In their Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots debut at Clinton Raceway on Sunday afternoon, Ontario’s gifted three-year-old pacing colts tore around the Huron County oval in track record shattering style.
The sophomore pacing colt speed mark fell in the very first $24,000 division as Lucky Jet and driver Mike Saftic dominated the field with a front end effort that saw them hit the wire six lengths on top in 1:55. The mile peeled one-fifth of a second off the former record, co-owned by Bo Knows Terror (2001) and Just Plug It In (2007).
The victory was the fourth this season for Lucky Jet, who is trained by Gregg McNair for Ciara Stable of Willowbrooke, Illinois, Michelle Crawford of Cazenovia, New York and Edward Kollross of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. In six starts the Jeremes Jet son has amassed earnings of $24,025.
General Manager and Machapelo rounded out the top three in the afternoon’s first Grassroots contest.
One race later Modern Xhibit had fans on their feet as he rocketed around the half-mile oval to a spectacular 1:53.1 score, tearing almost two full seconds off Lucky Jet’s brand new track record. Fan favourite In Commando was hot on the leader’s heels in second, while Tylers Great was eight lengths to the rear in third. Both runner-ups paced miles faster than Lucky Jet’s briefly held record.
Anthony MacDonald engineered the track record-setting performance for trainer Jim Ainsworth and owner-breeders Larry Ainsworth of Petrolia, Ont. and William Boden of Vancouver, B.C. The 1:53.1 was a new personal best for Modern Xhibit, a homebred son of Modern Art and Armbro Teacher who has tallied three wins, one second and three thirds in 10 sophomore starts for earnings of $36,584.
The third Grassroots trophy went home with Life Signature, who is owned by Steven Brunelle of Grand Bend, Bill Manes of Rockwood, Ont., and Steven Papillon and Leonard Christopher of Acton, Ont. The Life Sign gelding and driver Trevor Henry controlled the tempo, sailing under the wire one length ahead of Just Doing My Job and Crawfish Creek in 1:56. Andrew McCabe conditions Life Signature, who is now three for six in his sophomore campaign.
Both Mike Saftic and Anthony MacDonald would make repeat appearances in the Clinton winner’s circle, Saftic picking up three Grassroots victories and MacDonald two. Scott Zeron also scored the driving double.
Zeron’s second win of the afternoon came aboard local gelding Fiesty Flyer, who hung on for a nose decision in the eighth race. Exeter, Ont. resident Robert Hamather bred and owns Fiesty Flyer, who is a son of Camluck and So Fiesty. Casie Coleman conditions the gelding, who bested OK Ebury and Stonebridge Comet in the third 1:55 mile of the day.
Oakville, Ont. resident Zeron also scored with Twin B Wrangler in the fourth race, steering the Mach Three son to his first win of the season for trainer Travis Umphrey of Guelph, Ont. and his partners Mac Nichol of Burlington, Ont. and Derek Wilson of Okotoks, Alta. Machal Angelo and Giddy Up Cam rounded out the top three in the 1:56 mile.
Saftic’s second and third victories came in races five and 11 with So Take That and Special Session. So Take That stepped to an impressive 1:54.4 clocking for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor and his partners Dave Boyle of Bowmanville, ON and C S X Stables of Liberty Center, OH, while Special Session was able to coast along to a 1:58.1 score for trainer Gregg McNair of Guelph and his partner Wayne MacRae of Fall River, N.S.
MacDonald completed his driving double in the sixth race with Louie Eftimiadis trainee Machin Music, who halted the teletimer at 1:55 for owner Gerald Mijal of Westland, Michigan.
In total, seven of the 11 Grassroots divisions were clocked faster than the former three-year-old pacing colt speed record of 1:55.1. The fleet-footed pacing colts will make their second Grassroots appearance at Sudbury Downs on June 23, while Clinton Raceway fans will be treated to the Ontario Sires Stakes debut of the two-year-old trotting colts on Sunday, July 8.
To view Sunday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Sunday Results - Clinton Raceway.