Coming into Sunday evening’s program at Hanover Raceway, the track record for a three-year-old pacing gelding was 1:55.1, established by Bandexter on July 17, 2010. Well, after the five $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots dashes that took place over the half-mile oval, the mark had been lowered to 1:53.4, and it belonged to a trio of geldings.
The first gelding to smash the track record was Shadow Place (Trevor Henry) in the second section. Shadow Place came first-over past the :27.3 opening quarter and then battled on the outside of High Flier (Stu Sowerby) through the half in :56.1 and the three-quarters in 1:23.4. High Flier fought the good fight into the lane and continued to keep Shadow Place at bay, but in deep stretch Shadow Place finally forged his way past.
The race wasn’t over, though, as Lucky King (James MacDonald), who had followed from second-over, lunged at Shadow Place at the wire, but in the win photo it was revealed that Shadow Place had just held on, defeating Lucky King by a nose. High Flier was third, beaten a length.
Richard Moreau trains Shadow Place, a son of Shadow Play, for Quebec owners 9174 7998 Quebec Inc. of St-Janvier-Mirabel, Les Ecuries Bruce of Piedmont, and Henri Hebert Jr. of Papineauville. Shadow Place has now won twice from six tries this year, and he has four career victories. He has put away $23,440 in 2014 and $51,522 lifetime.
Shadios (Billy Davis Jr.) then equaled the new 1:53.4 track record for a sophomore pacing gelding in the fourth Grassroots flight. Fresh off a fast 1:50.3 victory in Grassroots action last time out at Georgian Downs, Shadios led through fractions of :27.3, :56.4 and 1:25.1 en route to a one and three-quarter length decision over Waco Bruiser (Travis Henry). Some Major Beach (Jody Jamieson) collected third.
Tony Alagna trains Shadios, also sired by Shadow Play, for Great Britain-based owner Tom Hill. Shadios has won four times from seven starts this year, and he has five career triumphs. He has earned $35,860 in his sophomore campaign and $50,150 in his life.
The time of 1:53.4 also flashed up on the clock following the Grassroots nightcap. This time it was Titus Seelster (Sylvain Filion) who added his name to the record book after nosing out Blacktree (Trevor Henry) at the wire after showing the way through stations of :27.1, :57.3 and 1:25.1. Finishing in third was Arrived Late (James MacDonald).
Stephane Larocque trains the victorious son of Artistic Fella for Quebec owners Brian Paquet of Quebec City and Bayama Farms Inc. of Saint-Andre-D’Argenteuil. Titus Seelster, making his sixth trip behind the gate this year, broke through for the initial win of his season, and it was his second lifetime tally. He has banked $16,027 this year and $56,152 lifetime.
The other Grassroots races were won by:
—Little Ben (sired by Jeremes Jet), who halted the clock in 1:54.2 for driver Trevor Henry, trainer Richard Moreau, and owners Luc Ouellette Incorporated and Anita Ouellette of Campbellville, Ont.
—Reasonable Force (Shadow Play), who was a 1:55.1 victor for driver James MacDonald, trainer Tony Montini, and owners Doug Dunbar of London, Ont. and Robert Leblanc of White Plains, New York.
Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots action for the three-year-old male pacers will resume on August 19 at Mohawk Racetrack.
(With files from OSS)