August 6, 2018

 

Bronx Seelster Wins Battle Of Waterloo

 

Pulling first over by the half and clearing control into the backstretch, 4-5 favourite Bronx Seelster fought a late first-over bid from Bettors Wish to win the $262,315 Battle Of Waterloo in 1:53.1 at Grand River Raceway on Monday, Aug. 6.

 

Wager On Me moved to the front and led the field briefly heading to the opening quarter. Twin B Watching charged towards the leader and stuck a nose in front through a :27.1 opening fraction. Bronx Seelster, sitting fourth, pulled first over heading to the half and supplied cover to Bettors Wish through a :55.3 clocking.

Bronx Seelster barreled to the lead moving into the backstretch. Bettors Wish chased alongside while Twin B Watching faltered towards the rail and Sports Teen gradually reeled in the dueling leaders from second over. Stride for stride past three-quarters in 1:24.1, Bettors Wish took a narrow lead on Bronx Seelster heading into the stretch but Bronx Seelster veered towards the inside and reclaimed command heading to the wire. Bettors Wish settled for second from Sports Teen in third.

 

“I wanted to let Paul [MacDonell on Bettors Wish] in front of me,” driver Trevor Henry said after the race, “but he [Bronx Seelster] was grabby and I couldn’t take him back enough to get Paul in front of me; that’s where I wanted to be. I had to come first up and he did all the work.”

 

Owned by Capers 3 Stable, Bronx Seelster, a colt by Big Jim from the Bettors Delight mare Tarport Baccarat, won his fourth race in six starts this season, earning $225,158. The Wayne McGean trainee returned $3.70 to win.

 

“He was tough today, that’s all it is,” Henry also said. “It had nothing to do with me. Halfway through the last turn he was beat, so I figured we were going to be second. Then when we came off the turn we came wheel to wheel and he just dug in.”

 

“He always showed some go,” McGean said. “The way I looked at it, [post nine] is better than the eight and, when Trevor [Henry] pulled him first over heading to the half I thought ‘Oh, this will be hard,’ but he just dug in. Around that last turn like Trevor said it looked like he was beat and he just come right back up.”

 

Securing the top, 7-5 favourite Quebec Blue Chip withstood first-over pressure from 2-1 second-choice Powerful Chris to win the $163,840 Battle of the Belles Final in 1:55.1.

 

Shesonehotwriter broke from the rail and Kylie Seelster lost stride from post two before quickly getting back on gait, leaving Quebec Blue Chip, from post three, to grab the lead moving into the first turn. Ideation Hanover sat the pocket with Village Joules getting away third from the second tier through a :28 opening quarter. Powerful Chris, leaving from post 8, got away fourth before committing first over heading into the second turn. Kylie Seelster tracked her cover passing the half in :57.2.

 

Powerful Chris remained alongside Quebec Blue Chip moving into the backstretch final time. Through three-quarters in 1:26.2, Powerful Chris began to fade first over, forcing Kylie Seelster three wide while Quebec Blue Chip gained separation into the stretch. Ideation Hanover angled out of the pocket in pursuit of her stable mate but finished second while Village Joules rode the rail for third.

 

Owned by Menary Racing Inc., Michael Guerriero, Kenneth Ewen and Bruce Norris, Quebec Blue Chip, by Sportswriter from the Bettors Delight mare Hazes Zure Bet, won her third race in five starts, compiling $118,888 in earnings. Dave Menary conditions the $4.80 winner and Jody Jamieson drove.

 

“With this filly it was just easy to fall off the gate,” Jamieson said after the race. “It was unfortunate the one [Shesonehotwriter] and the two [Kylie Seelster] broke stride but it just opened the door for us—more so than we thought it already was.”

 

“We got [our horses] ready for half-mile tracks,” Menary said, “and today we took advantage of it.”

 

“We are [ecstatic],” Norris said. “Of course we had Tarpon [Hanover, winner of the 2012 Battle of Waterloo] and we still hold the record. We’re just thrilled; just to be in the race, nevermind winning it. It’s taken thirty years.”

