-year-old trotting fillies. Windsong Magic opened the festivities with her first ever Grassroots victory, taking control of the race before the halfway marker and sailing home one and one-quarter lengths ahead of her peers. The 1:57.4 clocking was a personal best for Windsong Magic, who was piloted to the victory over Treasure Gifts K and Stonebridge Peace by Thornton, ON resident Steve Byron. "She's a lineman, not a wide receiver," said trainer John Bax. "So she can go all day, but she's not going to go any 26 second quarters, that's for sure. "She's just had a lot of bad luck and had a few issues," Bax added. "But things worked out finally." In the five starts prior to Sunday's outing, Windsong Magic had drawn three Post 10s and two Post 7s at Mohawk Racetrack and finished no better than fourth. Sunday's victory vaults the daughter of Kadabra and Diamond Image up the point standings and with one regular season event remaining, Bax hopes the sister to $765,386 winner Windsong Espoir can earn a berth in the Grassroots post season. "I don't know how that does with the points, but we'll try to get in the top 20," said the Campbellville, ON resident, whose other four starters all finished third. "The next Grassroots is at Flamboro, and if she draws the rail, that'll help." Breeder Paulette Loyens of London shares ownership of Windsong Magic with Kristine Hill of Ohsweken, ON. Through 17 starts the filly has tallied five wins, two seconds and one third for earnings of $46,240. The quickest mile of the five Grassroots divisions was clocked by Magical Valentine in Race 4. In rein to trainer Jack Moiseyev, Magical Valentine powered to the front just past the half and accelerated away from the field to a 10 and one-half length victory in 1:56.2. P C Cantore and Bax trainee Windsongmusclelady finished second and third. "She impressed me tonight," said Moffat, ON resident Moiseyev of the filly's first start on Lasix. "She made a big move up the backside and kept trucking." The win was Magical Valentine's second in Grassroots action this season and moved her into second spot in the division standings with 138 points. The daughter of Kadabra and Renees Pockets is owned by breeders M T Pockets Stables of Pompano Beach, FL and improved her record to three wins, two seconds and one third in eight sophomore starts, for earnings of $36,520, with Sunday's win. "She's learned how to settle down and sit in a hole a little better and learned how to be a racehorse," said Moiseyev of the filly, who made just one start as a two-year-old. "She's a pleasure to be around all week, nice on the track, just a good attitude." Magical Valentine could make her next start against open stake competition in the Sept. 2 Simcoe Trot at Mohawk Racetrack, which would leave the door open for several of her peers to pad their point totals in the Sept. 4 Grassroots event at Flamboro Downs. In addition to Windsong Magic, Roadmapper, Traviata and Trumpets all scored their first Grassroots victories at Georgian Downs on Sunday evening. Roadmapper and driver Rick Zeron of Oakville took control just after the half and then held off fan favourite Magical Steph in the stretch to secure the one-half length victory in 1:57.2. Bax trainee Miami Magic was four and three-quarter lengths back in third. Zeron engineered Roadmapper's first Grassroots win, in just her second provincial start, for trainer Robert Robinson and owners Jacqueline Dinelle of Metcalfe, ON and David Reid of Briarcliff Manor, NY. In 22 starts the Holiday Road daughter has five wins, three seconds and five thirds for earnings of $33,846. In the fourth division Traviata benefitted from a pocket trip behind True Muscle, stepping out in the stretch to best the pacesetter by one-half length in 1:58. Bax trainee Very Classy was six more lengths back in third. Norwood resident Per Henriksen piloted Kadabra daughter Traviata to the first Grassroots win of her three-year-old campaign for trainer Ann Karin Larsen of Norwood and her partners Steve Organ of Aurora, Tor Jan Larsen and Stig Westrum of Norwood. The final Grassroots trophy was awarded to Trumpets, who pulled away from the field at the half and trotted home to a four and one-quarter length victory in 1:57.3. Pointe Shoes and Bax trainee Moonlight Cocktail finished second and third. Joe Pereira conditions Trumpets for The Merks Stable of New York, NY and Arthur, ON resident Trevor Henry piloted the Holiday Road daughter to her second win of the season. The three-year-old trotting fillies will wrap up their regular season at Flamboro Downs on Sept. 4, with the top 20 point earners at the end of the six regular season events advancing to the Sept. 16 Semi-final at Mohawk Racetrack. The top five finishers from each Semi-final will compete in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship at Mohawk on Sept. 24. Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Georgian Downs on Tuesday, Aug. 30 with three Grassroots divisions for the two-year-old pacing fillies and the "Be A Winner" contest. The first race goes in behind the gate at 7:15 pm and the freshman pacing fillies will compete in Races 3, 5, and 6. Ontario Racing

