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Grassroots Mania At Georgian

Published: July 7, 2021 6:51 am ET

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Making their debut in the Ontario Sires Stakes program, the two-year-old pacing fillies delivered impressive efforts in five $22,000 Grassroots divisions at Georgian Downs on Tuesday, July 6.

Silver Label opened the event with an effortless 1:56 score that would hold up as the fastest mile of the five Grassroots divisions. In rein to James MacDonald, Silver Label took control heading for the :58.1 half, powered through a 1:27.3 three-quarters and repelled a challenge from Fade Out in the stretch to record the one and one-half length victory. Alla Prima finished well behind the leaders in third.

“James said she wasn’t quite sure what to on the front, but as soon as she heard the horse coming beside her, she dug back in and won handy,” said trainer Nick Gallucci. “We are all very happy with how she raced tonight.”

Gallucci trains Silver Label for owner-breeder Millar Farms of Stouffville, ON. The partners are off to a roaring start in the freshman pacing division, having also captured Gold Series events with filly Prohibition Legal and colt Betterhavemymoney. MacDonald drove both horses to their Gold Series wins, and was impressed enough with Silver Label’s June 24 qualifier to make the trip to Georgian Downs Tuesday.

“Silver Label has always done everything right training, she just got started a little bit later than our other groups of two-year-olds,” said Gallucci of the Bettors Delight daughter. “I wish we could have had one more qualifier before she started her racing career, but she went so well in her first qualifier we didn’t want to miss making money in the first sires stake.”

In the second $22,150 Grassroots division, driver Colin Kelly opted for a come-from-behind strategy with fan favourite Dewitt For Josie. Sitting fourth for most of the mile Kelly moved the Sportswriter daughter into the outer lane at the three-quarter marker and in the stretch the filly hit another gear, sprinting home to a three and one-quarter length win in 1:56.3. Twinkle In Hereye was second and pacesetter Iwishihadame settled for third.

“She’s a big, strong, good gaited filly and she loves her work. She does everything right,” said Kelly, who engineered the win for trainer Rene Bourassa of Fergus and owner Gilles Caouette of Sudbury, ON. “She’s still green, she’s still learning, but I mean 1:56 today, she was well within herself. She’s got one real big burst that’s for sure and she can carry her speed, hopefully she can be a pretty handy filly for the rest of the year.”

Driver Chris Christoforou was also impressed with Mighty Melissa, who sailed along on the front end to a 1:56.1 win in the third Grassroots division. The Sportswriter daughter hit the wire one and three-quarter lengths ahead of Flo and Girl Scout Cookie.

“She left well, relaxed comfortably on the lead and had plenty of pace when I asked her for more speed,” said Christoforou. “She’s a big, strong filly with a great attitude; she should have a bright future.”

The Campbellville resident drove Mighty Melissa to the win for trainer Gregg McNair of Guelph and his co-owners Ross Family Farms Ltd. of Wingham, Ross Holmes of London, ON and Wayne MacRae of Fall River, NS.

The other two Grassroots divisions went to Lauralanthalasa and Winx.

Favourite Lauralanthalasa carved all the fractions in the fourth division and kept a neck in front of Better Catch Girl and Warrawee Xpat to secure the 1:57.1 win. Jonathan Drury drove the Artspeak daughter to her second lifetime win for trainer Carmen Auciello of Stouffville, ON and owners Mali Norbye of Wrightstown, NJ, Philipp McGuire of Nevada, OH and Shirley Kunen of Granville, NY.

Trainer-driver Michiel Vanderkemp used a come-from-behind strategy to propel Winx to a 1:56.4 win in the last Grassroots division. The Sportswriter daughter bested Big Impact by a neck and left pacesetter Shanghai Seelster to settle for third. Dianne Secord of Fergus, ON owns Winx.

Georgian Downs fans will get a look at the Gold Series two-year-old pacing fillies when they make their way to Innisfil for the second leg of their campaign on July 13.


To view results for Tuesday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Tuesday Results – Georgian Downs.

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