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Grassrooters Looking For A Little Luck

Published: September 28, 2011 10:52 pm ET

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Three-year-old pacing filly Brush With Royalty may not have won an Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots race before last week’s Semifinal, but trainer James Dean says it was not for lack of trying.

“She tries, that’s one thing about her,” said Dean, who will harness Brush With Royalty on Grassroots Championship night at Mohawk Racetrack this Saturday. “She has a big heart this filly. She gives her best every start.”

Dean said the difference between last week’s Semifinal outing and the six Grassroots starts that preceded it was racing luck. Brush With Royalty and driver Sylvain Filion were able to draft along on the outside behind fan favourite Tilly Seelster before stepping out in the stretch to claim the half length victory in 1:53.

“She finally got a trip,” said Dean, who conditions the filly for Jim Carr of Hamilton, Ont. “A couple of nights she was first up, a couple other nights she had cover, but it didn’t take us anywhere.”

Brush With Royalty will make her bid for a second Grassroots victory from Post 6 in Saturday’s $100,000 final. The other Semifinal winner, Back Yard Baby, will be handicapped by Post 9, but division point leader Cameron Lucky will be looking to avenge last week’s loss from Post 2.

Driver Sylvain Filion opted for Carr’s other entry, Pearl Handlepistol, who will start from Post 8, but Dean said Brush With Royalty is an uncomplicated horse to drive and will deliver her best effort for whoever subs for Filion.

“You can do pretty much whatever you want. She’s got some gate speed, not a whole lot, but enough where you can leave and get her positioned,” said the Guelph, Ont. resident. “She’s come first up a couple of nights and been able to fight right to the finish too, but it would be nice to get a trip.”

Dean and Carr would love to see Brush With Royalty add the Grassroots Championship title to her resume, an honour that would boost the filly’s credentials once she makes the transition to Carr’s broodmare barn, where she will be mated with his world champion pacer Big Jim. Dean also trained Big Jim, who earned $1.5 million prior to retiring in August.

“I just hope she can get her picture taken again Saturday,” said Dean, who has sent the filly out 14 times this season for a record of two wins, five seconds, one third and earnings of $58,228.

Like Brush With Royalty, three-year-old pacing colt Musselsfrmbrussels has not had luck on his side in Grassroots action this summer, but in the colt’s case it was post position draws that did not seem to go his way.

“I don’t think he drew inside the four in any of those races,” commented trainer-driver Lyle MacArthur, who will steer the colt from Post 7 for the second straight week on Saturday.

In last week’s Semifinal, Musselsfrmbrussels was an effortless two and one-half length winner in a personal best 1:50.4, but MacArthur knows there will be nine colts aiming to prevent a repeat performance in Saturday’s 10th race.

“There are a bunch of nice horses in this race,” said the St. George Brant, Ont. resident. “It’s not a cheap race.”

The other Semifinal winner, Guns An Roses, will be handicapped by the outside Post 10, but Mach Wheel, the runner-up to Musselsfrmbrussels in the division point standings, will start from the advantageous Post 1.

Musselsfrmbrussels was the only point leader, freshman or sophomore, to earn a Semifinal trophy and MacArthur said the Modern Art son seems to like Mohawk Racetrack’s larger oval. The son of Modern Art and Remember The Magic has been a regular at the Campbellville oval through a sophomore season that has seen him accumulate seven wins, five seconds and one third in 22 starts for earnings of $111,810.

“He’s just a nice horse, and a sound horse,” said MacArthur. “He doesn’t want to do anything wrong.”

Anne and Mike Shunock of Dorchester, Ont. own Musselsfrmbrussels and will be hoping the colt can add an eighth victory to his tally on Saturday.

The three-year-old pacing fillies will battle in Race 8 on Mohawk Racetrack’s Saturday evening program, and the three-year-old pacing colts will wrap up Grassroots Championship Night in Race 10. The Campbellville oval sends its first race into the starter’s hands at 7:10 p.m.

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


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