Southwind Indy finished the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots regular season atop the divisional standings, and trainer Casie Coleman has said that everything looks positive for the three-year-old pacing gelding’s bid for a top-five finish in Friday’s Semi-Final.
“I like the way the draw come out; he’s in the middle of the gate. The six-hole is like my favourite hole at Mohawk/Woodbine,” said Coleman. “He drew good, and he trained real good this week, and everything seems good, so we’ll hope for the best that he can get into the final.”
Southwind Indy will line up to Post 6 in the second sophomore pacing colt Semi-Final at Mohawk Racetrack on Friday. He is set to take on a field of nine challengers that will also be hoping to extend their Ontario Sires Stakes season through the September 26 Grassroots Championship.
Southwind Indy is a son of Sportswriter and Its Only Rocknroll. He earned top spot in the divisional standings with three wins, one second and one third from five Grassroots starts. The gelding heads into Friday’s test off back-to-back Grassroots wins — at Mohawk on August 21 and Grand River Raceway on September 2. He recorded a personal-best 1:51.3 in the Mohawk event.
“I’ve been [really] happy with him each week lately, so we’ll hope he keeps getting a little better each time,” said Coleman, a resident of Cambridge, Ont. “Every time I put him behind the gate he just impresses me a little more, so if he keeps doing that I’ll be pretty happy.”
Southwind Indy was a two-time Gold Leg winner at age two. After having tested the Gold Series waters in the season opener, Coleman and her ownership partners decided the Grassroots program was the best choice for the gelding’s sophomore campaign. Southwind Indy is owned by West Wins Stable (of Cambridge, Ont.), Steve Calhoun (Chatham, Ont.) and breeders Southwind Farms LLC (Pennington, NJ).
Milton, Ont. resident Steve Condren will pilot Southwind Indy in Friday’s eighth race. He will be looking to extend the gelding’s win streak to three. The first $20,000 pacing colt Semi-Final will head postward for Race 7.
Trainer Bill Budd was also pleased to land Post 6 with sophomore trotting filly Meadow Seelster, who will make her bid for a top-five finish in the third race.
“That’s the best post there for her. She can follow the car, she can get spotted,” said the resident of Waterdown, Ont.. “She’s a nice filly, a real nice filly.”
Like Southwind Indy, Meadow Seelster made one start at the Gold Series level – she finishing sixth in the June 18 season opener at Mohawk – before moving into the Grassroots program. In three Grassroots starts, the daughter of Holiday Road and Must Sold Dream scored two wins and one third, which ranked her ninth among the three-year-old trotting fillies.
Meadow Seelster heads into Friday’s Semi-Final off a 1:56.2 win in the August 25 Grassroots event at Mohawk. Following that effort, which was the filly’s fourth win of the campaign, Budd opted to give her a week off rather than head to the regular season finale at Hanover Raceway on September 5.
“I gave her a week off and then I took her over and schooled her there (Mohawk) Friday; ready to go,” said Budd, who trains the filly for Bill Dixon of Caledon, Ont. “She’s a good filly. She does everything you know, she’s a ‘trier.’”
While Budd is hopeful that the winner of $102,135 delivers a top-five effort in Friday’s Semi-Final, the trainer is also looking forward to the end of the Ontario Sires Stakes season. Once her Grassroots career wraps up, Budd plans to remove a piece of equipment that has been a critical part of Meadow Seelster’s attire since last August.
“I’m actually going to take the trotting hopples off her,” he explained. “I schooled her in 1:55 over there the other day without them. We’re going to try her anyway. Probably give her a week off after the stakes and then qualify her without the hopples.
“She used to be pretty ‘rammy,’ she was tough,” he added. “She’d push the gate out and then just couldn’t handle it you know, the trotting hopples kept her together.”
Regular reinsman Sylvain Filion of Milton, Ont. will guide Meadow Seelster from Post 6 in the first $20,000 trotting filly Semi-Final on Friday. The second trotting filly Semi-Final has been slated as Race 9.
The three-year-old trotting colts will kick off the Grassroots Semi-Final action in Race 1, and are also featured in Race 6. The three-year-old pacing fillies will wage their Semi-Final battles in Races 5 and 11. First-race post time for Mohawk Racetrack’s Friday evening program is 7:25 p.m.