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Grassroots divisions contested at Sudbury Downs

August 03, 2008

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Town Hall Babe cruised to a four length victory in the third $20,000 Grassroots division at Sudbury Downs on Sunday afternoon, leading the field of two-year-old trotting fillies from gate to wire in 2:07.2.

Trainer Wayne Henry drove the filly to the win, her first in four attempts, on behalf of his partners in the Henry Stable of Arthur and Daniel McCann of Parkhill. A $36,000 yearling purchase at last fall’s Canadian Open Sale, Town Hall Babe started her Ontario Sires Stakes career at the Gold Series level, where she scored a third in her elimination and a fifth in the Gold Consolation. The Amigo Hall daughter’s resume also boasts a runner-up finish in a division of the Bud Light Series at Flamboro Downs.

Polished Maple delivered a steady effort to finish second, while Oye Can She Trot came from off the pace to finish third. Local favourite Senorita Conchnita overcame an early break that left her 21 lengths behind the leader to finish fifth and pick up the last Grassroots cheque. Stephen Scrannage of Chelmsford owns and drives the In Conchnito daughter, while Denise Beaudoin of Chelmsford handles the training.

Trainer-drivers won three of four Grassroots divisions at Sudbury, with Bruce Richardson engineering a 2:07.4 win for Hettieslittlelily in the opening split and Roy Jeffries guiding Simply Stirling to a 2:07.1 triumph in the second provincial contest.

Richardson and Hettieslittlelily also had to overcome an early break, spotting the field more than 12 lengths before they were able to get back down to business. Once the filly regained her footing she made steady progress toward the front, but it was not until the final strides that she was able to rein in pacesetters Keshena and Henry, claiming the victory by a mere quarter length.

Keshena carved all the fractions, but was forced to settle for second, while Sadie Eden overcame early interference to finish third.

Arthur residents Richardson, Gordon Smellie and Arden Edmonson share ownership on Hettieslittlelily, an $11,000 purchase at the Forest City Yearling Sale. Through the first two Grassroots events the In Conchnito daughter boasts one win and one second and sits atop the leaderboard with a total of 75 points.

Jeffries and Simply Sterling also employed a come from behind strategy, reeling in pacesetter Starbux Eden around the final turn and powering down the stretch to a four length victory. Starbux Eden stayed game for second and pocket sitter Maisie was hot on her heels in third.

Sunday’s outing was also Simply Sterling’s first in the Grassroots program after finishing third in her July 13 Gold Elimination at Flamboro Downs. Jeffries bred and owns the Mr Lavec daughter, who boosted her earnings to $14,800 with the win.

The final Grassroots division went to Abigail Eden, who sat fourth through most of the mile before collaring the leaders around the last turn. Striking Jade finished second, while pacesetter Northern Flirt faded to third.

Thomas Walker piloted Abigail Eden to the win for trainer Jayne Walker and owner Edenridge Farms of Charlottesville, VA, who also bred the Striking Sahbra daughter. Fourth in the first Grassroots event of the season, the filly leapt into a tie for third in the point race with her victory.

The two-year-old trotting fillies will meet for the third time on Aug. 19 at Georgian Downs. Ontario Sires Stakes excitement returns to Sudbury Downs on Wednesday, Aug. 20 with Grassroots action for the gifted two-year-old pacing fillies. (OSS)

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