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Grassroots Triple For MacDonald

Published: September 3, 2011 1:33 am ET

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Guelph, Ont. resident Anthony MacDonald piloted a trio of three-year-old trotting fillies to Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots victory at Grand River Raceway on Friday night, including the quickest of the eight divisions aboard Honey Thorn.

MacDonald fired Honey Thorn away from Post 7 and had the Here Comes Herbie daughter on top before the :28.3 quarter. The pair then allowed fan favourites Scott Coulter and Defy Time to take command, and sat on the heels of the new pacesetter through a :57.1 half and a 1:27.3 three-quarters. One length separated the fillies as they turned for home and Honey Thorn was able to reel in Defy Time and claim a half length victory in a personal best 1:57.3. Surveillance was three more lengths back in third spot.

MacDonald engineered Honey Thorn’s second sophomore victory for trainer Chris Beaver of Radnor, Ohio and his partner Wilbur Lang of Jamestown, Ohio, who also bred the winner of $65,282.

The reinsman made his second appearance in the Grassroots winner’s circle with Blair Burgess trainee Youlneverwalkalone, also from the seven-hole.

This time MacDonald allowed the filly to coast away from the starting gate, landing in fifth spot on the rail as Here Comes Jennie hit the quarter-mile marker in :29.1. Heading for the :58.4 half MacDonald tipped Youlneverwalkalone to the outside behind Mystic Allure, and then stepped out three wide to take command heading by the 1:28.3 three-quarters. From there fan favourite Youlneverwalkalone rolled home to a three and one-half length victory in 1:58.4, with Here Comes Jenny and Nordic De Vie rounding out the top three.

Burgess conditions Youlneverwalkalone for his wife Karin Olsson Burgess of Milton, Ont. and Torkil Pedersen of Trondheim, Norway. Through 11 starts the Kadabra daughter has tallied three wins and one second for earnings of $46,000.

In the 10th race, MacDonald lined up along the rail with fan favourite Angel Warken and steered the filly to a wire-to-wire victory in 2:00.2. The Ken Warkentin daughter fended off a late rush by Stewardess to post the half length victory, which saw Rise N Shine follow the leader into third spot.

Robert Key of Leechburg, Pennsylvania bred and owns Angel Warken and Paul Reid handles training duties on the filly, who boasts a record of three wins and two seconds in 10 starts for earnings $31,850.

Driver Scott Coulter of Brantford posed for two Grassroots winner’s circle portraits, making his first appearance in front of the track photographer with Quantum Victoria following Race 3.

Last at the quarter-mile marker, the pair stepped to the outside past the half and then accelerated through the final quarter to claim a half length victory over Tropical Breeze AS and favourite Extraordinaire, who is co-owned by the Henry Stable of Arthur, Ont. The 2:00.2 win was Quantum Victoria’s first of the season and second lifetime. Karen Carroll of Shedden owns the Angus Hall filly and Mike Keeling handles training duties on the winner of $64,460.

Coulter’s other victory came in the eighth race with My Whispering Eye, who reeled in three horses in the stretch to claim the one and one-quarter length victory in 1:58.2. Pacesetter Dabrina had to settle for second, and L A Freeway was well back in third. Rick Zeron trains Here Comes Herbie daughter My Whispering Eye for Terry Hunter of Cambridge, Ont.

Zorgwijk Locket sailed along on the front end in the fifth race to record a 1:58.2 victory for driver Trevor Henry of Arthur and owners Arthur Slack and Ted Smith of Rockwood and Brian Paquet of Quebec, Que. Ronnie MacLean conditions the Striking Sahbra lass, who bested Marys Out Cruisin and Crown Royal.

The other Grassroots trophies went home with Second Avenue in 2:00.1 and Magical Paige in 1:59.2.

The three-year-old trotting fillies wrap up their Grassroots regular season on Sept.9 at Rideau Carleton Raceway, and then the top 16 point earners will prepare for Semifinal action at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 24. The top four finisher’s from each Semifinal earn a shot at the $100,000 Grassroots Championship at Mohawk on Oct. 1.

Grassroots action returns to Grand River Raceway on Sept. 14 as the three-year-old trotting colts complete their regular season at the Elora oval.

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


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