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2013 Grassroots Season Wraps Up

Published: September 21, 2013 7:04 pm ET

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The 2013 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots program wrapped up on Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack with eight $50,000 divisional Championships.

The only sire to produce multiple winners on the night was Kadabra as Pasadena Star, Chelseas Chance, and Crosbys Clam Bake won their respective Championships. Pasadena Star and Chelseas Chance were part of a double for trainer Bob McIntosh and driver Randy Waples. Brett Miller, reinsman of Milton Stakes winner Rocklamation, also won two Grassroots finals with Mattys Big Day and defending divisional champion Panpero Firpo.

Pasadena Star kicked off the Grassroots Championships with a 1:58 front-stepping score in the $50,000 event for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings.

Waples sent the divisional leader from third to first after the :29 opening quarter and carved out middle splits of :59.1 and 1:28.2 en route to the three and three-quarter length victory for trainer Bob McIntosh. R Choochoo Charlie (Paul MacDonell) finished second and Warrawee Promesse (Wayne Henry) was third.

"He just had a great year," said Waples, who also drove the gelding's mother, $200,000-earner Pasadena Princess, during her career competing in the OSS ranks. "He was a really smart, talented colt right from the start. He's made it all the way through the year and he's just as strong now as when he started out and you've just got to give all the credit to Bob and his crew."

The homebred sired by Kadabra boasts six wins in eight starts and a bankroll of more than $100,000 for Robert McIntosh Stables Inc. of Windsor, Ont. and C S X Stables of Liberty Center, Ohio.

The heavy 1-5 favourite paid $2.50 to win.

Entering the three-year-old trotting filly Championship ranked ninth in the divisional point standings, Legzy propelled herself to a first-place finish in 1:56.3 for trainer Rob Fellows.

Driver Sylvain Filion sent the Amigo Hall-Sahalee filly to the lead from post six and carved out fractions of :27.4, :57.3, and 1:26 before holding off the late surge from first over Wind Stroll (Jody Jamieson) by half a length. Divisional leader Moms Apple Pie (Chris Christoforou) finished third.

Sent postward as the 8-5 favourite after finishing fourth in a Gold Series leg last week at Mohawk, Legzy paid $4.40 to win. After a $200,000-plus freshman campaign competing in the Gold ranks, Legzy earned her third win from 11 seasonal starts and boosted her sophomore earnings to $57,210.

"She's been very good," said Fellows in the winner's circle. "Last year everything went her way, all good luck. This year some tough luck, but she's a tough horse."

Legzy, who is a half-sister to OSS graduate Wilsonator ($496,049), is owned and bred by Michael Pozefsky of Saratoga Springs, New York and Edward Wilson of Seagrave, Ont.

Next up Lucky King romped to a 1:52.2 career-best equalling victory in the two-year-old pacing colt Championship for trainer Andrew McCabe.

Driven by James MacDonald, Lucky King left from post five and cleared to command at the :27.2 first quarter mark. He proceeded to lead the field to the half in :56 and three-quarters in 1:24.2 en route to victory lane. V I P Bayama (Sylvain Filion) followed from the pocket to place one and a half lengths behind and Shadow Place (Trevor Henry) advanced first over to show.

Lucky King, a runner-up in the divisional point standings entering the final, paid $6.50 to win as the 2-1 second choice to fourth-place finisher Prince Clyde (Scott Zeron).

"He hasn't really slowed up at all," noted McCabe after the win. "He's been consistent the whole way through and we were expecting a good race tonight out of him and we got one."

Purchased for $14,000 at the Harrisburg Sale as a yearling, the Camluck-Red Carpet Queen colt has won four of his 10 races while banking $59,512 in purses for Glenview Livestock Ltd. of Guelph-Eramosa, Ont. and Leonard Christopher of Acton, Ont.

Lucky King is a half-brother to Red Carpet Dude ($160,330), an OSS graduate McCabe campaigned during his career.

"We had our mind set going to the sales we were going to put a couple of bids on him and we got him, and at a value price at that, and it has really panned out."

Trainer Bob McIntosh and driver Randy Waples doubled up in the Championships as leading two-year-old trotting filly Chelseas Chance capped off her Grassroots season with a another triumph.

Supreme Monarch (Garrett Whelan) established the early lead through a :29.1 first quarter, but a three-wide leaving Erin Hall (Jody Jamieson) pressed on to clear into the backstretch. Bit A Magic (Trevor Henry) then moved up to challenge the new leader from fourth and edged by at the :58.4 half. Supreme Monarch was back out and driving during the third panel with Chelseas Chance on her back. Bit A Magic and Supreme Monarch battled head-to-head by three-quarters in 1:28.2 before Chelseas Chance swept off cover to win going away in 1:59.2. Supreme Monarch finished three and three-quarter lengths behind in second and Erin Hall was third.

Chelseas Chance paid $4 to win as the even-money favourite.

Waples was reunited with the filly for the first time since steering her to a victory in baby races back in June.

"She won her baby race and she was perfect-gaited and as smart as can be so I had a feeling she was going to be an awful nice filly," said Waples. "It doesn't surprise me that she's still the top one."

The homebred Kadabra-Armbro Chelsea filly is also owned by Robert McIntosh Stables Inc. and C S X Stables. The win was her fifth in seven starts and leaves her with a $66,625 bankroll.

Mattys Big Day entered the Championships leading the three-year-old pacing filly division and maintained her position atop the grouping with a 1:53 triumph for trainer Corey Johnson.

