Halo Its Me wins another Ont. Grassroots
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The trip to Clinton proved worthwhile for reinsman James MacDonald on Sunday as he notched a driving hat trick, with two of the wins coming in Grassroots divisions for 3-year-old trotting fillies.
MacDonald kicked off the afternoon’s Ontario Sires Stakes action with fan favorite Halo Its Me, taking the lead early and hanging on for a one-half length victory in 2:00. Blue Magic closed well but could not catch the pacesetter, and Cambridge Kate was four lengths back in third.
“I kind of took my time in the first turn. She was trotting good, but I didn’t want to ask her to put Scott (Young, with Blue Magic) in behind me so I just let her idle around, let Scott clear, and then as soon as we straightened out I came back around. And the rest is history,” said MacDonald, who lined up at post 3 with Halo Its Me. “She was really strong.”
Sunday’s win was Halo Its Me’s second in Grassroots action this season. The Archangel daughter also triumphed in the July 16 event at Georgian Downs. Along with a runner-up finish in the Grassroots season opener, Halo Its Me now has 125 points and sole ownership of top spot in the division standings.
MacDonald made his first appearance in the filly’s race bike in an Aug. 1 overnight at Woodbine Mohawk Park and he is confident Halo Its Me can pad her point total when the sophomore trotting fillies head to Mohawk for their last regular season Grassroots test on Sept. 17.
“She raced really well the last Grassroots starter race at Mohawk (Aug. 1). I was impressed with her,” said the driver. “Hopefully she can get in a division at Mohawk (Sept. 17) where she can do some damage.”
Connie and David Chisholm of Brighton, ON bred and own Halo Its Me and Connie handles training duties on the winner of $43,445.
Two races later MacDonald picked up his second win in an overnight event with two-year-old pacing colt Macpherson Thunder and two races after that he was back in the Grassroots winners circle with Rebellious Lady.
Starting from post 5, MacDonald fired Rebellious Lady to the front and the fans’ second choice never faced a challenge. After cruising through fractions of :30.3, 1:02 and 1:32.3 the Angus Hall miss powered down the stretch to a four and one-quarter length victory in 2:02. Vimy Ridge Venus and Glide N Go rounded out the top three as the rest of the seven-horse field struggled with breaks.
“She got out of the gate good and the race was never in question, she just drove forward from there and I never had to ask her,” said MacDonald. “Never a worrisome moment, that’s for sure.”
A two-time Grassroots winner as a two-year-old, Sunday’s victory was Rebellious Lady’s first of her sophomore campaign. Trainer Duane Marfisi leases the filly through his Green And Gold Ltd. of Guelph, ON.
The other two Grassroots divisions went to first-time Ontario Sires Stakes winners Witches N Angels and Kashe.
Fan favorite Witches N Angels and driver Trevor Henry went straight to the front from post 6 and never looked back, rolling through fractions of :29, 1:00 and 1:30.1 on their way to a 2:00 score. Warrawee Ultra and Angel Status finished second and third, six and one half lengths behind Witches N Angels.
Joe MacIsaac trains Witches N Angels for Andy Stewart and Lennan MacIsaac of Inverness, NS and breeder Carolyn Williston of Carlisle, ON. Sunday’s win was the Archangel daughter’s first of the season.
Lightly-rated Kashe took full advantage of a late error by pacesetter and betting favorite Splurge On Me to pick up her first Grassroots win. Sitting second-over in the outer lane when Splurge On Me went off-stride, Kashe out-sprinted the rest of the challengers down the stretch to secure the 2:01 victory. Absynthe Hanover was one and three-quarter lengths back in second and Holiday Harlot was two more lengths back in third.
Wayne Henry drives, trains and owns the Justice Hall daughter Kashe, who now has three wins on her sophomore resume.
In addition to the Grassroots action, Clinton Raceway fans were treated to a bake sale, barbecue, 50-50 draw and silent auction by the Stratford Warriors on Sunday. The Junior B hockey club raised over $3,000 thanks to the support of their Clinton-area fans. (Ontario Sires Stakes)