Six divisions of sophomore pacing fillies battled at Mohawk Racetrack on Friday evening (July 22) and Noone To Depend On captured her second Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots trophy to retain control of top spot in the division standings.
Starting from post three in the second $18,000 Grassroots division, Noone To Depend On dropped into second behind Twin B Thong and stayed on the pacesetter’s heels through fractions of :26.4, :56.3 and 1:25. Turning for home, driver Jody Jamieson asked Noone To Depend On for another gear and the filly powered by Twin B Thong to a one and one-quarter length victory in 1:53.1. Kays Shadow finished third.
“’Nina,’ as she’s called in the barn, was back to herself tonight,” said driver Jamieson. “She’s a pure and simple ‘trip horse,’ like many are, but she seems to fire every time she gets a good one.
“I’m very happy for my sister,” added the Moffat, Ont. resident, who steers Noone To Depend On for his father, trainer Carl Jamieson of Rockwood, Ont., and sister, Brandy Jamieson of Milton, Ont.
The win was the Santanna Blue Chip daughter’s second in Grassroots action this season and, combined with her third-place finish in the other leg, gives her a total of 112 points and sole ownership of top spot in the division standings.
Pursuing Noone To Depend On in the point race are two fillies who also picked up their second Grassroots trophies on Friday.
Bourbon Seelster kicked things off in the first race with an impressive effort that saw her leave sharply from post nine, lead the charge up the outer lane, circle out three-wide heading by the three-quarters and then hold off a late charge from Bernadette to secure a one-half length victory in 1:53. Southwind Tango was three and one-quarter lengths back in third.
The Camluck filly is a perfect two-for-two in Grassroots action, having skipped the second leg in favour of the July 9 Gold Series event at Mohawk. Bourbon Seelster finished a closing fourth in her Gold division, but trainer Robert Manders and owners Keith and Scott Manders of Watford, Ont. decided a return to the Grassroots program was in order. Friday’s win gives the filly 100 points in the race for a berth in the Grassroots post season.
Also pursuing Noone To Depend On is Forever Liza, who got a confident steer from James MacDonald in the fourth division. Fourth through the early going, MacDonald sent Forever Liza to the front before the halfway marker and then repelled a challenge from fan favourite Westsluckycam at the three-quarters. Once she had disposed of the favourite, Forever Liza powered home to a four-length victory in 1:53. Queenofthejungle and Bad Lightning rounded out the top three.
“She was very good tonight,” said Guelph, Ont. resident MacDonald. “I moved her to the front and she was a bit green there, but when Jody [Jamieson and Westsluckycam] got up beside her she just took off.
“She is a nice big, strong filly,” added MacDonald, who piloted Forever Liza to the win for trainer Mark Steacy of Lansdowne, Ont. and owner Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, Que.
Like Noone To Depend On, the Bettors Delight daughter won her division in the Grassroots season opener, and two wins plus the fourth-place result she recorded in the July 11 event give her a total of 108 points.
The fastest mile of the six Grassroots divisions was recorded by Tonightimlovingyou, who went gate-to-wire in 1:52.4 to best Active Lady and Glorious Delight in race five.
“She was good tonight,” said driver Doug McNair of Guelph, Ont. “I think she was going to be second in her last Gold, but she made a break at the three-quarter pole. I was happy we got the win with her tonight.”
A full-sister to $1.5 million winner See You At Peelers, Tonightimlovingyou started her season at the Gold Series level, finishing seventh in the June 4 opener and then making a break and finishing ninth in the July 9 event. Wanting to restore the filly’s confidence, trainer Ciaran Morrison of Harley, Ont. decided a move to the Grassroots level was in order and the decision paid off with the Bettors Delight daughter’s third win of the season.
Christina Takter of East Windsor, New Jersey, John and Jim Fielding of Toronto, Ont., and Goran Falk of Allentown, New Jersey share ownership of Tonightimlovingyou.
Fan favourite Maxim Seelster sprinted down the stretch to post a neck victory over Tahiti Seelster and Top Royal in the fifth division. Milton resident Sylvain Filion engineered the 1:53.2 win for trainer Rene Bourassa of Fergus, Ont. and owner M & S Racing Stable Inc. of Rockwood, Ont. The win was the Big Jim daughter’s second in eight starts and boosted her earnings to $25,200.
The final trophy went home with Evangelin Seelster, who also employed a late rush to get a nose decision over Docs Diva. HP Sissy was two lengths back in third. The 1:53.4 clocking was a personal best for the Camluck daughter, who was driven to victory by Trevor Henry of Arthur, Ont. Andrew McCabe of Guelph-Eramosa, Ont. trains Evangelin Seelster for Glenview Livestock Ltd. of Wallenstein, Ont.
All six of Friday’s winners will be looking to maintain or improve on their position in the division standings when they make their fourth Grassroots start at Mohawk on Aug. 5.
In regular racing action on Friday night, the 2015 Grassroots filly champion Mayhem Seelster earned the first victory of her sophomore season in an $18,000 conditioned pace to give Puslinch, Ontario-based trainer Tony O’Sullivan his 1,000th career win.
Sylvain Filion drove the Mach Three filly, who followed in sixth through the first three-quarters of a mile before storming home from third over in :27.1 to win by one and a half lengths in 1:51.3 ahead of six-year-old mare Victoria Semalu and sophomore Free Show.
Mayhem Seelster, who is competing in the Gold Series this year, has earned top-three finishes in six of her eight starts for owner Domenic Chiaravalle of Hamilton, Ont.
O’Sullivan, 40, has been a top trainer on the Woodbine Entertainment Group Circuit since breaking out on his own in 2004. The New Zealand native has sent out the winners of over $1 million in earnings in 12 of 13 full seasons operating his own barn. O’Sullivan has topped $3 million in earnings on four occasions, including last season when his stable had 105 victories. Operating a successful stable on both sides of the border, O’Sullivan’s stable earned over $1.1 million in the United States and over $1.8 million in Canada last season.
O’Sullivan has trained many notables over his career, including Breeders Crown winner Susies Magic, Adios winner Alsace Hanover and Ontario star Love Canal.
This season, O’Sullivan has sent out the winners of 56 races and over $1 million. He currently ranks third in the Mohawk meet trainer standings with 20 wins.
(Standardbred Canada with files from OSS and WEG)