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McNair Scores Grassroots Hat Trick

Published: July 20, 2015 12:20 am ET

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Reigning Lampman Cup champion Doug McNair earned his first Ontario Sires Stakes hat trick of the season at Georgian Downs on Sunday evening.

The 25-year-old made his first trip to the Georgian Downs winner’s circle in the third of nine Grassroots divisions, guiding two-year-old pacing filly Mattjestic Tempo to an impressive 1:54.3 score over Bad Lightning and Vermilion Bird. After sitting fourth for much of the mile, McNair tipped Mattjestic Tempo into the outer lane heading by the half and the Royal Mattjesty daughter sprinted home to a two length victory.

“She raced in the Gold last week and got a piece of it so I figured she had a big shot at winning,” said McNair of the Blake MacIntosh trainee. “That was a big mile tonight. It was really, really windy up here tonight; a big head wind.

“It was really windy down the backside, pretty much wore the ones on the front, and the ones first up, out,” added the reinsman. “The weather wasn’t as good as it looked on TV, that’s for sure.”

Waterdown, Ont. resident MacIntosh shares ownership of Mattjestic Tempo with Stuart McIntosh of Essex, Ont. and Brett Authier of Wheatley, Ont. The partners anted up $9,000 to acquire the daughter of $448,335 winner Daylon Tempo from last fall’s Forest City Yearling Sale. With a runner-up finish in her career debut, her fifth-place result in the July 6 Gold event, and her Grassroots victory the filly has already earned $16,000.

One race later, McNair was back in the winner’s circle, this time with a filly hammered down for $92,000 at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale to owner-trainer Jack Darling of Cambridge, Ont. Starting from post seven, McNair and
Life Book paced by the quarter pole in the outer lane, found a spot on the rail heading by the half and then were three-wide at the three-quarters before accelerating down the stretch to the half-length victory. Life Book stopped the Georgian Downs teletimer at 1:56.4, reeling in pacesetter Active Lady and favourite Miss Print.

“She went a pretty good trip too, she was three wide early,” said McNair. “I thought she may be third at the head of the stretch, but she mowed them down.”

The daughter of Shadow Play is out of $133,217 winner Give Me Life, who has already produced three $200,000-plus winners. Life Book made her debut in the July 9 Grassroots season opener at Mohawk Racetrack, finishing fifth.

McNair completed the driving hat trick with MacIntosh trainee Sports Expert, who won her first lifetime start in 1:56.1, besting My Rhythm Of Rhyme and No Shadows. Starting from post one, Sports Expert landed in third through the early going, and McNair sent her after the leader heading for the halfway marker, reaching the front before the 1:26.4 three-quarters.

“I didn’t want to drive her like that tonight, but I just got away in a bad spot — being first up and battling the one all the way down the backside — and she won pretty handy,” noted the Guelph, Ont. resident. “She’s going to be a pretty nice filly I think.”

MacIntosh, Touch Stone Farms of Guelph, and 30-Plus Stable of Trenton, Ont. purchased the Sportswriter filly, a full-sister to last season’s multiple Gold Series winner Sporting The Look, from the Harrisburg Yearling Sale for $20,000.

“I’m happy with the ones I’m driving,” said McNair. “I’ve got some nice ones.”

The other six divisions also featured some well-bred, talented fillies. Bourbon Seelster kicked things off, capturing the first division in 1:58.1 for driver Mike Saftic of Campbellville, Ont., trainer Robert Manders and owners Scott and Keith Manders of Watford, Ont. The Camluck miss — a $14,000 yearling purchase from the Forest City Yearling Sale — bested Machioda and Icthelight Hanover.

Twin B Virtue and driver Jody Jamieson of Moffat, Ont. captured the second split, with a 1:56.2 effort, over Selling the Dream and Cracklin Rosie. It was the first lifetime start for the Badlands Hanover daughter, a $30,000 purchase out of the Canadian Yearling Sale by trainer Dave Menary of Cambridge, Brad Gray of Dundas and Michael Guerriero of Puslinch, Ont. The filly is out of $116,833 winner What An Attitude, who has already produced six $100,000-plus winners.

Dr. Ian Moore of Guelph, Sally MacDonald of Souris, P.E.I., Paul MacDonald of Toronto, and Shirley Yeung of Toronto offered $52,000 for Bold Amoretto at the Harrisburg Sale, and the daughter of Big Jim and $1.6 million winner Armbro Amoretto captured her first Grassroots trophy on Sunday. The filly and driver Chris Christoforou of Campbellville hit the wire in 1:56.1, one and one-quarter lengths ahead of Boozer Bruiser and Jimmys Little Girl.

Milton, Ont. resident Sylvain Filion steered Mayhem Seelster to a 1:57.2 win over Noone To Depend On and Rosy Outlook in the sixth tilt. Tony O’Sullivan of Cambridge trains the Mach Three daughter for Domenic Chiaravalle of Hamilton, Ont., who selected her from the Forest City Yearling Sale for $55,000.

Division eight went to Dewar N Soda and Mike Saftic, who went gate-to-wire in 1:56.1 for trainer Marcel Barrieau and owners Joseph Wilkie and Wayne MacRae of Fall River, N.S. The daughter of Badlands Hanover and $233,166 winner Hasty Dewar was a $16,000 purchase at Harrisburg. Glorious Delight and Divas Image finished second and third.

Tempus Seelster and trainer-driver Travis Henry captured the final Grassroots trophy of the evening with a 1:55.3 effort, one and one-quarter lengths ahead of Heavenly Hill and Buttermilk Hanover. Benbar Stables of Oakville, Ont., Glen Wark of St. Catharines, Ont., and Craig Wood of Waterdown. share ownership of the daughter of Big Jim and The Patriot ($623,324), acquiring her for $10,000 from the Harrisburg Sale.

In regular racing action, Ontario-sired eight-year-old mare Windsong Glamorous (by Astreos) and driver Bob McClure won the $10,000 Fillies & Mares Preferred 2 Pace in 1:53.4 for Dundas trainer and owner Vernon Cochrane.

The Ontario-sired two-year-old pacing fillies make their third Grassroots start at Clinton Raceway on Aug. 9.

Ontario Sires Stakes action keeps rolling at Georgian Downs, with three Gold Series divisions of two-year-old trotting colts slated for Tuesday, July 21. The trotters are featured in Races 1, 4, and 8 on Tuesday’s program, which gets under way at 7:15 p.m.

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

(With files from OSS)

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