The driver-trainer combination of Randy Waples and Hall of Famer Bob McIntosh connected for victories in two of the seven $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots events for two-year-old colt and gelding pacers on Friday night (August 15) at Mohawk Racetrack.
Their first winner was Big Moment, a colt by Camluck who just got up near the wire after a second-over trip to take the fourth Grassroots split by a neck in 1:55.1. Pan Street USA (Steve Condren) had taken the lead in the lane after a two-hole trip, but just fell short at the finish, and heavy favourite Seaforth (Mike Saftic), the leader at the top of the stretch, had to settle for third.
Big Moment, also a winner in Grassroots competition on July 21 at Grand River Raceway, is now three-for-five in the win column overall with earnings of $26,160 for McIntosh, who also bred the colt with C S X Stables. McIntosh’s stable of Windsor, Ont. and partner Max Newham of Merlin, Ont. own Big Moment, the fourth foal out of the No Pan Intended mare Breathtacular. Breathtacular is related to two six-figure earners in Breathdefying and Lucky Encounter.
Waples and McIntosh came right back to annex the fifth division with Thinkofagameplan. He moved to the lead before the :56.4 half, put away a first-over try from Supersonic Jet (Paul MacDonell) before the 1:25.2 three-quarters, and then paced a :28.4 final kicker to win by a length and a quarter in 1:54.1, which was the fastest of the seven Grassroots sections. Red Pine (Jody Jamieson) was up for second and Mac Raider (Mike Saftic) finished third.
Thinkofagameplan, a Ponder colt who scored his first win in four attempts and pushed his bankroll to $18,660, is a homebred for McIntosh 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.
The excellent first season for sire Sportswriter also continued as he picked up two more victories. Sportsmanship was a 1:54.3 winner for driver Jody Jamieson in the third Grassroots flight and Sports Lightning grabbed top honours in the six split, stopping the clock in 1:55.4 for driver Mike Saftic.
Sportsmanship was sent out by trainer Dave Menary for the Ontario ownership group of Kenneth Ewen of Georgetown, Denis Breton of Welland, Tom Kyron of Toronto, and Parkinson Farms of Lucan. Parkinson Farms also bred Sportsmanship, who broke his maiden in his fourth trip behind the gate. Now an earner of $12,500, Sportsmanship is the second foal out of the D M Dilinger mare Lady D M ($634,732), a two-time Ontario Sires Stakes Gold final winner.
Sports Lightning posted his second victory from four starts for co-owner/trainer Alvin Bowman of Markdale, Ont. He shares ownership with Robert Nobes of Stayner, Ont., Veral Robert Bowman of Deerfield Beach, Florida, and Donald Warden of Wasaga Beach, Ont. Sports Lightning, who has now put away $19,600 for his connections, is the sixth foal out of the Camluck mare Cohenikova.
Also winning in Grassroots action tonight were:
—Mybestolxfriendray (Cheyenne Rei-Baywatch-Keystone Raider), a 1:56.1 victor for driver Phil Hudon, trainer Kevin St. Charles, and owner Dr. Andrew Roberts of Lexington, Kentucky. The winner was bred by Bonley Farm Inc.
—Pair Of Deuces (Badlands Hanover-Pacific Dragonette-Dragon Again), who halted the clock in 1:55.3 for driver Rick Zeron, trainer Richard “Nifty” Norman, and owner/breeder Pinske Stables of Plato, Minnesota.
—Twin B Scandal (Mach Three-Twin B Intrigue-McArdle), who tallied in 1:56.1 for co-owner/trainer/driver Joe Hudon of Acton, Ont. and R A W Equine Inc. of Burlington, Ont. The dam of Twin B Scandal is out of Daylon Magic, who won 18 times in Ontario Sires Stakes competition between her two and three-year-old seasons. Twin B Scandal was bred by Twinbrook Limited and James Kirk.
The next Grassroots test for the rookie pacing colts and geldings is on August 24 at Georgian Downs.
Friday’s card also featured the Fillies and Mares Preferred Pace with Hope For Paddy pulling off a large 39-1 upset.
A field of seven mares, highlighted by the 2014 debut of last year’s three-year-old pacing filly of the year, I Luv Nitelife, lined up for the $30,000 feature race.
I Luv The Nitelife, who has been sidelined since last November with a knee fracture, was sent straight to the lead by driver Jack Moiseyev and got to call the shots throughout the mile.
After setting fractions of :26.4, :54.4 and 1:23.2, I Luv The Nitelife was confronted at the three-quarter pole by the first up challenge of Hope For Paddy and driver James MacDonald.
In the stretch, Hope For Paddy overtook the lead from I Luv The Nitelife and held off second-place finisher American In Paris, who was towed around the final turn second over, and third place finisher Voelz Hanover, who got a two-hole trip behind I Luv The Nitelife, to pick up the victory in 1:50.4.
I Luv The Nitelife faded back finishing fifth, while D Gs Pesquero rounded out the Superfecta in fourth.
The Preferred upset was the sixth win in 22 starts this season for Hope For Paddy and it was her first career victory at the Preferred level.
A five-year-old daughter of Mach Three–Hope For Life, Hope For Paddy is trained by Anthony Montini for owners Holland Racing Stable of Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ont.
Hope For Paddy’s seasonal earnings increase to over $81,000 with the victory and her career earnings now sit at over $363,000. The Preferred score was Hope For Paddy’s 23rd career visit to the winner’s circle.
She returned an eye-catching $80.30 to win.
Live racing continues tomorrow night at Mohawk with a 13-race card beginning at 7:25 p.m. Tomorrow night’s card features three divisions of both the Nassagaweya and Eternal Camnation Stakes.
(With files from OSS and WEG)