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Steacy In Johnston Cup Hunt

Published: September 25, 2019 8:09 pm ET

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Shawn Steacy heads into Friday night’s (Sept. 27) two-year-old Grassroots Semi-Finals at Woodbine Mohawk Park sitting second in the Ontario Sires Stakes trainer standings, just four points behind leader Gregg McNair.

The 33-year-old took over official training duties from his father Mark this season and would love to keep the Johnston Cup in the family; the elder Steacy won the title in 2016, 2017 and 2018. While Shawn was a key part of his father’s victories, serving as the second trainer for the stable, he admits that having his name listed among the other top point earners is a special point of pride.

“It’s kind of a privilege to be able to have my name out there now and to be second or third in the Johnston Cup standings. For a younger guy in the business, it’s an honour having it there with guys like Bob McIntosh and Gregg McNair,” said Steacy. “I take pride in that. I think more proudly about being high in those standings almost that being in the WEG standings.”

Steacy, who is currently ranked sixth in the Woodbine Mohawk Park trainer standings, says the shift from second trainer to primary trainer has not resulted in any significant changes to the day-to-day operation of the stable. The family has been in the process of transitioning to the next generation of horsemen for a number of years with Shawn handling the Woodbine Mohawk Park operation while his brother Clarke is in charge of developing horses at their Lansdowne, Ont., farm.

“It’s always been a team, a family affair. My dad’s always, and probably always will be, the quarterback behind everything, and my brother and I are equal partners along the way,” said Steacy. “My dad had kind of managed the overall business aspect of it and helped out both my brother and I, but I think I’m more of the training responsibility now, my brother is very involved with the development part of them.”

One responsibility that has fallen solidly on the Guelph, Ont., resident’s shoulders is accompanying the horses to their respective races.

“He tells me all the time now, he says if I don’t ever have to go to the track again at night, I’ll be a happier person,” said Steacy of his father’s absence from the racetrack. “He says, 'I’ll work all day long, it doesn’t matter, I just don’t like to go at night, that’s what I had kids for.'”

On Friday, Steacy will be accompanying two-year-old pacing colts Captivate Hanover and Delightful Terror, two-year-old trotting filly Moana, two-year-old trotting colt Remember Titans, and two-year-old pacing filly Cute Accountant. All five horses will be driven by Guelph resident James MacDonald, with Captivate Hanover drawing post one in the first $20,000 Semi-Final, slated as race two on the 7:50 p.m. program, Delightful Terror starting from post nine in race seven, Moana getting post two in the third race, Remember Titans landing post eight in race five, and Cute Accountant drawing post seven in race eight.

“I would say my best shot would be Delightful Terror. He’s been strong, he had about a four-race win streak there for a while (July 20 to Aug. 22) where he was very good. I think amongst the Grassrooters — you know they’re all good when they’re pacers, so anybody can beat anybody — but I think he has as good, if not better of a chance of any horse on the pacing colt side of things,” said Steacy. “And also I was really impressed with my other colt Remember Titans. He’s kind of a bit of a dark horse I think going into the Semi-Finals. He’s so big and so strong, that I just think he’s able to carry his speed a long way and he’s got such a good mannerism to him. I think if he gets a little bit of help with the trip and is able to sit close, I think he’s got a big shot.”

Shelly and Robert MacMillan of Waterloo, Doug Millard Farms of Woodstock and Vivian Bell of St. Thomas, Ont., share ownership of Bettors Delight son Delightful Terror, who heads into Friday’s test ranked eighth in the freshman pacing colt standings with 77 points. E L Titan colt Remember Titans is owned by fractional ownership group Landmark 12 of Lansdowne, A K Malik Stable of Ottawa, Ont., and Dale Larson of Kent City, Mich., and he also finished up the regular season in eighth spot with 88 points.

Steacy expects Captivate Hanover, Moana and Cute Accountant to also be in the running for a top five finish. The top five finishers from each Semi-Finals will advance to the Grassroots Championships at Woodbine Mohawk Park next Saturday (Oct. 5).

Fractional ownership group also qualified five starters in Friday’s Semi-Finals. Two-year-old trotting filly Canadian Titan will start from post nine in race three, two-year-old trotting colt Enduring Strength gets post eight in race six, while two-year-old pacing fillies Wiggle Delight and Need Ur Opinion start alongside each other from posts seven and eight in the ninth race, and two-year-old pacing filly point leader Capistrano gets post two in race 10.

Among the enthusiastic owners that will be on hand to root for horses is NHL Hall of Famer Doug Gilmour, who owns shares in Capistrano. Friday’s contest will be Gilmour’s first opportunity to see the Warrawee Needy daughter in action, and the former Toronto Maple Leaf is hoping she can pick up her fourth win.

“From the conversations I've had with everyone, they tell me she's a great horse,” said Gilmour. “I’m really looking forward to seeing the horse, and I’m really excited about going out to (Mohawk) to watch her race.”

Woodbine Mohawk Park’s Friday evening program kicks off at 7:50 p.m. with the two-year-old Semi-Finals going postward in races two, three, and five through 10.

To view Friday's harness racing entries, click the following link: Friday Entries - Woodbine Mohawk Park.

(Ontario Sires Stakes)

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