AUGUST 15, 2016 - A moment of pique almost cost Stuck In My Spanks a Grassroots trophy at Mohawk Racetrack on Monday evening, but the harness racing  two-year-old trotting filly mounted a remarkable recovery to earn her first Ontario Sires Stakes win. Starting from Post 7 in the second $18,000 Grassroots division, Stuck In My Spanks went off stride soon after the gate had pulled away from the field of nine. As Jilona took the fillies by the quarter in a sharp :27.4, Stuck In My Spanks and driver Paul MacDonell were 30 lengths behind the leader. By the :58.1 half they had gained back seven lengths and by the 1:29 three-quarters they were just seven lengths behind leader Inner Drive. Turning for home Stuck In My Spanks was three and three-quarter lengths off the pace, but when Guelph resident MacDonell asked her for another gear she dropped into overdrive and powered to a one-half length win in 1:59.1. Early leader Jilona was second and Hilarious Honey was three more lengths back in third. "She's scary fast; she's just got a little bit of an attitude. She gets a little mad, and that's what she did tonight," said trainer Scott McEneny. "It's very frustrating, because I know I didn't give much money for her, but I know she's one of the top fillies, I think, because she's got tons of speed. She just gets kind of a little silly with her mouth, and she got a little mad and shook her head and just made a break." McEneny acquired Stuck In My Spanks from last year's Harrisburg Yearling Sale for a bargain $3,500. Through four starts the daughter of Manofmanymissions and Puta Ring On It has recorded two wins and banked $19,500, but the trainer thinks she has the potential to accomplish much more. "Hopefully we can get her figured out here, because I think she's got some big money to go for, and I think she can go with the good ones," said the Waterdown resident. "We're going to try and do a couple little things here, but in a couple weeks we'll hopefully race her in the Champlain and then the Peaceful Way, if she behaves herself and gets on the right foot." McEneny trains Stuck In My Spanks for his wife Michelle McEneny of Waterdown and Teresa Davidson of Milton, ON. The filly started her Ontario Sires Stakes career at the Gold Series level, posting one fifth and one seventh. Stuck In My Spanks The other three division winners also arrived at Monday's test from the Aug. 2 Gold Series event at Mohawk, where they enjoyed varying levels of success. Powerful Mission won her Grassroots debut at Mohawk on July 21, and then moved up to the Gold Series for the Aug. 2 event, where she made a late break and finished eighth. Back in the Grassroots on Monday, the filly floated away from Post 9 and cruised up the outside until she took control heading by the halfway marker. From there the outcome was never in doubt as Powerful Mission reached the finish four and one-half lengths on top in a personal best 1:58. McEneny trainee and fan favourite You Cant Afford Me finished second and Late Shift was third. "She's a nice filly with a great attitude. I scored her out and had her on the bit more, because last start I didn't have her on the bit, and the track was also a little deeper, and I asked her too quickly," said driver Phil Hudon of Guelph, ON. "I believe she has a lot of potential." Hudon steers Powerful Mission for trainer Kevin St. Charles and owners E C S Racing LLC of Rockford, MI. In four starts the daughter of Manofmanymissions and The Power Of Magic now has two wins and earnings of $18,700. Powerful Mission Like Powerful Mission, Anikadabra won her Grassroots division on July 21 and moved up to the Gold level for the Aug. 2 event. Anikadabra finished third against the Gold fillies, but trainer Rob Fellows opted not to repeat the experience and returned the daughter of Kadabra and Anikawiesahalee to the Grassroots on Monday. Starting from Post 6, Anikadabra took control before the half and cruised to a five and three-quarter length win in a personal best 1:59. The heavy favourite bested Crystal Gumdrop and Stritch. "She's a very versatile filly. I could have sat her in a hole and moved her, but I saw that Sylvain (Filion and Crystal Gumdrop) got up to the front, so I just kind of floated up and cleared around him and man, she did the rest by herself," said driver Rick Zeron. "She's getting to be, she's not green anymore, she's smart, she's like driving an aged three-year-old filly now, you know, she just does everything that you ask her." Rockwood resident Fellows conditions Anikadabra for owner-breeders Edward Wilson of Seagrave, ON and Michael Pozefsky of Saratoga Springs, NY. In four starts the filly now has two wins and one third for earnings of $27,840. Anikadabra The final division went to Magic Presto, who also has one win and one second in Gold Series action to her credit. The daughter of Kadabra and In The Mean Time sprinted by the leaders to a 1:58.2 victory, four and three-quarter lengths ahead of Royal Witch and Northern Oath. "She looked very comfortable and professional," noted trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman. "She's heading in the right direction." New Jersey resident Norman trains Magic Presto for Melvin Hartman of Ottawa, ON, breeder Herb Liverman of Miami Beach, FL, David McDuffee of Delray Beach, FL and Little E LLC of New York, NY. Arthur resident Trevor Henry has piloted the filly to her two and one record. Magic Presto The final two-year-old trotting filly Grassroots event will go postward at Mohawk on Sept. 5, but several of Monday's competitors could appear in the Sept. 1 Champlain Stakes at the Campbellville oval. Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday, Aug. 18 with two $105,000 Gold divisions for the three-year-old trotting fillies. Post time is 7:30 pm.   Ontario Racing

AUGUST 13, 2016 - Hiawatha Horse Park celebrated the Ontario Sires Stakes program on Saturday, hosting three divisions of harness racing two-year-old trotting colts in their fifth Grassroots event. After two seconds and one third in his first three Ontario Sires Stakes outings, Zorgwijk Rocket finally found his way to the winner's circle with a 2:01.2 victory in the first $18,000 Grassroots division. In rein to trainer Joe Hudon, Jr., the gelding floated away from Post 7 and landed fourth on the rail as Critical Mass and Mr Marshmellow battled to a :29.1 opening quarter. Once the dust had settled, Hudon sent Zorgwijk Rocket to the front and the fan favourite cruised through a 1:01.3 half and 1:31.1 three-quarters on his way to a one and one-quarter length victory over Yo Yo Mass. Head Turning Jag was well back in third. "He's been pretty consistent," said Hudon. "He wants to be a trotter, he don't want to be a breaker or anything like that. "If I can get them around you know they're pretty good gaited," added the horseman, wryly. Zorgwijk Rocket made his debut in the July 20 event at Grand River Raceway, where he finished second, followed that up with a third-place result at Mohawk Racetrack on July 28, and then returned to the first runner-up spot in the Aug. 4 event at Rideau Carleton Raceway. A $13,000 purchase from the 2015 Canadian Yearling Sale, the gelding has banked $20,160 in his first five starts. "This horse has got a little bit of speed, but he's not a Gold, he's just a nice Grassroots horse," said Hudon, who shares ownership of Zorgwijk Rocket with R A W Equine of Burlington, ON. "He's got a big gait, his size - he's medium for a trotter. He'll grow, he's grew like six inches since we bought him probably," the Acton, ON resident continued. "He's not very mature yet, he's lean, so once the Sires Stakes are over we'll give him a good rest so he'll mature quite a bit." Saturday's win bumped Zorgwijk Rocket's point total to 112, putting him in fourth spot in the division standings with one regular season event remaining. The top 20 point earners will earn a spot in the Sept. 15 Semi-finals at Mohawk Racetrack. Also boosting his chances of landing a Semi-final berth was More Than Majestic, who posted a 2:03.3 victory in the second division. Starting from Post 4 with Clarke Steacy at the helm, More Than Majestic was third when fan favourite Kitarro reached the quarter in :29.2. Steacy tipped the gelding into the outer lane heading for the 1:03.2 half and continued to press the pace through the 1:33 three-quarters. Turning for home Steacy shifted More Than Majestic into another gear and the gelding powered by Kitarro to a one and one-quarter length victory. Charmbo Chrome was four lengths back in third. "He always showed some ability, but just needed some race luck," said trainer Mark Steacy of More Than Majestic's first lifetime victory. "I'm sure the Landmark 9 (Racing Stable) owners will be very happy." More Than Majestic is owned by the 42-member Landmark 9 Racing Stable of Kingston, ON, Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC and Bridle Path Stables Ltd. of Ossining, NY. The Majestic Son gelding was a $40,000 purchase from the 2015 Harrisburg Yearling Sale. The final Grassroots trophy of the evening was awarded to Santini, who grabbed control of the race just after the quarter pole and never looked back, sailing home to a four and one-half length victory in 2:02.1. Persuaded and LMC Mass Gem battled it out for second and third. Richard Simard crafted the win, the colt's second straight in Grassroots action, for trainer Stephen Oldford of Croswell, MI and his partner Gene Oldford Farms LLC of St. Clair, MI. A son of Kadabra, Santini was a $40,000 acquisition from the Lexington-Selected Yearling Sale, and he currently sits fifth in the division standings with 100 points. The two-year-old trotting colts will wrap up their regular season at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 5. The top 20 point earners after the six regular season events will advance to the Sept. 15 Semi-finals, and the top five finishers from each Semi-final will compete in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship on Sept. 24. Ontario Racing

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