Sophomores scorch Mohawk oval in Grassroots
September 25, 2011
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Unlike their freshman counterparts, Ontario’s top sophomore Grassroots competitors benefited from clear skies on Saturday night and the result was a high speed showdown over the Mohawk Racetrack oval.
By the time the dust settled, Musselsfrmbrussels emerged as the only division leader over two nights of competition to land a Semifinal trophy. The three-year-old pacing colt got a masterful steer from trainer Lyle MacArthur, who left sharply enough from Post 7 to land in third on the rail, then sent the colt to the front before the half and guided him home to a two and one-half length victory in a personal best 1:50.4.
Favourite Sonic Dancer closed hard from second-over to earn the runner-up share of the $30,000 Semifinal purse, and Mach Wheel rocketed from eighth to third in the stretch. Oil Tumbles and Mach It Big also advanced to next Saturday’s $100,000 Grassroots Championship.
MacArthur trains and drives Musselsfrmbrussels for Anne and Mike Shunock of Dorchester. The son of Modern Art and Remember The Magic has only been bested once in six Grassroots starts this season, finishing fourth at Flamboro Downs on Sept. 9. Through 22 sophomore starts Musselsfrmbrussels boasts seven wins, five seconds and one third for earnings of $111,810.
Local favourite Guns An Roses captured the other pacing colt Semifinal with an impressive gate-to-wire performance that saw him hit the finish five and three-quarter lengths ahead of his peers in a personal best 1:50.1. Eastend Eddie fired home in :26.4 to grab the second spot, edging out Rileys Luck, Libertys Best Star and Stolen Car.
Moffat resident Jack Moiseyev piloted Guns An Roses to his eighth lifetime score for trainer Frank Colville and owners Joanne Colville and Emma Christoforou of Moffat. The Life Sign gelding has been sharp in recent weeks, scoring his first Grassroots victory at Flamboro Downs on Sept. 9. In 29 sophomore starts Guns An Roses has eight wins, one second and two thirds for earnings of $99,170.
The only other gate-to-wire trip of the eight Grassroots Semifinals came in the first race when Here Comes Jenny led the field of sophomore trotting fillies through fractions of :13.1, :27.2, :56.4, 1:27 and 1:41.2 and then hung on for a neck victory in 1:56.4. Less than one length separated the top five fillies, with Second Avenue, Quantum Victoria, Magical Paige and Out Of The Kitchen finishing second through fifth. Fan favourite Youlneverwalkalone made an early break and finished ninth.
Milton resident Mario Baillargeon piloted the filly to the victory for trainer Allen Tomlinson of Mason, MI and Duane and Janice Chippi of Cass City, MI. In six regular season events the Here Comes Herbie daughter posted two wins, two seconds, one third and one fourth to finish second in the standings with 170 points.
Here Comes Jenny heads into the final the top ranked trotting filly, as division point leader Extraordinaire made a break in the second Semifinal and finished ninth. The trophy went home with Defy Time, who sprinted down the stretch to a half length victory in 1:56.3. Zorgwijk Lunar and Tropical Breeze AS rounded out the top three, with Honey Thorn and Some Like It Hot also earning a return invitation to the Oct. 1 Championships.
Regular reinsman Scott Coulter piloted Defy Time from Post 9 to her eleventh victory in 20 starts for trainer Ian Downey and owners Susan Downey of St. George Brant and Scott Maracle of Brantford. The Southfork daughter scored three wins during the Grassroots regular season and was ranked fifth heading into Saturday’s Semifinal battle.
Coulter made a second appearance in the Grassroots winner’s circle with three-year-old trotting colt Tymal Recap. The pair reeled in early pacesetter Big Strike heading to the half and coasted home two length winners in 1:55.4, shaving almost four full seconds off the gelding’s former personal best.
Fan favourite Major Herbie settled for second, with division point leader Count Strike trotting into third. Tymal Colossus and Mandinga earned the fourth and fifth-place finisher’s shares.
Sue Marie Gangell of Simcoe, ON trains Tymal Recap and shares ownership of the Ken Warkentin gelding with John Devito of Whitestone, NY. Saturday’s victory was the gelding’s second straight in Grassroots action, he picked up his first at Grand River Raceway on Sept. 14 to earn a shot at the post season spoils.
Guelph resident Anthony MacDonald piloted Here Comes Numbers to a 1:56.1 victory in the other trotting colt Semifinal for trainer John Drennan and DDT Stable of Burlington. Like Tymal Recap, Here Comes Numbers recorded his first Grassroots victory in the regular season finale on Sept. 14.
The Here Comes Herbie colt bested Winbak Hall by half a length and was two lengths up on Max Money, who drew in off the also eligible list when Blazin Benny was scratched. Herecomesthechief and Frill Seeker earned the final two spots on the gate for next week’s Final.
Moffat resident Jody Jamieson, who won four freshman Semifinals on Friday night, picked up a catch drive aboard Back Yard Baby and landed the three-year-old pacing filly in the winner’s circle. The Mach Three daughter delivered an impressive finishing kick to earn the one length victory over fan favourite and pacesetter Three Charms. Pearl Handlepistol, Dapple Apple and Montenegro completed the top five.
Jamieson piloted Back Yard Baby to her fourth win for trainer John Curran and owner Kenneth Curran of Coldwater.
The other pacing filly Semifinal was captured by Brush With Royalty, who toured up the outside to a half length victory in 1:53. Division point leader Cameron Lucky sprinted from tenth at the three-quarters into second, catching Smartygirl, Cheryls Surprise and Modern Cinderella. Fan favourite Tilly Seelster finished seventh.
Sylvain Filion engineered Brush With Royalty’s first Grassroots victory for trainer James “Friday” Dean and owner Jim Carr of Hamilton, who also owns finalist Pearl Handlepistol. The filly earned her way into the Semifinal with two seconds, one third, one fourth and two fifths in six regular season appearances.
The three-year-old finalists will now make their final preparations for the Oct. 1 Grassroots Championships at Mohawk Racetrack, which will also feature the top two-year-old competitors. (OSS)