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Battle Eliminations In The Books; Fields Set For Finals

Published: July 27, 2020 10:01 pm ET

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Ontario-sired two-year-olds took centre stage in Monday's (July 27) eliminations for the Battle of Waterloo and the Battle of the Belles at Grand River Raceway, a week in advance of the rich finals that will lead the 30th annual Industry Day program.

Second-time starter Bettor Sun ($75.20) rode the pocket to a shocking 36-1 upset in the first $15,000 Battle of Waterloo elimination, and his 1:54.1 mile was the fastest among all 14 rookie colts and geldings to square off.

Doug McNair asked the son of Sunshine Beach and Bettor Think Twice for immediate speed, and he cleared into the first turn before yielding control to 1-9 favourite Springbridge Duel (Bob McClure) at the end of a :27.3 first quarter. Bettor Sun rode along in the garden seat through middle splits of :57 and 1:25.3 — and benefitted significantly from a third-quarter showdown between Springbridge Duel and the first-over Socrates Blue Chip (Jody Jamieson).

Angling for home, McNair wedged Bettor Sun out of the pocket in front of a weakening Socrates Blue Chip, and he reeled in Springbridge Duel by a widening 1-1/4 lengths. Socrates Blue Chip held third, and the second-over Armor Seelster (Louis-Philippe Roy) finished fourth.

Bettor Sun broke maiden in his Battle elimination after a fourth-place finish on debut in an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold event. Gregg McNair trains the Willow Oak Ranch homebred.

Candy Trader ($4.90) employed similar tactics to deliver as the favourite in the second elimination, stalking a third-quarter duel and emerging late — but only to win by a head in 1:55.2.

The Bettors Delight-Deception gelding quarter-moved from an early pocket under Sylvain Filion to clear Cantstoplying (Roy) through a :28.3 quarter, but was just as quickly overpowered by Avion Seelster (Jamieson) on approach to the far turn. From there, Candy Trader rode contently behind splits of :58 and 1:27 — the latter prompted by the first-over Watch My Beverage (McNair) — before making his move off the home turn.

With 2-1/4 lengths to make up off the corner, Candy Trader ceded a significant head start to Avion Seelster to the winning post. But he surged in the final sixteenth to just collar the pacesetter in 1:55.2. Cantstoplying saved third out of traffic, five lengths back, and No Better Joy (McClure) stayed even off weakening cover to complete the top four. Fifth-place finisher Watch My Beverage will also compete in next week's final.

Anthony Beaton trains two-time winner Candy Trader for Steve Heimbecker, Larry Menary, Michael Guerriero and Ben Mudry.

Candy Trader drew post seven for next week’s final, but Beaton wasn’t fussing about it.

“The outside may be a good spot for him,” he said. “He likes a helmet to follow.” The pacer is Beaton’s first-ever starter in the Battle Of Waterloo. (He also has a pair of fillies advancing to the Battle Of The Belles.) “He’s done everything right so far. I think we’ll be hearing more from him this season.”

The field for the $200,964 Battle of Waterloo final is as follows:

1. Watch My Beverage
2. Bettor Sun
3. Armor Seelster
4. Cantstoplying
5. Socrates Blue Chip
6. Avion Seelster
7. Candy Trader
8. No Bettor Joy
9. Springbridge Duel
AE1. Take Control

Of 15 fillies to contest two $10,000 Battle of the Belles eliminations, Scarlett Hanover ($3.20) most aptly displayed the poise of a veteran with a 1:55.3 score in the first split.

After rallying from off the pace to narrowly miss in an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold event at Georgian Downs last week, Ed Hensley dictated the terms with the Bettors Delight-Sammys Magic Girl filly from the outset. The pair threw down a :27.3 first quarter to secure the lead from Siri Blue Chip (McNair) before pulling the tempo back through comfortable middle fractions of :58 and 1:27.1. A first-over challenge from 45-1 outsider Shaitzu Seelster (Roy) on the second circuit had nary an effect on Scarlett Hanover, who edged away smartly and repelled an inside challenge from Siri Blue Chip to win by a measured two lengths. Cyclone Sister (McClure) lifted mildly off cover to reach third over Shiatzu Seelster.

