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Putnam Mackenzie Goes For Grassroots Glory

Published: August 10, 2010 9:50 pm ET

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Woodstock Raceway fans are gearing up for an afternoon of outstanding racing this Saturday, Aug. 14 when the three-year-old pacing fillies arrive at the half-mile oval to compete in nine $24,000 Grassroots divisions.

Currently sitting in a two-way tie for second in the Grassroots ranks, Putnam Mackenzie heads into the Woodstock event riding a five race win streak that owner-breeder Martin Bardoel is hoping she can extend.

“She’s a pretty nice filly I think,” says the Mossley resident, who shares ownership and breeding credit on the filly with his wife Coral Bardoel through their Putnam Training Centre Ltd., and son Jamie Bardoel, who makes his home in London, ON. “We decided to stay in the Grassroots instead of going to the Gold, because I think they’re a little tougher yet.”

Jamie Bardoel taught the daughter of Grinfromeartoear and $383,471 winner Royas Bambi her early lessons, racing her seven times as a two-year-old and 10 times this season before handing her over to Cheltenham, ON resident Dave Menary. The change has suited the filly, who has won five of her last six starts under Menary’s tutelage, including Grassroots wins at Flamboro Downs on June 19 and Kawartha Downs on July 24.

Robert Shepherd engineered both of the filly’s Grassroots wins and will be back in the race bike on Saturday, guiding Putnam Mackenzie after a share of the $24,000 purse from Post 8 in the fourth race. Bardoel will be at Woodstock to watch the filly, noting that he rarely misses a race.

A three-decade veteran of the Standardbred industry, Bardoel sold the Putnam Training Centre and moved to a home in Mossley in late 2008, but admits that he is missing farm life.

“I am missing the young horses,” Bardoel acknowledges. “I might get another farm, a 50-acre farm, and get back into breeding horses. It’s different not to have any around.”

Bardoel met Menary when the trainer would bring horses to the Putnam Training Centre to swim, and has watched the 31-year-old’s recent success with interest. Since winning the two-year-old Grassroots Championship with Fast Pay, Menary has steadily increased his profile on the Ontario Sires Stakes circuit. In 2009 the horseman posted a Grassroots Championship win with three-year-old pacing filly Chief Karen, and won multiple Gold Finals with three-year-old pacing colt Fast Pay and two-year-old pacing colt Haul Away. This season the trainer has found success outside the provincial program as three-year-old pacing colts Haul Away and Big Bay Point captured the Upper Canada Cup Final in May and the Canadian Breeders Championship Final in July respectively, and two-year-old pacing colt Prodigal Seelster won the Battle of Waterloo on Aug. 2.

“He’s got a pretty good record,” notes Bardoel. “I don’t interfere much, I go and see them and support them, that’s all I can do.”

Menary and Bardoel discussed moving Putnam Mackenzie up to the Gold Series ranks this month, but opted to keep her in the Grassroots for another start in hopes of securing a berth in the season ending Grassroots Final. Only the top 16 point earners advance to the post-season, and another strong effort on Saturday should guarantee Putnam Mackenzie a spot in the Semifinal round, freeing her to take a stab at the Gold level fillies when they head to Grand River Raceway in late September.

“I think she can go with the Gold fillies. I don’t think she can beat them all, or we’d be in there,” says the owner with a laugh. “Depending on what she does Saturday, we’ll give it a try next time.”

Among the fillies Putnam Mackenzie faces in Saturday’s fourth race is Lucky Jeans, with whom she shares second spot in the Grassroots standings. Lucky Jeans earned her 100 points through one win and two second-place finishes, and will be aiming to pad her total from Post 5 with Woodstock, ON resident Brad Forward at the controls.

Racing gets under way over Woodstock Raceway at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 14, with the exciting three-year-old pacing fillies battling in Races 1 through 9.


To view Saturday’s entries, click here.

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