Kadabra sons Knows Nothing and Prestidigitator returned to Ontario Sires Stakes action on Saturday night following their sojourn south of the border for the Hambletonian and the duo simply outclassed their sophomore trotting colt peers in the single Gold Elimination at Mohawk Racetrack.
Prestidigitator and driver Sylvain Filion left sharply from Post 4 and led the field of 12 to a :13.3 opening eighth and a :28.1 quarter. Knows Nothing and Jody Jamieson watched from fourth as their rivals set the early tempo and then rolled up the outside to take control before the :56.3 half.
Through a 1:26.1 three-quarters and a 1:39.4 seven-eighths, Knows Nothing did not face a challenge, cruising home a two length winner in 1:53.2. Prestidigitator was content to sail across the wire second in a Gold Elimination that saw two colts eliminated from the field for next weekend's Gold Final, and Keystone Orion closed smartly to earn the third-place share, finishing 10 and three-quarter lengths behind the winner.
The win marked Knows Nothing's debut in the Gold Series. The Kadabra colt started his sophomore campaign with a Grassroots win in the May 21 season opener at Mohawk. Through 10 starts the trotter now boasts a record of eight wins, one fourth and one fifth for earnings of $313,609.
Hillsburgh resident Jeff Gillis conditions Knows Nothing for his partners Al Libfeld of Pickering, Marvin Katz of Toronto, Mac Nichol of Burlington and Gerald Stay of Buffalo, NY.
The top 10 finishers from Saturday's Gold Elimination will return to Mohawk next weekend for the fourth $130,000 Gold Final of their season. Only Reckon Im Ready and Cimeronken will not make the return trip.
In other Ontario Sires Stakes news, Trevor Henry has a pair of Lampman Cup trophies on the mantle of his Arthur home and the driver is in the hunt for a third Ontario Sires Stakes title with an outstanding week that he capped off by guiding a pair of three-year-old pacing colts to Grassroots victory at Georgian Downs Saturday.
Henry kicked things off in the first $24,000 Grassroots division, urging Red Carpet Dude to a half length victory in a personal best 1:54. Fan favorite So Take That had to settle for second and Mississippi Hippy completed the top three.
Andrew McCabe conditions Red Carpet Dude for Glenview Livestock Ltd. of Wallenstein and Bill Manes of Rockwood. Through 15 starts this season the Camluck gelding has posted two wins, one second and one third for earnings of $32,780. A two-time Grassroots winner as a two-year-old, Saturday's victory was Red Carpet Dude's first of the year in Ontario Sires Stakes action.
Henry teamed up with another McCabe trainee to score his second victory. Starting from Post 2 Life Signature controlled the tempo for much of the race and battled hard in the stretch to post a three-quarter length victory over challenger Sky Mcfly. Machal Angelo paced into third.
McCabe trains Life Signature for Manes, Steven Papillon of Rockwood, Steven Brunelle of Grand Bend and Leonard Christopher of Acton. In 12 sophomore starts the son of Life Sign has amassed four wins, two of them in the Grassroots program, three seconds and one third for earnings of $62,080.
Winbak Warrior recorded the quickest mile of the eight Grassroots divisions, rocketing around the Georgian Downs oval in a personal best 1:51.2. Rebel Jet finished four and one-half lengths back in second and Creigton Hanover was four more lengths to the rear in third.
Uxbridge resident Dan Clements crafted the win, the Royal Mattjesty son's second in 12 starts this season, and Blake MacIntosh conditions Winbak Warrior for Hutt Racing Stable of Paoli, PA.
Driver Mike Saftic also scored a pair of Grassroots wins at Georgian Downs on Saturday. The Campbellville resident landed fan favourite Best Ears his second win of the season with a 1:52.1 score over OK Ebury. Machman finished well behind the leaders in third.
Owned by Christina Takter of East Windsor, NJ, John Fielding of Toronto and R A W Equine Inc. of Burlington, Best Ears now has two wins, one second and three thirds for earnings of $53,990. Cambridge resident Tony O'Sullivan conditions the Shark Gesture son.
Saftic's second appearance in the winner's circle came with Bob McIntosh trainee In Commando in the final Grassroots division. The pair hit the wire two and three-quarter lengths ahead of Curious Phoenix and Big Unit in 1:52.3.
McIntosh bred and shares ownership of In Commando with Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington. The Camluck gelding boasts two wins, two seconds, three thirds and $38,890 in earnings from eight starts this season.
The other Grassroots divisions were captured by Espen De Vie in 1:52.4; The Unsub in 1:51.4; and Hidden Potential in 1:51.4.
The three-year-old pacing colts compete in their fifth Grassroots match up on Aug. 27 at Mohawk Racetrack. Next up on the Georgian Downs Ontario Sires Stakes calendar is Grassroots action for the three-year-old trotting colts on Sept. 4.(Ontario Sires Stakes)