Mikey Mass picks up second Grassroots victory
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Mikey Mass found the Grassroots winner’s circle for the second time this season on Thursday, Sept. 10, at Woodbine Mohawk Park and trainer Nick Gallucci is hoping the three-year-old trotting gelding is shaping up for a big finish to the season.
“He’s really coming around, he’s really starting to mature now and come into his own,” said Gallucci. “He’s relaxing before the race and during the race. He’s really starting to turn into a racehorse.”
Starting from Post 2, Mikey Mass and driver Jonathan Drury got away third and watched Remember Titans lead the field to a :28 quarter, :58 half and 1:26.2 three-quarters. In the stretch Drury was able to squeeze the fan favourite up the inside and Mikey Mass pulled away to a one and one-half length victory in a personal best 1:54.3. Remember Titans settled for second and pocket-sitter Ongoing Royalty was third.
“I wasn’t expecting that mile today at all, it really surprised me. I was really happy with that,” said Gallucci. “Hopefully we can keep things rolling for the last three sires stakes races.”
The Stouffville resident shares ownership of Mikey Mass with Vince Gallucci of Brantford, Frank Cirillo of Kleinburg and Bruno Didiomede of Hamilton, ON. With two wins and one second in his three Grassroots appearances, the Muscle Mass son sits third in the division standings with 125 points heading into the last regular season event at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept. 22. The top 20 point earners at the end of the regular season advance to the Oct. 2 Semi-Finals and the top five finishers from each Semi-Final earn a berth in the Oct. 10 Grassroots Championship on Oct. 10.
Kenogami Coco got a much needed win in the second $22,800 Grassroots division. The Wheeling N Dealin son got away fifth from Post 3, followed Beyond The Lens up the outer lane and then powered down the stretch to a one length victory in a personal best 1:56.3. Pacesetter Oxford Hall finished second and fan favourite Charmbo Prince was third.
“He’s a trotter that can be a little wild and he went a couple of tough trips at Hippodrome 3R in his last two starts, so I was happy that he could relax on a helmet today,” said driver Louis-Philippe Roy. “And happy to see him trot home good.”
Guelph resident Roy engineered the win for trainer Dany Fontaine and owner-breeders Jean-Francois and Marie-Claude Reid of Anjou, QC. The victory boosted Kenogami Coco from twenty-first to tenth in the standings with 70 points earned through one win, one third and one fourth in a trio of Grassroots starts.
True Brew made the biggest leap up the standings with his 1:57.1 victory in the third division, moving from twenty-ninth into a tie for eleventh. The fan favourite and driver James MacDonald delivered a front-end effort to score the one length victory over Archies Star and Tuckers Out.
“He has been struggling with breaking issues,” said trainer Blake MacIntosh of St. George, ON, who shares ownership of the Kadabra gelding with Hutt Racing Stable of Malvern, PA. “He has always had the speed, he’s just not the smartest sometimes, but he seems to have figured it out. Hopefully that gives him enough points to make the Semi-Final.”
True Brew’s victory boosted his point total to 62, 30 points higher than the current cut off for the Grassroots Semi-Finals.
Blue Cupertino made the shift from the Gold Series to the Grassroots in the fourth $23,150 division and the move landed the Kadabra colt in the winner’s circle for the first time this season. In rein to Doug McNair, Blue Cupertino set the tempo from Post 5 and turned away a third-quarter challenge from fan favourite Lovedbythemasses to score a one and one-quarter length victory in a personal best 1:55.3. Life Is A Feast finished second and Lovedbythemasses held on for third, in spite of a late break in stride.
“He was one of the top colts last year,” said McNair, who piloted Blue Cupertino to earnings of $205,450 as a two-year-old. “He raced well a few times early this year, then he had some health trouble. He won the toughest division tonight.”
The driver’s father Gregg McNair of Guelph trains Blue Cupertino for McKinlay & Fielding of Toronto, ON and Crawford Farms Racing of Syracuse, NY. The owners will now have to decide whether the colt will remain in the Grassroots for the last leg — horses need a minimum of two starts to compete in the Semi-Finals — or return to the Gold Series where he currently sits fifth in the standings.
The last Grassroots division went to No Time To Play, who posted a three-quarter length victory in a personal best 1:55.3. Perpetuate finished second and Lexus Markus was third.
Sylvain Filion guided No Time To Play to his second Grassroots win for trainer Ben Baillargeon and owners Ecuries Daniel Plouffe Inc. of Bromont, Jean Dessureault of Candiac and Claude Hamel of Ayer’s Cliff, QC. With 130 points, the Kadabra gelding sits second in the standings, seven points behind leader Remember Titans.