Steacy gets 3 fillies in Grassroots 3FT final
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Ontario's three-year-old trotting fillies wrapped up their Grassroots regular season at Mohawk Racetrack on Tuesday evening and, by virtue of one win and two seconds, trainer Mark Steacy landed three fillies in the Grassroots Championship.
The first $18,800 division saw point leader Gisele Treelane maintain her flawless record in Grassroots action with a 1:56.3 score. The Daylon Magician daughter and driver Jack Moiseyev of Moffat, ON posted wins in four Grassroots legs for a total of 200 points. Murray Brethour of Sunderland, ON trains Gisele Treelane for owner-breeder Patricia Whittaker Trust of Aspers, PA.
Starting from post 4, Gisele Treelane used Mark Steacy trainee Stritch as her windbreak, tipping into the outer lane behind Stritch and driver James MacDonald heading for the three-quarters and then out-sprinting the pair in the stretch. The duelling leaders were one length ahead of third-place finisher Holiday Promise.
"I kind of like her, I always thought she was going to be the best one besides Delcrest (Magicstar)," said Steacy of Stritch, comparing her to stablemate Delcrest Magicstar, who won three Grassroots divisions before jumping up to the Gold Series. "She should be good in the final too if she draws right."
The runner-up effort moved Stritch into seventh spot in the point standings with 110. The Majestic Son daughter is owned by David Reid of Glenburnie, ON, James Feeley of Pine Bush, NY, Bridle Path Stables Ltd of Ossining, NY and Stephen Klunowski of North York, ON.
In the second division Steacy trainee Ticket To Seattle was the one taking advantage of a wind break in the outer lane and sprinting down the stretch to a one-half length victory. Another daughter of Majestic Son, Ticket To Seattle trotted under the wire in a personal best 1:56.1, outsprinting favourite Crystal Gumdrop and Jilona.
No worse than fifth in her six regular season appearances, Ticket To Seattle was also a winner in the July 1 Grassroots event at Dresden Raceway and finished with 150 points, tied for third in the standings with stablemate Delcrest Magicstar.
"She kind of slipped a little bit there mid-season, she just got on a line a little bit, we've been working on that," said Steacy of Ticket To Seattle. "She looks like she's coming together again now, at the right time I hope. James (MacDonald) gave her a perfect steer tonight too, and that always helps.
"At the start of the year I thought she was going to be even maybe a borderline Gold horse and then, whether it was allergies or what not, she just kind of slipped mid-summer," the Lansdowne, ON resident added. "It just kind of knocked her off, she'd pick away at her feed and wouldn't clean it and stuff, and now she's a lot more comfortable and happy and it showed tonight."
Landmark 9 Racing Stable of Kingston, ON, Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC and David Reid of Glenburnie, ON share ownership of Ticket To Seattle.
The last Grassroots trophy went home with Bustingattheseams, who swung out three-wide to get a clear look at the finish and then powered away to a three and one-half length victory in 1:56.4. Milton resident Steve Condren crafted the win for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor and his co-owner Dave Boyle of Bowmanville, ON. The win boosted the Kadabra daughter to second in the standings with 172 points from three Grassroots wins, one third, one fourth and one seventh.
Also sprinting hard to the wire was Steacy trainee Late Shift, finishing one length ahead of Kuil Deva. The runner-up effort gave Late Shift 90 points, one point shy of the top ten. Should one of the fillies in front of her bow out of the Sept. 30 Grassroots Championship, Late Shift could join her stablemates in the $50,000 season finale and give Steacy a quartet of sophomore trotting filly hopefuls.
"It makes it a little easier, but there's still another couple good ones in there too, Murray Brethour's (Gisele Treelane) looks pretty good," said Steacy of his chances in the championship.
Steacy and MacDonald train and drive Majestic Son filly Late Shift for Landmark 9 Racing Stable of Kingston, David Reid of Glenburnie, Stephen Klunowski of North York and Claus Jorgensen of Etobicoke, ON.
On Thursday evening the three-year-old trotting colts and geldings and three-year-old pacing fillies will wrap up their Grassroots regular season at Mohawk Racetrack, competing in Races 1, 4, 6, 7, and 10. The first race goes in behind the starting gate at 7:30 pm. (Ontario Sires Stakes)