The duo of trainer John Bax and driver Paul MacDonell has been lethal with young trotters since Lassie was a pup, and they proved it once again during Thursday’s 12-race card.
Flexceptional had a shaky start in her assignment, but she had a perfect finish for the tandem of MacDonell and Bax. The filly was stacked up third-over going into the final turn, but when MacDonell tipped her off cover turning for her she used a :29.2 closing quarter to win by three-quarters of a length over Dewy Take A Selfie in 2:01. Third prize went to Its A Hotty.
Sent off at odds of 16-1, the daughter of Federal Flex-Maurel Hanover won at first asking for owner Dave Hudson of Dallas, Texas. The youngster was purchased for $10,000 from last year’s Lexington Select Yearling Sale.
Stubborn Belle gave Bax and MacDonell their second stakes win on the card thanks to her gate-to-wire score. MacDonell hustled her to the front and she successfully threw down panels of :29.2, 1:00.2 and 1:30.3 before sprinting home in :29.2 for the 2:00 decision. Race favourite Tymal Illbethere was a distant second, with the show dough going to Whosgoingtocatchus.
It was the first lifetime win for the daughter of Taurus Dream-Musetta Hanover, who is owned by Al Libfeld of Pickering and Parkhill Stud Farm of Peterborough, Ontario. They purchased the filly for $85,000 from last year’s Harrisburg Yearling Sale
Mass Rail pulled off a 33-1 upset in her $18,000 division for Team Henry. The daughter of Muscle Mass-Hope Floats took over command around the final turn and drew clear to win in 1:59.1. Fiery Eyes was a distant second, with D Espoir rounding out the top three finishers.
Race favourite P L Indyanaca made a break and fell going into the first turn. The filly, who was kept down on the track by driver Chris Christoforou until the race was completed, got up on her own power shortly after the race and didn’t appear to suffer any serious injuries. Chris Christoforou bounced up quickly and fulfilled the rest of his driving commitments.
Muscle Mass improved her record to 1-1-0 from three tries for Trevor Henry Stables Inc and 1035840 Ontario Inc of Arthur, Ontario. Shannon Henry trains the trotting lass who was purchased for $11,000 from last year’s Lexington Select Yearling Sale.
Stay In Touch benefitted from a deep stretch break by Meganou en route to winning the third OSS Grassroots division. In rein to Randy Waples, Stay In Touch parked almost to the mid-way point before clearing to the lead, and she held the lead until halfway down the lane when Meganou surged past her. Meganou made a costly miscue, however, and that allowed Stay In Touch to regain the lead. She prevailed by three-quarters of a length over Sylvain Van Hall, who was later placed third for causing interference to Superbowl Sunshine around the final turn. Superbowl Sunshine was then third-placed-second.
Bob McIntosh trains the homebred daughter of Kadabra-Dial Nile, who now boasts a 2-1-0 record from her first three trips to the track. The career winner of $22,500 is owned by Robert McIntosh Stables Inc of Ontario and C S X Stables of Ohio.
Judy The Beauty was treated to a ground-saving trip in her OSS Grassroots division by driver Bob McClure, and when the rail opened up in the lane she knew what to do. The Muscle Mass-Northern Goddess miss blasted up the pylons to win comfortably in 2:00.3 over Second Sister and a badly bearing out Summers Jewel.
Keith Jones trains the rookie for owner Randy Zhok of Dover Centre, Ontario. Purchased for $8,000 from last year’s Blooded Horse Sale, the trotter has banked $20,160 to date. She now owns a 2-0-1 record from her first three assignments.
Striking Ivy made a bold, three-wide move around foes on the final turn and she sustained that drive to the line en route to posting a maiden-breaking win in 1:59.4 in the fifth division. Driven by Doug McNair for trainer Gregg McNair, the homebred defeated the race favourite, My Mini Snickers, and Elegant Serenity.
The fourth lifetime start was the charm for the daughter of Striking Sahbra-Pretty Muscles, who races for Bloomingwood Farms Ltd of Harriston, Ontario. The lion’s share of the purse bumped her bankroll to $13,440.
The Murmuring Pan finished up the track in her debut after getting interfered with in that Vernon Downs overnight assignment, but she had open road in tonight’s final OSS Grassroots division and that allowed her to sail by foes en route to posting a 1:59 victory. Steve Condren rallied the filly to the impressive win over Winem and race favourite Railee Priti.
Arnie Marks trains the homebred daughter of Kadabra for Peter Pan Stables Inc of Pepper Pike, Ohio. She’s the second foal out of the multiple stakes-winner mare, Epangeline (Q1:54.4 – $448,084).