Local filly Hape earned her second Grassroots trophy at Mohawk Racetrack on Tuesday evening, making up for the aggravation she caused trainer-driver Jack Moiseyev prior to the race.
“She’s not fun to be around all week and warming up — she kicks and pulls and grabs on — but you get in a race, she’s pretty nice to drive in a race,” said the Moffat resident. “Once you get her warmed up she forgets about kicking and thinks about racing.”
Starting from the outside Post 8 in the fifth $18,000 division, Moiseyev eased Hape away from the starting gate and the pair was sitting in the outer lane in sixth when Pointe Of Inquiry reached the :28.2 opening quarter. Fan favourite Renegade Magic took command before the :57.1 half while Moiseyev and Hape continued to watch from sixth, but heading by the 1:26.3 three-quarters Moiseyev sent the filly out three-wide and started to reel in the leaders.
At the top of the stretch Hape had advanced to within two lengths of Renegade Magic, but when she straightened out Moiseyev was able to find an even bigger gear and the filly rocketed down the stretch to a two and one-half length win in 1:56.4. Division point leader Renegade Magic had to settle for second, with Pointe Of Inquiry third.
“She raced real good last week too. She’s very finicky, you’ve got to let her do what she wants and at the end she knows what to do, she takes off at the end there,” said Moiseyev, who conditions the Pilgrims Taj daughter for Joanne Colville of Moffat and Nancy MacNevin of Essex, ON. “Once she straightens up she kind of takes off.”
In an overnight event at Mohawk on Aug. 18, the top three fillies from Tuesday’s fifth Grassroots division finished in reverse order, with Pointe Of Inquiry getting the win, Renegade Magic second and Hape third. Through 14 starts this season Hape has tallied five wins, two seconds, one third and $55,750.
Tuesday’s win bumped the filly’s Grassroots point tally to 126, virtually assuring her of a berth in the Sept. 18 Semi-final. The top 20 point earners after six regular season events qualify for the Semi-final, with the top five finishers from each Semi-final returning to Mohawk to compete in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship on Sept. 26.
The other four division winners also made considerable leaps up the point standings.
Meadow Seelster captured the first division with a gate-to-wire effort that saw her cruise home one and three-quarter lengths ahead of Mass Rail and Oh My Magic in 1:56.2. Sylvain Filion of Milton, ON engineered the win for trainer Bill Budd of Waterdown, ON and owner William Dixon of Caledon, ON.
The Holiday Road daughter was also a Grassroots winner at Georgian Downs on July 14 and currently has 112 points in the race toward a Semi-final berth.
Giona scored her first Grassroots win in the second division, also controlling the tempo from start to finish. The Angus Hall miss and trainer-driver Wayne MacLean of Chelmsford, ON crossed the wire one and three-quarter lengths ahead of favourite Railee Priti and Roses In The Rain in 1:57.2.
Jocelyne Menard of Chelmsford owns Giona, who jumped from 50 to 100 points with the win.
In the third division, Allerage Star earned her first win of the season with a front-end effort that saw her sail under the wire three and one-half lengths ahead of Desis Dream and Summers Jewel in 1:56.1. The Angus Hall daughter was driven to the win by Guelph, ON resident Paul MacDonell.
Howard Okukso, Jr. of Vernon, NY conditions Allerage Star for Little E LLC of New York, NY, Arthur Geiger of Livingston, NJ, David Stolz of Columbus, OH and Jason Settlemoir of Cream Ridge, NJ.
World Class Izzy and Mario Baillargeon of Milton, ON claimed the remaining Grassroots trophy with a come-from-behind effort that saw them sweep home to a three length win in 1:56.2 Flexceptional and Hope Rises completed the top three.
The win was the first ever for World Class Izzy, who is trained by Rockwood, ON resident Benoit Baillargeon for owner-breeders Thomas and Elizabeth Rankin. The victory boosted the Muscle Mass daughter’s Grassroots point total to 86.
The three-year-old trotting fillies will wrap up their regular season at Hanover Raceway on Sept. 5.
Ontario Sires Stakes excitement continues at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday with a pair of $105,000 Gold divisions for the three-year-old pacing fillies.