 

Neon Moon moved to the front early and progressed to a track-record mile in the $18,800 first division of OSS Grassroots, winning by open lengths in 1:52.4.

 

Shadow World parked Neon Moon heading to the quarter, prompting a :26.4 opening split as Neon Moon worked for the lead. Askmysecretary sat third while Oxford Comma gapped several lengths before the field condensed towards the half.

 

Through a :55.4 half, Neon Moon continued under no pressure on the lead. Shadow World gave chase with Hello Love, moving first over heading to the half, taking third by three-quarters in 1:24.1. Neon Moon cruised into the stretch with Hello Love taking second and Shadow World holding onto third from Askmysecretary rallying late for fourth.

 

A daughter of Sportswriter from the Somebeachsomewhere mare Beach Of A Time, Neon Moon won her third race in eight starts this season and her eighth in 17 overall, surpassing $100,000 in career earnings. John Darling trains the $2.50 winner for Jack Darling Stables Ltd. and Jody Jamieson drove.

 

Driver Louis-Philippe Roy fired 3-5 favourite Katniss S Bg from post 8 and managed to ride a pocket trip before pouncing on pacesetter Falls Creek to narrowly win the second OSS Grassroots division in 1:55.4.

 

The Richard Moreau-trained daughter of Mach Three pushed for a top spot while Falls Creek, leaving from the rail, protected position around the turn and paced to the first quarter in :27.2. Princess Abie W, positioned fifth, pulled first over into the stretch first time with Startistic Wonder tracking second over through a :58.2 half.

 

Startistic Wonder lost stride moving towards the backstretch, leaving Falls Creek to contend with Princess Abie W first over and Katniss S Bg from the pocket. Those three remained tightly bunched while Enchanted Eva weaved through competition into fourth by three-quarters in 1:27.1. With Princess Abie W losing ground around the final turn, room opened for Katniss S Bg to tip off the rail and surge past Falls Creek in the stretch ahead of Princess Abie W holding third from Enchanted Eva.

 

Owned by Sylvain Descheneaux and Gaston Bibeau, Katniss S Bg, from the Dragon Again mare Sand Gesture, won her fourth race in 10 starts this season and her sixth in 15 overall, earning $75,750. She paid $3.30 to win.

 

Lifelong Dream pressed tempo-setter Cardiff on the lead and slid to the front in progress to 13-1 upset in the third OSS Grassroots division, holding on to win in 1:54.1.

 

Shooting to the top from post eight, Cardiff controlled the pace through a :27.1 opening quarter with Iveseenthefuture sitting second and Sharks Summrshandy in third. Lifelong Dream, sitting fifth, moved first over heading to the half tracked by Machnhope in a :57 clocking.

 

Cardiff maintained a slight advantage on Lifelong Dream into the backstretch. Lifelong Dream gradually gained ground to the outside of the leader before taking a narrow lead by three-quarters in 1:25.2. Machnhope overtook second as Cardiff retreated at the rail and surged towards Lifelong Dream approaching the wire, finishing a nose behind while Sharks Summrshandy took the next spot in third.

 

Winning her second race in 14 starts this season and her fourth in 24 overall, Lifelong Dream, a filly by Rambaran from the Camluck mare Twin B Daytona, has earned $45,357. Dean Nixon conditions for owner Greg Merlo and Bob McClure sat behind the $29.70 winner.

 

Tipping first over from sixth past the quarter, Cabowabocuttie ground towards the top and powered to the lead into the stretch to win the fourth OSS division in 1:56.2.

 

Sunday Afternoon set the pace with I Shadow U sitting the pocket through a :28.1 opening quarter. Driver Trevor Henry edged the Gerald Lilley trainee first over rounding the turn and paced to within two lengths of the lead by the half in :57.3.

 

Cabowabocuttie continued to advance uncovered and matched strides with Sunday Afternoon at three-quarters in 1:27.1 prior to taking a slim lead into the stretch. Sunday Afternoon fought to hold onto second from I Shadow U moving through the passing lane for third.

