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McClure "Fan First" On Legends Day

Published: July 28, 2017 2:41 pm ET

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Three Grassroots divisions of two-year-old trotting fillies will serve as the warm-up act on Clinton Raceway’s highly anticipated Legends Day program this Sunday (July 30).

Driver Bob McClure will steer one filly in each of the $18,450 Grassroots divisions and will also compete in five other races, but the young reinsman admits the event he is most looking forward to is the program finale, the $15,000 Legends Trot, featuring eight of the greatest drivers to ever grace a race bike.

“I took myself off Georgian. I wanted to be there to celebrate, not only John Campbell’s last drive, but Bill O’Donnell’s last drive. All those drivers, as far as intelligence on the racetrack, they’re a class above everybody. Just to watch those drivers in one race, it’s really exciting to me,” said McClure. “So yeah, I took the night off, and I’m going to go down and enjoy it. I think I’m going to look like an idiot running around getting them all to sign my program for me, but you only get one opportunity, so I’m going to do it.”

In between the 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. autograph session – with Campbell, O’Donnell, Doug Brown, Steve Condren, Mike Lachance, Dave Miller, Dave Wall and Ron Waples, who will participate in the Legends Trot, and Bud Fritz and Keith Waples, who have retired from active driving duty – and the Legends Trot, McClure will be calling on his own driving smarts, hoping to guide one of his Grassroots mounts to the Clinton winner’s circle. The Elora, ON resident will steer Mackenzie O from post two in the first race, Justice Rules from post two in the second and Kant Afford It from post four in the third.

McClure has one start behind Mackenzie O, in her first qualifier, and has never driven Justice Rules, but the reinsman is confident that both fillies will be ready for action in their Grassroots debuts.

“She qualified just okay,” said McClure of Mackenzie O, “But the best thing about her, she’s very good gaited so — getting around Clinton with a two-year-old trotter, that’s half the battle — hopefully that gives her an upper hand. Anyway, Ben doesn’t like racing them unless they’re ready so I’m sure she’ll be in much better form on Sunday.”

Guelph, ON resident Ben Baillargeon conditions the daughter of Angus Hall for his partners Santo Vena of Brampton, ON, Nunzio Vena of Bolton, ON and Claude Hamel of Ayer’s Cliff, QC. The filly comes into Sunday’s first race off a trio of qualifiers at Mohawk Racetrack.

Justice Hall daughter Justice Rules has two starts under her belt at Hippodrome Trois-Rivieres, where she finished third and fifth for trainer Dany Fontaine of Terrebonne, QC and owner-breeder Ecurie Gaetan Bono, Inc. of Montreal.

“All I know is every horse I’ve ever driven for Dany is ready,” noted McClure. “She has had some trouble making breaks and he is very capable of correcting any issues they have. He’s a really good horseman, especially with trotters.”

In the third division, McClure will steer Kant Afford It, and the driver is hoping they can atone for a loss in the second Grassroots event at Georgian Downs on July 16.

“In Georgian there was a lot of stuff happening off the gate, and I wanted to take care of her so I eased her off, and all I ended up doing was getting myself in a whole lot of traffic,” McClure recalled. “She never should have been beat in that Grassroots at Georgian. She should have definitely won, I just did not have her in position at all. So, as long as she can handle the turns, handle the track, I would say she is the one to beat in there, because she’s built like a three-year-old and her attitude is like a racehorse. I think she’s the best two-year-old trotter I’ve driven to this point.”

Hall of Fame horseman Bob McIntosh of Windsor, ON conditions Kant Afford It for his partners C S X Stables of Liberty Center, OH. The partners also bred the daughter of Kadabra, who was guided through her qualifiers and first Grassroots test by Hall of Famer and Legends Trot reinsman Steve Condren.

In addition to the on-track action, which gets under way at 1:30 p.m., Clinton Raceway has a full slate of trackside activities for fans. The gates open at 11:30 a.m. and there will be a variety of activities for the smallest fans, a CosyCan photo booth, silent auction, 50/50 draw, and a Legends Trot sign contest. A booklet commemorating John Campbell’s driving career is free with a program purchase or $5 on its own, and John Campbell T-shirts are also just $5. The afternoon will wrap up with a Pineridge Chicken Barbecue from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m., with 100 per cent of the proceeds going to the event’s charity partner, the Clinton Public Hospital Foundation. Full details, including parking information, are available at http://www.clintonraceway.com/page/legends.

“I hear they closed the road off behind the racetrack and put bleachers up, so they must be expecting a huge crowd, and rightly so because it’s going to be a great show,” said McClure. “There’s nowhere better to host something like this than Clinton.”

(Ontario Sires Stakes)


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