Firing off the gate from the outside post positions, the second-leading filly Betit To Getit (Scott Zeron) and Mattys Big Day, driven by Brett Miller, filled the top two spots. Betit To Getit led the field through fractions of :27, :56.1 and 1:24.4 before Mattys Big Day surged by in the stretch for the one and three-quarter length victory. Favourite Western Empress (Randy Waples) finished third.

"I knew she had some gate speed, but I thought Brett did a fantastic job tonight getting her off the gate and got her right in the two-hole. You couldn't ask for anything more," said Johnson. "I thought getting her off the gate [from post nine] was our biggest goal and that way we could get ourselves into the race and dictate what happens in there a little bit."

The Jeremes Jet-Mattll Be The Day miss is owned by Debbie Element and Ecurie Jgv Enrg of Laval, Que. She earned her eighth win from 15 starts this year and boosted her seasonal earnings to $88,067.

The 3-1 second choice paid $8 to win.

Shadows Wonder pulled off a 13-1 upset in the following two-year-old pacing filly final for trainer Dr. Ian Moore.

Skippin By (James MacDonald) left from post nine and carved out fractions of :27.3, :56.1 and 1:25.1 while the popular divisional leader, Momara (Doug McNair), advanced first over from mid-pack with Can Art (Randy Waples) following her cover and the Jack Moiseyev-driven Shadows Wonder poised to strike from third over. Skippin By was confronted down the stretch on the outside by Momara and on the inside by a forwardly-placed Itsa Surprise Tome (Jody Jamieson), but it was a wide-rallying Shadows Wonder who prevailed in a career-best 1:54.2. Itsa Surprise Tome finished over a length behind in a tight battle for second over Momara, Skippin By and Can Art.

Shadows Wonder was ranked fifth in the pointing standings and paid $29.10 for the upset win. After a slow start to her freshman campaign, she now has three wins in nine starts and more than doubled her earnings to $48,260.

"She's just gotten better the last three or four starts and obviously those are the ones that counted," said Moore. "The first four Grassroots she didn't even get hardly anything, maybe a fourth. She drew some bad post positions and just had no luck, but she's always been a nice filly to train down and once she won a race in Hanover [on Aug. 17], one of the Grassroots, it turned on a light bulb. She became a different mare altogether. She was out there grabbing on warming up tonight and trying to kick me off -- she never did that before -- so were really pleased.

"We're very proud of her," he continued. "We bred this mare. We only have one broodmare and this is her first foal. We have a full sister coming up in a couple weeks time."

Shadows Wonder is a black daughter of Shadow Play, who was campaigned by Moore, and is out of Putnams Wonder. She is owned and bred by her Guelph-based trainer and partners R G McGroup Ltd. of Bathurst, N.B. and Serge Savard of Saint-Bruno, Que.

"She looks like a stud colt a lot of people tell us and she's a very well made mare," said Moore. "She's got a wonderful attitude for a mare, so much so that we're probably going to buy some more fillies this year, which is a first for us. We mostly buy colts so she's been a great surprise for us this summer."

Crosbys Clam Bake posted the biggest winning margin of the night as he won the three-year-old trotting colt Championship by more than eight lengths for trainer Per Henriksen.

Divisional point leader Super Duke (Jody Jamieson) led the field through fractions of :27.3, :56.1 and 1:25.3 with Photo Mass (Randy Waples) moving up from third to apply first over pressure around the final turn. Loco Caballo (Anthony MacDonald) was second over, but Doug McNair rallied third over Crosbys Clam Bake off cover and the gelding drew off for the 1:55.3 triumph. Photo Mass and Super Duke rounded out the top three finishers.

"My night hasn't been going that good -- I had a couple earlier that both made breaks -- so I was just holding my breath the whole way and he came through for me," said McNair. "He's so fast for a piece, I was just babying him a bit on the last turn, praying he didn't run on me. As soon as I kicked the blinds down and the plugs came out, he did exactly what he had to do, he trotted right by them all."

Edward Lohmeyer of Cream Ridge, New Jersey bred and owns the Kadabra-Pacific Elegance gelding, who entered the Championship sitting second in the standings. The victory was his fifth of the season in 11 starts and lifts his bankroll to $65,307.

The 1-5 favourite paid $2.70 to win.

The three-year-old pacing colts closed out the 2013 Grassroots season with a from-last Panpero Firpo making history as the first horse in the last decade to win back-to-back Championships.

Despite being a ninth-place finisher in the point standings through the regular season, Panpero Firpo defended his Grassroots Championship title with a 1:51.3 triumph for trainer David Menary.

Champagne Phil (Chris Christoforou) led the field through a :26.4 opening quarter before releasing the parked outsider Panongahela (Billy Davis Jr.) down the backstretch. Champagne Phil moved back out for the retake en route to the half in :54.4 and proceeded to lead to three-quarters in 1:23 and into the stretch. But the trailing Panpero Firpo unleashed a :26.3 final kicker to circle the field for the 16-1 upset victory in rein to Brett Miller. George Jettison (Mike Saftic) and Sea Harrier (James MacDonald) also closed well from the backfield to finish over a length behind in second and third. The favoured divisional leader, Dull Roar (Jack Moiseyev), came on for fourth.

"There was an awful lot of guys leaving and they told me this horse kind of needed a trip," said Miller. "We just had to roll the dice and hope they raced up front and they did. That's not to take anything away from the horse, he raced really good."

The No Pan Intended-Pangoon colt is owned and bred by Peter Pan Stables Inc. of Pepper Pike, Ohio. He notched just his third win in 11 seasonal starts and bumped his sophomore bankroll to $44,800.

The final Grassroots winner returned $34.60 to his backers.

To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Mohawk Racetrack.

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