 

Returning $33.60 to win, Cabowabocuttie, by Big Jim from the Artiscape mare Matilda, won her second race in 15 starts this season and in 18 overall, earning $45,836 for owner Bill Manes.

 

Keystone Concrete parked briefly around the first turn before clearing control and holding the top through the wire to win the $15,000 Diane Tawsnick Memorial Pace in 1:54.

 

Taking the lead heading to the quarter, Keystone Concrete led the field in :27.3 with Keystone Prestige sitting the pocket and Century Fury in third. Sports Hero, positioned fourth, moved first over heading to the half with Jms Delight rough-gaited and to his outside three wide through a :57.2 clocking.

 

Sports Hero advanced towards Keystone Concrete heading to three-quarters while Carlisimo, trailing the field throughout, charged three wide from the rear to within two lengths of the lead by the third-quarter in 1:25. Keystone Concrete continued on the lead in the stretch while Keystone Prestige moved into the passing lane to chase in second with Sports Hero to his outside third.

 

Owned by N. Yolanda Fellows, Arpad Szabo and Blair Corbeil, Keystone Concrete, a colt by Bettors Delight from the Shady Character mare Keystone Caitlyn, is undefeated in three starts career and has collected $26,000 in earnings. Rick Zeron piloted the Robert Don Fellows trainee who paid $3.50 to win.

 

Sitting a pocket trip, Boomboom Ballykeel bested pacesetter Champagne Phil to win the $15,000 Horses and Geldings Preferred 2 Pace in 1:54.

 

Champagne Phil held the front from Boomboom Ballykeel in the pocket. Through a :27 opening quarter, Champagne Phil continued unchallenged on the front. Sports Column, from seventh, tipped first over heading to the half with Single White Sock drafting second over through a :55.4 clocking.

 

Sports Column dug into Champagne Phil in the backstretch while Boomboom Ballykeel sat steady in third. By three-quarters in 1:24.3, Champagne Phil turned away Sports Column while Single White Sock fanned three wide and Boomboom Ballykeel waited for the passing lane. Boomboom Ballykeel shot through the open stretch to nail Champagne Phil on the line while Single White Sock finished ahead of a wall of horses for third.

 

Owned by Ballykeel Racing, Boomboom Ballykeel, a seven-year-old stallion by Mach Three from the Presidential Ball mare Teig N Riley, won his fourth race in 24 starts this season and his 33rd in 170 overall, earning $890,951. Louis-Philippe Roy steered the $5.60 winner for trainer Richard Moreau.

 

Cousin Mary stalked a swift pace and swept to the top around the final turn, holding on in the final strides to win the $12,500 Fillies and Mares Preferred 2 Pace in a track-record 1:53.

 

Buttermilk Hanover took the lead from Southwind Ion rounding the first turn while 3-5 favourite The Joy Luck Club floated towards the back of the pack. The Joy Luck Club quickly rushed uncovered heading through a :27.1 opening quarter to try and clear command heading to the half. Buttermilk Hanover parked the favourite while Southwind Ion sat third in the pocket and Cousin Mary began to advance on the outside through a :55 half.

 

Southwind Ion angled from the pocket as The Joy Luck Club took control into the backstretch. Stalled to the outside, Southwind Ion forced Cousin Mary to move three wide heading to three-quarters while Buttermilk Hanover tracked in the pocket in 1:23.2. Cousin Mary powered the to the lead into the stretch as Buttermilk Hanover edged off the rail to the center of the track attempting to slingshot to the lead but came a nose shy at the wire. Casino Classic, from off the pace, closed for third while The Joy Luck Club faded to fourth.

 

A five-year-old mare by Camluck from the Modern Art mare Chianti Seelster, Cousin Mary, owned by Jeffrey Williamson, won her fourth race in 16 starts this season and her 21st in 65 overall, earning $267,286. Trevor Henry drove the Allan Shelton trainee and she paid $18.40 to win.

 

Sing Like An Angel wired her rivals in the $10,000 Fillies and Mares Preferred 3 Pace in 1:54.4.

