Premier Cabernet gets big Grassroots win
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Premier Cabernet went into Tuesday night’s regular season finale needing a win to extend her Grassroots season and the three-year-old pacing filly delivered, keeping a head in front of rival Kylie Seelster for a 1:52.2 victory at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
Starting from post 1, Premier Cabernet landed fourth as Cinderella Delight led the field of nine to a :27.2 opening quarter, but driver Scott Young soon had the fan favorite on the move and Premier Cabernet was leading the way by the :56.2 half. The filly continued to show the way past the 1:24.3 half and then dug in for her second straight Grassroots stretch battle with Kylie Seelster, reversing the result from their Aug. 25 meeting. Cinderella Delight finished two and one-quarter lengths back in third.
“She needed that to get in to the top 20,” said trainer Bob Young. “She’s been a good consistent mare all year, she’s missed one check. She’s had three seconds in a row, but they’ve all been good seconds and tonight it was a repeat of the (Aug. 25) race at Rideau Carleton where Dougie (McNair) had the inside and we were on the outside. They were noses apart in Rideau Carleton and it was a real good race tonight again.”
Young conditions Premier Cabernet for owner-breeder Premier And Associates FA of Howell, MI. The Betterthancheddar daughter started her Ontario Sires Stakes career at the Gold Series level this season, making two starts against the top level fillies before moving to the Grassroots in time for the Aug. 25 event at Rideau Carleton Raceway. With one win and one second she will finish the regular season in twelfth spot with 75 points. The top 20 point earners advance to the Sept. 28 Grassroots Semi-Finals at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
“She won’t race now for 10 or 12 days. I’ll get one start into her before the Semi-Finals if everything goes well, and the idea is to keep her healthy and go from there,” said Young, adding that the filly will get a two-month break after the Grassroots post season and then begin preparations for her four-year-old campaign. “She’s a big mare, a strong mare, and I think next year she’ll be a nice solid race mare here.”
In the second $23,150 division Swift Ally put the cap on a perfect regular season with her fourth win in four Grassroots starts. The fan favourite was in front before the half and cruised home a one and three-quarter length winner in 1:52.4. Twin B Tipster closed well to be second and Quebec Blue Chip completed the top three.
“She keeps getting better,” said driver Doug McNair. “She’s perfect to drive, can race both ways and is easy on herself.”
Trainer Gregg McNair of Guelph and Ian Fleming of Londesborough, ON bred and own Swift Ally, who has not been bested since mid-July. The Big Jim daughter finished the regular season at the top of the division standings with 200 points.
Bettors Delight daughter Ideation Hanover won the third division in her 2019 Grassroots debut. The former Gold Series regular and driver James MacDonald opened up a nine length margin on the field, reaching the wire in 1:50.2. Be Best and Charmbo Brie finished second and third. MacDonald crafted the win for trainer Dave Menary and owners Larry Menary of Flamborough, Michael Guerriero of Brampton and Alan Alber of Thornhill, ON.
The final division saw Doug and Gregg McNair back in the winner’s circle with Sports Flix, who stormed from the back of the field to a 1:52.2 personal best effort. Shesonehotwriter and Freya Seelster finished one length back in second and third.
“She was racing just fair a couple starts ago (July) and they gave her some time and she’s really coming back to herself,” said Doug McNair of the Sportswriter daughter, who won the Grassroots Championship at two.
James Fraleigh of Dresden, ON owns Sports Flix, who was also a winner in the Aug. 25 Grassroots event and finishes the regular season in sixth spot with 103 points.
In addition to Sports Flix and Swift Ally, Gregg McNair trainee Kylie Seelster wraps up the regular season in second spot in the standings with 162 points.
“They are all nice fillies. Too bad they are all in the same division,” said a rueful Doug McNair, who will face a tough choice between mounts in the Sept. 28 Semi-Final if all three fillies remain happy and healthy.
Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Thursday, Sept. 12, with the last regular season Grassroots contest for the three-year-old trotting colts. The colts will compete in Races 2, 6, and 8 on the program, which gets under way at 7:10 pm. (Ontario Sires Stakes)