Nine divisions of two-year-old pacing fillies invaded Clinton Raceway on Sunday afternoon and in the eighth Grassroots split Bourbon Seelster rewrote the half-mile oval’s history books.
Starting from post five, driver Mike Saftic of Campbellville, Ont. sent Bourbon Seelster straight to the front and rang up evenly-rated early fractions of :30.1 and 1:00.2. Heading for the three-quarters, Saftic picked up the tempo, reaching the marker in 1:29.4, but when fan favourite Divas Image mounted a challenge in the stretch Bourbon Seelster really poured it on, sprinting home in :27.2 to reach the wire in a divisional track record 1:57.1. Divas Image settled for second, three-quarters of a length behind the winner, and Where Are We rounded out the top three.
The win was the second in Grassroots action for Bourbon Seelster, who posted her first in the July 19 contest at Georgian Downs. Watford, Ont. resident Robert Manders conditions the daughter of Camluck for Scott and Keith Manders, also of Watford, who purchased her for $14,000 from the Forest City Yearling Sale.
Trainer Dave Menary won three of the nine Grassroots divisions, teaming up with driver James MacDonald for two and Kevin Sizer for the third, and also picked up one second and one third with his six starters.
“It was pretty lucky,” said the Cambridge, Ont. resident. “It would be nice to have six Gold fillies, but we were the masters of Clinton today.”
Menary and MacDonald’s first victory came in the second division with Twin B Virtue, who battled to a neck victory over Jimmys Little Girl in 1:58.4. Life Book finished two and one-quarter lengths behind the duelling leaders in third.
“Her last two starts she’s been right on the front and end and I really think this filly’s a lot better off a helmet or off a little trip, but when you’re racing on a half-mile track you can’t always work that out,” noted Menary. “She got run at and headed the whole way, and dug in, and I was super happy with the filly.”
Menary shares ownership of Twin B Virtue with Brad Gray of Dundas, Ont. and Michael Guerriero of Puslinch, Ont. The partners acquired the daughter of Badlands Hanover for $32,000 from the Canadian Yearling Sale last fall and through four starts the filly has returned $20,600.
The trainer and driver were back in the winner’s circle after the fifth division with Rosy Outlook. Starting from post two, Guelph, Ont. resident MacDonald put the Badlands Hanover daughter on the front end and she led through all stations on the way to her first lifetime victory in 1:59.4. Fan favourite Selling The Dream closed hard, but fell one-quarter length short, while Krystal C was well back in third.
“Today she raced very greenly,” said Menary, who added that MacDonald felt her attention wavered significantly through the final quarter. “I definitely have faith in the filly that she’s going to get better.”
Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc. of Wallkill, New York owns Rosy Outlook, who was a $10,000 purchase out of the Harrisburg Yearling Sale. After debuting in the Gold Series on July 6, where she finished eighth, Rosy Outlook finished third in the July 19 Grassroots event at Georgian Downs.
Menary’s third victory came in the last Grassroots division when driver Kevin Sizer of Morriston, Ont. took Norcross Blue Chip gate-to-wire for her first win. The Bettors Delight daughter finished two lengths ahead of Endless Legacy and favourite State Of Joy in 1:58.1.
“This is a filly that I thought was one of my best all winter. She had little problems with the efficiency of her gait, so I spent a lot of time going with this filly, and Kevin Sizer’s done a great job with this filly — he works for me — he’s done a great job with this filly and he did a great job today,” said Menary. “She’s been behind all the way, but catching up rapidly.”
The trainer shares ownership of Norcross Blue Chip with Michael Guerriero, Denis Breton of Welland, Ont. and Thomas Kyron of Toronto, Ont. A $30,000 purchase at the Harrisburg Yearling Sale, the filly has two starts under her belt, Sunday’s win and a fourth in a July 31 conditioned event at Grand River Raceway.
The other Grassroots divisions were captured by Trilife, St Lads Smokin Hot, P L Jasmine, My Rhythm Of Rhyme and Miss Babe Delight.
Trilife kicked things off in the first division with a 1:58.1 score for driver Anthony MacDonald of Guelph, trainer Larry Ainsworth of Petrolia, Ont. and owner/breeder William Boden of Vancouver, B.C. The Mach Three lass hit the wire two and one-quarter lengths ahead of Menary trainee No Shadows and Northern Prima to record her first Grassroots victory.
St Lads Smokin Hot recorded her first lifetime victory in the third division, sailing along on the front end to a 2:00.2 win over Sports Expert and This Day Forward. Arthur, Ont. resident Trevor Henry engineered the No Pan Intended daughter’s successful effort for trainer Richard Moreau of Puslinch and Holland Racing Stable of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.
A gritty first-over trip netted P L Jasmine her second straight victory, and first Grassroots trophy, in the fourth division. The Badlands Hanover daughter and driver Scott Coulter of Brantford, Ont. cruised home five and one-half lengths ahead of Watt Machs Me Win and Menary trainee Green Light in 1:58.3. Robert McMillan of Beaverton, Ont. conditions P L Jasmine for owner-breeder Prince Lee Acres of Uxbridge, Ont.
Paul MacDonell and My Rhythm Of Rhyme never faced a challenge on their way to a two and one-quarter length win in the sixth division. The Shadow Play daughter stopped the Clinton teletimer at 1:59.1, besting Dancin In the Nude and favourite Boozer Bruiser. Guelph resident MacDonell shares ownership of first-time winner My Rhythm Of Rhyme with his wife Lynn MacDonell.
Miss Babe Delight also made winning look easy, pacing home three lengths ahead of Action Big and Bad Lightning in race seven. Milton, Ont. resident Sylvain Filion piloted the Bettors Delight filly to her first win in 1:58.2 for trainer Dany Fontaine of Lachenaie, Que. and owner Ecurie Gaetan Bono Inc. of Montreal, Que.
The two-year-old pacing fillies start the second half of their Grassroots season at Mohawk Racetrack on August 24.