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Pembrook Street Impresses In Grassroots

Published: June 13, 2009 5:07 pm ET

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Pembrook Street set the bar high at Western Fair Raceway on Friday evening, sprinting around the London oval to a 1:59.2 score in the first of seven Grassroots divisions.

The three-year-old trotting colt and driver Dale Fritz went shoulder to shoulder with Luke But Dontouch through the :29 opening quarter, but Pembrook Street had established a clear lead well before the :59.1 half. Luke But Dontouch and driver Trevor Henry took another run at the front heading for the 1:29.3 three-quarters, but Pembrook Street easily fended off the challenge and powered down the stretch to a two and a half length victory.

P C Troubadour and veteran reinsman Ross Battin patiently watched the clash of the titans, then stepped off a smart last quarter to earn the second-place share of the $24,000 purse. A tired Luke But Dontouch stayed game for third, two lengths back of P C Troubadour.

George Henry trains Pembrook Street for Michael Wassilyn of Toronto and readied the Duke Of York son for Friday’s battle with a trio of overnight efforts that saw the gelding steadily drop his finishing time. Friday’s victory boosts Pembrook Street’s lifetime earnings to $80,900. A consistent performer at two — logging three wins, four seconds and a third in eight starts — Pembrook Street was the runner-up in the season ending Grassroots Championship.

Fan favourites did not fare well on the Grassroots card, with only two of seven making an appearance in the Western Fair winner’s circle. Among the colts to deliver on fan expectations was Mr Escadar in the sixth race, who controlled the pace from start to finish and hung tough through the wire for a three-quarter length victory in 2:00.

Roger Mayotte engineered the win for trainer Christopher Beaver and owner Hubert Wick of Warsaw, New York. A Gold Series player at two, Mr Escadar had just a 1:59.1 qualifier at Mohawk Racetrack under his belt before stepping onto the racetrack in London on Friday. The Mr Lavec son boosted his lifetime earnings to $72,300 with the win over Bacio Hanover (Per Henrikson) and Jack In Action (Ryan Holliday).

The other favourite to pick up a Grassroots trophy was also a Gold Series regular last season. Mopey Corey and driver Anthony MacDonald also marched along on the front end to a half length victory in 2:00.1. Overdraft (Brad Rae) and Savthelstdancforme (Don Rankin, Jr.) closed hard to pick up the second and third-place cheques.

A two-time Gold Elimination winner at two, Mopey Corey is trained by James MacDonald for owners Anthony MacDonald of Guelph, Bruce Guam of Toronto and Terry Hunter of Ayr. The Southwind Lustre son also has a second and a fourth-place finish to his credit this season over the half-mile oval at Flamboro Downs.

The other three-year-old trotting colts who earned Grassroots glory on Friday were Lucky Pierre in 2:03.4; Anahar Buster in 2:00.4; Berndt Energy in 2:01.3; and Burnt Stew in 2:03.

The colts make the second stop on their Grassroots tour July 12 at Rideau Carleton Raceway in Ottawa.

London and area fans will have to wait until October for their next dose of Ontario Sires Stakes excitement. The half-mile oval plays host to the Gold Series level of the three-year-old trotting colts on Friday, Oct. 2.

The trotting action continued at Western Fair on Friday with the second leg of the City Of London Trotting Series, which featured three divisions for colts and geldings and three for the ladies.

M T L Maple extended his win streak to eight in his division with Mike Whelan in the bike for trainer and owner Walter Whelan. The three-year-old Malabar Maple colt left from the inside post and rolled through panels of :29, 1:00 and 1:30.1 before pulling away from the pack by four and a half lengths to win in 2:00.4.

Gallant Rooney (Peter Core) finished second off a pocket trip and Polarshower (Trevor Henry) rounded out the top three.

M T L Maple is now a winner of eight races in nine career starts with earnings totaling $36,320.

Piracy also doubled up in the series with a win in the first division for the boys. Stephen Davis guided the three-year-old son of Mutineer to a two-length victory in 2:03.1 in wire-to-wire fashion. The win was his second in 14 starts pushing his bankroll to $17,036 for the Wellwood Stables Inc. and P C Wellwood Enterprises Inc. of Cambridge, Ont.

The final colt division went to Lou Lous Lavec, who held on by a neck over The Promised Horse (Dave Wall) to win in 2:03 after putting up all the panels. The sophomore son of Mr Lavec scored his first career win for trainer Ron Loucks, who co-owns with Troy Loucks of Owen Sound, Ont.

In the first division for fillies, Justa Dreamer also scored back-to-back wins in the series after rallying from off-the-pace to win by a length and a quarter in a new mark of 2:02.1 for driver Dave Wall and trainer Briand Hodgson, who also shares ownership with David Beaumont of Delaware and Elinor Haskell of St. Thomas, Ont. The win was her fourth in 13 outings lifting her earnings to $19,574.

In the second split, Daring Original, a daughter of Duke Of York, wired the field in 2:03.1 with Trevor Henry at the lines for Wayne Henry. Daring Original notched her second lifetime win pushing her bankroll to $17,769 for the Henry Stable of Arthur, Ont.

Lexis Ebba was the fastest of the fillies winning in 2:01.4 with Ross Battin in the bike. The Amigo Hall miss out-sprinted the pacesetter, Siena Belle (Trevor Henry), to win in 2:01.4 by over a length. Paul Ruhl handles the training duties for James Ruhl of Tara, Ont. The win was Lexis Ebba’s third in eight tries giving her $26,980 in career earnings.

To view Friday’s results, click here.

(With files from OSS)

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