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Windsun Missile Battles Into Semis

Published: September 7, 2016 9:44 pm ET

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Facing the end of his Ontario Sires Stakes career, three-year-old trotting gelding Windsun Missile came up with his first Grassroots win of the season at Grand River Raceway on Wednesday evening (September 7).

Starting from post five, trainer/driver Per Henriksen dropped Windsun Missile along the pylons in fourth as fan favourite Wildwild Men stepped out to a :28.1 opening quarter and a :58.3 half. Heading for the 1:27.4 three-quarters, Henriksen was able to follow driver Steve Byron and Rose Run Rudi up the outer lane, and rolling off the final turn, he shifted Windsun Missile into overdrive. The gelding fired around the leaders and hit the wire three-quarters of a length on top in a personal-best 1:57.2. JLs Bad Moon Risin and Mass Balance also closed well to be second and third.

“He’s pretty quick off of cover like that, especially when he’s good,” said Henriksen. “When he’s no good, he’s absolutely no good, but right now he’s very good.”

The wayward trotter picked the perfect time to improve, as Wednesday’s win boosted his Grassroots point total to 71, good enough for a top 20 spot in the standings and a berth in the Sept. 16 Semi-finals.

“He’s just not a very smart horse,” said Henriksen. “In a race he’s perfect, two fingers in the race, but home training he can be a little aggressive and warming up he can be aggressive. You just put him on the gate, turn him loose, let him take care of himself, and in the race he’s two fingers, absolutely perfect.”

Through 11 sophomore starts, Windsun Missile has accumulated two wins, one second, one third and earnings of $26,280 for owners Steve Organ of Aurora, Ont., Asa Farm of Norwood, Ont., and Darryl Drain of Tweed, Ont. The partners acquired the son of Kadabra and Windsun Hampton from the 2014 Harrisburg Yearling Sale for $40,000 as a result of Henriksen’s long association with the gelding’s maternal family.

“The family, I love this family,” Henriksen explained. “I had three or four sisters and brothers to the mother, and they keep on going forever. So I think he’ll be a horse that you want to try to keep, because they seem to make money all the time, and just keep on plugging and keep on plugging.”

While Windsun Missile’s connections were celebrating his first Grassroots win, Golden Son captured his fourth and moved to top spot in the point standings with 205 points.

Starting from post seven in the midst of a downpour, driver Sylvain Filion sent Golden Son straight to the front and the fan favourite rang up fractions of :29.1, :59.4 and 1:30.4 on his way to a three-length victory in 2:00. V For Victory finished second and Asterix was third.

“To me, he is the best,” said trainer Richard Moreau of his star pupil. “I drove from Montreal to Grand River today and he didn’t disappoint me. We are looking forward to the next one.”

Golden Son will lead the top 20 point-earners to the Sept. 16 Semi-final at Mohawk Racetrack, where he will look to finish in the top five and advance to the Sept. 24 Grassroots Championship. Puslinch, Ont. resident Moreau conditions the Majestic Son gelding for Gary and Fay Clark of Oriskany Falls, New York.

The other two division winners captured their second Grassroots trophies of the season at Grand River Raceway on Wednesday, assuring them both of a post-season berth.

Dynamic Edge and driver Doug McNair went gate-to-wire in the first $18,000 division, trotting across the finish line in a personal-best 1:57.1. Dewy Dont Cheat finished two lengths back of the favourites in second and Chestnut Schofield was two more lengths back in third.

“He’s a nice gaited, big, strong trotter,” said Guelph, Ont. resident Doug McNair. “He went a big trip tonight. He’s been getting sharp the last three starts.”

The reinsman’s father, Gregg McNair of Guelph, Ont., conditions Dynamic Edge and shares ownership of the Muscle Mass gelding with numbered company 1187422 Ontario Inc. of Ottawa, Ont.

Muscle Ave earned his second straight Grassroots victory in the fastest division of the night, taking command just after the half and cruising home to a one and one-half length win in 1:56.1. Fan favourite Makers Mass finished second and Tough Get Going was well back in third.

Mississauga, Ont. resident Roger Mayotte piloted Muscle Ave to the win for trainer Ben Wallace of Puslinch, Ont. and his partner Larry Ainsworth of Petrolia, Ont. The win improved the Muscle Mass gelding’s sophomore record to three wins, two seconds and one third in 14 starts for earnings of $48,370.

The top point-earners will now begin preparations for the Sept. 16 Semi-finals in hopes of advancing to the $50,000 Grassroots Championship on Sept. 24. Both the Semi-finals and the Championship take place at Mohawk Racetrack.

Grand River Raceway fans have one more opportunity to catch some of Ontario’s finest in action when the Elora oval hosts the fourth Gold Series division for the two-year-old pacing colts and pacing fillies on Monday, Sept. 19.

While all four scheduled Grassroots divisions were contested, Wednesday's harness racing card at Grand River was cut short, with the final two races cancelled due to unsafe track conditions from the heavy downpour.

To view Wednesday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Wednesday Results - Grand River Raceway.

(With files from OSS)

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