Muscle Mass daughter Desis Dream arrived at Hanover Raceway on Saturday needing a win to keep her Ontario Sires Stakes season alive and the three-year-old trotting filly got the job done in thrilling fashion.
Starting from post five, driver Ryan Holliday settled Desis Dream into fourth on the rail as Ill Stay Here rocketed out to a :27.4 opening quarter. As Arthur, Ont. resident Wayne Henry took his foot off Ill Stay Here’s accelerator in the second quarter — reaching the half in :57.1 — Holliday and Desis Dream moved up to third. Heading for the 1:27.1 three-quarters Holliday sent Desis Dream up the outside to the lead and the filly battled down the stretch to a one-quarter length victory over Flexceptional and Tymal Fireitup in 1:58.2.
“She’s a good, honest little filly who capitalized on a great drive,” quipped Mount Forest, Ont. resident Holliday. “She fought hard right to the wire.”
Holliday engineered the filly’s first Grassroots win of the season for trainer David Byron and owner/breeder Glengate Farms of Campbellville, Ont. In her five previous Grassroots outings, the Muscle Mass daughter had tallied one second, two fourths, one fifth, and one sixth-place finish and she was sitting 28th in the division standings heading into Saturday’s test. With the win, she jumped into the top 20 and will compete in the Sept. 18 Grassroots Semi-finals at Mohawk Racetrack.
The other four winners also secured their spots in the post season, including local filly Mass Rail, who kicked off the festivities in the first race.
Starting from post three, Mass Rail and driver Alfie Carroll got away fifth and moved into the outer lane heading for the half. Turning for home, Carroll sent the Muscle Mass daughter after the leaders and Mass Rail got a head in front of Allies Gift for the 1:59 score. Roses In The Rain, who had served as a wind break for Mass Rail, settled for third.
Iona Station, Ont. resident Carroll crafted the 1:59 victory for trainer Richard Moreau of Puslinch, Ont., Trevor Henry Stables Inc. and 1035840 Ontario Inc. of Arthur, Ont. The win was the Muscle Mass daughter’s first of the season, and with the two seconds, one fourth and one sixth she posted in her first four Grassroots starts, gives her 111 points and a berth in the Sept. 18 Semi-finals at Mohawk Racetrack.
“She is a big filly. She can’t leave, but loves to finish,” said Trevor Henry, who relinquished his usual spot in the filly’s race bike due to driving commitments at Mohawk Racetrack. “With a little luck she will do good in the finals.”
Giona scored her second straight Grassroots win in the second division, controlling the tempo through fractions of :29.1, 1:00 and 1:28.4 before battling down the stretch to a neck victory in 1:58.4. Oh My Magic finished second and division point leader Renegade Magic settled for third after pressing the pace for most of the mile.
Chelmsford, Ont. resident Wayne MacLean trains and drives Giona for Jocelyne Menard, also of Chelmsford. The Angus Hall filly scored her first Grassroots win in the Aug. 25 event at Mohawk Racetrack and has also finished second, third, fourth and fifth in her six regular season starts for a total of 150 points and sole ownership of third-place in the division standings.
Elora, Ont. resident Bob McClure piloted Sheguindah to her first Grassroots win of the season in the third split, tipping out in the stretch and trotting home to a one and one-quarter length victory over GS Grasshopper and Tymal Signature. Sheguindah halted the Hanover Raceway teletimer at 1:59.
“She’s a solid Grassroots filly,” said McClure, who piloted the Angus Hall daughter to the win for trainer Alan Fair and owner Elizabeth Fair of Ancaster, Ont. “The Fairs have done a great job with her and she is going into the end of the season in great shape.”
Sheguindah wrapped up her regular season with one win, two seconds and one third in four outings for a total of 112 points.
The final division saw Alfie Carroll make his second appearance in the Grassroots winner’s circle, guiding Cincinnati Miss to a front-end score in 1:58.3. The Kadabra daughter hit the wire one and one-quarter lengths ahead of Wing Flash and Summers Jewel.
Hall of Fame horseman Bob McIntosh of Windsor, Ont. trains Cincinnati Miss for his brother Doug McIntosh of Wheatley, Ont. and breeder Ivey Pharm Stable of Cincinnati, Ohio. In five Grassroots outings, the filly posted two wins, one second, one third and one seventh for a point tally of 139, good enough for fourth spot in the standings.
The top 20 fillies will battle in a pair of Semi-finals at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 18, with the top five finishers from each Semi-final returning to the Campbellville oval for the $50,000 Grassroots Championship on Sept. 26.