Georgian Downs celebrates the Ontario Sires Stakes program on Saturday evening with seven divisions of Grassroots action for the two-year-old trotting fillies, the “Be A Winner” contest and “Wanna Drive” program.
The freshman trotting fillies kick things off at 7:15 p.m. and compete in the first seven races on the program. Among the hopefuls is Darling Diva, who makes her fourth Grassroots start from post seven in the third $18,000 division for co-owner Warren Casely of Beeton, Ont.
“She’s my first trotter, we’ve got a number of pacers, but she is the first trotter,” said Casely, who shares ownership of the filly with trainer Rene Laarman of Guelph, Ont. “And we like her. I mean she’s just been a lot of fun so far.
“Right now she’s holding her own, she’s not winning, but that’s okay, winning’s not everything,” he added.
In her first three Grassroots starts, Darling Diva has recorded one third, one fourth and one sixth-place result, banking $3,600. In each start the young trotter has minded her manners and lowered her finishing time, giving her connections hope that she will eventually find her way to the winner’s circle.
“We just, we keep getting in the wrong division; we keep getting the fast division. I’m trying to get the slower divisions please,” said Casely with a chuckle. “But you know what, it’s the luck of the draw and for her it’s experience, and it’s good experience.”
An $8,000 purchase out of last fall’s Harrisburg Yearling Sale, the Deweycheatumnhowe daughter makes her second appearance of the season at Georgian Downs on Saturday and Casely is looking forward to catching this outing in person.
“Her first lifetime [start] was at Georgian as a matter of fact, and sadly her first lifetime was the one that I wasn’t at,” admitted the owner. “We had another horse running at Mohawk -- we try to get to all the races -- so I went to Mohawk with her and my wife went to Georgian to watch 'Diva' race.”
Paul Mackenzie will steer Darling Diva from post seven in the third race, lining up alongside two-time Grassroots winner Magical Steph, who gets post eight for driver Steve Byron of Thornton, Ont. and trainer Gary Lance of Port Perry, Ont.
In the seventh race, one lucky fan will have an opportunity to join in the winner’s circle celebrations as part of the Ontario Sires Stakes “Be A Winner” contest. Through the earlier races, fans will have an opportunity to place “Be A Winner” ballots in the box belonging to the horse they believe will win the final Ontario Sires Stakes division. One ballot will be selected for each horse competing in the seventh race and those semi-finalists will be invited down trackside where they will receive an Ontario Sires Stakes golf shirt and ball cap and a $10 win wager on their chosen horse.
The semi-finalist whose horse is victorious in race seven will join the winner’s circle celebrations and add an Ontario Sires Stakes jacket, a photograph with the winning horse, and a $50 wagering voucher to their collection of prizes.
Fans who want to get even closer to the action can participate in the “Wanna Drive” program. In a two-seated jog cart alongside an experienced driver, fans can experience first-hand the thrill of driving a retired Standardbred racehorse.
“We look forward to a great evening of OSS Grassroots racing, coupled with the ever popular Wanna Drive,” said Bruce Barbour, Executive Director of Ontario Racing Operations for Georgian Downs' parent company Great Canadian Gaming.
Finally, fans can top off their evening by catching some OSS-wear during the trackside t-shirt and ball cap toss. The Ontario Sires Stakes celebration gets under way at 7:15 p.m.
To view Saturday's harness racing entries, click on the following link: Saturday Entries - Georgian Downs.
(With files from OSS)