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Bax Talks Grassroots Starters

Published: August 9, 2017 4:36 pm ET

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John Bax will make two trips to his former home track of Kawartha Downs within the next month. This Saturday night he’s racing a pair of freshman trotting colts in the two $19,150 Ontario Sires Stakes divisions at Kawartha. On September 2, he’ll be back for the track’s signature race, the Goodtimes Invitational, named in honour of his Hall of Fame trotter.

Bax and his family were mainstays at Kawartha Downs for many years, but when the track’s race dates were reduced considerably – coupled with the fact that his son, Matt, was following in his footsteps as a trainer – they relocated to Campbellville, on the former Glengate Farm to be closer to year-round racing.

On Saturday he’ll start Chief Justice in the first OSS event (Race 2). It will be the colt’s fourth lifetime start, all in OSS Grassroots divisions where he has been very consistent with two seconds and a third. Steve Byron, who has driven the son of Justice Hall in all of his starts, is scheduled to be in the bike on Saturday as well. In the colt’s last start, on August 3 at Mohawk Racetrack, he was just a nose shy of the winner.

“Both colts are progressing nicely,” Bax stated on Wednesday. “Chief Justice has some trouble with his eyes, in that he sees too much, and can be a bit spooky, which hopefully he'll grow out of. He seems to come on late in the mile and shows some ability.

“He’s a good-looking colt who has always been good-gaited, but when he was training down in Florida he wasn’t in my top tier,” noted the trainer who was inducted into the Peterborough and District Sports Hall of Fame in 2008. “The other colt (Delcrest Holiday) was my cheapest yearling by a lot (at $9,000) and he was good from Day One. I’m not high on his post, though.”

John Bax, along with Hall of Famer Dave Wall, at the inaugural Goodtimes Invitational at Kawartha Downs (Photo courtesy Kawartha Downs)

Delcrest Holiday has been saddled with the outside Post 8 in the second division (Race 8) on Saturday night. The son of Holiday Road is owned by John and his brother, Ken, of nearby Cavan, as well as John Houston of Cobourg and the Gaelic Stable of Sharon. The gelding won his first lifetime start in a Grassroots race at Georgian. Through three lifetime starts he has already paid for himself and then some with $11,481 banked to date.

Kawartha will be giving away OSS hats and flip flops throughout the evening, in addition to the track’s usual second-chance draws that occur following the third, sixth and ninth races. Parents are encouraged to bring their youngsters to the Kids’ Activity Centre for games, colouring, snacks, drinks and the chance to win the nightly Kids Club draw. The winner of the draw makes a presentation in the winner’s circle following the Kids’ Club race and takes home a complimentary photo.

Those who haven’t visited the Fraserville, Ont. oval this season will notice many changes throughout the facility, from a new bar (named for Bax’s Goodtimes), painting and décor changes throughout the grandstand, an upgraded sound system and revised menus. Added this year has been ice cream from Kawartha Dairy which has been extremely popular.

Post time at Kawartha Downs is 7 p.m.

To view the harness racing entries for Saturday at KD, click the following link: Saturday Entries – Kawartha Downs.

For a program, courtesy of Kawartha, click here.

(Kawartha Downs)

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