 

Driver Travis Cullen sent Sing Like An Angel for the top with Eataamup Cassandra following to her outside and Whistys Paradise her inside. Sing Like An Angel led through a :27.3 opening quarter while Big Lis, positioned sixth, committed first over heading around the turn.

 

Whistys Paradise flushed first over in pursuit of Sing Like An Angel who paced to the half in :57. She continued alongside the pacesetter heading to three-quarters while Eataamup Cassandra was locked at the rail and Big Lis paced second over to the inside of Ok Jasmine closing three wide from the back. Sing Like An Angel tripped three-quarters in 1:25.3 and kicked clear of Whistys Paradise chasing in second and Big Lis in third.

 

Winning for the first time in 11 starts this season and for the 49th time in 167 outings, Sing Like An Angel, an eight-year-old mare by Bettors Delight from the Artsplace mare Place At The Table, paid $9.40 to win. Jodie Cullen owns and trains the earner of $340,246.

July 20, 2018

 

Kendall Seelster Makes OSS History

 

Three-year-old pacing filly Kendall Seelster made Ontario Sires Stakes history on Friday night (July 20), lowering a long-standing record with a sub-1:50 score in her $94,800 Gold Series division at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

 

The mile took two-fifths of a second off the 1:50.1 record clocked by former Ontario Sires Stakes star Michelles Power over the Campbellville oval in 2007 and was just the latest in a series of outsized accomplishments by the diminutive Kendall Seelster, who hit the wire three and one-half lengths ahead of favourite Shower Play and Sudden Passing.

“She’s still a medium-sized, compact filly. She was probably one of the smallest ones in that race,” said trainer Paul Reid, who conditions Kendall Seelster for 1187422 Ontario Inc. of Ottawa, Ont. “She’s the exception to the rule.”

 

The victory, which saw the pocket-sitting Kendall Seelster and driver Randy Waples sprint up the inside when pacesetter Sudden Passing drifted to the right in the stretch, was the filly’s first in Gold Series action this season. In the May 20 season opener at The Raceway at Western Fair District, she finished third and in the June 23 leg at Woodbine Mohawk Park, she faded to sixth after doing all the work on the front end.

 

Following the June 23 result, Reid sent the daughter of Shadow Play and Kiddie Cocktail out in two overnight races at Woodbine Mohawk Park, on July 6 and 14. Using near-identical come-from-behind tactics in both races, Milton, Ont. resident Waples guided the filly to two victories, the first in 1:51.4 and the second in 1:51.2.

 

“She definitely needed to get bravened up, and she needed the work honestly. She just was lacking some speed work when I got her -- some speed miles -- so we just basically had to race her into shape,” explained Reid, who returned to Ontario from Florida in early May. “She just wasn’t into what I wanted race shape, and the extra miles, you’d like to have them in May, but it ended up we had to do them in the last couple weeks. Now hopefully we can carry on from here.”

 

Now that she has regained the form that saw her win two Gold Series divisions, a Champlain Stakes division and $453,985 at age two, Reid expects Kendall Seelster will see action in a few more overnight events at Woodbine Mohawk Park before the fourth Gold leg at Georgian Downs on August 19.

 

For his part, trainer Jack Darling was quite happy Write Me A Song had landed in the other Gold division on Friday.

 

“Both divisions are tough, but the other one I thought was tougher, obviously, they went 1:49.4,” said the Cambridge, Ont. resident. “Kendall was pretty awesome tonight.”

 

While Kendall Seelster sat in the pocket through fractions of :26.4, 56.1 and 1:23.2, sprinting home in 26 seconds to the 1:49.4 record, Write Me A Song took command of the first division early. Last year’s division champion Percy Bluechip led the field to a :27.4 quarter, but driver Jody Jamieson soon had Write Me A Song on the move and the filly was comfortably out front by the :57 half. Continuing to lead through the 1:24.1 three-quarters, Write Me A Song dug in down the stretch to hold off a fast-closing Play The Bell and secure the 1:51.2 victory. Kendall Seelster’s stablemate Just Her Luck completed the top three.

