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Bax Bringing Arsenal To Windsor

Published: October 2, 2009 9:50 am ET

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Two-year-old trotters of every stripe are heading to Windsor Raceway on Tuesday evening, as the border oval will play host to a $130,000 Gold final for the two-year-old trotting fillies and four $24,000 Grassroots divisions for the two-year-old trotting colts.

Trainer John Bax will start a horse in all five contests, with Windcross carrying the stable colours in the Gold final.

"She just went through a little bit of a bout of sickness," Bax said of the Striking Sahbra filly. "She seems to be healthy again, so we are hoping to get a piece of the pie."

In last week’s elimination round, Windcross finished third, three lengths behind winner Random Destiny. The third foal of $347,292 winner Wescott will make her third Gold final appearance from Post 7 on Tuesday, with Paul MacDonell in the racebike for owners Wescott LLC of Neenah, Wisconsin.

Since making her provincial debut in the July 13 Grassroots opener at Grand River Raceway, where she made a break and finished sixth, Windcross has finished in the top three in all three of her Gold elimination appearances, and logged one fifth and one sixth in Gold finals. Her only other start was a sixth-place finish in a division of the September 7 Champlain Stakes at Mohawk Racetrack.

"Any other year she’d be a pretty special filly, but this year, she’s just a filly," Bax said, commenting on the remarkable depth of this year’s freshman trotting filly crop. "She’s got one real burst, one real quick move, but she’s going to have to develop a little more than that to play with the biggies."

Among the biggies that Bax refers to are elim winners Random Destiny and Angostura, who will start from Posts 4 and 9 in the $130,000 Gold final, slated as Race 8 on the Tuesday evening program.

Before the fillies battle in their fourth Gold final event, the freshman trotting colts will warm up the crowd with a couple of Grassroots skirmishes.

First off the gate from Bax’s trotting colt contingent is Baylon De Vie, who heads into Tuesday’s third race off a solid 2:03.2 victory in Grassroots action at Grand River Raceway on September 25.

"He looks a bit like a plow horse, he’s big and strong," Bax said. "He’s been a bit of a pleasant surprise. He kind of has one gear, but his last start he caught on and kept going.

"I thought he didn’t have it, he’s big and lumbering, but he was pretty impressive at Grand River, so maybe he’s just a late bloomer," added the resident of Peterborough, Ont. who shares ownership on Baylon De Vie with Lewis Palmer of Oshawa, Ont. John Hayes of Sharon, Ont. and Don Allensen of Camlachie, Ont.

The son of Angus Hall will make his bid for a second Grassroots trophy from Post 4 in the third race, with Stephen Byron in the race bike.

Byron will also pilot Fire Meets Ice from Post 3 in the sixth race, and Bax is hoping the colt can improve on the fourth-place finish he logged in the Grand River Raceway event.

"He’s been a real disappointment. I thought he had loads of talent, that he was a Gold horse," the trainer admitted. "He shows me something every once in a while, but only when he wants to.

"I think he needs an alteration at the end of the year," Bax wryly added. "He’s not always prone to trying."

Breeder Al Libfeld of Pickering, Ont. shares ownership on Fire Meets Ice, whose illustrious half-siblings include $797,497 winner Forever Starlet, with Steve Kazman of Thornhill, Ont.

Bax’s third trotting colt starter, Lukes Raoule, benefits from the inside Post 1 in the ninth race on Tuesday, from where Byron will try and organize the colt’s first flat raceline in four tries.

"He’s a little green yet, he’s made a couple of mistakes," noted Bax, who owns the son of Ken Warkentin in partnership with Paul Kinmond of Peterborough, Ont. and Harry Locke of Oshawa, Ont. "It may take another year before his mental ability catches up with his physical."

The final competitor from the Bax stable is Fuel Cell, who gets Post 1 in the tenth race. The most consistent of Bax’s trotting colts, Fuel Cell boasts a record of one win, two seconds and three fourths in six starts for earnings of $24,230.

Bax’s Parkhill Stud Farm, Paul Kinmond and Carl Bax of Peterborough, and John Houston of Cobourg, Ont. share ownership on Fuel Cell, who was a bargain-priced $9,000 acquisition from last fall’s Forest City Yearling Sale.

"He’s been kind of an over achiever," Bax admitted. "He was one of those bargain horses. He was such a good looking horse I thought, if I can get him for $10,000, I’ll have to buy him.

"For the most part he’s been real sensible and I’ve been happy with his progress," the trotting specialist added. "He wasn’t too good at leaving, but he’s learning, and he can come home pretty well. When he learns a little more about racing, I think he’s going to be one to be reckoned with in the Grassroots."

Firs-race post time for Windsor Raceway’s trotting-laden program on Tuesday is 7:00 p.m. The freshman trotting fillies square off in Gold final action in Race 8 and the trotting colts compete for Grassroots glory in Races 3, 6, 9 and 10.

To view Windsor Raceway's harness racing entries for Tuesday, click here.


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