While Nobodynosjustice delivered on an odds-on promise in his Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots event on Wednesday (September 13) at Grand River Raceway, Majestic Fire stole the show with a 30-1 upset, holding his ground over the late-rallying fours-on favourite Stormont Ventnor in the second division.
Majestic Fire found the early lead by default in his $18,100 Grassroots event (race three), sneaking through at the pegs after leavers Smart Pick (Robert Shepherd) and Stormont Ventnor (Phil Hudon) broke immediately after flashing early speed. After getting away with a :31.4 first quarter, Scott Young rated the Majestic Son-Short Vacation gelding through a leisurely :33 second split—but the pressure would soon mount.
After catching the field with just over a circuit to go, Smart Pick sustained a first-over blitz into the lead with three-eighths to go but failed to clear Majestic Fire, who re-emerged with the lead on the final turn and opened up by two lengths nearing the eighth pole. Stormont Ventnor circled three-wide off the corner around stalling cover and stormed home to try to make amends for his early miscue, but came up half a length short of Majestic Fire’s 2:05.1 maiden-breaking upset. Radical Attempt (Bob McClure) checked in third at the pegs after stalking closely throughout.
Majestic Fire makes his first career visit to the winner’s enclosure in OSS Grassroots action
Mark Steacy trains Majestic Fire for the partnership David McDonald, David Reid, Shelly MacMillan, and the A. K. Malik Stable.
“He’s a small horse, but very determined,” Steacy said of Majestic Fire. “He’s been battling growing pains all year, but battling through it and improving with every start.”
In the earlier division (race one), contested for a purse of $17,750, Nobodynosjustice ($3.40) and Sylvain Filion took full advantage of a cosy pocket trip behind the aptly-named Leaderofthepack (Ryan Holliday), drafting along through easy splits of :30 and 1:01.2 before being rebuffed by the pacesetter on approach to the clubhouse turn on the second occasion. After being briefly pinned in by the first-over Jula Downton (Per Henriksen) nearing the three-quarter split in 1:32, Filion angled the gelded son of Justice Hall and Nobody Nos Butme off the pegs when room availed at head-stretch. Nobodynosjustice accelerated at once and collared Leaderofthepack by a neck for a 2:02 victory, his third in seven career attempts.
Nobodynosjustice (#2, Sylvain Filion up) reaches in the final strides
“Dany Fontaine asked me to go and drive him. He said, ‘he’s got lots of go, but he’s a little touchy,’ and I think he was right,” said Filion. “In the post parade, he wouldn’t trot, he had a hard time going, and I had to wake him up a bit. Then in the race he was pretty good, but he was real grabby.
“I had a hard time holding him in the hole, that’s why I had to move him out, so he doesn’t get mad and go on the run,” Filion continued. “That was quite the big effort to come back and win like that, after a trip like that. He’s a really gutsy little horse.”
Fontaine trains Nobodynosjustice for owner-breeder Ecurie Gatean Bono, Inc.
(Standardbred Canada with quotes from OSS)