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Sophomores Spar In Semi Finals

Published: September 28, 2019 9:22 pm ET

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With the regular season in the rear view mirror, three-year-olds headed into their playoffs in the OSS program Saturday evening as Woodbine Mohawk Park hosted the Grassroots Semi Finals.

The top five finishers from each of the eight Semi Finals will advance to next Saturday's OSS Grassroots Finals. Here's what transpired in those Semi Finals:

Three-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Pace - $20,000 Semi Finals

Race favourite Dreamfair Moxy failed to make headlines as a rookie after failing to win a race in three tries, but he’s really come to life in this year’s three-year-old campaign for owner John Lamers of Ingersoll, Ont.

The gelding won for the ninth time this season thanks to his front-stepping triumph in the first Semi Final tilts for three-year-old colt and gelding pacers.

Travis Cullen got away second with the photogenic pacer, who released the parked out Moonshine Kisses to the lead at the quarter pole in :25.4. Cullen quickly moved his charge back to the top in the backstretch, and after clearing Dreamfair Moxy whacked out middle panels of :54.1 and 1:22.2 before using a :28.2 closing quarter to win by 1-3/4 lengths over Sportsline in 1:50.4. Sugartown was third. Also advancing to next week’s final were Carlisimo and Carsons Shadow.

The son of Bettors Delight-Swirly now owns a 9-10-6 record from 30 starts this season and his career bankroll stands at $108,797. A Sunshine Beach brother to Dreamfair Moxy, Hip #69 William Ross, will sell next month at the London Selected Yearling Sale.

Fresh off of his runner-up performance in the Little Brown Jug, heavily-favoured Fast N First captured his Semi Final with the greatest of ease for driver Doug McNair in 1:51.

The son of Bettors Delight-My Sisters A Champ watched The Regulator and Priceless Beach battle to the quarter pole in :26.2 before Priceless Beach rolled off stride. McNair moved his charge from fourth in the backstretch, and they took command at the half in :54.2.

Fast N First then rolled the field to the three-quarter pole in 1:23 before using a :28-second final frame to win by 3-3/4 lengths over HP Napoleon in 1:51. Better Than Cash enjoyed a ground-saving trip and finished third. Also moving on to next week’s final were Phils Sun and Jay Eye Em.

“He usually doesn’t want to win by that many. He was just really good tonight,” said McNair of Fast N First, who was making his first start since the Little Brown Jug. “Obviously he was great at the Jug, so maybe that kind of woke him up a little bit. He’s getting real sharp right now.”

Trainer Blake MacIntosh, who co-owns the colt with Ridgeway Racing and Steve Heimbecker, watched the pacer improve his 2019 record to 9-4-2 from 19 starts with the triumph. The 11-time winner pushed his lifetime earnings to $328,216 with the win.

Three-Year-Old Filly Pace - $20,000 Semi Finals

After failing to earn cheques in back-to-back starts, Deb stepped up her game and wired up the foes she faced in the first of two Semi Finals for three-year-old pacing fillies.

In rein to Trevor Henry, the James ‘Friday’ Dean trainee hustled to the lead from Post 5 and laid down first-half fractions of :26.4 and :54.4. She was pressed by the first-over favourite, Swift Ally, in the third quarter, and those two went as a team by the three-quarter pole in 1:22.4. Their battled continued all the way down the lane before Deb delivered the knockout punch in the closing strides.

Deb held on two win by a neck over Swift Ally, with the show dough going to Freya Seelster. Also advancing to next Saturday’s final will be Crisp Mane and Premier Cabernet.

“I really don’t know why she hadn’t shown up the last two weeks. Her blood came back good. She just raced poorly,” said Dean, who was delighted to see Deb return to form after a pair of lacklustre performances at Mohawk in the first two weeks of September.

“I just changed some driving gear on her and we schooled her Tuesday (Sept. 24) at Mohawk, and she never had a harness on her after that. I just turned her out in the paddock. Try to keep her happy I guess, just try to cheer her up a bit. It’s getting later in the year; if they ain’t fit now, they never will be.”

Sent off as a 9-1 outsider, the daughter of Sportswriter-Atlantic Seelster won for the third time this season and for the sixth time in her career. Wilma and James MacKenzie of Ennismore, Ont. own the filly who has racked up career earnings of $191,126.

A State Treasurer sister to Deb, Hip #90 Alumni Seelster, will sell in next month’s London Selected Yearling Sale.

So Much More was sent off as the 1-9 favourite in her Semi Final assignment, and she lived up to the hype by spanking her foes by four lengths in 1:51.1.

