Seven $18,000 divisions of the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series for two-year-old colt and gelding trotters took place on Wednesday (July 30) at Grand River Raceway, and Hemi Seelster padded his lead atop the group with a 2:02 victory in the sixth split.
With Steve Byron in the bike, Hemi Seelster was well clear of his rivals through opening-half fractions of :29.1 and 1:00.4. Pocket-sitter Tarot (Riina Rekila) made up ground in the third quarter, but Hemi Seelster was still on the point at the 1:31.4 three-quarters. In the stretch, Tarot looked to get around the tempo-setter, but Hemi Seelster proved too tough for Tarot, drawing off to win by two and a quarter lengths. Olympic Son (Anthony MacDonald) finished third.
Hemi Seelster is trained by John Bax for his Parkhill Stud Farm, Matthew Bax, and Goin To The Show Stable of Peterborough, Ont., along with John Houston of Cobourg, Ont. He is now a perfect three-for-three in Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series action and has won three of his four starts overall, earning $27,000 in the process. Sired by Holiday Road, Hemi Seelster was bred by Seelster Farms Inc. of Lucan, Ont. and sold for $19,000 at last year’s Forest City Yearling Sale. His dam is Hollywood Beauty, who is by Angus Hall. Hollywood Beauty scored a victory in an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series elimination as a two-year-old.
Also staying unblemished in OSS Grassroots company was Pridecrest, who stepped to a 2:05 victory in race four for driver Roger Mayotte. Pridecrest posted panels of :31.2, 1:03, and 1:34.3, then fought off passing lane pursuer Snapshot Springs (Trevor Henry) through the stretch drive to win by a neck. Cheque The Magic (Anthony Haughan) grabbed third.
After an unsuccessful try at the OSS Gold level, Pridecrest dropped into the Grassroots Series and has won both of his races for trainer Susie Kerwood and owner/breeder Langcrest Farm of East Garafraxa, Ont. The son of Angus Hall and the Wesgate Crown mare Spilled Milk has put away $18,000 to go with his pair of victories.
The fastest section was won by Pilgrims Joy (James MacDonald), who broke his maiden in an impressive 2:01.2 over the half-mile oval. Pilgrims Joy, who was competing in the fifth Grassroots test, came first-over past the half, took over the lead at three-quarters, and wound up winning by a length and three-quarters over early leader Ontheroad De Vie (Rick Zeron). Jayport All Muscle (Trevor Henry) checked in third.
Johnathan McKinnon trains the victorious Pilgrims Taj colt for owner/breeder Len Kordy of Kingston, Ont. Pilgrims Joy, who pushed his bankroll to $14,268, is the last foal out of the late Incredible Abe mare Joy Of Pleasure. Joy Of Pleasure was also an Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots winner as a two-year-old.
Also getting to celebrate Ontario Sires Stakes success were:
—Angels Kid (Angus Hall-Solange Kosmos-S Js Photo), a 2:03.3 winner for driver Doug McNair, trainer Gregg McNair, and owner/breeder S S G Stables of North Boston, New York.
—Freddie (Majestic Son-Circe Hanover-Muscles Yankee), who halted the clock in 2:03.3 for driver Trevor Henry, trainer Corey Johnson, and owners Debbie Element of Waterdown, Ont. and Fred Brayford of Alliston, Ont.
—Saviano As (Taurus Dream-Nurse Conway-Conway Hall), who broke his maiden in 2:05 with Billy Davis Jr. in the bike for trainer Anette Lorentzon, co-owner/breeder Acl Stuteri Ab of Paris, Kentucky, and co-owner Kjell Johansson of Sosdala, Sweden.
—Don Jarvis (Cornaro Dasolo-Mary Irena-Angus Hall), a 2:04.4 victor for trainer/driver Eddie Green and owner Kristine Green of Ohsweken, Ont.
The next Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series test for the freshman colt and gelding trotters will occur on August 8 at Mohawk Racetrack.
To view Wednesday’s harness racing results, click on the following link: Wednesday Results – Grand River Raceway.