Royaltys Pearl, Splurge On Me win in Grassroots
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Three fresh faces graced the winner’s circle as the two-year-old trotting fillies made their second Grassroots start at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Tuesday evening.
Royaltys Pearl opened the program in the first race and made winning look easy, going gate-to-wire from Post 7 for trainer-driver Wayne Henry. The filly finished one and three-quarter lengths ahead of Order Mattie, with Galaxy Seelster well back in third.
"I’ve always liked her, she’d been a nice filly all winter," said Henry. "She raced very well. She is nice and strong, how fast she is I don’t know."
Henry started Royaltys Pearl at the Gold Series level in the July 15 season opener at Georgian Downs, but an early break saw her finish seventh and required her to return to the qualifying ranks. Henry added a set of trotting hopples to her equipment for the July 18 qualifier and the move clearly paid off on Tuesday evening.
Henry and his partners Daylon Farms Ltd. of Komoka, Ontario and Gordon Yeo of Calgary, Alberta acquired the daughter of Royalty For Life and Hawaiian Viva for $28,000 US at the 2017 Harrisburg Yearling Sale and they have not yet decided whether she will remain at the Grassroots level or return to the Gold.
"She’s kind of one of those inbetweeners I think — real good in one, and just average in the other," noted Henry, whose choices will be August 7 for the Grassroots or August 10 for Gold, both at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
In the second $18,800 division Splurge On Me and driver Bob McClure left strongly from Post 2 and were able to settle in behind fan favorite Snooker as she trotted to fractions of :29.3, 1:00.3 and 1:29.2. Turning for home McClure gave Splurge On Me a clear look at the finish and the filly responded with a kick that propelled her to a one and one-quarter length victory in 1:59. Snooker settled for second and Miss Congeniality was well back in third.
"She’s a very smart filly," said McClure. "She has a good gait and can race any way. She’s very handy for a Grassroots filly.
McClure drives Splurge On Me for Hall of Fame horseman Bob McIntosh of Windsor, Ontario and his partner C S X Stables of Liberty Center, Ohio. The partners also bred the daughter of Kadabra and Urge To Splurge, who finished fifth in the Grassroots season opener at Georgian Downs on July 15.
The last Grassroots division went to Delilah Seelster, who spent most of the mile at the back of the pack. Getting away seventh from Post 3, driver Louis Philippe Roy shifted the filly into the outer lane heading for the half but waited to ask for another gear until the field was squared up in the stretch. That gear was a big one however, as Delilah Seelster reeled off a :27.4 final quarter to get a head in front of fan favourite At Will in 2:00.4. Nifty Trick finished third, giving trotting sire Kadabra a sweep of the top three spots.
Thursday’s appearance was Delilah Seelster’s first in the Ontario Sires Stakes program; in her only other start she had finished sixth in a July 19 overnight event at Woodbine Mohawk Park after making a break at the mid-way point. The daughter of Kadabra and Donatos Classic had also made breaks in her first three qualifiers so trainer Richard Moreau was pleasantly surprised with her victory.
"I never expected that, so it’s a good thing," said the Puslinch resident. "She’s two-years-old, she’s trying hard, and she has a big heart."
Moreau conditions Delilah Seelster for Gestion J. Y. Blais Inc. of Montreal, Quebec, who acquired the filly at last fall’s London Selected Yearling Sale for $34,000.
The two-year-old trotting fillies will make their third Grassroots start back at Woodbine Mohawk Park on August 7.
On Friday, July 27 the Campbellville oval will once again roll out the red carpet for the two-year-old trotting fillies, this time a trio of $67,200 Gold Series divisions, slated as Races 3, 6, and 8. Friday’s first race rolls in behind the starting gate at 7:30 pm. (Ontario Sires Stakes)