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Rookies Flood Mohawk; Witch Dali Again

Published: July 13, 2018 11:27 pm ET

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Woodbine Mohawk Park was flooded with two-year-old pacing colts and geldings on Friday evening (July 13) as 68 of the youngsters went postward in seven Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots divisions.

Driver Bob McClure kicked things off in the $19,150 first division, employing a come-from-behind strategy with B Stoney, who paced under the wire three and three-quarter lengths the best in 1:54. Fan favourite Kenny Joe finished second and Century Farroh was third.

“He has lots of go, he just needs some experience,” said McClure of B Stoney, whose time would stand up as the fastest of the Grassroots divisions. “He’s kind of goofy, but he was significantly smarter from his first start to this week.”

McClure piloted the Sunfire Blue Chip son to the win for trainer Murray Brethour of Sunderland and his partners, breeder Doug Millard of Woodstock and Barry McClennan of Cavan, Ontario. In B Stoney’s first start, a July 1 two-year-old race at Georgian Downs, the Elora resident engineered a fourth-place result with the youngster.

Both McClure and Brethour would return to the winner’s circle with a second Grassroots winner each -- McClure in the fourth division and Brethour in the sixth.

Aboard Sauble Play in the $19,500 fourth division, McClure also opted for come-from-behind tactics, getting the Shadow Play gelding home to a one-half length victory over Balder Son in 1:55.2. Favourite DA Delightful was another length back in third.

“He seems to have very high speed,” said McClure of the gelding, who paced home in :27.1. “I think he’ll keep improving.”

Tara, Ontario resident Larry Hall trains Sauble Play and shares ownership of the homebred with his wife Marilyn through their Sauble Hill Farms. A half-brother to $206,548 winner Sauble Claire, Sauble Play now has one win, one fourth and one fifth in his first three career starts.

Brethour returned to the winner’s circle with Machdavid, who hung on for a neck victory after carving out most of the fractions in the sixth division. Sylvain Filion drove the Mach Three son to the 1:55.1 victory for Brethour and breeders Jeff and Lori Thomson of Chesley, Ontario. Boys Turn settled for second and Carlisimo sprinted into third.

Like McClure and Brethour, Filion also picked up a pair of Grassroots wins. The Milton, Ontario resident guided Battle Strong to a commanding five and one-quarter length victory in the second division, stopping the teletimer at 1:55.2. Ballparkfrank finished second and Come On Barney was third. Tony O’Sullivan of Cambridge, Ontario trains Battle Strong for Hutt Racing Stable of Paoli, Pennsylvania, who also bred the son of Betterthancheddar at their Winbak Farm of Chesapeake City, Maryland.

In between McClure, Brethour and Filion’s first and second victories, Mo Bettor captured the third division with a late sprint that saw him reach the wire in 1:55.1, one and one-half lengths ahead of Ys Sunshine and Big Kiz. Guelph resident Anthony MacDonald drove the Bettors Delight son to his second lifetime victory for trainer Kevin McMaster and owners Thestable Mo Bettor Group of Guelph and breeder Karry Howard of Wardsville, Ontario.

“He’s a medium-sized horse that’s filled out well, and you know, he’s ahead of the curve right now because it’s early in the season,” said MacDonald. “He’s been good from Day 1, he never wore a boot or anything like that and he’s really turned into a nice little colt.

“We’re probably going to aim him toward the (August 6) Battle of Waterloo,” MacDonald continued. “He wears a 56-inch hopple, I think, and no boots or nothing like that so he’s built for a half. I think he’ll excel on a half.”

The other divisions went to Sports Hero and Keystone Concrete.

Fan favourite Sports Hero led from gate-to-wire in the fifth split, laying down a 1:55.2 effort for driver Jonathan Drury of Guelph. Twin B Jays recovered from interference to be second and Mittnite Delight was third. Blake MacIntosh of Cambridge trains Sportswriter son Sports Hero for his partners in the 3 Hero Stables of Cambridge, the 30 Plus Stable of Trenton and Touch Stone Farms of Guelph, Ontario. A half-brother to 2012 three-year-old pacing filly Super Final champion Mach A Wish ($601,975), Sports Hero was a $60,000 purchase from last fall’s Lexington Selected Yearling Sale.

In the last division, Keystone Concrete took command early and never looked back, cruising home to a two and one-quarter length victory in 1:54.3. Chiefs Beach followed the pacesetter into second and Ok Kudo closed well for third. Oakville resident Rick Zeron piloted the Bettors Delight colt to the win for trainer Rob Fellows and owners Yolanda Fellows of Rockwood, Arpad Szabo of Bradford, Ontario and Blair Corbeil of Beaumont, Alberta. The partners acquired the colt for $18,000 at the 2017 Harrisburg Yearling Sale.

The two-year-old pacing colts will make their second Grassroots start on July 23 at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to the Campbellville oval on Monday, July 16 with four Gold Series divisions for the two-year-old trotting colts and geldings. The trotters will make their Ontario Sires Stakes debuts in Races 2, 3, 6 and 9, with the evening’s first race going behind the starting gate at 7:30 p.m.

In regular racing action, Witch Dali was a repeat winner in the weekly $30,000 Fillies & Mares Preferred Pace as she swept up from the backfield down the stretch and collared Firebby A in 1:50 flat for trainer Richard Moreau.

Jody Jamieson had picked up the winning catch-drive last week aboard Witch Dali, but Doug McNair was back aboard this time out with Jamieson steering her stablemate Sandbetweenurtoes to a fourth-place finish in the seven-mare affair.

Firebby A and Sandbetweenurtoes left together with the latter clearing to command following a sizzling :25.4 first quarter duel. After a :54.2 half, 8-5 favourite Witch Dali tipped out from next-to-last and flushed out cover. Getting a jump start on those mares, Firebby A pulled the pocket as they raced by three-quarters in 1:22.2 and eventually reeled in the front-stepping Sandbetweenurtoes, but Witch Dali rolled by late in the lane with a :26.3 closing kick. Firebby A finished three-quarters of a length back in second-place and longshot Artistic Madison closed from last to grab third.

Owned by Brad Grant of Milton, Ont., Witch Dali has now won three of the last four Preferreds for distaffers, with a close second-place finish to Sandbetweenurtoes in the mix. The seven-year-old Dali-Whitesand Gem mare is six-for-13 in 2018 and boasts 29 career wins with earnings just shy of the $600,000 mark.

To view Friday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Friday Results - Woodbine Mohawk Park.

(With files from OSS)


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