After a fierce battle down the Georgian Downs stretch on Tuesday evening, local filly Sheer Talent rewarded her connections’ faith with her first Grassroots victory.
Starting from Post 6 in the third $18,000 Grassroots division, Sheer Talent eased off the starting gate and was sitting fifth when fan favourite Village Jamie reached the quarter in :28.1. Driver Jonathan Drury soon sent the two-year-old pacing filly up the outside and Sheer Talent had taken control of the front-end before the :57.2 half. After rolling through a 1:25.4 three-quarters, Sheer Talent fought off Village Jamie’s stretch drive challenge and hung on for a one-half length victory in 1:55.2. White Dancer finished third.
“She showed a lot of her inexperience and her quirks tonight,” said trainer Carmen Auciello. “She didn’t want to sit in a hole, but Jonathan handled her very well with the move to the front. She looked a little green on the front, but once she hit the head of the stretch and JD was able to chase her a bit, she dug back in.”
The win was the second this season and the first in Grassroots action for Sheer Talent, who is owned by Robert Burgess of Cedar Valley, ON. The Badlands Hanover daughter, a $20,000 acquisition from last fall’s Forest City Yearling Sale, had finished fifth, sixth and eighth in her first three Grassroots starts.
“She’s not a world beater, but I’m confident we still haven’t seen the best of this filly,” added Stouffville, ON resident Auciello.
Tuesday’s victory boosted Sheer Talent into the top 20 with one regular season Grassroots event remaining. After the six regular season events the top 20 point earners will advance to the Sept. 15 Semi-finals at Mohawk Racetrack, with the top five finishers from each Semi-final earning a berth in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship at Mohawk on Sept. 24.
After three runner-up performances, Odysseus finally took home a Grassroots trophy from the first division. Starting from Post 1, the Mach Three daughter and driver Doug McNair stalked fan favourite Shanghai Sugar from the pocket and then accelerated past the pacesetter in the stretch to record a one and three-quarter length victory in 1:55. Shanghai Sugar settled for second and Dudesalady rounded out the top three.
“She’s always had speed, she just took a little longer to relax and learn how to race,” said McNair of the three-time bridesmaid.
The Guelph resident piloted Odysseus to her first victory for trainer Ted MacDonnell of Allenford and his partner Leonard Gamble of Etobicoke, ON. A full-sister to $628,083 winner I Found My Beach, Odysseus was a $17,000 purchase from the Forest City Yearling Sale. Tuesday’s victory boosted her earnings to $22,900 and moved her into second spot in the division standings with 127 points.
The only filly ahead of Odysseus in the point standings is P L Kahluaa, and the division leader captured her third straight Grassroots trophy at Georgian Downs on Tuesday. In rein to Milton, ON resident Sylvain Filion, P L Kahluaa led the field to a :28.2 quarter from Post 6, ceded control to Anderson Seelster through a :58 half and 1:26.3 three-quarters, and then powered back to the front to record a 1:54 personal best. Anderson Seelster finished three-quarters of a length back in second and Amulet Seelster was five more lengths back in third.
“She’s amazing, she still surprises me,” said trainer Richard Moreau. “I’m very fortunate to have her in my barn.”
The Puslinch, ON resident conditions P L Kahluaa for numbered company 9303 3868 Quebec Inc. of Blainville, QC. In six starts the Sportswriter daughter now has three wins, one second and earnings of $32,784 and sits well out in front of her peers in the Grassroots point race with 180.
The two-year-old pacing fillies will wrap up their Grassroots regular season on Sept. 8 at Flamboro Downs.