Father-son duo Gregg and Doug McNair picked up one win and one second in four Grassroots divisions at Grand River Raceway on Monday evening.
The Guelph, ON residents kicked things off with a runner-up finish in the first $18,800 division, as fan favourite Shewearsthepants was nabbed at the wire by Manhattan Play. The three-year-old pacing fillies stopped the Grand River teletimer at 1:54.1 off fractions of :28.3, :56.4 and 1:25.2 posted by Doug McNair and Shewearsthepants. Casino Classic was three and three-quarter lengths back in third.
Shadow Play daughter Manhattan Play was driven to her second straight Grassroots win by Campbellville resident Mike Saftic for trainer Nicky Comegna of Cambridge and owner Bruno Comegna of Burlington, ON.
“She raced good,” said Gregg McNair of Big Jim daughter Shewearsthepants. “She kind of got caught on the front end there, not her best spot, but that’s a good filly that beat her. She’s a nice mare, that mare (Manhattan Play). I like her; I’ve seen her race a few times.”
The McNairs scored their victory in the third Grassroots division as Loves Angel cruised home a four and three-quarter length winner in a personal best 1:55.1. Starting from Post 3, Doug McNair hustled Loves Angel off the gate and the Big Jim daughter led the field to a :28.2 opening quarter. Yielding to C Mary heading for the :56.3 half, McNair and Loves Angel sat behind the pacesetter through a 1:26 three-quarters and then powered out of the pocket in the stretch and sailed home to the win.
“She’s been a pretty nice filly, a bit surprising I think. She’s come along better than I thought she was going to be,” said McNair about Loves Angel. “She’s a good bred little mare, never grew up very much, but looks like she’s competitive with them anyways.
“She had a nice little burst there when he moved her,” added the trainer, who shares ownership of the filly with Jim Newton of Thornhill, ON and Kenneth Newton of Biggar, SK.
The victory was the first this season for Loves Angel and also marked her first appearance in the Ontario Sires Stakes winner’s circle.
Gottalovemyshadow earned her third straight victory and second Grassroots trophy of the season with an impressive 1:53.3 score in the second division. From Post 1 the fan favourite controlled the pace, ringing up fractions of :27.1, :56.2 and 1:25.2 en route to a two and three-quarter length victory over Stellenbosch and Fading Shadow. The mile was just two-fifths of a second shy of the 1:53.1 Grand River Raceway track record for sophomore pacing fillies held by Seaside Rory and L A Delight.
Moffat resident Jack Moiseyev conditions Gottalovemyshadow for Joanne Colville of Moffat, Nancy MacNevin of Essex and Emma Christoforou of Moffat, ON. In six lifetime starts the chestnut daughter of Shadow Play boasts a record of three wins and one third for earnings of $31,530.
The final Grassroots division, contested in a driving rain, went to Check Mach and Guelph resident Scott Young, who sprinted by pacesetter and fan favourite Kloof Street in the stretch. The pair reached the wire one-half length on top in 1:57.1, a personal best for Check Mach. B Fifteen rounded out the top three while the McNair stable’s third entry, Cams Lucky Star, finished out of the money in sixth.
Young engineered the win from Post 1 for trainer Jerry Duford of Rockwood and his partner in Home Stretch Holdings Inc., Joanne Wray, along with Lloyd and Barbara Tylee of Grimsby, ON. The victory was the Mach Three daughter’s first in Ontario Sires Stakes competition and her third of the season.
“With the rail it was either cut it or sit the two-hole behind Travis (Cullen and Kloof Street), so when the option came to follow the favourite I said, ‘Well, it works, I should be second’,” said Young, who notched his first OSS victory of the season with the effort. “And, you know, she tightened up in the last turn, and when I moved her she paced by, so I was very happy with her.”
The three-year-old pacing fillies will continue their Grassroots rivalry on July 21 at Mohawk Racetrack, while the Gold Series fillies arrive at Grand River Raceway next Monday, June 26 for the second event on their calendar.