 

“I was hopeful. She won that race in Clinton [the Kin Pace on July 8] and she was very good, but she was stepping up to a lot tougher competition,” noted Darling, who also owns the Sportswriter daughter. “I was really happy with her. She’s a very honest filly.”

 

Darling made two more appearances in the Woodbine Mohawk Park winner’s circle Friday, the first with three-year-old pacing filly Neon Moon, who won an overnight event in preparation for her next Grassroots start, and the second with two-year-old pacing filly Powerful Chris, who delivered an impressive 1:52.1 victory in the last of three $68,000 Gold Series divisions for the novice pacing lasses.

 

Darling bought a share in Powerful Chris after a commanding victory in her July 10 Grassroots division caused owner/trainer John Pentland to be inundated with offers to purchase the daughter of Betterthancheddar and Cell Power.

 

“Obviously she was very impressive last week so he was getting some pretty good offers for her, but he wanted to keep her himself to race, which I don’t blame him,” explained Darling. “So anyway, he called me and offered me a piece of her, and I was pretty impressed with her last week, so I took a piece.

 

“I think he did me a favour by offering me a piece of her. She was just awesome again tonight,” admitted Darling, who has known Dorchester, Ont. resident Pentland since his earliest days in the business. “She just looks like something special so far.”

 

Bob McClure of Elora, Ont., who has driven Powerful Chris in all of her qualifiers and races, also acquired a share of the filly through his Syllabus Stable.

 

The other two-year-old pacing filly Gold divisions went to Springbridge Sassy in 1:53.4 and Crisp Mane in 1:52.3.

 

The novice pacing fillies make their third Gold Series start at Grand River Raceway on August 15.

 

Woodbine Mohawk Park features another big card of Ontario Sires Stakes racing on Monday, July 23 with eight Grassroots and two Gold Series divisions for the two-year-old pacing colts. The Grassroots colts will kick things off at 7:30 p.m. in the first race and carry on through Races 2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 10 and 11, while the Gold colts square off in Races 4 and 8.

 

To view Friday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Friday Results - Woodbine Mohawk Park.

June 5, 2018

 

Holiday Road Fillies Sweep Golds

 

Daughters of Holiday Road did their daddy proud Monday evening as Alexus Eh and Sorceress Seelster hauled home the hardware in their respective OSS Gold Series divisions at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

 

Alexus Eh captured her $94,800 division, winning as she pleased in 1:57.4 for Team Byron. Steve Byron got away fourth with the three-year-old daughter of Holiday Road-Pine Tar while Miss Loo Loo Belle shot to the lead and served up the opening quarter in :28.1.

 

Alexus Eh tipped off the rail in the backstretch and worked her way to the front while racing parked past the mid-way point in :57.4. She trotted to the three-quarter pole in 1:27.4 before cruising home in a :30-second clip to win by a length over Miss Loo Loo Belle in 1:57.4. Smoke And Mirrors was third.

Sent off as the 6-5 favourite, Alexus Eh improved her 2018 record to 4-1-0 from seven tries for trainer/co-owner Dave Byron and partners Craig Wallwin, James Cantelon and David Cantelon. The lion’s share of the loot lifted the filly’s bankroll to $75,250.

 

Sorceress Seelster was locked in tight in her latest outing, but she had nothing but open road in front of her on Monday night for Team Wray.

 

The daughter of Holiday Road-Self Desire got away third before brushing to the lead in the backstretch for driver Scott Wray. After watching Dalliance Seelster put up the first quarter in :27.3, Sorceress Seelster slid through middle panels of :56.4 and 1:26.1 before scooting home in a :30-second clip to win by four lengths in a career-best clocking of 1:56.1. Illusioneesta came on strong to finish second, while even-money favourite Kadabra Queen was third.

 

Trainer Jack Wray co-owns the trotting lass with Thomas Wray of Schomberg, Ont. The partners watched the sophomore improve her career record to 2-2-1 from nine trips to the track. She boosted her overall cash stash over $150,000 in the process.

