Chris Christoforou landed a pair of favourites in the Grassroots winner's circle at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday evening.
The reinsman opened the evening aboard heavy favorite Flanagan Memory, who was making his Grassroots debut after dominating the Gold Series program this season. Starting from Post 1 the Kadabra colt made a break and spotted the field more than 20 lengths before Christoforou was able to get things back on track, but still managed to reel in the leaders and eke out a half-length victory in 1:56.
Rene Dion trains Flanagan Memory for his partner Liette Flanagan. Through eight starts this season the colt, named in honor of Flanagan's late father Michel, now boasts a record of five wins, two seconds and one third for earnings of $256,298.
Christoforou's next Grassroots mount was Mo Dhabi in the third division and this time the reinsman chose to employ come from behind tactics. After sitting sixth through much of the race, Mo Dhabi kicked it into high gear in the stretch and powered by the pacesetters to a one and one-half length triumph in 1:57.3.
The win was the second this season, and the first in Grassroots action, for the Angus Hall gelding, who is trained by Barry Treen. Leonard Gamble, Kevin Kobus, Peter Howarth and Daniel Smith share ownership of the trotter.
The quickest mile of the four Grassroots divisions was clocked by Crosbys Clam Bake and driver Doug McNair, who rocketed around the Mohawk oval to a 1:53.3 triumph. The clocking was a personal best for the Kadabra gelding, who hit the wire 7 1/2 lengths ahead of his peers. Per Henriksen trains the two-time Grassroots winner.
The other division went to lightly rated Loco Caballo and Guelph resident Anthony MacDonald, who posted a 1:56 upset for trainer Blair Burgess and owners Robert Burgess of Campbellville and Karin Olsson Burgess.
The 3-year-old trotting colts wrap up their Grassroots season at Rideau Carleton Raceway on Sept. 8, while Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Mohawk Racetrack on Monday, Aug. 26 with the fifth Grassroots contest for the three-year-old pacing colts.(Ontario Sires Stakes)