A small army of two-year-old pacing colts and geldings marched into Monday evening battle at Mohawk Racetrack, as the Campbellville, Ont. oval hosted five divisions of the OSS for Grassrooters.
Phantom Seelster smoked the foes he faced in his $19,150 division for driver Rick Zeron and trainer Marcel Barrieau.
Leaving from the rail, Phantom Seelster tucked into the three-hole while Avalon Hanover and Notabadgame battled to the quarter in :27.3. Notabadgame worked his way to the lead only to be overtaken in the backstretch by Avalon Hanover. Phantom Seelster then made his move to the lead, and took the field to the half in :56.1. He was still in charge at the three-quarter pole in 1:25.1 before jetting home in :28 to win by 4-1/2 lengths over Avalon Hanover in 1:53.1. Bo Mach was third.
“He’s a pretty serious colt, I’ll tell you,” Zeron said afterward. “Boy, he impressed the living jeezus out of me tonight.
“Jody (Jamieson with Avalon Hanover) chased me a little bit coming out of the top turn and I just spoke to him and hit the wheel disk a couple of times and he was gone,” the Oakville, Ont. resident continued. “He enjoys his work immensely and every time I spoke to him he responded to a ‘T,’ he responded right to what I needed him to do, and he took care of himself the rest of the race.”
Sent off as the 1-2 favourite, Phantom Seelster improved his record to 1-1-0 from two starts for Barrieau and partners Gestion Mastel Inc and Conrad Leber. The son of Mach Three-Pantecostal has banked $13,075 to date.
Stock shot up the pylons to take home the hardware in his $19,150 division for the team of driver Sylvain Filion and trainer Dany Fontaine.
Filion left hard from Post 7 with Stock and managed to tuck into the pocket spot behind race favourite Howmac Dancer, who led the field through fractions of :27.2, :58.1 and 1:27. Howmac Dancer drifted off the rail in the lane, and Stock shot through and used a :27.3 kicker to win by 2-1/4 lengths over Howmac Dancer in 1:55. Letjimmytakeover earned the show dough.
The homebred son of Sportswriter-Whycantiforgetyou, who was making his pari-mutuel debut, races for Sotirios Anastasopoulos and Ecurie Gaetan Bono Inc.
Master Of Love circled the field en route to capturing his $19,150 assignment for the team of driver Trevor Henry and conditioner Richard ‘Nifty’ Norman.
The son of Vintage Master-Denverlove got away ninth from Post 9, but he advanced to be seventh on the outside at both the half and three-quarter calls of the Grassroots tilt. P H Hippie and Wind Blast, in the meantime, took turns on the lead through fractions of :27.2, :57 and 1:26.1. Master Of Love unleashed a final quarter clocked in :28.1, and that was good enough to pass six foes in the closing quarter and post the win by a half-length margin over Wind Blast in 1:55.3. P H Hippie tagged along to be a bang-up third.
Alfred Ross of Dartmouth, MA bred and owns the colt who was making his pari-mutuel debut.
Northern Rebel was a popular winner in the fourth division for the driver/trainer combo of Bob McClure and Rene Bourassa.
The son of Sportswriter-Southwind Madonna sat fourth through the opening half of the $19,500 contest, but he made a first-over bid going to the mid-way point and eventually worked his way to the front going to the three-quarter pole. He drew clear by using a :29.1 final frame and posted the two-length triumph over Phil Dorleans in 1:56. Lucky Michael came on late to finish third.
“He seems to get better every week. He has one heck of a brush, I don’t know how far he can carry his speed yet, but I guess throughout the course of the year we’ll find out,” said McClure, who has made five appearances in the colt’s race bike, starting with a schooling mile in early June. “Rene’s done a really great job getting him ready and he’s just like an aged horse to drive, he’s really sweet. So as long as he stays sound and healthy he should have a really good year.”
The odds-on favourite, who is owned by Bourassa and partners Roland Trudel and Michel Damphousse, is now a two-time winner from three trips to the track. The colt bumped his lifetime earnings to $12,750 with the victory.
Shadow Moon hauled home the hardware in the final division thanks to a front-stepping score for driver Trevor Henry and trainer Dr. Ian Moore.
Henry hustled the son of Shadow Play-Lofty Yankee through fractions of :27.3, :57.2 and 1:25.4 before sealing the deal with a final quarter clocked in :28. He won by three lengths over JM Jack Of Hearts in 1:53.4. Blue Moose did the first-over work and wound up finishing third.
The 1-2 favourite was making his pari-mutuel debut for Moore and partners R G McGroup Ltd, Serge Savard and Gordon McComb.