Georgian Downs wrapped up its 2017 Ontario Sires Stakes season with a trio of $19,500 Grassroots divisions for three-year-old trotting fillies on Sunday evening (August 27).
Leading off the stakes action was Crystal Gumdrop, who swept from fifth to first in the final quarter to record her first win of the season. The Angus Hall miss hit the wire three-quarters of a length ahead of Millers Song and one and one-half lengths ahead of pacesetter Angora Seelster in a personal best 1:56.3.
“She’s been racing good. She’s been trotting some good back halves, she just hasn’t been getting away the greatest and it seems she doesn’t want to pass the last one,” said driver Mike Saftic. “But the rail helped today, she got away better, and Dunc [trainer Duncan Brewer] opened her up, so this time when she poked her head in front she kept going, so that was nice. I think it gets her into the top 10 so the guys are happy.”
Campbellville, Ont. resident Saftic engineered the win for Brewer of Waterdown, Ont., and his partner Randell Urquhart of Hamilton, Ont. In the first three Grassroots legs, Crystal Gumdrop recorded two seconds and one fourth so Sunday’s victory boosted her point total to 108, good enough for fifth spot in the standings with one regular season event remaining. The top 10 point-earners from the six regular season events will compete in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship at Mohawk Racetrack on September 30.
One race later, Gisele Treelane moved into a tie for top spot in the division with her third Grassroots victory. Starting from post nine, the Daylon Magician daughter and driver Jack Moiseyev eased away from the starting gate and were 12 lengths off the pace when Whole Lot Of Sugar hit the quarter in :27.3. Seventh at the :58.2 half, Moiseyev sent the fan favourite three-wide at the 1:27.1 three-quarters and she powered down the stretch to a one and one-half length victory in 1:57.
Powerful Mission followed Gisele Treelane under the wire, but had made a late break and was placed back to fourth for failing to lose ground. Pacesetter Whole Lot Of Sugar was elevated from third to second and Hudsons Ya Ya moved from fourth to third.
Moffat, Ont. resident Moiseyev engineered Gisele Treelane’s third straight victory, her sixth on the season, for trainer Murray Brethour of Sunderland, Ont., and owner/breeder Patricia Whittaker Trust of Aspers, Pennsylvania. She currently shares top spot in the point standings with Delcrest Magicstar.
The final division went to Anikadabra, who also moved into the top 10 with the win. Starting from post two, the filly left smartly and then settled in behind Expose Yourself as she led the field of 10 through a :28 quarter and :57.2 half. Soon after the half, driver Rick Zeron sent Anikadabra after the lead and the fan favourites had a half-length margin by the 1:26.2 three-quarters, which they opened to two lengths before the 1:56 finish. Holiday Promise finished second and Jilona rounded out the top three.
“That filly raced really, really good tonight. I was quite pleased with her,” said Zeron, who drives the Kadabra daughter for trainer Rob Fellows of Rockwood, Ont. “Actually Rob had told me her last race that she was coming around and she was getting much better, which she was, she won over at Mohawk [on August 14], and then he told me last night that she’ll be even better tonight.
“She was flawless tonight, I knew she was in the post parade, she felt good. And I got off the gate and Wayne Henry got around me and I moved her back, I went back to the front, and she did the rest on her own,” the Oakville, Ont. resident continued. “She was back to herself, which is great. It’s great to have her back, it’s just a great ride to drive her when she’s this good.”
Fellows missed the filly’s second straight Grassroots win, opting instead to spend time with his brand new granddaughter. The horseman conditions Anikadabra for owners/breeders Edward Wilson of Seagrave, Ont., and Michael Pozefsky of Saratoga Springs, New York. With her second victory and a third-place result in three Grassroots appearances, last year’s Grassroots champion currently sits fourth in the point standings with 112.
The three-year-old trotting fillies will make their last regular season Grassroots appearance at Mohawk Racetrack on September 5.
In regular Georgian Downs racing action, trotting mare Crown Classic and driver James MacDonald edged out Justcallmeronald and Lets Leavem for a 1:57.4 victory in the $7,500 Preferred 3. Per Henriksen trains the five-year-old Muscle Mass-Crown Laurel mare for owners Darryl Drain of Tweed, Ont., and Stig Westrum of Norwood, Ont.
(Standardbred Canada with files from OSS)