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Sylvain Scores Six Pack At Mohawk

Published: July 17, 2019 1:18 am ET

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Sylvain Filion put on a driving clinic Tuesday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park by winning six races.

The Milton, Ontario resident scored six wins in 10 drives with four of his victories coming in Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) Grassroots action for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings.

Filion busted into the win column in the evening’s third-race with rookie pacing colt Allywag Hanover ($2.70) for trainer Casie Coleman. The veteran reinsman proceeded to post victories in the following two-races, both OSS Grassroots events, with Tabloid Writer for Ben Baillargeon and Quick Tour for Mark Horner.

Tabloid Writer sat fifth distanced over 10 lengths to a :28.3 opening quarter set by Twin B Frenchtoast, who continued to lead through a :59.1 half and past three-quarters in 1:27.3. Filion angled the Sportswriter colt second over to track Three Trick Gainer’s cover rounding the final turn and then kick off his helmet to win by a length in 1:55.3. Twin B Frenchtoast faded to third.

Richard Berthiaume owns Tabloid Writer, who won on debut and earned $11,925. He paid $13.20 to win.

“He’s a nice little horse. He’s not very big, but he’s all there, he’s all guts and perfectly gaited,” said the driver. “I thought he raced real big.”

Filion and Quick Tour were saddled with post 10 in the third $23,500 Grassroots division, but the Mach Three son left smartly from the gate to find a spot in fourth on the rail. Filion soon had the gelding aiming for the lead and the pair was in command before the three-quarter mark. From there Quick Tour battled hard to hold off My Bettors Del and favourite Better Take It and earn the 1:54.1 victory for trainer Mark Horner and his partner R A W Equine.

“He [Horner] told me before the race he’s better covered up, but from the outside post, I guess I had him a little too wound up and when I got in the four-hole there he started getting a real big hold of me. I didn’t want to take any chances and I moved him back to the front,” Filion said. “Once at the front he kind of got lost, but he dug in hard. That was a great mile for him, a great, great effort.”

A $7,000 bargain at the Harrisburg Yearling Sale, Quick Tour finished second in the Grassroots season opener to Tattoo Artist, who went on to win a Gold Series division on Monday night.

After a one-race break from the winner’s circle, Filion kicked off his second natural hat trick of the card with Kevin McMaster trainee Dontblvmejustwatch ($3.40) in an OSS Grassroots contest.

Starting from post 3 Filion and Dontblvmejustwatch landed in sixth and Filion asked the favourite to reel in the leaders heading by the :57 half. Once they took control the outcome was never in doubt as Dontblvmejustwatch cruised home a one-and-three-quarter length winner in 1:53.1. Usurper finished second and Colima was three more lengths back in third.

“That’s a nice little horse, he’s a sweetheart. I guess they didn’t really think much of him as of like a month ago, but he’s been improving every start and my god he was good tonight,” said Filion. “I had him in the bad position, I was far off the lead, and he made a quick brush to the front and he made it pretty easy. He’s not very big, but he’s slick and he’s very, very fast.”

Filion drives the Hes Watching gelding for trainer Kevin McMaster and fractional ownership group TheStable Dontblvmejstwtch. Through three starts the youngster has now delivered one win, one second and one third for his delighted owners.

His fifth and sixth victories of the card came with six-year-old trotting mare P L Jill ($2.90) for Baillargeon and two-year-old gelded pacer My Land ($9.20) for Gerard Demers in an OSS contest.

My Land, who went gate-to-wire from post 1, paced a 1:54.2 mile. Night Watchman finished two and one-quarter lengths back in second and Wilsons Vinner was two more lengths behind in third.

“That’s a horse I raced last time and I was caught back in the field. There was no flow and he still come home pretty good, so tonight I wanted to make sure with the rail that I was going to be, maybe not in front but in the two or three-hole,” said Filion. “So anyway, I left hard and ended up on the front end and I was able to get a soft middle half and he sprinted home pretty good and got the job done.”

Gerard Demers trains My Land for La Ferme Tag Inc., who offered up $10,000 for the Badlands Hanover son at the 2018 London Selected Yearling Sale.

Filion nearly made it seven-wins on the evening, as he finished second in the finale with rookie pacing colt Better B Swift.

The six-win night gives Filion 150 victories this season at Woodbine Mohawk Park and a 34-win lead in the driver’s standings over nearest rival Louis Philippe Roy.

The other two divisions went to favourites National Sport and Poseidon Seelster.

Sportswriter-son National Sport and driver Louis-Philippe Roy caught Filion and Twin B Watch Me in the stretch and pulled away to a three-and-three-quarter length win in 1:54.2 for trainer Richard Moreau of Puslinch and owner 1362313 Ontario Ltd. Bettor Focus rounded out the top three.

Both Bob McClure and Poseidon Seelster, and Filion and Better B Swift used late charges in the final division but Poseidon Seelster had the bigger kick and claimed the 1:54.1 victory by three-quarter lengths. Century Grizzly completed the top three. McClure piloted Sunshine Beach-colt Poseidon Seelster to the win for trainer Matthew Dupuis and owner Keith Cassell.

Tuesday’s quartet of victories and pair of runner-up finishes will edge Filion closer to current leader Trevor Henry in the race for the Lampman Cup, awarded each year to the top driver in the Ontario Sires Stakes program. Filion is a five-time winner of the cup and he has also chalked up the occasional six-win night in his decorated driving career.

“Not very often, not often enough,” said the reinsman with a laugh. “I’ll take it.”

The two-year-old pacing colts will make their third Grassroots start at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Aug. 15. Next up on the Campbellville oval’s Ontario Sires Stakes schedule are six Grassroots divisions for the two-year-old pacing fillies and two Gold Series divisions for the three-year-old trotting fillies on Thursday, July 18. The freshman pacing fillies will open Thursday’s program at 7:10 p.m. in the first race and will also be featured in Races 4 through 7 and Race 9. The trotting lasses will battle in Races 3 and 8.

Alongside the numerous Grassroots divisions, Dancer Hall dashed to the front and held on by three-quarter lengths to win the $34,000 Preferred Trot. The five-year-old Deweycheatumnhowe stallion cleared the front from Dunbar Hall past a :27.3 opening quarter and held firmly through splits of :57.1 and 1:25.4 in progress to a 1:53 victory. James MacDonald steered the $7.00 for trainer Rod Boyd and owner 1187422 Ontario Inc.

Live racing resumes Thursday evening, July 18 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Post time is 7:10 p.m.

(with files from Woodbine Mohawk Park and the Ontario Sires Stakes)

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

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