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When You Dance leads Ontario 2CP in 1:52.3

September 13, 2017

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Thirty-four freshman pacing colts and geldings arrived at Mohawk Racetrack on Tuesday night ready to battle in the last Grassroots event of their regular season and the novices put on an impressive show for the Campbellville oval's fans.

When You Dance and driver Doug McNair kicked things off in the first $18,800 division, firing to the front from post 4 and reaching the quarter in :27.2. The pair yielded to Phantom Seelster and driver Sylvain Filion heading for the :55.1 half and followed the fan favorites through the 1:24.2 three-quarters, but coming off the final turn McNair asked When You Dance for another gear and the colt responded with a sharp finishing kick that propelled him to a four-length victory in 1:52.3. Phantom Seelster settled for second and Notabadgame was five more lengths back in third.

"I might be the only one he didn't surprise," said trainer Ben Wallace. "He's just a great big strong colt that's just starting to come into himself. He was caught in last week (Sept. 4) big time and had a big finish to him, and he had a great week going into this race, so I'm not surprised he did what he did tonight."

Wallace shares ownership of When You Dance with Daniel Plouffe and breeder Birnam Wood Farms of Boca Raton, FL. In seven starts the Mach Three son has tallied two wins, one second and two thirds, but with just one of the wins and the pair of thirds coming in Grassroots action the gelding will miss the Grassroots Championship, four places out of the top 10.

"He's been a decent colt for us," said Wallace. "He's a hard luck horse, he drew the nine in an 11-horse field (Aug. 19) and he drew the 10 in an 11-horse field (July 20), his first couple lifetime starts. So he's been a bit of a victim of circumstance."

Zen Da Ballykeel took full advantage of the circumstances in the second division Tuesday, watching from sixth as Chocolate Swirl and Northern Rebel duked it out on the front end through fractions of :27, :55.3 and 1:23.2 and then sprinting down the stretch to a neck victory in 1:53.2. Northern Rebel stayed game off his outside lane tour to finish second and favorite Southwind Grizzly closed from mid-pack to be third.

"He's a nice colt, a bit healthier after being sick," said trainer Richard Moreau. "He was surprising tonight, good timing."

Moreau trains Zen Da Ballykeel for owner-breeder Ballykeel Racing Inc. of Tillsonburg, ON. Tuesday's win was the Mach Three colt's second in Grassroots action and boosted his point tally to 114, putting him fifth in the standings.

Casimir Richie P also picked up his second Grassroots win in the third division, controlling all the fractions — including a sharp :26.4 last quarter — on the way to a 1:52.4 personal best. Letjimmytakeover and Luka Shenko finished three and three-quarter lengths behind the favorite in second and third.

"Nice colt, he has a very quick turn of foot," said driver Trevor Henry. "Tyler (Moore) had a little trouble last week at the gate, Doc (Moore) made some changes and he raced great tonight."

A break behind the starting gate in the Sept. 4 Grassroots event saw Casimir Richie P settle for fourth, which, added to a win in the August 16 contest and a fifth in his July 20 debut, give the Astronomical son 113 points and a berth in the Sept. 30 Grassroots Championship. Dr. Ian Moore of Puslinch conditions Casimir Richie P and shares ownership of the colt with his son, Tyler Moore,, and Michael Goldberg of Toronto, ON.

The last regular season Grassroots trophy went home with Pretty Handsome, who paced to his second Grassroots and third straight victory in 1:53.4. Jonathan Drury of Guelph piloted the favorite to the one-half length victory over Atomic Seelster and JM Jack Of Hearts.

"Hopefully we can go for four in a row, if he goes straight to the final," said Lacey McCabe, who works alongside her husband, trainer Andrew McCabe, to keep Pretty Handsome in top form. The youngster is the second generation to be cared for by a member of Lacey's family. Her sister, Melissa Steacy, took care of his dam Pretty Thing during her racing career. "She looked after Pretty Thing when she was with the Steacy's and now I look after him, so that's pretty neat I think."

The Guelph-Eramosa residents train Pretty Handsome for Glenview Livestock Ltd. of Wallenstein, ON. In five starts the Mach Three son has tallied three wins and one third and heads into the Grassroots Championship tied for third with Phantom Seelster.

The two-year-old pacing colt final will be part of the $400,000 Grassroots Championship Night at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 30, with the top 10 point earners from all eight divisions competing for the 2017 Grassroots titles.

Before the pacing colts make their return to Mohawk, the Campbellville oval will host the two-year-old trotting fillies and three-year-old trotting colts for Gold Series action on Monday, Sept. 25, with a first race post time of 7:30 pm. (Ontario Sires Stakes)

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