 

It was a productive Monday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park for the trainer/driver duo of Carmen Auciello and Jonathan Drury. They joined forces to win three races on the 10-race card.

 

They took the opener with Great Tune (1:53.3) and returned to victory lane in Race 3 with Reiki (1:52.4). They completed the triple when Avalanche Hanover (1:51.4) rolled to an impressive victory in Race 7.

 

Since making the full-time move to Woodbine Mohawk Park trainer Auciello has led all conditioners with 26 trips to the winner’s circle. Drury has racked up 29 wins, which ranks him third behind teamsters Doug McNair (37) and Sylvain Filion (31).

 

To view results for Monday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Monday Results – Woodbine Mohawk Park.

February 1, 2018

 

Molson Pace Renamed Camluck Classic

 

After a successful 25-year run as The Raceway at Western Fair District’s signature race, the Molson Pace will have a new name in 2018.

 

On Thursday (February 1), The Raceway at Western Fair District introduced the Camluck Classic, a $150,000 Invitational Pace that features the best older horses in North America. It will make its debut on a new date this year – Saturday, May 26 at the London half-mile oval.

 

The new race name is a tribute to the late world champion pacer who went on to become the most prolific stallion in Canadian harness racing history. The Raceway is very excited to announce its new title sponsor for the biggest night of racing in London – Seelster Farms of Lucan, Ontario.

 

“We thank Molson for what has been a wonderful partnership for a quarter century,” said director of racing Greg Blanchard. “But change is inevitable and this marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for this race and for racing in this part of the province. Camluck helped put this area on the harness racing map and we think it’s fitting that the race be renamed in his honour.”

 

Camluck hit the race track in the early 1990s under the tutelage of trainer Bob McIntosh and compiled an excellent record at ages two and three for McIntosh, who was part of the New Destiny Stable that co-owned the pacer along with Al McIntosh.

 

At age four, he competed as one third of the powerful McIntosh-trained trio that also included triple millionaire Artsplace and the $1.4 million winner Odds Against. Camluck concluded his career on the racetrack with 26 wins from 69 starts and just over $1 million in purse winnings. However, it was in the breeding shed where the handsome son of Cam Fella would truly make his mark, and, in the process, he raised the bar for the Standardbred breeding industry in Canada.

 

Camluck sired close to 2,400 foals with more than 2,000 of those making it to the races.

 

“When he first went to stud I was cautiously optimistic,” recalls McIntosh. “He was a tough racehorse and had great conformation, but sons of Cam Fella hadn’t really hit as sires to that point. I took a shot and bred about 18 mares that first year and it all turned out pretty well. I’d have to say he’s one of the greatest pacing stallions ever.”

 

His offspring combined for earnings in excess of $235 million and included 635 $100,000 winners and 28 winners of $1 million or more.

 

“To have this race named after him is very special to myself and the entire group associated with the horse. As a kid, London was the track I came to most with my dad and I have a lot of fond memories over the years. I’ve watched this race grow and was even fortunate enough to win it so this is definitely a big deal,” said McIntosh.

 

Ann Straatman of Seelster Farms in Lucan, home of Camluck for more than 20 years, shares the sentiment of the entire group. “We are delighted to have him immortalized in the prestigious Camluck Classic at The Raceway at Western Fair District, which is our home track and thrilled to be the Presenting Sponsor,” she said. “Camluck’s legacy will live on for generations through his sons and daughters and having this race named in his honour will now add to that legacy.”

 

The Raceway’s signature night of racing got its start in 1972 and was sponsored by Labatt until 1992 when Molson took over sponsorship.

 

“This race is almost 50 years old now and it’s amazing to look back to watch its evolution,’ said Blanchard. “It has become more than a race; it is also a terrific event we look forward to enhancing in the future.

 

“We are very proud to host a race of this stature and are fortunate to have attracted some of very best in the sport who have produced some of the most memorable and exciting races in recent years”

 

Additional Event details will be available in the coming weeks at westernfairdistrict.com.