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Trillium Trotters Heading To Sudbury

Published: July 8, 2008 12:30 pm ET

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Sudbury Downs opens its 2008 Ontario Sires Stakes season this Saturday, July 12 with a pair of $35,273 Trillium Series divisions for the three-year-old trotting fillies.

A total of 18 fillies will battle in their first sophomore Trillium event, three of them hailing from the barn of trotting specialist John Bax.

Fortune smiled on the Bax stable in the post position draw and the Peterborough resident will harness Valley Courtney from the rail in Race 4 and Grammy Hall from the rail in Race 7.

Not quite as lucky as her stablemates, Taketwo N Callme will start from the outside Post 8 in Race 4.

"Not bad, three rails out of two races," quips Bax, who also owns a share of all three fillies.

Valley Courtney will lead the parade of three-year-olds onto the racetrack on Saturday, and the Striking Sahbra daughter has also led her stablemates through the early season stakes action.

In six starts the filly has recorded two Grassroots wins and banked $23,836 for Bax and Harry Locke of Oshawa. The former Gold Series competitor heads into the Trillium contest off a fourth-place finish in the Bud Light Stakes at Flamboro Downs on July 4.

"She likes the half-mile track. It looks like she's found her niche in the Grassroots," says Bax. "We're happy with the way she's racing. I wish she was a Gold filly, but I think she's found her niche."

Bax says the dainty filly is level-headed and quick on her feet, ideal attributes for travelling across the province on the Grassroots circuit.

"Nothing bothers her, so the half-mile track, with tight turns and lots of action, she handles that really well."

Taketwo N Callme will start at the opposite end of the gate from her stablemate, and Bax says the fillies are opposites in everything from size to racing style. While the petite Valley Courtney can explode off the starting gate, Bax calls the strapping Taketwo N Callme a single gear trotter.

"She's one of those fillies that everything has to go her way, there's no adjusting, she's a one speed horse," explains the veteran conditioner. "She's a big, strong mare."

Bax and his partners John Hayes of Sharon and George Grant of Oakwood bred and own Taketwo N Callme, who has one second and one third to her credit through seven sophomore starts.

Rounding out the trio of fillies bearing the Bax colours is Grammy Hall, who has taken her connections on a roller-coaster ride of expectation and exasperation over the last two seasons.

"She just couldn't put it together last year. She would seem like it was all there, but she couldn't handle racing," explains the horseman. "I've had a few from this family, and I'd say most of them are better three-year-olds."

After five erratic outings, Bax called a halt to Grammy Hall's freshman campaign, opting to give her time to mature. She returned to the racing scene in April and has one win, one second and one third on her resume through nine starts.

"She actually shows flashes of brilliance," muses Bax. "She shows the most potential, but she's also the most inconsistent, the most likely to self destruct."

Breeder Glengate Farms of Campbellville, Ariel Stables of North York and Bax's Parkhill Stud Farm own the daughter of Angus Hall and Gramolas Image, whose stiffest competition in the seventh race will come from Grassroots winners Magical Wand and Travelin Supergirl at Posts 5 and 7.

Post time for Saturday's program is 7:15 p.m., with the Sudbury Downs spotlight shining on the three-year-old trotting fillies in Races 4 and 7.


To view Saturday's entries, click here.

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