Battle elims set for Monday at Grand River
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A total of four elimination dashes will be contested on Monday, July 27 to determine the finalists for Grand River Raceway’s two featured pacing races during its 30th Industry Day event.
The Battle Eliminations race card will also mark the first occasion this season that limited pre-registered AGCO-licensed spectators are allowed to attend the tarmac at the Elora, Ont., track.
Battle of Waterloo
Fourteen rookie colts and geldings will compete in two $15,000 elimination divisions to earn a berth in the 23rd annual Battle Of Waterloo. The top four finishers and one of the fifth-place finishers — as drawn by lot — will advance to the $200,964 final.
Springbridge Duel and driver Bob McClure drew the rail for the first elimination, carded as race three.
The Casie Coleman Herlihy trainee is the richest and the quickest to date of all Battle Of Waterloo starters with $106,400 banked in two winning starts in Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series races over Woodbine Mohawk Park. The first of those victories was clocked in 1:51.3, making him the fastest 2-year-old pacing colt currently in North America. He is also jointly the current division leader in the Ontario Sires Stakes standings with 100 points. The son of Big Jim was a $40,000 yearling acquisition for West Wins Stable, Steve Heimbecker and Mark Kantrowitz.
Avion Seelster finished second to Springbridge Duel in their most recent OSS outing, but will command his own field in the second elimination, carded as race six. Owned and trained by Jack Darling, the Sportswriter son was an $80,000 yearling purchase. His first career start at Woodbine Mohawk Park garnered a win in 1:53.2. He enters Monday’s dash with $38,375 banked and leaves from post five.
While five of the seven horses in the field have career marks, No Better Joy has the lowest — a clocking of 1:52.1 in an OSS Grassroots event over Mohawk Woodbine Park in his maiden start. He drew the outside post seven for the Battle elim with Bob McClure for trainer Nicky Comegna.
Battle of the Belles
Elimination dashes for the 12th annual Battle Of The Belles feature 16 two-year-old pacing fillies in two $10,000 divisions. The top four finishers and one of the fifth-place finishers — as drawn by lot — will earn a berth in the $128,149 final.
Race 4 is the first elimination for the gals. Cyclone Sister is currently Canada’s fastest freshman filly over a half-mile track. She’s two-for-two in Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots action — winning both times in 1:55.4 — first at Woodbine Mohawk Park and last week over Grand River Raceway. The homebred daughter of Shadow Play is owned by Millar Farms and trained by Nick Gallucci. She starts from post five with Bob McClure.
Scarlett Hanover starts from post three in this division with the distinction of the most money banked ($32,781) in two Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series starts. She also sports a mark of 1:55.4 taken in a qualifier at The Meadows. She was a $45,000 yearling purchase for partners Burke Racing Stable, Frank Baldachino, J&T Silva Purnel & Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Ashleigh Hensley trains the Bettors Delight daughter and Ed Hensley will drive.
The second elimination division is Race 7, where Andra Day will vie for her third consecutive victory. With $90,133 banked from her exploits in the Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series, she jointly leads her divisional standings with 100 points. The Shadow Play filly will leave from the outside post eight for owners Let It Ride Stables and Bottom Line Racing. She is trained by Dr. Ian Moore — who also conditions Plain Jane in this dash.
Sports Check boasts the quickest speed badge of both divisions — 1:52.4 taken in a two-length score during her maiden start over Woodbine Mohawk Park for trainer Blake MacIntosh for owners Frugal Not Cheap Stable and Daniel Plouffe.
Another noteworthy entry in this dash is The Kings Queen, a Sportswriter filly out of the inaugural Battle Of The Belles winner FBS Terror. The 2009 champion went on to win the Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final in her freshman campaign and banked $440,000 before her retirement to broodmare duty in 2011. The Kings Queen is her second filly and first Battle Of The Belles contender. Gregg McNair conditions The Kings Queen for breeder-owner Harness Horsepower Inc.
Post time for is 6:30 p.m. Eastern. Post positions for the finals of the Battle Of Waterloo and Battle Of The Belles will be drawn and announced after Race 7.
In response to the recent Stage 3 provincial government announcements, Grand River Raceway will allow 100 guests on the tarmac starting July 27. Attendees will still be required to follow strict physical distancing requirements and pre-register to attend the track. The grandstand and main building remain closed.
Attendance is restricted to 100 people who are AGCO licensees. Pre-registration is required.
The 10-race Industry Day card kicks off at 12:30 p.m. Eastern, and also includes both Grassroots and Gold series divisions for 3-year-old pacing fillies in the Ontario Sires Stakes.
COSA TV, managed by the Central Ontario Standardbred Association, will present exclusive Industry Day coverage in a live two-hour special hosted on its social media platforms. The show is hosted by Greg Blanchard, Mark McKelvie and Jaimi MacDonald, and will include coverage of the Battle of Waterloo and Battle Of The Belles, feature stories about the contenders and prize opportunities for viewers. (Grand River)