It was Sports Flix who took the early lead and rolled the field to the quarter pole in :27.3, but Louis Philippe Roy had So Much More on the move on the outside. So Much More worked her way to the front and cruised through middle splits of :55.2 and 1:24 before sprinting home in :27.1 to defeat Kyle Seelster and Saulsbrook Jessie. Also advancing the final were Sports Flix and Manhattan Night.

Trainer Don Beatson co-owns the daughter of Big Jim-Ladysai with Ken Beatson and Cole England. After producing a 4-for-9 record as a rookie, So Much More has answered with an 11-for-17 record this season. The victory pushed her lifetime earnings over $155,000.

Three-Year-Old Filly Trot - $20,000 Semi Finals

Rebellious Lady overcame Post 10 to capture the first of the two Semi Final contests for the tandem of driver Doug McNair and trainer Duane Marfisi.

The daughter of Angus Hall-Radical Missy shot to the top and sliced out fractions of :27.3, :58.1 and 1:28.1 before using a :29.4 closing quarter to win by a neck over the late-driving Miss Congeniality and the first-over Cambridge Kate. Time for the mile was 1:58. Also advancing to next week’s final were Warrawee Ultra and Witches N Angels.

“They didn’t obviously go nearly as fast as the other division, but she did everything right. Just hope for a good spot in the final and she’ll hopefully pick up some money,” said McNair. “She’s great to drive, she’s good gaited. There’s maybe some better ones than her, but she tries hard.”

Sent off at odds of 3-1, Rebellious Lady improved her 2019 record to 3-4-0 from 12 tries with the victory. The five-time winner races under a lease to Green And Gold Ltd of Guelph, Ont. The filly has banked $82,591 to date.

Splurge On Me earned a new lifetime speed badge of 1:55 thanks to her front-stepping triumph in the other OSS Semi Final for the team of driver Trevor Henry and trainer Bob McIntosh.

Henry put the pedal to the metal with the favourite, and Splurge On Me responded by hustling to the front and laying down fractions of :27.1, :57 and 1:25.4. A :29.1 closing quarter sealed the deal for Splurge On Me, who won by 1-1/4 lengths over Petro Hall. Halo Its Me took home third prize. Also advancing to the final were Checkmate Titan and Lefkada.

The homebred daughter of Kadabra-Urge To Splurge, who went 2-for-10 last season, has taken her game to a whole new level this season as noted in the 9-1-2 record she has compiled from 16 trips to the track. The career winner of $123,837 is owned by Robert McIntosh Stables Inc and C S X Stables.

Three-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trot - $20,000 Semi Finals

Judge Ken went to the front and didn’t look back in the first Semi Final contest for driver Trevor Henry and trainer Bob McIntosh.

The gelding powered to the top from Post 3 and after carving out splits of :28.1, :57 and 1:26 he kicked home in :28.4 to win by a head over Windsong Pioneer in 1:54.4. Red Hot Torch rallied late to grab the show dough. Also advancing to next week’s final were LA Magic and the odds-on favourite, Southwind Frost.

“He’s a fighter, that’s for sure. I mean, he’s perfect gaited — he can trot about as fast on a half as he can on a mile — but he’s got that will to win and he’s determined,” said McIntosh of Judge Ken. “He’s got a big heart.”

The homebred son of Justice Hall-Barbie And Ken, who went 2-for-10 as a rookie, is now a three-time winner from nine attempts this season for Robert McIntosh Stables Inc, C S X Stables and Dave Boyle. The $10,000 payday bumped his overall cash stash to $92,809.

After failing to hit the board in his first three starts in the month of September, Royale Elite stepped up his game and captured the second Semi Final for driver James MacDonald and trainer Shawn Steacy.

A Royal Line and Gold Edition battled to the opening quarter in :28.2 before the latter cleared to the top. Gold Edition led the field to the half in :57.1 and three-quarter pole in 1:26, but he couldn’t seal the deal. Wings Of Speed came first over on the way to the half with Royal Elite following cover from second over.

Royal Elite followed the flow to the head of the lane and then used a :29-second closing quarter to win by 1-1/2 lengths over Encarnacion in 1:55.3. Gold Edition faded late and settled for third prize. Also advancing to the final were A Royal Line and Wings Of Speed.

Sent off at odds of 5-1, Royal Elite improved his 2019 record to 5-2-0 from 15 starts with the win for owner/breeder Hudson Standrdbrd Stb Inc of Hudson, QC. The nine-time winner has stashed away more than $100,000 to date.

To view results for Saturday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Saturday Results – Woodbine Mohawk Park.

(with quotes from Ontario Sires Stakes)

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