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Highland Foxytrotr Fastest In Grassroots

Published: July 14, 2019 11:11 pm ET

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Georgian Downs hosted five divisions of Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) Grassroots for two-year-old trotting fillies, with purses totaling $115,400, during its Sunday, July 14 card. Highland Foxytrotr separated herself from her class with the fastest OSS win on the night: a 2:00 mile.

Georgian Downs fans were treated to five divisions of two-year-old trotting fillies competing for a total of $115,400 in their Ontario Sires Stakes debut on Sunday evening.

The E L Titan daughter and driver Sylvain Filion pushed for position from post 1 fended off Barnum heading for the :29.3 quarter and sailed uncontested past a :59.3 half. She repelled a challenge from Yen on the way to three-quarters in 1:30.2 before cruising home a one-and-one-quarter length winner. Pocket-sitter Expelliarmus finished second and three-quarter challenger Yen took home the third-place share of the $23,150 purse.

“When she left the gate she was all business. I was trying to let Stevie [Byron with Barnum] go, but I was wrestling too much with mine so I decided to keep going and the rest was history,” Filion said. “She felt good the whole way, good and strong. Just at the end there she got a little green and went to dart in a bit, but she got across and she did it pretty handy.”

Filion engineered Highland Foxytrotr’s first victory for trainer Amanda Fine and owner-breeders Highland Thoroughbred Farm. The filly finished fourth in her career debut, a two-year-old race at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 4.

Driver Trevor Henry won the last two Grassroots divisions with favourites Aphrodite Duke and Wine Rack Hanover, steering both fillies to victory from post 5.

Aphrodite Duke eased off the gate and sat fifth, watching Emily Antoinette ring up fractions of :30 and :59.4. Heading for three-quarters in 1:30.1, Henry sent the filly up the outer lane behind two other horses and circled by the other challengers while advancing on Emily Antoinette. The pacesetter battled, but Aphrodite Duke secured the three-quarter length victory in 2:00.3.

“She wants to chase them down. Trevor has done a great job so far of putting horses in front of her that she can track down and that’s what she seems to like,” said trainer Andrew McCabe. “It’s very easy, for trotters, for that switch to flip and them to go the other way, however with her we seem to have managed her correctly to avoid that.”

McCabe trains Aphrodite Duke for owner-breeder Glenview Livestock Limited. Also a daughter of E L Titan, the filly finished second by a head in her career debut at Georgian Downs on July 6.

Henry’s second Grassroots win, and third of the program, came in the last division with Richard “Nifty” Norman trainee Wine Rack Hanover.

Henry tucked Wine Rack Hanover into third as Credits Celebrity stepped to a :30 quarter and 1:00.3 half. Heading towards three-quarters in 1:30.2, Henry sent the favourite to the outside and matched strides with Credits Celebrity, driven by his brother Wayne Henry. The pacesetter made a break and left Wine Rack Hanover on control while she cruised to a two-and-three-quarter length win in 2:00.1. SOS Playful finished second and Ride To Justice was third.

Pinske Stables and Bridgette Jablonsky share ownership of Kadabra daughter Wine Rack Hanover, who was a $45,000 purchase from the 2018 Harrisburg Yearling Sale.

Driver Mario Baillargeon also won three races on Sunday’s program, including the second Grassroots division with race-favourite Canadian Titan. The pair went gate to wire from post 4, never facing a challenge on their way to a one-and-one-half length victory in 2:03.1. Craving You and Andover The Halo rounded out the top three.

Baillargeon trains and drives Canadian Titan, another E L Titan daughter, for fractional ownership group TheStable Canadian Titan. The filly was a $40,000 purchase from last fall’s London Selected Yearling Sale.

“She’s a nice filly that has matured quite a bit over the last month. She’s really turned out to be smart on the track, and that will go a long way in her racing career,” said founder and president Anthony MacDonald. “Mario has done a great job with her, both driving and training, and 21 owners were certainly happy with the outcome tonight.”

The other $23,150 Grassroots division went to Th Present, who advanced on the outside on pacesetter Brinys A Flirt, inherited the lead when the pacesetter went off stride and battled hard through the stretch to earn the neck victory over pocket-sitting favourite Bra In The Wind. Ready To Deal finished third.

“She’s a nice-gaited filly, very smart and professional,” said Bob McClure, who drove Th Present to the win for trainer Marcel Barrieau and co-owner Gestion Mastel Inc.

The partners acquired Th Present from the London Selected Yearling Sale, offering up $24,000 for the daughter of Royalty For Life.

The two-year-old trotting fillies will make their second Grassroots start Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 30.

Ontario Sires Stakes excitement continues at Georgian Downs on Tuesday, July 16 with four Grassroots divisions for the three-year-old trotting fillies, part of a full card dedicated to fillies and mares that gets under way at 7:20 p.m.

Alongside the Grassroots features, Fashiononthebeach blazed around the track to go wire to wire in the $11,500 Preferred 2 Pace with a 1:50.4 mile. The four-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding pushed for the front from the pylon post and set splits of :27, :54.3 and 1:22.1 on the lead. He finished one-and-a-quarter lengths better than 9-5 favourite Pretty Handsome as the latter rallied from the back for second. Talbotcreekwhiskey took third.

Trained by Richard Moreau for owner Brad Grant, Fashiononthebeach won his second race from 16 starts this season and his fifth from 42 overall, earning $149,106. Doug McNair drove the $6.00 winner.

(with files from Ontario Sires Stakes)

To view Sunday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Sunday Results - Georgian Downs.

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