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McNair On Saturday OSS Starters

Published: August 9, 2013 9:02 am ET

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Reigning Johnston Cup champion Gregg McNair heads into Saturday night’s Mid-Summer Challenge at Mohawk Racetrack with five three-year-olds looking to vie for a share of the $700,000 in Ontario Sires Stakes purse money.

In the $150,000 trotting colt Challenge the Guelph resident will harness two hopefuls; division co-leader Buddy Hally and fifth-ranked Kennel Buddy.

Kennel Buddy will make his bid for a second Gold Series win from Post 4 in the fifth race. The Ken Warkentin gelding started his provincial season with a victory in the Grassroots Series, then made the move up to the Gold Series in time for the June 28 event at Mohawk Racetrack. Kennel Buddy scored a 1:56.1 victory against the top tier horses and McNair says the gelding has been impressive this season in spite of a few miscues.

“He’s stepped up pretty good this year,” notes the trainer, who also owns the gelding. “I hope he gets back to where he was a month ago. He got fairly hot on us there for some reason, we couldn’t really race him like we wanted to, but I think he’s quieted down some.”

Kennel Buddy heads into Saturday’s Challenge off an error in overnight action at Mohawk on July 27, but the trainer is hoping his son Doug McNair can engineer a smoother trip for the gelding this week.

Stablemate Buddy Hally will start from Post 5 in the Challenge, and is also looking for his second win. Last year’s Grassroots champion, Buddy Hally kicked off his sophomore season with a Gold Series win at The Raceway at Western Fair District in London and followed it up with a third-place effort in the June 28 Gold event.

“He’s been a little disappointing,” reflects McNair, who shares ownership of Buddy Hally with Howmac Farms Ltd. of North Wiltshire, PEI, Reginald MacPherson of Stratford, PEI and Wayne MacRae of Fall River, NS. “I thought he’d step up a little better than he has.”

Rick Zeron will pick up the lines on Buddy Hally this week and McNair is hoping the Oakville resident can help the Angus Hall son find his way back to the winner’s circle.

In addition to the trotting colts, McNair will harness pacing fillies Pertty Music in the $50,000 Consolation and Jettin Jamie in the $150,000 Challenge.

Pertty Music will benefit from Post 1 in the Consolation, and McNair says the Jeremes Jet daughter finally seems to be over the virus that swept through his barn.

“She’s been sick off and on most of the season, but I think she’s straightened out here now,” notes the trainer. “She’s a nice mare. There’s lots of go to her usually. We like her; she’s a nice mare to have around.”

Thomas Harmer of Willowbrook, IL and Michelle Crawford of Cazenovia, NY share ownership of Pertty Music, who finished fourth in the Gold Series season opener at The Raceway at Western Fair District on May 31 and sixth in the July 1 contest at Mohawk Racetrack.

Harmer and Gerry Bookmyer of Sycamore, OH own Jettin Jamie, another daughter of Jeremes Jet who earned her berth in the $150,000 Challenge with a fourth in the season opener in London and a win in the July 1 leg at Mohawk. The filly will be handicapped in her bid for a second provincial victory by Post 9, a spot she has become familiar with in recent weeks, starting from Posts 8, 9 and 10 at the Campbellville oval since July 13.

“She’s had some tough holes,” acknowledges McNair. “But she’s a decent mare too. She’s got lots of gate speed.”

The final starter from the McNair contingent is Gallant Seelster, who surprised his trainer with a victory in the July 28 Gold Series leg at Rideau Carleton Raceway.

“It was a little surprise, his win up in Ottawa, to me any way,” admits the horseman. “I wasn’t looking for him to win. He hasn’t had many starts, only eight or 10, and it’s hard for him to go against those colts that raced all last year.”

Gallant Seelster made just one start last season for owners Lindsey and Connie Rankin of Lexington, KY, but the Stonebridge Regal gelding has been solid since making his sophomore debut. In addition to his win, the youngster logged a runner-up finish in the Gold Series season opener at Mohawk on June 24, and through nine lifetime starts he boasts a record of three wins, two seconds and one third for earnings just shy of $100,000.

Guelph resident Doug McNair will steer all of his father’s pacers, and sends Gallant Seelster after a share of the $150,000 from Post 7 in the ninth race.

In addition to the four races McNair’s charges will compete in, Mohawk Racetrack fans will also be treated to a trotting filly Consolation and Challenge in Races 1 and 2. Post time for Saturday night’s event is 7:25 p.m.

To view entries for Saturday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Saturday Entries – Mohawk Racetrack.


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