Elimination night for 'The Battles’ is now in the books at Grand River Raceway in Elora, Ont. as the half-mile oval now prepares for next Monday afternoon’s Industry Day matinee.
Two-year-old pacing colts and geldings locked horns in a trio of $15,000 Battle Of Waterloo elims, while two-year-old pacing fillies sparred in a pair of $10,000 Battle Of The Belles elims.
Here’s what transpired in those eliminations:
$15,000 Battle Of Waterloo – Elimination #1
Lucky Sport was a popular winner in his assignment for driver Jody Jamieson and trainer Dave Menary. The son of Sportswriter-High Intentions took over the lead at the quarter pole in :28 and never looked back through middle splits of :57.4 and 1:28.1. He cruised under the line to hold off a late-rushing Southwind Grizzly in 1:56.4. Third prize went to Simple Kinda Man.
Menary Racing Inc, Michael Guerriero, Twilight Stables Inc and Brad Gray share ownership on the youngster who has yet to finish worse than third in four lifetime starts. The $53,000 purchase from last year’s Forest City Yearling Sale has banked over $50,000 to date.
$15,000 Battle Of Waterloo – Elimination #2
Stock was treated to a ground-saving journey in his elimination, and when he shook loose in the lane he was full of pace for driver Sylvain Filion. The Dany Fontaine pupil tracked Family Sports and race favourite Taste Of History through fractions of :27, :55.1 and 1:24.1 before escaping to the outside and rallying to the win in 1:54.2 over Taste Of History and Hudson Phil.
The son of Sportswriter-Whycantiforgetyou is now 3-for-3 to start his career for owners Sotirios Anastasopoulos and Ecurie Gaetan Bono Inc. The homebred pushed his lifetime earnings over $20,000 with the win.
$15,000 Battle Of Waterloo – Elimination #3
Avalon Hanover erupted for a 12-1 upset thanks to his last second heroics in the final elimination. Bob McClure rallied the Dave Menary trainee to the win after Casimir Richie P laid out all the fractions of :28, :57.1 and 1:25.1. McClure pulled the trigger in the lane and Avalon Hanover fired home in :28.3 to win by a half-length margin over Casimir Richie P in 1:54.2. Burning Midnight took home the show dough.
Menary Racing Inc, Billy Joe Timmins and Anthony Timmins share ownership on the gelded son of Shadow Play-Appleonia Art. It was a maiden-breaking win for the rookie who more than doubled his earnings with the triumph.
The top three finishers from the eliminations advanced to next Monday's final. Here's the field:
$200,000 Battle Of Waterloo
1. Burning Midnight
2. Southwind Grizzly
3. Simple Kinda Man
4. Taste Of History
5. Avalon Hanover
6. Hudson Phil
7. Casimir Richie P
9. Lucky Sport
$10,000 Battle Of The Belles – Elimination #1
Play The Bell parlayed a second-over trip into an easy win for driver Bob McClure in the first of this year’s Battle Of The Belles eliminations. Starting from Post 8, the filly got away sixth and watched longshot Rendezvous Hanover steal away with soft fractions of :28.2, :59.2 and 1:28. Race favourite Neon Moon put first-over pressure on the pacesetter, but Play The Bell catapulted off that foe’s cover in the lane and fired home in :28 to win by 2-1/4 lengths over Neon Moon in 1:56.2. Rendezvous Hanover was third.
Casie Coleman trains the daughter of Shadow Play-Bell Bottom Pans for West Wins Stable along with Mac Nichol and Calhoun Racing Ltd. The $60,000 purchase from last year’s Harrisburg Yearling Sale, who owns a 2-0-1 record from four starts, has banked $27,263 to date.
$10,000 Battle Of The Belles – Elimination #2
Azure Seelster pulled off a 7-1 upset in the second elimination for the tandem of driver Sylvain Filion and trainer Jacques Dupont. On the lead for much of the mile, the daughter of Shadow Play-Winbak Alice sliced out first-half splits of :28.1 and :57 before being overtaken by race favourite Sudden Passing. The public’s top choice stepped past the three-quarter pole in 1:25.1, but Azure Seelster wasn’t throwing in the towel. In fact, she sprinted home in :29.1 and scored by 3-1/4 lengths over Sudden Passing in 1:54.3. Write Me A Song was third.
Les Ecuries Dorleans Inc, 9099 3833 Quebec Inc, 2745 5815 Quebec Inc and Paul Andre Lehoux share ownership on the two-time winner who lifted her lifetime earnings to $14,400 with the victory.
The top four finishers and one of the fifth-place finishers advance to next Monday's final. Here's how they'll line up behind the gate:
$125,000 Battle Of The Belles
1. Azure Seelster
2. Ashlees Sport
3. Sudden Passing
4. Oxford Comma
5. Play The Bell
6. Neon Moon
7. Write Me A Song
8. Rendezvous Hanover
9. Lady Ella
To view results for Monday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Monday Results – Grand River Raceway.