Moving to the lead after the quarter, Henderson Seelster maintained control through the wire to take the $44,600 Balanced Image Trot at Hanover Raceway on Saturday, August 26.
Leaderofthepack led at the quarter in :29.4 before yielding to Henderson Seelster moving into the second turn. Bonnie Breeze, getting away fourth, attempted to challenge the pacesetter past a 1:00.2 half but stalled moving into the backstretch as Henderson Seelster extended to a four-length lead.
Through three-quarters in 1:30.2, Henderson Seelster cruised around the final turn while being pursued by stablemate Joey Bats circling by parked cover, rushing after Henderson Seelster in the stretch but was a length-and-a-half off the leader at the line as Henderson Seelster hit the wire in 2:01.1. Leaderofthepack, sent off the 2-1 favourite, was eight lengths behind in third.
By Holiday Road out of the Angus Hall mare Hollywood Beauty, Henderson Seelster won his second race in six starts, earning $30,610 for owner Douglas McCarthy. Trained and driven by Keith Jones, he paid $7.70 to win.
Just three weeks after finishing fourth in the Dream Of Glory Final, Yo Yo Mass returned to Hanover Raceway and scored an effortless Grassroots victory to open the stakes action on Balanced Image Night.
Starting from Post 2, with Hanover Raceway’s leading reinsman Bruce Richardson in the race bike, Yo Yo Mass went straight to the front and led the field of three-year-old trotting colts and geldings to a :29.4 opening quarter. The two continued to set the tempo through a 1:01.1 half and 1:31.3 three-quarters before cruising home to a 2:01.3 victory. Pocket-sitter Santini finished one and one-half lengths back in second and Vesuvio Bi was well behind the leaders in third.
“I was hoping to get away either first or second, and he left good enough to make the front and controlled the race from there,” said Richardson. “He was very handy, well in hand.”
Richardson won for trainer Kyle Reibeling of Campbellville and breeder Nancy Grimble of Newcastle, ON, who share ownership of the gelding. It was the Muscle Mass son’s second win in Grassroots action this season, and his fourth overall, boosting his sophomore earnings to $51,993. With one regular season Grassroots event remaining on the calendar, Yo Yo Mass sits second in the division standings with 133 points.
“He’s not a very big horse, but a very handy little horse,” noted Richardson. “He seems to be very versatile, seems to be very handy, and has a good attitude to him.”
The second $18,800 Grassroots division saw Charmbo Chrome take advantage of miscues made by four of his peers, including favourite Short Term Memory, to earn his first Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) victory.
Starting from Post 5, with veteran reinsman Ross Battin of Monkton, ON in the race bike, Charmbo Chrome coasted along on the front end to a six and one-half length win in 1:59.3. Enchanted Mission and Amanforallseasons finished second and third, making it a sweep for sire Manofmanymissions.
Kitchener resident John Rier conditions Charmbo Chrome and shares ownership with Randy Rier of Hanover, ON. The brothers also bred the gelding, who is the third foal from their former race mare Hetties Charm, a Grassroots winner during her career.
The third division featured another first-time OSS winner, as Majestic Marvel led around the Hanover half-mile in a sharp 1:58.4. Radical Road and Euro Gap finished well behind the leader in second and third.
Ryan Holliday of Mount Forest piloted the Majestic Son gelding from Post 6 to the winner’s circle for his father, trainer David Holliday, his wife Caroline Holliday, both of Mount Forest, and breeder Ron Corbett of St. Jacobs, ON. The win was the gelding’s fifth in 13 career starts, boosting his earnings to $42,840, and was his second straight after an almost two month-long stretch marred by breaks and required qualifiers.
“He gets beat when he beats himself, but he’s definitely capable. I hope we got him set up properly now,” said Ryan Holliday. “He did make me scratch my head a little while there, wasted a bit of time in the summer, but he’s a fast horse, it’s just if he minds his manners.”
Majestic Marvel and his peers will have one final opportunity to pad their Grassroots point total in the last regular season event at Mohawk Racetrack on September 7. The top 10 point earners from the six regular season events will earn a spot in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship at Mohawk on September 30.
“When I was a young man and in my teens and first started racing, I raced here at Hanover,” Nash reflected. “It’s always been an exceptional place to race. The people appreciate the horses, I think they appreciate the horsemen and the drivers, and Hanover Raceway is probably one of the nicest tracks you could come to in this whole province.”
(Standardbred Canada with files from the Ontario Sires Stakes)