Scorched Romance gets first win in Grassroots
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Scorched Romance kicked off the Ontario Sires Stakes action at Grand River Raceway on Wednesday evening, cruising to a 3 3/4-length victory in the first of five $22,800 Grassroots divisions for two-year-old trotting fillies.
“She’s been coming up to a good mile like that,” said driver Paul MacDonell. “She’s been knocking at the door pretty much every week, so I expected a good race out of her tonight.”
Starting from Post 4 MacDonell and Scorched Romance landed in third as Validation led the field of eight to a :29 quarter. Heading for the :59.4 half the reinsman moved Scorched Romance to the outside and the fan favorites started to advance on the leaders. Scorched Romance had taken command by the 1:30.2 three-quarters and from there she simply pulled away from her peers, reaching the wire in 2:01. Peppas Angel finished second and Validation was third.
“I had lots left there, she was trotting really strong at the wire even though she went kind of a tough trip,” noted MacDonell. “There’s not much to her really, she’s pretty automatic. Makes my job easy, that’s for sure.”
MacDonell piloted the Kadabra daughter to her first lifetime win for trainer Richard “Nifty” Norman and owners Melvin Hartman of Ottawa, ON, Herb Liverman of Miami Beach, FL and David McDuffee of Delray Beach, FL.
Driver James MacDonald won the next two divisions, piloting both Th Present and Moana to victory from Post 4.
Making his first appearance in Th Present’s race bike, MacDonald eased the Royalty For Life daughter away from the starting gate and watched from fifth as Queen M and fan favourite Aphrodite Duke battled to a :29.14 opening quarter. Still fifth as Aphrodite Duke trotted by the :59.1 half, MacDonald tipped Th Present out three-wide around a stalled Expelliarmus heading by the 1:30.1 three-quarters and the filly kept on rolling, catching Aphrodite Duke and then holding off Chelseas Magic to claim a head victory in 2:00.4. Chelseas Magic was second and Aphrodite Duke finished two lengths back in third.
Cambridge, ON resident Marcel Barrieau trains Th Present for his partner Gestion Mastel Inc. of Longeuil, QC. The filly was also a narrow winner in the July 14 Grassroots opener at Georgian Downs.
With Moana, MacDonald went straight to the front and stole fractions of :30.1, 1:02.3 and 1:32.1 before kicking home to a 2:01.3 victory. Zakarina was one and one-half lengths back in second and Jayport Echo was for more lengths behind in third.
MacDonald drives the Muscle Mass daughter for trainer Shawn Steacy of Guelph and fractional ownership group Landmark 12 of Lansdowne, numbered company 1187422 Ontario Inc. of Ottawa, ON and Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC. The win was Moana’s first in four lifetime starts.
“Th Present raced great. I just wanted to be careful with her leaving the gate, because I saw she had made some breaks, but she was all business tonight and when I showed her some racetrack, she knew what to do with it,” said Guelph resident MacDonald. “Moana just crushed tonight. I was able to get her to the front easy, get easy fractions, and she was full of trot when I needed her.”
Zebs Flur also got her first lifetime win in the fourth $23,150 division. Starting from the advantageous Post 1, driver Stephen Byron went straight to the front and never looked back, cruising through fractions of :29.1, :59.3 and 1:30 on the way to a 2:00.1 victory. Fan favourite Canadian Titan was two lengths back in second and Emily Antoinette was seven more lengths back in third.
“I was pretty happy with her. I was hoping for those results actually. I thought she was due,” said trainer John Bax. “She’s game, she really wants to, I love her attitude.”
Bax trains the Muscle Mass daughter for his Bax Stable of Campbellville, Don Allensen of Wyoming and Goin To The Show Stable of Peterborough, ON.
The last division went to Yen and driver Trevor Henry of Arthur, ON, who got away third from Post 3 and watched Muscles Aplenty ring up a :29.1 quarter before swinging to the outside heading for the 1:00 half and taking control. One and one-half lengths ahead of her peers by the 1:29.3 three-quarters, fan favourite Yen hit the wire two and one-half lengths the best in 2:00. Enjoyin My Life was second and Kads Kiss was third.
“It’s always been there, she just, she’s figuring it out,” said trainer Julie Walker. “She’s always had the head for it. All the drivers say her big quality is how smart she is.”
Walker trains the E L Titan filly for owner-breeder Overseas Farms Ltd. of Cambridge and the Carlisle, ON resident said there was never any pressure on Yen, who has not been worse than third in her four Grassroots appearances and was also victorious at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 30.
“She is a late foal (early June) and we always had that in our head, that she didn’t have to race at two, or we didn’t have to race her early, but every time we trained her she did her job and just kept going,” explained Walker. “That’s kind of why we’re still in the Grassroots.”
The two-year-old trotting fillies will make their last regular season Grassroots start at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept. 19. From there the top 20 point earners will advance to the Sept. 27 Semi-Finals, with the top five finishers from each Semi-Final moving on to the $50,000 Grassroots Championship at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Oct. 5.Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Grand River Raceway on Monday, Sept. 9 with the fourth Grassroots Leg for the two-year-old pacing fillies. (Ontario Sires Stakes)