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McNair, McClure Mop Mohawk Grassroots

Published: August 18, 2019 12:02 am ET

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Drivers Doug McNair and Bob McClure split the three-year-old pacing colt Grassroots divisions down the middle on Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park, McNair taking the first two and McClure the second pair.

McNair kicked things off with Fast N First in the opening $23,500 Grassroots division and had the heavy favourite on top before the halfway marker. Fast N First never saw another challenger as he cruised home a one-and-one-quarter length winner in 1:51.2. Pocket-sitter Carlisimo finished second and HP Napoleon was third.

“He was a little lazy in the lead,” said McNair of Blake MacIntosh trainee. “But it takes a lot to get him tired.”

It was the first Grassroots win for Fast N First, who started his sophomore campaign at the Gold Series level. In 15 starts this season the Bettors Delight son has tallied six wins, three seconds and two thirds, netting owners Blake MacIntosh, Ridgeway Racing and Steve Heimbecker $87,334.

McNair also guided Cliffhanger to his first Grassroots victory when taking the second division. Like Fast N First, the pair were sent as the favourites from post 4, but this time McNair opted to follow pacesetter Priceless Beach through fractions of :27.2, :55.2 and 1:24.2. Cliffhanger then unleashed a :26.4 final quarter to catch the leader and pull away to a two-length victory in 1:51.2. Machdavid also closed hard, finishing second in a dead heat with Priceless Beach.

“Cliffhanger raced good,” said McNair, who subbed for regular reinsman Louis-Philippe Roy on Saturday. “He is turning into a nice colt.”

McNair engineered the win for owner and trainer Tony Alagna. The win was the fourth of the sophomore campaign for the son of Vintage Master and boosted his seasonal earnings to $50,402.

McClure picked up where McNair left off in the third Grassroots division, employing a come-from-behind effort to put Carsons Shadow in the Ontario Sires Stakes winner’s circle for the first time. The pair caught favourite Sugartown in the stretch with an effort that saw them stop the clock at 1:51.2. Sugartown was a half length back in second, just ahead of third-place finisher Better Moonon Over.

“He’s a nice little colt. He’s not big, but he’s quick, and he’s a tough little bugger,” said McClure of the Shadow Play colt.

Like both Fast N First and Cliffhanger, Carsons Shadow tested the Gold Series waters before finding success in the Grassroots. In 14 starts as a sophomore, the gelding has a record of six wins, two seconds and earnings of $62,200. Vicki Gregg trains Carsons Shadow for owner-breeder David Carson.

One race later McClure was back in the winner’s circle with favourite Dreamfair Moxy, who stalked pacesetter Sportsline through fractions of :26.2, :55.4 and 1:23.3 before circling the tiring leader in the stretch. Dreamfair Moxy sprinted home to a three-and-one-quarter length victory in a personal best 1:51.1. The Regulator and Silver Beast finished second and third.

“He is a real nice little colt with a nice gait and he’s sweet to drive,” said McClure, who was in the race bike in place of regular reinsman Travis Cullen. “He always goes ahead when you ask him.”

The win was Dreamfair Moxy’s second straight in Grassroots action. The Bettors Delight son was also a winner in the third leg at Grand River Raceway on Aug. 5. Jodie Cullen trains the winner of $77,322 for John Lamers.

The three-year-old pacing colts will make their last regular season Grassroots start at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept. 2. The top 20 point earners will then compete in the Sept. 28 Grassroots Semi-Finals, hoping to land one of 10 spots in the Oct. 5 Grassroots Championship.

Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Monday Aug. 19 with a trio of Grassroots divisions for the three-year-old trotting colts. The colts will raise the curtain on the program at 7:10 pm in Race 1 and will also battle in Races 3 and 7.

(with files from the Ontario Sires Stakes)

To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Woodbine Mohawk Park.

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