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Wells’ Homebred Still Learning

Published: July 14, 2010 9:13 am ET

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Ontario’s talented three-year-old pacing colts make their second Grassroots start of the season over Hanover Raceway’s half-mile oval on Saturday, and Harriston, ON resident Barbara Wells is hoping the event marks a new phase in the career of her homebred colt Chapter.

Raced just three times as a two-year-old, the young pacer delivered an impressive effort in his first outing and then decided the finish line should be at the three-quarter pole. Trainer Gregg McNair tested the colt for a variety of physical ailments, but when everything came back negative he wrapped up the colt’s freshman career and hoped maturity would fix what ailed Chapter.

Since returning to action in mid-May, the son of Astreos and Hollyhock seems more willing to finish his miles, but has worked a few other quirks into his race day repertoire.

“He’s been quite a little bit of a handful,” notes the breeder, who shares ownership of Chapter with her husband Herb through their Bloomingwood Farms Ltd. “Everything he learned last year, he must have forgot. Shadows on the track, everything, is just a bit new to him.”

After a May 3 qualifier at Mohawk Racetrack where the colt paced his own mile in 1:59.3, Chapter made his first appearance at Hanover in a May 15 overnight event. In rein to Walkerton, ON native Randy Fritz, the youngster stepped off a 2:00.1 mile in a fourth-place effort. The colt’s second sophomore start came in a May 30 division of the Central Huron Pacing Series at Clinton Raceway, and Chapter delighted his connections with a neck victory in 2:00.

The second leg of the Central Huron Series saw Chapter finish in the runner-up spot, and he picked up a fourth in the June 20 final, hampered by a bit of shadow dodging. On July 2 Walkerton native McNair dropped the colt into a non-winners of $10,000 contest at Grand River Raceway and Chapter picked up his second victory with a personal best 1:58.3 effort, complete with a :28.1 last quarter. The youngster heads into Saturday’s contest off a fourth-place finish in a 1:57 mile at Grand River on July 12.

“He’s just coming into his own lately,” comments Wells. “I hope he does well up there Saturday. I hope he’s all ironed out.”

Wells knows that Chapter faces a stiff test against the seasoned Grassroots competition in Saturday’s fourth race, and would settle for an outcome that sees the colt mind his manners and stay focused on the race.

“It’ll be a challenge. We’re hoping for an overcast day,” she says wryly, referring to the colt’s propensity for leaping shadows. “Hopefully we’ll see what he’s got.

“The first time out he was all gung ho and then died on the vine. Maybe he’s got it together this year.”

Among the colts Chapter and driver Doug McNair will face in the $24,000 Grassroots skirmish are former Gold Series competitor P L Dangerous from Post 3; a pair of colts who recently circled the Mohawk Racetrack oval in 1:53 — Scotian Laddie at Post 4 and Elm Grove Joker from Post 5; and Ontario Spring Series winner Mambo Italiano from Post 6.

Hanover Raceway opens its Ontario Sires Stakes season at 7:15 p.m. on Saturday, shining the spotlight on the three-year-old pacing colts in Races 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 and 10.

(O.S.S.)

To view Saturday’s entries, click here.


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