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Freshman Trotters Battle For Semifinal Spot

Published: September 17, 2011 1:09 am ET

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Freshman trotting colts Mikey Hanover and Northern Victory scored one for the local side at Rideau Carleton Raceway on Friday evening, finishing first and second in their $24,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots division.

Fan favourite, and division point leader, Strike The Cheque led the field through fractions of :30, 1:01.2 and 1:31.3 but could not hold off either the pocket-sitting Mikey Hanover or his shadow, Northern Victory. Mikey Hanover sprinted home to earn the 2:01.1 victory, one and one-quarter lengths ahead of Northern Victory, who was one length in front of Strike The Cheque.

Lansdowne, Ont. resident Mark Steacy trains and drives Mikey Hanover for his partners David Reid of Glenburnie, ont., David McDonald of Cornwall, Ont., and Bridle Path Stables Ltd. of Ossining, New York. Friday’s victory was the Majestic Son colt’s first in six starts and boosted his Grassroots point tally to 112, putting him in a tie for 10th heading to the Sept. 23 Semifinals.

Northern Victory, trained and driven by Rodney Zeron for Robert Montgomery of Carp, Ont., is also heading to the Semifinal round with a total of 141 points, good enough for fourth in the two-year-old trotting colt standings.

Kadabra colt Northern Escort posted a win in his Grassroots debut for driver Yves Filion and trainer Justin Filion. The colt bested pacesetter and fan favourite Mutinyonthebounty with a late sprint that saw him hit the wire half a length on top in 2:00.4. Oaklea Umpire rounded out the top three.

Les Ecuries JYJ Inc. of St-Andre-D’Argenteuil, Que. owns Northern Escort, who will need a bit of good fortune to fall his way in order to appear in the Semifinals. The colt finished 12 points below the cut off for the top 20, and amidst a group of five colts tied for the 22 spot with 50 points.

P L Fantastic was a gate-to-wire winner in the third Grassroots division for driver Dan Clements. The pair hit the finish one length ahead of Lexus Hawkeye and eight up on Stormont Alive, owned by Stormont Meadows of Long Sault, Ont., halting the teletimer at 2:01.1.

A son of former Ontario Sires Stakes stars Majestic Son and Corinas Mission, P L Fantastic is owned by breeders Prince Lee Acres of Uxbridge, Ont., and trained by Matthew Dupuis. Friday’s win was the colt’s second straight in Grassroots action and sends him into the post season ranked 12th.

Grandin Road succeeded where stablemate Mutinyonthebounty faltered, as driver Trevor Ritchie opted to sit in the pocket and reel in pacesetter Tymal Oh So Nice in the stretch. The Kadabra colt clocked the quickest mile of the Grassroots divisions, trotting under the wire in 2:00. Our Mojo was well behind the battling leaders in third.

Doug McIntosh trains Grandin Road for owner-breeder Ivey Pharm Stable of Cincinnati, Ohio. McIntosh trainees Grandin Road and Mutinyonthebounty head into the post season tied for sixth with 125 points.

Wayne Henry picked up a catch drive aboard Northern Kingdom in the final division and piloted the Kadabra son to an impressive come-from-behind victory in a personal best 2:01.2. The pair hit the wire three-quarters of a length in front of Garbarino, owned by Dr. Ruth Irving of Russell, Ont., and two more up on Canadian Wildcat.

Henry crafted the victory for trainer Ron O’Neill and owners Scott and Barbara Edwards of Alto, Michigan. Northern Kingdom’s win made it a three-way tie for sixth in the division standings.

The top 20 point earners will battle in a pair of $30,000 Semifinals at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 23, with the top five finishers from each Semifinal returning to the Campbellville oval for the $100,000 Grassroots Championship on Oct. 1.

Amidst the OSS action, Rideau regular Denis St Pierre drove five winners on the 15-race card.

For results from Friday's harness racing card, click on the following link: Friday Results - Rideau Carleton Raceway.

(With files from OSS)

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