The regular season for the two-year-old colt and gelding pacers of the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series concluded on Friday (September 12) night at Mohawk Racetrack with five $18,000 divisions, and Moonwards Hanover and Thinkofagameplan both kept their Grassroots win streaks intact.
Competing in the opening event, Moonwards Hanover (Paul MacDonell), who came into this race off Grassroots successes on August 24 at Georgian Downs and August 31 at Clinton Raceway, circled from third to first before the :56.3 half. He would go on to post three-quarters in 1:26.1 and then kicked home in :28.4 to win by half a length over a closing Rightinthekisser (Doug McNair). There was a dead-heat for third between Big Moment (Randy Waples) and Ballybunion (James MacDonald).
Trainer Jack Darling’s stable of Cambridge, Ont. owns Moonwards Hanover, a son of Sportswriter. Darling purchased Moonwards Hanover, who is now three-for-six in the win column with a bankroll of $36,000, for $35,000 at last year’s Standardbred Horse Sale. The Hanover Shoe Farms Inc.-bred is the third foal out of the Western Ideal mare Mouse Hanover, a half-sister to the likes of Mt Vernon Hanover (Rustler Hanover, $623,067), a two-time OSS winner.
Thinkofagameplan (Randy Waples), the points leader in this group, was behind the gate in the second Grassroots split, and he would pull out of the pocket to take command after the :27-second opening quarter. Thinkofagameplan, who was second in a division of the Grand Circuit Champlain Stakes at Mohawk in his last try, would then click off the half in :57-seconds and the three-quarters in 1:26.2 en route to a 1:54.3 score. He defeated runner-up Mybestolxfriendray (Phil Hudon) by a length and three-quarters with Ace Of Clubs (Doug McNair) back in third.
Thinkofagameplan, a Ponder colt who scored his fourth win (all in Grassroots competition) from eight attempts and pushed his earnings to $76.440, is a homebred for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor, Ont. and Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington, Ont. The winner is the second foal out of the Camluck mare Noshameinmygame. She was a Grassroots winner at both two and three.
While those familiar faces were victorious, the other three Grassroots flights were all won by horses who hadn’t yet tasted a win in the provincial program this season.
Mr Carrotts (Phil Hudon) was the first to break through as he won the third section in 1:54.2. He was first at the :27.2 opening quarter and the :56.4 half, but first-over challenger Star Cover (Jody Jamieson) put a head in front at the 1:25.2 three-quarters. Mr Carrotts would battle back on the inside in the lane, and he would go on to beat Star Cover by a length at the finish line with Windsong Lord (Chris Christoforou) in third.
Murray Brethour trains Mr Carrotts, a colt by Mach Three, for owner/breeder Melvyn Varcoe of Thornton, Ont. Mr Carrotts broke his maiden in his fifth trip behind the gate, and he has now put away $10,000. He’s the fourth foal out of the Run The Table mare Cueless ($466,638), who was a three-time winner in OSS competition during her racing career.
Robert Hill (James MacDonald) had been picking up minor shares against Gold Series competition, but a drop to the Grassroots level made him a 1:54.1 winner on this night. He left from post eight in the fourth Grassroots test, and he was up to grab the front after the :27.4 opening quarter. Robert Hill would go on to put the :56.3 half and the 1:25.3 three-quarters on the board before a :28.3 final kicker sealed his two and a quarter length triumph. Halton Hurricane (Rick Zeron) was second and Pace Seelster (Jody Jamieson) nabbed third.
Tony Alagna trains the winner, a Jeremes Jet colt, for owner Thomas Hill of England. Robert Hill, who was bred by Perretti Farms and sold for $30,000 at the 2013 Canadian Yearling Sale, picked up his first win from six attempts, and he has now pocketed $19,220. He’s the seventh foal out of the Caprock mare Smooth Latin N ($217,884), which makes him a half-brother to two six-figure earners in McApulco ($365,942) and Mcaracas ($170,579) and to three-year-old Shadios, who has won twice in Grassroots competition this year for the Alagna/Hill combination.
In the nightcap it was Supersonic Jet (Trevor Henry) who chopped out the :26.4 first quarter, but he would be overtaken by both Pier Ho Temptation (Chris Christoforou) and Shippen Out (Doug McNair) prior to the :56.2 half. Shippen Out then got to three-quarters first in 1:25, fighting off a first-over test by Jeb (Phil Hudon) in the process. Shippen Out put away Jeb for good early in the stretch drive and then held his pursuers at bay late in the mile to win by a length and a quarter in 1:54. Mystical Jet (Jody Jamieson) came in second and Twin B Scandal (Joe Hudon) took third.
Blair Burgess trains the victorious Badlands Hanover colt for owner Karin Olsson-Burgess of Milton, Ont. Shippen Out won for the first time in eight starts, and he has now earned $16,150. Winbak Farm bred Shippen Out, who fetched $9,000 at last year’s Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. He’s the first foal out of the No Pan Intended mare Shipps Bikini ($410,500), who won a Grassroots division herself as a two-year-old.
The two-year-old colt and gelding pacers of the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series will return to Mohawk next Friday (September 19) to compete in their Semifinal events.