Kicking off the freshman trotting filly Grassroots season was Here Comes Jenny, who started from Post 2 and laid down fractions of :29.3, 1:01 and 1:32.1 on her way to a one and three-quarter length victory in 2:03. Last Chance Babie (Stephen Byron) closed well to finish second, as did third-place finisher Conway Gal, who is owned, trained and driven by Mount Forest, ON resident Nick Henry.
Arthur, ON resident Trevor Henry engineered the victory for trainer Allen Tomlinson of Mason, MI and his partners Duane and Janice Chippi of Cass City, MI. The partners also bred the filly, who is by Here Comes Herbie and out of their $132,470 winning mare Jenny Rova.
The second Grassroots split saw Stephen Byron hustle L A Freeway away from Post 4, reaching the quarter pole in :29.4, four and one-quarter lengths ahead of her peers. The field shaved a few lengths off L A Freeway’s lead through the 1:01.4 half and 1:32 three-quarters, but the Kadabra daughter had extended it back out to three and one-quarter lengths by the time she reached the finish line, stopping the Grand River teletimer at 2:02.2.
Abbeycrest (Garrett Whelan) earned the second-place cheque, with Dabrina (Karen Hudon) four more lengths back in third. Trainer Joe Hudon of Acton, ON, R A W Equine Inc. of Burlington, ON and Herbert Boggs of Duncan, BC share ownership on Dabrina.
L A Freeway is conditioned by trotting specialist John Bax for owner-breeders Marvin Katz of Toronto, ON and Al Libfeld of Pickering, ON.
The final Grassroots skirmish was dominated by Frances Fancy, who led by just over two lengths from the moment she trotted away from Post 3 until she stopped the clock at 2:03.4. Magic Wheel, owned by driver Karen Hudon of Acton, ON and Margaret Payne of St. Augustine, FL, sat tucked in behind Frances Fancy and trailed her across the wire into the runner-up spot, while Shez So Striking (Robert Shepherd) closed well to claim third.
Guelph, ON resident James MacDonald trains and drives Frances Fancy for his partner Matthew Trelford of Mildmay, ON. The pair acquired the daughter of Mutineer from last fall’s Canadian Open Yearling Sale for a mere $3,500 — an amount the filly paid off, with interest, with Wednesday’s victory.
Frances Fancy is the ninth foal from Whiteland Paris, who produced the $451,548 winner Whiteland Image from her second mating. MacDonald prepped the filly for her Grassroots debut with an outing over the Grand River oval on June 21, where they logged a sixth-place finish from the outside Post 8.
The freshman trotting fillies will now travel to the nation’s capital for their second Grassroots event, at Rideau Carleton Raceway on July 30. Grand River Raceway’s action-packed Ontario Sires Stakes season continues on Wednesday, July 28 when the two-year-old trotting colts meet up in their second Gold Series skirmish.
In Wednesday’s Preferred action at the Elora half-mile track, the winners for both $10,500 events were separated by only a neck.
Chinnys Wings and Doug Bowins edged out the slight favourite, Mystical Starlight (Mike Langdon), to win the Preferred 2 Trot in 1:57.4. Bowins trains and co-owns the five-year-old gelded son of Armbro Ricochet-I Quiver Not, who won for the fourth time in his last five starts. Donald Brinkman of East Coulee, AB also shares ownership.
Race favourite Acceptable Risk, with Trevor Henry in the bike, was tested the whole mile before he eked out a neck victory over Ill Call U Back (Robert Shepherd) in 1:53.3 in the Preferred 2 Pace. The seven-year-old son of Intrepid Seelster-Southernbound Lady scored his sixth win in 20 starts this year for trainer Dan Morrissey and owners David Morrissey of Ailsa Craig, Daniel McCann, and William Woodburn of Parkhill, ON.