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Ackerman Trainees Shine In O.S.S.

Published: September 10, 2010 12:48 am ET

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After two unproductive starts in the Gold Series, D. R. Ackerman decided a change in strategy was in order for three-year-old trotters Great Emancipator and Thro Time, so the trainer entered both geldings in the Grassroots event at Hiawatha Horse Park on Thursday evening and enlisted Sarnia, ON resident Terry Kerr to drive.

The decision proved to be a brilliant one, as Kerr guided both horses to Grassroots victories, with Thro Time posting the fastest mile of the seven $24,000 Grassroots divisions.

Starting from Post 6 in the seventh race, Kerr had Thro Time in high gear early and the gelding sprinted out to a :28.4 opening quarter. The pair continued to sit comfortably at the front of the field through the :59.4 half and the 1:29.2 three-quarters and then accelerated off to a four and one-quarter length victory in 1:58.3. Lend Rover converted his pocket trip into a runner-up cheque and lightly rated Ja El Express was four more lengths back in third.

Ackerman conditions Thro Time for his family’s Doug Ackerman Stables Inc. of Warren, MI. The homebred son of Angus Hall and Minnesota Chelsea posted third-place finishes in the May 23 and July 3 Gold Eliminations, but failed to crack the top five in either Gold Final. Through 14 starts the gelding has seven wins, two seconds and three thirds for earnings of $61,087.

Kerr piloted Great Emancipator through a similar mile in the sixth race, leading the field from start to finish in a 1:59 clocking, but the Striking Sahbra son had a tougher fight on his hands as division leader Santo Domingo mounted a fierce challenge in the stretch to finish just three-quarters of a length to the rear. Northern Spark took the long road up the outside to a well-earned third-place finish.

Another Ackerman homebred, Great Emancipator finished ninth in his May 23 Gold Elimination at Mohawk Racetrack and fourth in his July 3 elimination at Georgian Downs, failing to make either Gold Final. Outside the Gold Series, the gelding has put together a respectable stakes record, capturing a division of the Hanover Colt Stakes at Balmoral Park on July 18 and finishing second in the American-National at Balmoral on Aug. 28. Through 15 sophomore starts Great Emancipator has tallied ten wins and one second for earnings of $86,325.

Earning 50 points in their first Grassroots appearance, Ackerman’s trotting duo have an outside chance of making the post season, but will need another victory in the regular season finale at Flamboro Downs on Oct. 8 to make the leap into the ranks of the top 16 point earners. The top 16 point earners from the six regular season events will compete in two Semifinals at Western Fair Raceway on Oct. 16, with the top four finishers from each Semifinal earning a berth in the $100,000 Grassroots Championship at Western Fair on Oct. 23.

Watkins returned to Grassroots action after a two-month hiatus and picked up where he left off, scoring his third straight victory. The Striking Sahbra son was eased off the gate from Post 1 by veteran reinsman Mike Saftic and reached the :29.4 opening quarter sitting fifth. Watkins was still on the rail in fifth when Amigo Loco led the colts to the 1:00.2 half, but by the 1:29.4 three-quarters Saftic had the fan favourite moving on the outside.

Watkins took command of the race around the final turn and sailed home to a four and one-quarter length victory in 1:58.4, besting Pull Up My Socks and Amigo Loco.

Dr. Peter Johnston of Peterborough, ON trains Watkins for his partner Watkins Equine Inc. of Newcastle, ON. The homebred gelding boasts an impressive sophomore record of six wins, one second and one third in eight starts for earnings of $59,190. With three wins and one second in Grassroots action, Watkins currently sits tied for second in the division standings with 175 points.

Watkins is tied for the runner-up spot with Krakatoa, who roared around the Hiawatha oval to a 1:58.4 victory on Thursday evening, his sixth straight appearance in the winner’s circle. The Amigo Hall son has not been bested since capturing his Grassroots division at Rideau Carleton Raceway on July 11, posting wins in his elimination and the final of the Dream Of Glory Trot at Hanover Raceway in July, two more Grassroots divisions and a division of the Bud Light Stakes at Flamboro Downs on Aug. 27.

Guelph, ON resident Gregg McNair conditions Krakatoa for owner-breeders Bloomingwood Farms Ltd. of Harriston, ON, and Doug McNair engineered Thursday night’s triumph.

The other Grassroots divisions went to Lexis D J in 1:59.2; Rehab Mountain in 1:59.3; and Incredible Kadabra in 1:59.4.

The three-year-old trotting colts, who will wrap up their regular season at Flamboro Downs on Oct. 8, brought the curtain down on Hiawatha Horse Park’s 2010 Ontario Sires Stakes season. Sarnia fans were also treated to outstanding racing by the three-year-old trotting fillies, two-year-old trotting colts and the lightning fast three-year-old pacing colts.


To view Thursday’s results, click here.

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