Driver Randy Waples captured a pair of three-year-old pacing colt Grassroots events at Mohawk Racetrack on Friday evening with horses trained by one of his harness racing heroes.
“Growing up in this business, he’s the guy that everybody always wants to drive for, so when you find yourself lucky enough to be driving for him it’s a rush every time,” said Waples of Hall of Fame trainer Bob McIntosh. “I have my heroes in the business too, and being able to drive horses for a guy like that, it’s a rush.”
Waples kicked off the Grassroots program with a win, steering Regal Sight to a 1:52.3 score from post six. The pair took control heading for the half and was never headed, sailing under the wire one and one-quarter lengths ahead of favourite Ace Of Clubs. The Fire Within was three lengths back in third.
“He raced really well,” said Waples. “He got a little hot behind the gate last week and made a break, but he was back to himself tonight.”
The win was the first this season for Regal Sight, who had posted one second and two thirds in the first three Grassroots events. Windsor, Ont. resident McIntosh and his partners C S X Stables of Liberty Center, Ohio and Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington, Ont. bred and own the son of Stonebridge Regal and You See L A, who currently sits seventh in the division point race with 99.
Waples and McIntosh recorded their second victory in the fourth Grassroots division, with the Milton, Ont. resident giving Artful Way a come-from-behind steer.
Starting from post nine, Waples eased Artful Way onto the rail in fifth and waited until the three-quarter marker to shift into the outer lane behind fan favourite Southwind Indy. Turning for home two and one-half lengths behind leader Feeling Cam Lucky, Waples shifted Artful Way into high gear and the gelding powered down the stretch to get a head in front of Feeling Cam Lucky and Southwind Indy in 1:51.3.
“He’s been drawing horrible lately. He’s had a 10 and two nines his last three starts down here, so he hasn’t really been able to get into the race. Tonight he had his nose right on the gate and when I looked over there looked like there was going to be a couple spots available, so it just really worked out good for him,” said Waples of the Artistic Fella son. “Usually if you can get him in the middle somewhere he doesn’t mind first over. He can grind away first over pretty good. He’s win two or three times like that.
“He can take a lot of air, he just seems not to get tired,” added Waples. “He’s got a big motor; a big motor and a big set of lungs.”
McIntosh bred and owns Artful Way, who was also a winner in the Grassroots season opener at Mohawk on June 2. In the other two Grassroots legs the gelding finished fifth and third, giving him a total of 117 points and sole ownership of fourth in the division standings with two regular season events remaining.
Bob Ben And John gave his connections a nice parting gift in the second Grassroots division. The Sportswriter gelding, who is entered in the Tattersalls Mixed Sale on Aug. 2, scored his first win of 2015 with a 1:53.3 front-end triumph over Windsong Lord and Halton Hurricane.
Milton resident Steve Condren crafted the victory for trainer Casie Coleman of Cambridge, Ont. and owners West Wins Stable of Cambridge and Adriano Sorella of Milton. Following the race Sorella took to Twitter to say farewell to the gelding: “Thanks for the memories Bob. Best of luck in your new home.”
Friday’s win boosted Bob Ben And John into eighth in the point race, making him a more attractive acquisition for a new owner hoping to participate in the Grassroots post season.
Sporting The Look also jumped up the standings with his victory in the third division. Another son of Sportswriter, Sporting The Look powered out of the pocket and past pacesetter Twin B Scandal to claim his second straight Grassroots win in a personal best 1:51.2. Mach Code rounded out the top three.
Moffat, Ont. resident Jody Jamieson engineered the victory for his father Carl Jamieson of Rockwood, Ont. and his partners 30 Plus Stable of Trenton, Ont. and Thomas Kyron of Toronto. Two wins and one eighth in Grassroots competition give Sporting The Look 101 points, putting him in sixth.
The final Grassroots trophy of the evening was awarded to the connections of His Boy Elroy, who also used come-from-behind tactics to secure the victory. Campbellville, Ont. resident Mike Saftic urged His Boy Elroy down the stretch to a one-quarter length win over Sugarsam and Make Some Luck in a personal best 1:51.4.
The Jeremes Jet son is trained by Jean Guy Belliveau for Dan MacRae of Baddeck, N.S. Through three Grassroots starts the colt now has one win, one second and one eighth-place result for a total of 76 points.
The three-year-old pacing colts and geldings will return to Mohawk Racetrack for the fifth Grassroots event of their season on August 21.
Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to the Campbellville oval on Tuesday, August 4 with three $70,000 Gold Series divisions for the two-year-old trotting fillies.
(Standardbred Canada with files from OSS)