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Byron Stars In Dresden Grassroots

Published: July 1, 2016 6:37 pm ET

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Driver Steve Byron provided the fireworks on Dresden Raceway’s Canada Day program Friday (July 1), winning four of five Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots divisions.

The Thornton, Ont. resident opened the afternoon with an effortless score aboard Magical Steph, cruising along on the front end to a 1:58.1 victory, just one-fifth of a second off the all-age track record for trotters. The fan favourites hit the wire two and three-quarter lengths ahead of Devils Advocate and Traviata.

“I drove her some last year and she always had lots of go. Today, Gary had her good and she won that race pretty handy,” said Byron, who piloted the three-year-old trotting filly for trainer Gary Lance and GL Racing Inc. of Port Perry, Ont. “She’s a very talented mare.”

Byron piloted Magical Steph to four Grassroots wins last season in a freshman campaign that saw the Kadabra daughter post a record of five wins, two seconds and earnings of $72,400. Friday’s victory was the filly’s first in three sophomore starts.

In the second $18,000 Grassroots division, Byron teamed up with P C Cantore for the first time and the duo popped out of the pocket in the stretch to reel in local favourite True Muscle, who had carved out fractions of :29.3, :1:01.2 and 1:33.1. P C Cantore hit the wire in 2:01.4, one-half length ahead of True Muscle, to claim her second straight Grassroots trophy. The Power Of Many completed the top three.

“I didn’t know what to expect, I’d never driven her before, but she raced great,” said Byron of P C Cantore. “We got a good trip and she finished up strong. She’s definitely one of the better ones too, I believe.”

Byron crafted the win for trainer, owner and breeder Peter Clements of Dobbinton, Ont. The daughter of Cornaro Dasolo and former Grassroots winner Balladeer now boasts a record of five wins in eight starts and has sole ownership of top spot in the Grassroots point standings.

Byron sat out the third Grassroots division and Jody Jamieson guided Myretirementticket to a 1:58.3 score, going gate-to-wire from post three. Haileysgonedancing finished one and one-quarter lengths back in second and fan favourite Moonlight Cocktail was four more lengths back in third.

Moffat, Ont. resident Jamieson engineered the win for trainer, owner and breeder Eli Wagler of Ingersoll, Ont. The win was the first in six sophomore starts for the Cornaro Dasolo daughter, who was victorious in three Grassroots events at two, including her Semifinal.

Back out on the Dresden half-mile for the fourth division, Byron guided Windsongmusclelady to an 11 and one-half length win over Malia and Its All About Sam in 2:01. The race was marred by an accident that saw driver Per Henriksen unseated, but fortunately resulted in no significant injuries to either Henriksen or his mount Smash Hit.

The win was the second of the season for Windsongmusclelady, who is trained by John Bax of Campbellville, Ont. for his partners The Brabant Stable of London, Ont.

“She was real good today and she’s just a great mare, she tries all the time,” said Byron of the Muscle Mass daughter.

Another Bax trainee carried Byron to his fourth win of the afternoon. Starting from post four, Byron put Miami Magic on cruise control and the Kadabra filly sailed through fractions of :30, 1:01.4 and 1:32.2 on her way to a 2:02.2 score, five and one-quarter lengths ahead of Onatopp and P L Jade.

“I really like her, she’s just a handy mare and when the favourite [Magical Valentine] made a break, she won pretty easy after that,” said Byron of Miami Magic. “She’s as good as any of them as far as I’m concerned.”

Bax, Glengate Farms of Campbellville, Gaelic Stable of Sharon and Don Allensen of Wyoming, Ont. share ownership of the filly, who bumped her sophomore record to four wins, two seconds, two thirds and earnings of $41,540 through 14 starts.

“They all raced great,” summed up Byron. “I liked their chances going in to tell you the truth. I wasn’t surprised in any of them winning.

“It was just a great day.”

Byron’s next opportunity to sit behind his talented three-year-old trotting filly mounts will come on July 14 when the fillies make their third Grassroots start at Mohawk Racetrack.

Dresden also hosted a $4,000 Racing Under Saddle Ontario event on Canada Day, with Allan Neal's Southwind Alice scoring in 2:04.1 for rider Evelyn Harms, who has now paired up with the David Dowling trainee for three straight victories under saddle.

To view Friday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Friday Results - Dresden Raceway.

(With files from OSS)

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