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Freshman Trotters Face Off At Hanover

Published: September 6, 2008 11:00 pm ET

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Freshman trotting colts and geldings shipped into Hanover Raceway on Saturday night for six $20,000 Grassroots divisions of Ontario Sires Stakes and Pembrook Street expanded his lead atop the standings with an impressive victory in the fastest split.

Starting from Post 2 in the fourth $20,000 Grassroots division, Walkerton resident Dale Fritz had Pembrook Street on the lead before the colts reached the :30.1 opening quarter. Two and a half lengths on top at the 1:02.3 half, Pembrook Street turned back a strong challenge from Striking Lightning (Stephen Davis) heading by the 1:34 three-quarters, and then sprinted down the stretch to score a five length victory in 2:03.4, a personal best for the Duke Of York son.

Stormont Caviar (Norm Jones) sat in the pocket throughout the race and cruised down the stretch into second, while challenger Striking Lightning faded back to third. Fan favourite Good Friend (Scott Coulter) finished fourth.

George Henry trains Pembrook Street for Michael Wassilyn of Toronto, Ont. and the Arthur resident has conditioned the gelding to two wins and two seconds in four Grassroots starts, for a total of 150 points.

Sitting 17 points behind Pembrook Street after his second Grassroots victory is O Grady, who learned his early lessons alongside Pembrook Street in Arthur, under the tutelage of Wayne Henry.

Wayne Henry was in the race bike on Saturday to guide O Grady to the 2:05 victory. In spite of being handicapped by the outside Post 7, Henry sent the colt straight to the front and O Grady racked up fractions of :31, 1:03.3 and 1:34.2 en route to the one length victory over Zorgwijk Javelin (Bruce Richardson) and Stonebridge Mirage (Randy Fritz).

The Henry Stable of Arthur and James Laverty of Sauble Beach own Striking Sahbra son O Grady, a $20,000 yearling acquisition at last fall's Harrisburg Sale. Through four starts the half-brother to $199,950 winner Brontsky has posted two wins and one second for earnings of $26,600.

Angus Hall son King Gug leapt into the Grassroots top 16 with his first lifetime victory in the fourth race. In rein to Shawn Steacy, the colt cruised to a front end victory in 2:04.4, hitting the wire one length up on CDs Eldorado (Ross Battin) and 10 lengths ahead of third-place finisher Delcrest Sonny (Larry Small).

In his only other Grassroots appearance, King Gus posted a third-place finish, which gives him a total of 62 points and a share of eighth spot in the division standings. David Reid of Glenburnie, George Judson of Athens, Barry White of Orleans and Richard Karper of Saint-Laurent, Que. share ownership on the colt, and Lansdowne resident Mark Steacy handles his training.

Oaklea Rush, another Angus Hall colt, prevailed using front-end tactics in 2:04 for trainer/driver Riina Rekila. He also notched his first lifetime win.

Imminent Response rallied from off the pace to score his first win in 2:06.3 for trainer/driver Larry Walker and Lukas Rossi (Randy Fritz) broke his maiden in style with a ten and a half length win in 2:05.1 for trainer Ron O'Neill.

Saturday's contest concluded Hanover Raceway's 2008 Ontario Sires Stakes season, and the two-year-old trotting colts will make their second last regular season start at Hiawatha Horse Park on September 27.

To view the charted lines from Saturday, click here.

(With files from OSS)


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