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Grassroots Wrap For Sophomore Trotting Colts

Published: September 22, 2020 11:59 pm ET

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The 2020 Grassroots regular season came to a close on Tuesday, Sept. 22 at Woodbine Mohawk Park with a quartet of $22,800 divisions for the three-year-old trotting colts.

Lovedbythemasses kicked off the finale in impressive fashion, taking command at the half and sailing home to a three length victory in a personal best 1:53.4. Crossfit Mouse finished second and Charmbo Prince was third.

“He doesn’t leave real good, we don’t get away great with him, but we had a good post today and I thought if I could just get away close I would try to re-move him to the front, so it kind of worked like that,” said Mike Saftic, who piloted the favourite from post 4. “Scott Young (with Crossfit Mouse) went first and then I just kind of followed to the front, and when he made front he felt good. He swelled up and made a good effort.

“A nice clean trip and he trotted real good, finished up strong. It was a good mile, a lifetime mark, so hopefully we’re going into the Semis in good shape.”

Campbellville resident Saftic steers Lovedbythemasses for trainer Ed Peconi of Peterborough and his co-owners Nicholas Peconi of Lakefield, ON and Wade Peconi of Stanchel, PEI, who also bred the son of Muscle Mass. The reigning Grassroots champion, Lovedbythemasses was a two-time winner in 2020 while also squaring off on several occasions against Gold Series and open stake colts, and he heads into the postseason ranked eighth with 112 points.

Leading the three-year-old trotting colts into the Oct. 2 Semi-Finals is Mikey Mass, who picked up his third Grassroots win in the second $22,800 division on Tuesday. Starting from post 1, the favourite got away fifth and then stalked Ripped And Ready up the outer lane as Remember Titans put up fractions of :28.2, :57.4 and 1:25.4. Slipping out in the stretch, Mikey Mass sprinted home to a two-length victory in a personal best 1:54.2. Ripped And Ready was second and Remember Titans third.

“He seems like he’s going into the Semis very well right now. I was happy to see him race off a helmet the way he did today. It was nice to see him follow cover. He did everything right today and Jonathan really drove him well,” said trainer Nick Gallucci of the second-over trip carved out by driver Jonathan Drury. “I like how he finishes his miles, he seems like he’s as strong at the end as he is at the start.”

Gallucci shares ownership of the Muscle Mass son with Vince Gallucci of Brantford, Frank Cirillo of Kleinburg and Bruno Didiomede of Hamilton, ON. The Stouffville resident said his girlfriend Karoline Nielsen handles the majority of the gelding’s care and has him in an excellent state of mind heading into the postseason.

“Right now he’s really sharp, he’s enjoying life, he seems like he’s thriving on whatever she’s doing with him,” said Gallucci. “She does a lot of the track work with him, looks after him, the odd time I’ll train him, but mostly everything that happens with him is her doing. She’s doing a good job with him.”

Joining Mikey Mass and Lovedbythemasses in the Semi-Final will be Life Is A Feast, who needed a win on Tuesday to extend his Ontario Sires Stakes season. The Royalty For Life gelding and driver James MacDonald left well from post 2 and shadowed pacesetting favourite Blue Cupertino through fractions of :28.4, :58.1 and 1:28 before shifting into a big gear in the stretch and snaring a half-length victory in 1:55.4. Blue Cupertino settled for second and Your Still Up was six lengths back in third.

“He pretty much had to do something tonight to get in the Semi-Final,” said Puslinch, ON resident Ben Wallace, who trains the gelding for Paul Fontaine of North Smithfield, RI. “We dropped him out of the other bunch, the Gold level, maybe we should have done it right off the bat, but he had a real good two-year-old year down in the Massachusetts Sires Stakes. Mind you it’s a different world up here and it worked out that he’s better suited in this group, so hopefully he keeps putting it together and behaves himself and goes forward.”

Tuesday’s win and a Sept. 10 runner-up finish to Blue Cupertino give Life Is A Feast 75 Grassroots points and put him in a tie for 12th with none other than Blue Cupertino.

The final $23,150 division saw Kenogami Coco post his second-straight Grassroots win with a 1:56.2 personal best that saw him leave well from post 5, sit third and then power home one and one-quarter lengths ahead of Tymal Riggs and Lexus Markus.

“He was way better tonight than he was in the last Grassroots he won,” said driver Louis-Philippe Roy of Guelph. “He was quiet in the post parade, he cleared easily early in the stretch and then was just waiting for them. I know it wasn’t the fastest division of the night, but the way he raced tonight I like his chances for the Semi-Finals.”

Roy drives the Wheeling N Dealin son for trainer Dany Fontaine and breeders Jean-Francois and Marie-Claude Reid of Anjou, QC.

The Grassroots Semi-Finals go postward next Thursday and Friday at Woodbine Mohawk Park, with the two-year-olds battling on Oct. 1 and the three-year-olds on Oct. 2. The top-20 point earners from each division will compete in their respective Semi-Finals with the top-five finishers then advancing to the Oct. 10 Grassroots Championships.

(Ontario Sires Stakes)

To view Tuesay's harness racing results, click on the following link: Tuesday Results - Woodbine Mohawk Park.


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