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Grassroots Triple For Saftic; Balanced Image To Aphrodite Duke

Published: August 25, 2019 12:46 am ET

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Driver Mike Saftic piloted three freshman pacing fillies to victory in Grassroots action at Hanover Raceway on Saturday evening.

The fillies were serving as the opening act on Balanced Image Final night and Saftic kicked off the festivities in the first race with Preeminence. Starting from Post 4 the filly made a brief break in stride at the start and was sitting last when fan favourite Landry Seelster reached the opening quarter in :29.4. By the 1:01 half Preeminence had moved up to fifth and heading by the 1:29.4 three-quarters Saftic sent her three-wide. Preeminence turned for home four lengths behind the leaders and a solid finishing kick saw her get a head in front of Landry Seelster and Wiggle Delight for the 2:01.2 victory.

“I think she was the best in there because we run early and then gathered ourselves and still win,” said Saftic. “She went a big trip. I was actually impressed with her to recoup like that and come three high around the turn. If she didn’t run I’m sure she could have been an easier winner.”

The win was Preeminence’s second in Grassroots action. The Sportswriter daughter also won her July 18 division at Woodbine Mohawk Park. With a second-place result in the season opener, the Marcel Barrieau trainee currently sits in a tie for top spot in the division standings with 125 points. Barrieau trains the filly for Claude Baril of Mascouche, QC, Gilles Caouette of Sudbury, ON and Michel Daneault of Terrebonne, QC.

One race later Saftic was back in front of the Hanover track photographer after another come-from-behind effort with Shiraz Seelster. The pair got away sixth from Post 4 and remained there as early leader Watch My Speed and fan favourite Capistrano battled through fractions of :29.4, :58.1 and 1:28.4. The field caught up to the duelling leaders heading into the last turn and Shiraz Seelster outsprinted them to the wire, getting a head in front for the 2:01 victory. Capistrano settled for second and Shes Magic edged out Watch My Speed for third.

“They kind of got fighting on the front end and we were way back, but you know we were a little better rated back there,” noted Saftic, who crafted the win for trainer Eric Adams and owner Millar Farms of Stouffville, ON. “She showed some guts you know, she come up the inside around the last turn, but she gutted it out. It was a surprising win, but I was happy with that one.”

The win was the first lifetime for the Bettors Delight daughter, who was a $107,000 purchase at last fall’s London Selected Yearling Sale.

Saftic completed the Grassroots hat trick with Dreamadreamforme in the fifth $22,450 division. From Post 6 the reinsman settled Dreamadreamforme in third as Bettorbeasecret led the fillies to a :30 quarter. Heading for the 1:01.1 half Saftic sent the fan favourite to the front once she took command Dreamadreamforme turned back a challenge from Trizzle Trazzle. Bettorbeasecret rallied in the stretch, but Dreamadreamforme prevailed for a three-quarter length victory in 2:00. In The News closed well to be third.

“That’s the one I came for. She was good,” said the Campbellville, ON resident. “She kind of impressed me her first lifetime start (Aug. 19). There was some decent fillies in there. She got a nice trip second over, but she showed some guts getting home, and today she was pretty handy, she showed some talent.

“I didn’t know what to expect over a half, but she had no problem with it at all,” he added.

Cambridge, ON resident Jack Darling owns and trains Betterthancheddar daughter Dreamadreamforme, who was a 1:54 winner in her Aug. 19 debut at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

The quickest mile of the night was clocked by Queso Relleno, who cruised along on the front end to a 1:58.2 score. High Roller Duke was three and one-quarter lengths back in second and Ms Brampton Beast was four more lengths behind in third.

Paul MacKenzie drove the Betterthancheddar lass to the win for trainer Blake MacIntosh of St. George and his partners Sue Vernon Smith of Oakville, ON, Hutt Racing Stable of Malvern, PA, and The Flanagan Sisters of Dublin, Ireland. The win was the filly’s second lifetime; she also captured her Battle Of The Belles elimination at Grand River Raceway on July 29.

