The 2014 racing season at Clinton Raceway came to a close on Sunday afternoon (August 31) with a 12-race card featuring the track’s 34th annual Charity Drivers’ Challenge as well as a track record performance in the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots program.
Winning half of the six Drivers’ Challenge races, James MacDonald secured the victory and ended up with a total of 171 points. Jody Jamieson had a driving double in the challenge and finished second with 122 points. Trevor Henry consistently hit the board to earn 99 points and finish in third-place.
Rounding out the leaderboard were Ryan Holliday (77 points), Chris Christoforou (73 points), Phil Hudon (58 points), Bruce Richardson (25 points), and Doug McNair (15 points).
All eight participants have generously donated their driving fees from the competition to Childcan, an organization based out of London, Ont. that assists local families through diagnosis, treatment and bereavement of childhood cancer. This year’s event raised more than $10,000 through the participating drivers’ fees, sponsorships, loom bracelet sales, a 50/50 draw, silent auction, bake sale, charity BBQ and twoonie auction.
Over the past 34 years, Clinton Raceway’s annual Drivers’ Charity Challenge has raised more than $270,000 for several different charities and local community causes.
Six $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots divisions were also contested on the program. The star of those races was Thinkofagameplan, who moved into sole possession of the top spot in the Grassroots point standings with a 1:57 track record performance in the third split.
With Randy Waples handling the driving assignment, Thinkofagameplan overtook leader Pan Street USA (Doug McNair) from first-over past three-quarters and then drew away in the stretch to win by four lengths in the new track record clocking. Pan Street USA wound up second with Pair Of Deuces (Paul MacDonell) back in third.
The 1:57 effort dropped the track record for a two-year-old pacing colt by a fifth of a second. It had belonged to Front Row since he won a Grassroots division in 1:57.1 on September 21, 2003.
Thinkofagameplan, a Ponder colt who scored his third win (all in Grassroots competition) from six attempts and pushed his bankroll to $36,660, is a homebred for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor, Ont. 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.
In other action, three horses picked up their second Grassroots wins of the season. The first to do it was Moonwards Hanover (Paul MacDonell), who backed up his victory last Sunday at Georgian Downs with a 1:59.2 tally in the Grassroots opener. He was followed up by Twin B Scandal (Joe Hudon), who bagged the fourth section in a gelding track record of 1:58 after a two-hole trip, and The Fire Within (Jody Jamieson) was the last to double up as he snagged the fifth flight in 1:58.4.
Trainer Jack Darling’s stable of Cambridge, Ont. owns Moonwards Hanover, a son of Sportswriter. Darling purchased Moonwards Hanover, who is now two-for-five in the win column with a bankroll of $30,500, for $35,000 at last year’s Standardbred Horse Sale. The Hanover Shoe Farms Inc.-bred is the third foal out of the Western Ideal mare Mouse Hanover, a half-sister to the likes of Mt Vernon Hanover (Rustler Hanover, $623,067), a two-time OSS winner.
Joe Hudon, who resides in Acton, Ont., also co-owns Twin B Scandal, a gelded son of Mach Three-Twin B Intrigue (McArdle), with partner R A W Equine Inc. of Burlington, Ont. Twin B Scandal now has a pair of triumphs from seven efforts, and he has banked $28,440. 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, who brought $32,000 at last year’s Canadian Yearling Sale, was bred by Twinbrook Limited and James Kirk.
The Fire Within is a gelding by Whosurboy and out of the Big Towner mare Mollie Hanover ($311,480). The half-brother to millionaire Illusionist picked up his third win from six attempts and ran his rookie season earnings to $23,620 for breeder, owner and trainer Fred Drouillard of Dutton, Ont.
Also winning in Grassroots competition today were:
—Star Cover (Jody Jamieson, 1:57.3). This son of Royal Mattjesty is owned and trained by Blake MacIntosh of Waterdown, Ont. Star Cover has won twice from seven trips behind the gate and he has put away $14,060. He was bred by Winbak Farm and fetched $4,500 at the 2013 Forest City Yearling Sale. Star Cover’s dam is the Dexter Nukes mare Armbro Rosebud ($721,057), an Ontario Sires Stakes superstar who won 11 times from 14 attempts during her OSS career.
—Charlottes Colony (Trevor Henry, 1:58). An Art Colony colt, Charlottes Colony broke his maiden in his fifth try and boosted his output to $16,800. Charlottes Colony is trained by Richard Moreau for owners Thomas McGuffog of Hanwell, N.B. and Geoffrey Macneish of Douglas, N.B. Charlottes Colony, whose dam is the Mohican Pride mare OGs Starlett ($536,647), was bred by Dan Belliveau and was hammered down for $4,200 at last year’s Atlantic Classic Yearling Sale.
The next Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots event for rookie pacing males will take place on September 12 at Mohawk Racetrack.
(With files from OSS and Clinton Raceway, Standardbred Canada)