Ashleigh Hensley trains Scarlett Hanover, who broke maiden in her Belles elimination, for the Burke Racing Stable, Frank Baldachino, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby and Weaver Bruscemi.

In the second Belles elimination, the undefeated Andra Day ($9.40) overcame a post 8 dispatch with the aid of live cover en route to a commanding 1:55 win — but she had some other help, too.

Doug McNair ducked the daughter of Shadow Play and Frame Worthy into sixth early, well behind an extended duel between Ring Of Kerry (Filion) and 5-2 favourite Plain Jane (McClure). After the pair sparred toe-to-toe through the first four furlongs in :55.4, Plain Jane broke stride and opened the door for Turning The Table (Jamieson) to take her shot on the outside. Meanwhile, Andra Day geared up three-wide on the backstretch and swept past a softened Ring Of Kerry to take charge past three-quarters in 1:25.1.

Andra Day found herself in the crosshairs of a three-wide City By The Bay (Hensley) approaching the home turn, but that rival too broke stride at the peak of her bid. Andra Day inherited 4-1/2 lengths over the second flight in upper stretch by way of City By The Bay's mistake, and McNair kept her to task all the way to the line. Sports Check (Roy) rallied up the pegs for second over Ring Of Kerry, and Turning The Table maintained fourth after levelling off. Spittin Chicklets, who finished fifth, also advances to next week's final.

Andra Day remains perfect through three career starts — having won two Ontario Sires Stakes Gold events already — for trainer Dr. Ian Moore and the partnership of the Let It Ride Stables and Bottom Line Racing.

The field for the $128,149 Battle of the Belles drew as follows:

1. Ring Of Kerry
2. Turning The Table
3. Siri Blue Chip
4. Sports Check
5. Shiatzu Seelster
6. Spittin Chicklets
7. Cyclone Seelster
8. Andra Day
9. Scarlett Hanover
AE1. Shes A Sassy Beach

Beaton, who finished third in the 2018 edition of the race, drew both of the inside posts. “Hopefully we get away one-two!” he said. “Ring Of Kerry is a bit hot under the collar. We’re trying to get her to relax, but she’s a work in progress. Turning The Table seems to be getting better and better each time we race her. I think the two-hole will suit her fine.”

Both the 23rd Battle of Waterloo and the 12th Battle of the Belles will take place on the Industry Day program next Monday afternoon (Aug. 3).

In the sub-featured $10,500 Preferred 2-3 Handicap for distaff pacers, Casimir Swamp Girl ($3.90) shrugged off a mild challenge from Larjon Legacy en route to a 3-3/4 length, 1:54 victory. Colin Kelly drove the Up The Credit mare for trainer Kyle Bossence and owner William Pendleton.

The 10-race Industry Day card kicks off at 12:30 p.m. EST and also includes both Grassroots and Gold series divisions for three-year-old pacing fillies in the Ontario Sires Stakes.

Race programs and live streaming video in HD are available for all cards at and wagering is available through

COSA-TV (managed by the Central Ontario Standardbred Association) will present exclusive Industry Day coverage in a live two-hour special hosted on its social media platforms. The show is hosted by Greg Blanchard, Mark McKelvie and Jaimi MacDonald and will include coverage of the Battle of Waterloo and Battle Of The Belles, feature stories about the contenders and prizing opportunities for viewers.

Grand River Raceway is currently allowing 100 guests on the tarmac during live races. Attendees are still required to follow strict physical distancing requirements. The grandstand and main building remain closed.

Attendance is restricted to AGCO licensees and pre-registration is required.

Connections of the finalists in the Battle Of Waterloo and Battle Of The Belles can reach out directly with their access requirements for Industry Day by emailing [email protected].

Remaining Industry Day Registrations will not be available until July 29, following the release of the Industry Day Race Card.

The track kindly reminds the trainers of horses entering sophomore OSS Gold and Grassroots events that the EIPH program has not been offered at Grand River this season and will not be offered on Industry Day.

To view Monday's complete results, click the following link: Monday Results – Grand River Raceway.

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