“She’s got a lot of talent,” said MacIntosh. “She raced so good in her elimination in the Battle — she was three-wide pretty much the whole last half — and then she came up flat in the final (Aug. 5). We pulled her blood and she had a high white (count) and her differentials were flipped, so we skipped the Gold (on Aug. 14) to go to the Grassroots, and I think we’ll just stick with the Grassroots for the rest of the year.”

MacIntosh noted that Queso Relleno the first horse Sue Vernon Smith has owned and that the newcomer to harness racing is thoroughly enjoying her experience.

“She’s the first horse they’ve ever owned and they’ve just had a great time and love it,” said the trainer. “It’s nice to see new people get in the business and get lucky, have one that looks like she’s going to be a nice filly.”

Another group made up of several new owners also celebrated a Grassroots win on Saturday. Need Ur Opinion went gate-to-wire in the fourth division for fractional ownership group TheStable Need Ur Opinion of Guelph and breeder Matthew Chapple of Chatham, ON. The Warrawee Needy daughter stopped the clock at 1:59.2, two and three-quarter lengths ahead of Satdnite Jukebox and Back To Oz.

“Any time you race five and don’t miss the board it’s a good night, when the five races are stake races that’s a fantastic night,” said TheStable.ca founder and president Anthony MacDonald, whose other four horses, Wiggle Delight, Capistrano, Ms Brampton Beast and In Land Beach, logged two seconds and two thirds. “Need Ur Opinion found the front end and coasted home to her first-ever win.

“Over 70 owners were represented in tonight’s stake races from TheStable.ca and I’m sure all left with smiles on their faces,” he added.

The sixth Grassroots division went to Up The Credit daughter Tuggingoncredit who delivered a 1:59.4 front-end effort for trainer-driver Guy Gagnon of Gatineau, QC and his partners Gestion Louis Latulippe Inc. of Beaupre, QC and Gestion Bruno Blouin Inc of St-Fereol Les Neiges, QC. In Land Beach and Sunshine Hall rounded out the top three.

The evening was capped off by the $56,600 Balanced Image Final which saw Aphrodite Duke romp to a four length victory in 2:01 for driver Ryan Holliday of Mount Forest. Tuckers Out finished second and elimination winner Lifeisgood Hanover was third.

Holliday drove the E L Titan daughter to the win for trainer Andrew McCabe of Guelph-Eramosa and owner-breeder Glenview Livestock Ltd of Wallenstein, ON. The win was Aphrodite Duke’s second lifetime, she was also a winner in the July 14 two-year-old trotting filly Grassroots season opener at Georgian Downs.

Saturday’s card also featured the Walker Invitational Trot with a group of eight lining up for a purse of $9,000.

Sizzlen Hot Herbie rallied from out of the clouds to post a 1:59.3 victory for trainer/driver Natasha Day, and he did so over the 2-1 favourite Twofourroadie.

Ionia shot to the early lead and laid down an opening quarter clocked in :29.3. Cold Beer Here popped out of the pocket to take over command, and that one came under immediate attack from All Out Henry. Those two battled through middle fractions of 1:00.1 and 1:29.2 before All Out Henry worked his way to the lead. Sizzlen Hot Herbie made a three-wide move while sitting fifth at the three-quarter pole and then kicked home in :29.3 to win by 1-1/2 lengths over Twofourroadie. All Out Henry faded to finish third.

Day leases the five-year-old son of Here Comes Herbie-Six Red who now owns a 3-1-1 record from 11 trips to the track this season. The 10-time winner has banked more than $77,000 to date.

Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Hanover Raceway on Saturday, Sept. 14 with the final Grassroots Leg for the two-year-old trotting colts.

(OSS)

To view results for Saturday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Saturday Results – Hanover Raceway.


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