Georgian Downs wrapped up its weekend showcase of two-year-old talent with three $18,000 Grassroots divisions for the novice trotting fillies, and Sunday’s outing may be the only time this season fans will see the division winners compete at the Grassroots level.
All three winners controlled the tempo and all three impressed their trainers, starting with Man Shes Hot in the first division.
In rein to Chris Christoforou, Jr., Man Shes Hot powered away from Post 5 and took control just past the :30.1 opening quarter. From there the pair laid down a 1:00.2 half and a 1:30.3 three-quarters before drawing away from the field to a two and three-quarter length win in 2:01. Hab Faith finished second and Whole Lot Of Sugar was four more lengths back in third.
“From the first day I got her after the sale — the first day I put the harness on her and the bike and everything — every day, every training, she never run, she always was a business girl,” said trainer Dany Fontaine. “And I always say to my owners, I don’t know if she’ll be a very good filly, but I know one thing, she do everything right, all winter, mile after mile, week after week, training after training.”
Fontaine prepped the Manofmanymissions daughter for Sunday’s Grassroots debut with two qualifiers at Mohawk Racetrack, on June 3 and 10, and two overnight races, on June 21 and 30. Man Shes Hot improved steadily with every outing, impressing both Fontaine and Campbellville, ON resident Christoforou.
“Chris Christoforou told me all the time, he said Dany, we’re better to have her quiet than too crazy, because when they’re too crazy they run from nothing or they scare,” Fontaine added. “Her, she’s never scared, she’s nice and she only trot, so I can’t complain about her. I’m very happy about her.”
The Lachenaie, QC resident shares ownership of Man Shes Hot with Ecurie Gaetan Bono Inc. of Montreal, QC, Marco Manna of Laval, QC and Jean Francois Reid of Anjou, QC. The partners acquired the filly from last fall’s Canadian Open Yearling Sale for $25,000 and in three starts she has returned $10,120.
The second division saw P C Pipe Dream and driver Curtis Clements get away second from Post 2 and take over from Late Shift just after she put up a :31.3 quarter. P C Pipe Dream went on to a 1:03.2 half and 1:33.3 three-quarters and then fought off a challenge from Kendras Coco to claim the 2:02.4 victory by three-quarters of a length. Kendras Coco finished second and Late Shift was two more lengths back in third.
“She’s a nice filly, she’s got a little bit of speed,” said Dobbinton, ON resident Clements. “She can leave a little bit and she shows a little bit of class. I hope that she can maybe move up in class, maybe in another start or two, and we’ll kind of go from there.”
Clements pilots the filly for his father Peter Clements, also of Dobbinton, who bred, owns and trains the daughter of Cornaro Dasolo and P C Dreams. P C Pipe Dream arrived at Georgian Downs with just one qualifier under her belt, a runner-up finish at Mohawk on June 24.
Finishing behind P C Pipe Dream in that qualifier was the winner of Sunday’s third Grassroots division, Literally. Like her peers in the first two splits, Literally and Dustin Jones got away well from Post 5 and took command before the :59.2 half. Literally cruised to a 1:29 three-quarters and then powered home to a 1:58.1 victory, four and three-quarter lengths ahead of Stormont Royalty. Oh Miss Sophie was well back in third.
“She sort of surprised me,” admitted Jones. “I knew she was fast, because when I qualified her she came back in :27.3, but I didn’t think she was that fast. She’s pretty good.”
The Waterdown resident bred, owns and trains Literally, who is a Justice Hall half-sister to his 2014-15 Ontario Sires Stakes champion trotting colt Dont Rush. Jones was originally pointing the filly toward the July 5 Gold Series event at Georgian Downs, but she came up sick after her June 24 qualifier and needed the extra five days to recover from the bug that has impacted many two-year-olds in recent weeks.
“She trained really good, and then I qualified her once, and then she got sick, so that’s why I didn’t put her in the Gold, but her next start will be in the Gold,” said the horseman. “She’s a pretty nice filly.”
Jones says the filly is a similar size to her half-bother, who was never known for his height, but has a decidedly different gait pattern.
“He had more of a gait that he was in the air a lot, and her she’s a more low to the ground gait, more like a Valley Victory gait or something like that,” Jones explained. “She doesn’t waste as much motion as he did.”
If they return to the Grassroots program, Sunday’s division winners will make their second Ontario Sires Stakes start at Mohawk Racetrack on July 21. If their connections opt to jump up to the Gold Series, they will compete at Mohawk on July 19.
Ontario Sires Stakes action does not return to Georgian Downs until Sunday, Aug. 7 when the Innisfil oval welcomes the exciting three-year-old pacing colts and geldings for their fourth Gold Leg.