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Strike The Cheque Repeats

Published: July 24, 2011 7:58 pm ET

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Strike The Cheque picked up his second Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots trophy with an impressive effort from Post 7 at Clinton Raceway on Sunday afternoon.

In rein to Monkton, Ont. resident Ross Battin, the two-year-old trotting colt powered away from the starting gate to reach the opening quarter in :32.1. The Striking Sahbra son the led the field through fractions of 1:04.1 and 1:35.2 before hitting the wire two and a half lengths ahead of his peers in 2:06.1. Oaklea Umpire crossed the wire in second, but made a late break and was moved back to third, promoting Windsong Illusion to the runner-up spot.

Cambridge, Ont. resident Mike Keeling conditions Strike The Cheque for his partners Ronald Keeling of Owen Sound, Ont. and Paula Wellwood of Cambridge, Ont. The homebred son out of Cheque Lavec captured his first Grassroots victory with a 2:05.3 mile over the Hanover Raceway half-mile on July 9 and has banked a total of $24,275 for his owners through three outings.

Keystone Orion scored the quickest victory of the six Grassroots divisions, reeling in pacesetter Six Bax through the stretch to record the 2:06 triumph. Southwind Nazareth also closed well to grab the second-place share of the $24,000 purse, edging Six Bax into third.

Donald Lindsey of Fergus, Ont. owns and trains Keystone Orion, who was a runner-up to Northern Kingdom in the season opening Grassroots event. The Angus Hall son was a $4,000 bargain at last fall’s Harrisburg Yearling Sale and has already returned $18,100 to his delighted owner.

Northern Kingdom was prevented from acquiring a second Grassroots trophy when he went off stride early in the first division on Sunday. The fan favourite’s miscue left the door open for Northern Victory, who sprinted by pacesetter Vertical and pocket sitter Rogan Seelster to claim a half-length victory in 2:07.1. In the tight finish for second and third, Rogan Seelster got the nod over Vertical.

Northern Victory started his stakes career in the Tara Hills Stud Trotting Series at Rideau Carleton Raceway, where he finished second in a 2:03 mile. The Amigo Hall son is trained and driven by Rodney Zeron for owner Robert Montgomery of Carp, who acquired the colt for $8,000 at the 2010 Canadian Open Yearling Sale. The young trotter is a half-brother to $235,557 winner Silhouette Dream and $137,341 winner Nasty Dream.

Ballykeel Ulysses captured the second Grassroots split for owner-trainer Cameron McKnight of Tillsonburg. In rein to Jason Brewer, the Oaklea Julian colt delivered a 2:08.3 clocking, reaching the wire one and a half lengths ahead of Mikey Hanover and Proby.

A $9,500 purchase out of the Canadian Open Yearling Sale, Ballykeel Ulysses finished fifth in his Grassroots debut at Hanover Raceway, in the division won by Strike The Cheque.

Garbarino made a bold three-wide move at the three-quarter mark in Race 5 and roared away from the field to a five and one-quarter length victory in 2:08.3. Conway Garre recovered from an early mistake to earn the second-place share, leaving fan favourite Windsun Fireball to settle for third.

Stephen Mahar trains and drives Garbarino, a half-brother to $238,415 winner Passito, for owner and breeder Dr. Ruth Irving of Russell, Ont. Sunday’s outing was the Angus Hall gelding’s first lifetime start following a July 19 qualifier at Mohawk Racetrack.

The other Grassroots division went to veteran reinsman Doug Brown and Gus Is All Lane, who cruised along on the front end to a two and three-quarter length score over Pocket Passer and St Lads Cyber Dude, halting the teletimer at 2:07.1.

Trainer George Zirnis and Thomas Cousineau of Elmira, Ont. share ownership of Gus Is All Lane, who started his provincial career at the Gold Series level, finishing sixth in his July 7 Gold elimination at Kawartha Downs. The Angus Hall son was a bargain $4,000 at the Lexington Select Yearling Sale and has returned $12,540 to his owners through three starts.

The two-year-old trotting colts make their third Grassroots start at Grand River Raceway on August 3. Ontario Sires Stakes excitement returns to Clinton Raceway on Sunday, August 21 with the fourth Grassroots event for the two-year-old pacing fillies.

For results from Sunday's harness racing card, click on the following link: Sunday Results - Clinton Raceway.


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