Ontario Sires Stakes action returned to Flamboro Downs on Saturday, September 2 with two Grassroots divisions for the two-year-old trotting colts.
In the first $18,100 division, favourite Stormont Ventnor finally found the winner’s circle after a trio of runner-up finishes. A son of Justice Hall, Stormont Ventnor and driver Phil Hudon established early control and never faced a challenge, rolling through fractions of :30.4, 1:02.2 and 1:32.3 on their way to a four-and-three-quarter length win in 2:02.1. P L Louigi and Audacious finished second and third.
“The colt raced great. I scored him out to get a good feel of him and he scored out great, so I let him trot on out and then got the fractions all in my favour and he did the rest,” said Hudon, who has driven the colt in three of his four Grassroots starts. “He’s a nice little colt.”
Guelph resident Hudon crafted the win for trainer Kevin Benn of Napanee and owner-breeder Eric Baker of Long Sault, ON. In his four Grassroots starts Stormont Ventnor has accumulated $23,412 and 125 points, which puts him atop the division standings with one regular season event remaining at Grand River Raceway on Sept. 13.
The second $18,450 division saw Leaderofthepack return to the Grassroots winner’s circle, cruising on the front to his second win, which was timed in 2:04.2. Starting from Post 3, Leaderofthepack and driver Ryan Holliday posted fractions of :31, 1:02.3 and 1:34.3 on their way to the one-and-a-half length victory over Radical Attempt and North And South. Favourite Barney Mac made an early break and finished fifth.
“He raced good,” said Holliday. “We got the control thing, so that always helps on a half-mile, but he was a little better tonight too. It was his third week in a row he’s raced, and I think he’s just getting a little tighter, so that helped.”
Holliday piloted Leaderofthepack to the win for his father, trainer David Holliday, and brother, Ben Holliday, all of Mount Forest, ON. In five starts, the Angus Hall son has two Grassroots wins and one third-place finish. With 103 Grassroots points, he sits third in the division standings heading into the final contest of the regular season. The top 10 point earners after the Sept. 13 event will compete in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 30.
“The colt seems to be getting a little stronger, so hopefully he can hold his form together the next couple weeks here,” said Ryan Holliday. “If we can keep him good for the next two, we’ll be all set.”
Ontario Sires Stakes action will return to Flamboro Downs on Tuesday, September 12 with the last Grassroots event of the regular season for the two-year-old pacing colts.
(Ontario Sires Stakes)