If Walter Parkinson is somewhat conflicted as to which colt to cheer for in Monday night’s sixth race at Mohawk, it’s perfectly understandable.
As the assistant farm manager of Seelster Farms in Lucan, Ont., he’ll be watching York Seelster closely, but he’ll also be rooting for Sportsmanship, a colt he and his family bred and still co-own.
Both colts have drawn into the second of three $70,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold divisions for two-year-old pacing colts.
“Sportsmanship is the second foal of Lady D M (pictured at right), which my family raised and raced. She’s definitely the best horse we’ve had,” noted Parkinson of the winner of $634,000 in her career. “Her first foal was a filly called High Intentions by No Pan Intended. She trained down quite well, but suffered a suspensory injury so we now have her as a broodmare and she’s in foal to No Pan Intended.”
Parkinson and his parents, Walter Sr. and Ruth Ann, and sisters, Melanie and Melissa, comprise Parkinson Farms, also of Lucan. They sold Sportsmanship at the Forest City Yearling Sale last fall for $50,000 to leading trainer Dave Menary, who offered them a percentage of the horse with his partners Ken Ewen of Georgetown, Denis Breton of Welland and Tom Kyron of Toronto and they were happy to accept.
“He trained down really well. He’s good gaited, smart and keeps going forward. He’s from the first crop of Sportswriter and most trainers seem to like them so far,” said Parkinson.
Jody Jamieson will guide Sportsmanship from post five on Monday night. This is the colt’s first lifetime start after three qualifiers, two that he won and the other he finished second after a brief bobble. “That was just from being green, he recovered and came a good last quarter.”
Starting in post two in the same race is a colt Sportsmanship likely shared a pasture with as a young foal, York Seelster. “When my parents sold their farm four years ago, we moved Lady D M here to Seelster Farms so chances are they would have been in a paddock together when they were foals,” said Parkinson.
A son of Mach Three, York Seelster was purchased by noted trainer Jack Darling of Cambridge, Ont. from the same Forest City Sale, for $55,000. “Jack has had a lot of success with young stakes horses so we were very happy when he bought York.”
Paul MacDonell will drive York Seelster, who has two qualifiers under his harness to date, the most recent being a win on June 21.
Three additional colts raised and sold by Seelster Farms will be spotlighted the following race night at Mohawk, Tuesday, July 8, in the first 2014 OSS Grassroots event for the rookie pacing colts.
Six $18,000 divisions will be featured and in the first, race one, Surge Seelster has post two. The son of perennial champion sire Camluck (who stands at Seelster Farms), Surge is owned by Harry Locke of Oshawa, Ont. and trainer Randy Van Meer. That partnership also owns Pace Seelster, another son of Camluck who has post eight in the sixth race Tuesday.
The third Seelster-bred starting Tuesday night is Stature Seelster. The Artistic Fella colt is a half-brother to former OSS star Style, a winner of $574,000 in her career. Owned by Gilles Beaudoin of Gloucester and Michael Larkin of Oreleans, Ont., the colt has post four in race three with Jacques Beaudoin at the lines.
All five youngsters sold in the same session at last year’s Forest City Sale, which is owned in part by Seelster Farms. York was hip 25, Pace 31, Stature 36, Sportsmanship 73 and Surge was hip 114. The OSS races mark the first lifetime start for each of them.
“It’s a really exciting time. This will help show us where [Sportsmanship] belongs,” noted Parkinson, who will be on hand at Mohawk to cheer the boys on with his family. “We have kept Sportsmanship eligible to the Battle of Waterloo, Metro, Governor’s Cup and Breeders Crown as well as the OSS so there’s a lot of opportunity if he is competitive.”
They’ll have a far better idea following Monday night’s sixth race. The other two OSS Gold contests are races two and eight. The Grassroots events for the same group the following night will go postward as races one, two, three, six, eight and nine.
(With files from OSS)