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Miracle Filly Scores Another Grassroots Win

Published: September 30, 2010 12:49 am ET

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Two years ago The Big Macher suffered such a serious fracture to her hock that Dr. Mark Biederman did not believe she would live to see her first birthday.

Not only did The Big Macher live, her healing process was so remarkable that she is currently the number two ranked point earner in the freshman pacing filly Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots division after a 1:56.4 score at Windsor Raceway on Wednesday evening.

“I was ready to euthanize her,” admits Dr. Biederman. “She was kicked by her mother and had a Salter-Harris type 4 fracture of her tibia, which means the fracture went right across the growth plate.”

The Big Macher was the third foal that broodmare Vodka On Ice had kicked in the hock. Biederman and his colleagues at the Biederman Equine Clinic repaired the first two surgically, but neither foal recovered enough mobility in their leg to enjoy a racing career, so this time the veterinarian settled a on a radically different course of action.

“I decided just to stall rest her and see what happened,” says the Maidstone, ON resident. “She spent about four months in the stall, but the problem was, we didn’t wean her. She had to be on stall rest with her mother.”

Biederman says Vodka On Ice’s frustrations with her offspring were restricted to the dinner hour — the mare hated to be bothered while she ate. Fortunately, The Big Macher figured how to stay out of her mother’s way during their enforced confinement and emerged without any other battle scars.

Once the filly started using her leg again, about eight weeks after the fracture, Biederman kept a close eye on her progress. Surprisingly, The Big Macher healed without any calcifications and one year after the injury Biederman started thinking about teaching her how to race. Before turning those thoughts into action he hauled out the x-ray machine and was stunned by what he saw.

“I could send you an x-ray of her two hocks and you’d never know which one was broken,” explains Biederman. “So I thought, we’ll start her and if she shows any lameness we’ll just quit with her.”

Mark Williams was awarded the task of breaking the filly, and once he got over his shock at The Big Macher’s tiny stature, the Cottam, ON resident found a serious depth of talent. As the start of the Ontario Sires Stakes season approached Biederman decided to give The Big Macher the best possible shot at a racing career and handed her over to Hall of Fame horseman Bob McIntosh. The move has proved a wise one as McIntosh has guided the filly to a record of four wins and one third in six starts and earnings of $42,480.

The Big Macher proved to be Vodka On Ice’s last foal, and Biederman is hoping the filly can follow in the path of her many illustrious siblings, like Matt On The Rocks ($399,054) and Leningrad ($214,040), before finding her way into the broodmare band he and his wife Randi Biederman maintain.

“I’d like to have one last good one out of Vodka On Ice,” he muses. “If you look past her size, she has a lot of ability.

“She is beyond small, she is tiny,” he emphasizes. “Hopefully she grows a little bit, but she doesn’t owe us anything.”

The Big Macher and her two-year-old pacing filly peers have one last regular season Grassroots event remaining, on Oct. 8 at Rideau Carleton Raceway, before the top 16 point earners head to Western Fair Raceway for two $30,000 Semifinals on Oct. 15. The top four finishers from each Semifinal will then compete in the $100,000 Grassroots Championship at the London oval on Oct. 23.

While The Big Macher was virtually assured of a spot in the Semifinal round before Wednesday’s contest, Brush With Royalty and Camille made significant leaps up the point standings with their victories.

Brush With Royalty captured the first $24,000 Grassroots division with a come from behind effort that saw her prowl up the outside to take control of the lead at the three-quarter marker and then sail home to a three and one-half length victory in 1:55.3. The fan favourite bested Ramadawn and Lucky Taryn to score her second victory in 10 starts.

Phil Hudon engineered the win for trainer James Dean and owner James Carr of Hamilton, ON. The win boosted the Royal Mattjesty daughter’s point total to 75.

Local filly Camille sprinted down the stretch to score her second straight victory and first in Grassroots company. The full sister to $1.4 million winner Chancey Lady sailed under the wire one length up on pacesetter Modern Best and Synergy Seelster, halting the teletimer at 1:55.3. Regular reinsman Jason Brewer piloted the Camluck daughter to the win for owner-breeder Larry Pollard of Harrow, ON and trainer Rodney Duford of Essex, ON.

With two fourths, one third and one win to her credit, Camille currently has 78 points in her Grassroots account and will be hoping to add to that in Ottawa next weekend.

Windsor Raceway fans will be treated to the regular season finale of the two-year-old trotting fillies’ Grassroots campaign on Sunday. The novice trotters will battle for Grassroots points and purse money in Races 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10, with the first race getting under way at 7 p.m.

To view Wednesday's results, click here.


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