Grassroots regular season action came to a close at Flamboro Downs on Thursday evening and driver Billy Davis, Jr. finished up the campaign with a Grassroots double on a night he piloted four of his five mounts to victory.
Both the two-year-old pacing colts and pacing fillies were in action on Thursday, and Davis was victorious with one of each, kicking things off in the second $18,000 pacing filly division with Dudesalady.
Starting from Post 2, Dudesalady went straight to the front and made her way through fractions of :28.2, :59 and 1:28.4 before sailing home a one and one-half length winner in 1:58.1. Fan favourite Village Jamie was second and Casino Classic finished third.
“There was a bit of a delay and everyone went into the paddock because they didn’t know how long they were going to be, and I just stayed out there because she’s so calm and relaxed,” said Davis. “It was so hot and muggy inside the paddock; I just stayed outside so she could cool down and keep her air and stuff. And then the race, it just kind of set up good because no one really left, she made front easy, she got nice easy fractions, and then just sprinted home.
“She’s just a classy old race mare, I really like her,” added the reinsman.
Susanne Kerwood of Rockwood, ON conditions Dudesalady for M And L Of Delaware LLC of Wilmington, DE and Victoria Dickinson of Greenville, DE.
In four Grassroots appearances the daughter of Shadow Play-Accountable tallied two wins, one second and one third for 137 points and a berth in the Sept. 15 Semi-finals at Mohawk Racetrack.
While driving Dudesalady is like driving an aged mare, Davis’s second win came aboard a slightly more complicated youngster.
“He’s fast. He’s one of the faster two-year-olds, I think, around right now, but he’s got a — the best way to describe him, he’s kind of got a sticky transmission and he’ll stall,” said Davis of freshman pacing colt Dreamfair B J. “All the breaks he’s made are kind of speed breaks, he just tries to change gears too quick.”
Leaving from Post 6 in the last pacing colt division, Davis eased Dreamfair B J into sixth on the rail as Aston Hill Dave rolled out to a :28.2 quarter. Heading for the :58 half Davis was able to tip Dreamfair B J into the outer lane behind fan favourite The Dark Shadow and follow that colt as he pressured Aston Hill Dave by a 1:26.3 three-quarters. Around the last turn Davis sent Dreamfair B J out three-wide and gave him a clear look at the finish and colt sprinted down the stretch to a head victory in 1:56.2. The Dark Shadow and Aston Hill Dave settled for second and third.
“He kind of did it to me when I first got him out of the hole — he just tried going too quick right away, he just gets a little steppy —but when you get him going he’s pretty good,” Davis noted. “That’s why I kind of moved him half early in the turn, just to kind of get him into top gear, and he just coasted down the lane. I didn’t want to have to move him too late and ask for a lot of speed right away.”
Davis crafted the much needed win for trainer Patrick Fletcher of Hagersville and owner-breeder John Lamers of Ingersoll, ON. Heading into Thursday’s test the son of Big Jim-Dreamfair Orchid was just outside the cut off for the post season and his first Grassroots victory assured him of a berth in the Semi-final round. Dreamfair B J finished up the regular season with one win, one second and one seventh in three Grassroots appearances.
In addition to his Grassroots victories, Davis also returned to the winner’s circle with two of his overnight mounts, two-year-old pacing filly Go Find Out in the fourth race and five-year-old pacing mare Jennys So Great in the eleventh.
Driver Sylvain Filion, whose lead atop the Ontario Sires Stakes drivers’ standings was 92 points heading into Thursday’s contest extended that margin with victories in the first two pacing colt divisions.
In the first race the Milton, ON resident guided heavy favourite Silverinyourpocket to a front-end victory, cruising away from Post 1 and through fractions of :28.2, :57.1 and 1:26 en route to a two and one-quarter length win in 1:56.3. Master The View and Thrownoutofbetter sat second and third throughout the mile and crossed the wire as they started.
Puslinch, ON resident Richard Moreau conditions Silverinyourpocket for owners David and Marguerite Ratchford of North Sydney, NS. In six Grassroots starts the son of Badlands Hanover and Fillys Victory posted four wins, one third and one fifth and he leads his peers into the post season with a point total of 217.
Aboard fan favourite Tymal Peacemaker in the second pacing colt division, Filion employed the same tactics, sending the colt straight to the front from Post 5.
Tymal Peacemaker clocked fractions of :28.3, :58.1 and 1:27.3 on his way to a 1:56 victory, the fastest win of the Grassroots competition on a rain-soaked Flamboro oval rated one second slower than normal. Trident Seelster finished four and one-half lengths back in second and London Seelster was third.
Stephane Larocque of Carlisle, ON trains the son of Mach Three and Flying Color for Bayama Farms Inc. of Saint-Andre-D’Argenteuil, QC. With 100 points from two wins in two Grassroots starts, Tymal Peacemaker will join Silverinyourpocket in the Sept. 15 Grassroots Semi-finals at Mohawk Racetrack, which could present Filion with a difficult choice should the colts draw into the same race.
Daenerys Hanover earned her second Grassroots trophy with a 1:57 off-the-pace effort crafted by Thornton, ON resident Aaron Byron. The pair tipped off of cover in the stretch and paced home to a three-quarter length victory over favourite Anderson Seelster and Amulet Seelster.
Sean Mehlenbacher of Hamilton conditions Daenerys Hanover for John Mehlenbacher of Burlington, ON. In four Grassroots starts the daughter of Camluck-Dragon Moon delivered two wins, one fourth and one seventh for a point tally of 110.
Treasures Pearl picked up her third Grassroots win with a gate-to-wire effort in 1:56.2. The daughter of Sportswriter and St Lads Treasure finished three and one-quarter lengths ahead of Warrawee Speedy and one more up on White Dancer.
London resident Nick Steward engineered the win for trainer Ron Adams of LaSalle and owner-breeder Donald Leschied of South Woodslee, ON. In addition to her three Grassroots victories, Treasures Pearl also had one third and one fourth-place result and heads into the post season on a point total of 170.
Semi-finals for the two-year-olds go postward on Sept. 15 at Mohawk Racetrack with the top five finishers from each Semi-final returning to the Campbellville oval on Sept. 24 for Grassroots Championship Night.
Thursday’s undercard at Flamboro Downs included the $11,000 Preferred 2 for trotters, and Delcrest Massyused come-from-behind tactics to pull off a 17-1 stunner for the tandem of driver Alfie Carroll and trainer Victor Puddy.
The four-year-old son of Muscle Mass-Armbro Balandra got away third before getting shuffled to fifth at the mid-way point of the mile. Lexis D J, in the meantime, shot to the lead and carved out panels of :29, :59.1 and 1:27.4. Carroll eventually found racing room with Delcrest Massy, and the gelding used a :29-second closing quarter to win by three-quarters of a length over Lexis D J in 1:57.1. Unabating took home third prize.
Keith Cassell of Smiths Falls, Ont. owns the 12-time winner who improved this year’s record to 8-7-3 from 27 starts with the win. He’s banked in excess of $66,000 this season and more than $130,000 to date.
(Standardbred Canada with files from OSS)