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McNairs Sweep Industry Day Battles

Published: August 5, 2013 4:42 pm ET

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The father and son team of trainer Gregg McNair and driver Doug McNair completed a sweep of Grand River Raceway's signature stakes events, the Battle of Waterloo and Battle of the Belles for two-year-old Ontario-sired pacers, on Monday's Industry Day card of harness racing.

Team McNair won the 2013 edition of the $144,500 Battle of Waterloo for colts with Three Of Clubs wiring the field of nine colts in a career-best 1:53.4.

With the inside post advantage, Three Of Clubs established the lead off the gate in the featured finale over Steady Warrior (Sylvain Filion) and Allstar Seelster (Trevor Henry). The 6-5 favoured elimination winner then carved out fractions of :27.3, :56.1 and 1:24.4 en route to the two and a quarter length victory. The time of the mile was four-fifths of a second off the track and Canadian record, set by last year's Battle of Waterloo champion Tarpon Hanover.

Steady Warrior followed in second while Arthur Blue Chip (Jody Jamieson) rallied home three-wide off cover to show. Longshot Sword Ofthe Spirit (Mario Baillargeon) came in fourth and the winner's stablemate, Ok Gladiator (Rick Zeron), rounded out the top five finishers.

"He's been a good colt all along," said Doug after the race. "I was kind of worried about last week [in the eliminations] using him from the eight-hole, but he impressed us and was almost a full second faster than the rest of them. When he drew the rail [for the final] I figured I had to go with him. In the first turn there I was glad Trevor didn't keep coming. Sylvain stayed out on my wheel to make sure he took back to third. The horse was good, it was nothing I did."

The McNairs captured their second Battle of Waterloo trophy after teaming up to win the event five years ago with the late Trail Boss. That 2008 victory remains Doug's favourite as it helped kick start his career.

"If it wasn't for him [Trail Boss], I probably wouldn't be here again today," said Doug recalling his first 'Battle' victory.

"Dad might have had someone else driving him today," he laughed.

Three Of Clubs was purchased for $25,000 at the Forest City Yearling Sale by his conditioner and partners Tony Lawrence of Hanover, Ont. and the Shady Hill Racing Stable of Durham, Ont. The Mach Three-CC Kloe colt broke his maiden in an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series event on July 8 at Mohawk Racetrack and added two more victories to his five-race record by sweeping his 'Battle' elimination and today's final. His career earnings soared to $106,550.

"He had pretty bad luck with positions there when we first got going with him," said Gregg. "We were trying to be careful with him. We didn't want to get him hurt, but we felt we had to roll him there last week and he ended up drawing real good today so it worked out."

Earlier in the afternoon, McNair trainees also finished one-two in the filly companion event, the $75,400 Battle of the Belles, with Lady Shadow leading the way.

Doug McNair had the elimination winner on the move early, rolling up from third to take over command as the fillies hit the first quarter in :28-seconds. The 6-5 favourite fronted the field through middle panels of :57.4 and 1:27.3 before drawing away by four and a quarter lengths with :28.1 final quarter speed to win in 1:55.4.

Lady Shadow's stablemate, Momara (Scott Zeron), came on for second off a three-hole trip over pocket-sitter Regil Meg (Jody Jamieson). Yoselin Seelster (Rick Zeron) finished fourth after a first over journey while Catalea Seelster (Brad Forward) earned the final paycheque in fifth after attempting a three-wide rally off cover.

The Shadow Play-Lady Camella filly was a $19,000 Forest City Yearling Sale purchase for Lindsey and Connie Rankin of Lexington, Michigan. Lady Shadow began her career with a pair of victories in the OSS Grassroots and Gold Series and is now four-for-five with earnings climbing to $94,200.

"They're doing everything good so far," said Gregg of his two stakes winners. "Those are good miles they're going and it's a little cooler day.

"We do a lot of our finishing off training here," added the Guelph, Ont. horseman. "The horses know their way around here and we know quite a few of the people in the grandstand. We'd like thank them all for coming out."

In the $20,000 Battle of Waterloo consolation, driver Trevor Henry sent 5-2 second choice Boomboom Ballykeel wire-to-wire in 1:55.4. The Mach Three-Teig N Riley colt won by one and a quarter lengths over longshot Electric Western (Chris Christoforou) with first over filly Rather Swell (Brad Forward) coming in four lengths behind in third.

Richard Moreau trains the homebred colt, who recently broke his maiden in an OSS Grassroots event at Hanover Raceway, for Ballykeel Racing of Tillsonburg, Ont.

“Last week I was going to get away really well and I got stuffed in the two-hole and he just kind of got screwed; he got behind a dead horse,” said Henry. “He got out late and finished fifth. He should have probably been in the final really.

“He’s a very fast horse, I didn’t think today would be a problem,” continued Canada’s leading driver of the 2013 season. “Since he has such good gate speed it’s hard to take him back. But I’m sure he’d race out of a hole no problem too.”

The $15,000 Battle of the Belles consolation race was won by 2-5 favourite Alibi Seelster and driver Paul MacDonell for the Jack Darling Stables of Cambridge, Ont. The Shadow Play-Alias Seelster filly rallied three-wide near the third quarter mark and kicked home in :28-seconds for the 1:56.4 one length victory over Performing Art (Sylvain Filion) and Lyons Katrina (Jody Jamieson).

Alibi Seelster rebounded from a break in stride in last week's eliminations, where she ended up fifth.

"She touched her knee last week so we put knee boots on her and she was just fine," noted Darling, adding that he has high hopes for the $27,000 Forest City Yearling Sale purchase who started her career with two consecutive wins, including a victory in the OSS Gold Series at Mohawk Racetrack.

"She definitely likes a bigger track; she's a big going filly," he explained. "I trained her here the week before the eliminations, but she has to learn to get around the [half-mile] track because there's a Sires Stakes back here in a few weeks."

The Industry Day undercard was packed full of $12,857 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots divisions for three-year-old pacing fillies. Doug McNair also piloted the quickest winner in seven divisions with Barry Treen trainee Windsong Jacoba romping to a seven length score in 1:54.1.

Also winning their respective Grassroots divisions were: Life Is A Lady (1:54.4), Land Of Angels (1:55.1), Racey Miss (1:55.2), Foolish Mind (1:56.1), Betit To Getit (1:55), and Kims Royal Day (1:55).

Other Industry Day highlights included the ninth annual drivers’ edition Of the Bouncy Pony Stakes, won for the third consecutive year by reinsman James MacDonald.

Trainer Carmen Auciello opened the afternoon with rousing renditions of the Canadian and American anthems.

The Canadian Horse Racing Hall Of Fame and Grand River Raceway made a special presentation to five-time winning trainer of the Battle Of Waterloo, Carl Jamieson, who will be inducted into the Hall Of Fame on August 15.

The Ontario Harness Horse Association held their annual Industry Day Best Of Show Competition, awarding $500 in prize money to the top horses and caretakers racing on Industry Day. The winners were:

Best Of Show Head-To-Toe: 1st: Evelyn Simpson ($100), 2nd: Katie Gangell ($50), 3rd: Erin Watson ($25)

Horse & Groom: 1st: Marielle Enberg ($100), 2nd: Jean Jonasson ($50), 3rd: Lindsay Moore ($25)

Harness Shine: Gabriella Sasso $75

Above & Beyond (bling): Lori Jennex ($75)

The Industry Day on-track handle was $92,348, down slightly from $104,974 in 2012.

To view Monday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Monday Results - Grand River Raceway.

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