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Bargain Filly Trying For OSS Glory

Published: August 12, 2012 2:45 am ET

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When Daniel Lagace looked at Keystone Maddie during last fall’s Harrisburg Yearling Sale the Cambridge, Ont. resident wrote the words “all right” across the filly’s catalogue page.

With a second and a fourth in her first two Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots starts, the two-year-old pacer has been more than “all right” as far as Lagace is concerned, and the trainer hopes she can add another top five finish to her resume in Wednesday’s Grassroots contest at Flamboro Downs.

“Jack Darling and I were sitting beside each other in the sales ring and Jack asked if I’d looked at her,” recalls Lagace. “I said, yeah, I’d written ‘all right’ across her page. He said he’d looked at her a couple times and kind of liked her.

“Jack turned away and she came into the ring and they couldn’t get a bid on her, so I bid $2,000,” he continues. “Somebody else bid $3,000 and I bid $4,000, and Jack turned around and said, ‘Are you bidding? And I said, ‘I think I just bought her.’”

Once Keystone Maddie arrived in Lagace’s barn she proved a quick study, pacing free-legged from her earliest lessons. The daughter of Lis Mara and Mai Katie qualified twice at Mohawk Racetrack in June, pacing around a sloppy seven-eighths mile oval in 2:01 on June 9 and delivering a 2:00.4 effort on June 23.

Landing the outside Post 9 in the Grassroots season opener at Mohawk on July 1, Keystone Maddie delivered a solid fourth-place effort and in the July 20 event at Woodstock Raceway she managed a second-place finish from the trailing Post 8. Following each Grassroots start Lagace let the filly stretch her legs in an overnight event at Mohawk and she was fifth on July 13 and seventh on Aug. 2.

“We raced her last week [Aug. 2] at Mohawk and she kind of just came up a little flat, and that’s not like her,” says the horseman, who shares ownership of Keystone Maddie with his wife Michelle Gagne. “We scoped her after the race and she scoped real bad.”

Since then caretaker Luc Bourassa has been working hard to restore Keystone Maddie to full health and Lagace says a final training mile on Monday (Aug. 13) should have her ready to battle in Wednesday’s test, which will see her return to the outside of the starting gate at Post 7. Among the fillies she will face in the eighth race is Embassy Seelster (Post 5), who bested her in the Woodstock Grassroots event.

“It would be nice to get a good post position,” admits Lagace. “In the OSS she is getting no luck.”

Whether her post position luck improves in the second half of the season or not, Lagace is confident the half-sister to $258,236 winner Keystone Katherine will continue to put forth her best effort in every race.

“She is just a nice easy-going, honest filly. She doesn’t want to do anything wrong,” says the horseman. “She tries real hard.”

Ontario’s talented two-year-old pacing fillies will battle in Races 1 through 4 and 6 through 11 on Wednesday’s program. The fillies raise the curtain on the Flamboro Downs matinee at 1 p.m.

To view Wednesday's harness racing entries, click on the following link: Wednesday Entries - Flamboro Downs.


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