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Freshmen Leap Up Grassroots Leaderboard

Published: September 9, 2020 1:00 am ET

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Two-year-old pacing colts took their turn in the spotlight at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Tuesday (Sept. 8), competing for a total of $117,500 in five Grassroots divisions.

Stonebridge Rex and driver Doug McNair captured the first $23,500 division with a bold move at the five-eighths marker that saw them sail to the front and power away from the field to a six-and-one-quarter length victory in a personal-best 1:52.3. Big Bang Bang was second and Last Bet was two more lengths back in third.

“He’s a nice horse. He steers funny sometimes, but other than that he’s handy,” said McNair of the Control The Moment gelding who started from post 5. “He tied up in Sarnia (Aug. 22), but he bounced back tonight.”

The win was Stonebridge Rex’s second in Grassroots action. He was also victorious in the July 20 leg at Woodbine Mohawk Park for trainer Gregg McNair of Guelph, breeder Angie Stiller of Arva and their co-owner Gary Colter of Mississauga, ON. With two wins, a sixth in the season opener and a seventh-place result at Sarnia’s Hiawatha Horse Park on Aug. 22, Stonebridge Rex has 105 points and sits second in the division standings with one regular-season event remaining.

The next three divisions saw Finkle Is Einhorn, No Plan Intended and Proline get their first Grassroots win and make significant jumps up the point standings.

Favourite Finkle Is Einhorn left smartly from post 5, let two rivals circle to the front and then delivered a late sprint to the wire to claim a head victory in 1:55.1. Pacesetter Mustang Beach settled for second and Kyoquot was five lengths behind the leaders in third.

“He’s a nice horse. He was a little too aggressive last time (Aug. 31), but the trainer added ear plugs and he was more relaxed tonight,” said driver Sylvain Filion. “He just flew home when we had room.”

Milton-resident Filion piloted Finkle Is Einhorn to the win for trainer Duncan Brewer of Waterdown and his co-owner Randell Urquhart of Hamilton, ON. With one win and one third in Grassroots action, the Sunshine Beach gelding has a total of 62 points and jumped from 40th into a three-way tie for 11th in the standings. The top-20 point earners at the end of the regular season advance to the Oct. 1 Semi-Finals at Woodbine Mohawk Park, and the top-five finishers from each Semi-Final move on to the $75,000 Grassroots Championship on Oct. 10.

In the third division driver Jody Jamieson eased No Plan Intended away from post 1, settling in fifth as Big Teddy rang a :26.4 quarter and favourite Cadillac Bayama led the field to a :55.4 half. As they swept by the half-mile marker, Jamieson tipped No Plan Intended to the outside and started to advance on the pacesetter. Cadillac Bayama held the challenger at bay through the 1:24.2 three-quarters, but No Plan Intended had a bigger kick in the stretch and pulled away to a one-and-three-quarter length victory in 1:52.2. Big Teddy snuck up the inside to be second and Cadillac Bayama settled for third.

“He’s a homebred colt that trained down well and just ran into some health issues and lost some time,’ said driver Jody Jamieson of the gelding, who missed the July 20 Grassroots leg due to sickness. “But he has since come back with two seconds and now a fast win.”

Stephanie Jamieson trains No Plan Intended for Carl Jamieson of Puslinch, ON and Brian Paquet of Quebec, QC, who also bred the son of Up The Credit. With one win, one second and one sixth in Grassroots action, No Plan Intended has 78 points and moved from 25th to fifth in the standings.

Proline was able to advance up the outside behind cover in the fourth division before unleashing a :26.4 final quarter to post a two-and-one-quarter length win in 1:53.3. Watch My Beverage also closed hard to be second, leaving pacesetter Brilliant Corners to settle for third.

“That was a great bounce back,” said driver Bob McClure, who piloted Proline to a disappointing sixth in the Aug. 22 Grassroots event at Hiawatha Horse Park. “Hopefully he keeps trending in that direction.”

Rockwood-resident McClure steers Proline for trainer Luc Blais of Campbellville, ON and owner Determination of Montreal, QC. Tuesday’s win launched the Sportswriter son from 65th to 17th in the standings with 53 points.

Second Bruiser made his Ontario Sires Stakes debut in the last division, and driver James MacDonald would not be surprised to see him make his second provincial start against the Gold Series colts.

Starting from post 9, Second Bruiser sprinted off the gate to a :27.1 quarter, yielded to favourite Saratoga Blue Chip, who took the field to a :56.1 half and 1:25 three-quarters, and then tipped out in the stretch and rocketed home to a four-and-one-half length win in 1:51.4. Saratoga Blue Chip settled for second and Shazam Blue Chip rounded out the top three.

“He’s awesome. I think Vern will likely try the next Gold with him. Some of them are starting to get tired and he is razor sharp right now, so I expect good things from him,” said MacDonald. “He’s a Cadillac, steers good, paces good. The one issue he had qualifying (Aug. 25), he got jammed up, that’s young horse stuff, that’s nothing to worry about. He was very strong tonight.”

Guelph-resident MacDonald engineered the win for trainer Vernon Cochrane of Fergus and breeder Stefan Piekos of Palgrave, ON, who share ownership of the son of Believeinbruiser. Tuesday was just the gelding’s second start after sickness took him out of action for most of August.

The two-year-old pacing colts will make their last regular season Grassroots start at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept. 17, while the Gold Series colts go postward Oct. 4 at Flamboro Downs, meaning Cochrane and Piekos will have to choose which level to compete at before the Sept. 14 draw for the last Grassroots leg. Horses need two Grassroots starts to be eligible for the Grassroots postseason, while one win can make them eligible for the $250,000 Gold Series Super Final.

(Ontario Sires Stakes)

To view Tuesday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Tuesday Results - Woodbine Mohawk Park.

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