The 2016 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots season came to a close on Saturday night (September 24) at Mohawk Racetrack with eight new divisional title holders emerging from the $400,000 championships. Top pacing mare Lady Shadow was also in the spotlight, winning the $311,000 Milton Stakes.
Trot Insider has provided coverage of the eight, $50,000 Grassroots championships for two and three-year-olds, and the Milton Stakes for older pacing mares below.
Ontario Racing hosted a reception for the Ontario Sires Stakes. Here's Ontario Racing Executive Director Rob Cook with SC's President & CEO Dan Gall enjoying the night at Mohawk.
Two-Year-Old Filly Pace
Favourite Dudesalady prevailed off a second-over trip to win the Grassroots Championship for two-year-old pacing fillies in 1:54.2.
Jody Jamieson settled Dudesalady mid-pack from post six during a contested :26.2 first quarter and then tipped her outside down the backstretch where she picked up cover in the form of Daenerys Hanover (Paul MacDonell) through middle splits of :56.1 and 1:25.1. Dudesalady rallied three-wide to overtake the leading P L Karis (Chris Christoforou) in the stretch while Anderson Seelster (Jonathan Drury) also followed wide and closed within a neck of the 3-5 favoured filly. Village Jamie (Trevor Henry) finished two lengths behind in third.
"It's a stakes race final so I wasn't too worried about catching cover," said Jamieson of his racing strategy. "It didn't look like it maybe, but I know Mac's horse [Daenerys Hanover], they changed the bridle on her. Mac's been real good with her -- he won with her in :55 two Grassroots ago -- so I thought he didn't want to sit third so I wasn't too worried about catching cover. He didn't go as far as I like, obviously, but this mare was so good last week, she really impressed me. I think it was probably her best start of the year last week. Susie [Kerwood] kept her good all week and she came back and just repeated what she did last week."
Owned by M And L Of Delaware LLC and Victoria Dickinson, the Shadow Play-Accountable filly joined Susie Kerwood's stable at the end of August and has pushed her win count to five for her freshman campaign in which she has banked $61,910 in eight starts.
"She's a very nice filly," said Kerwood. "I think she's going to turn out to be a real good three-year-old filly.
"She takes care of herself like no other. She's very laid back. She makes my job easy."
Lady Shadow Wins Milton Stakes
Lady Shadow continued her career-year amidst the Grassroots Championships, adding the $311,000 Milton Stakes to her impressive list of accomplishments for trainer Ron Adams.
James MacDonald picked up the catch-drive on the millionaire Shadow Play-Lady Camella mare and earned his second straight victory in the event. He drove Venus Delight to victory in the 2015 edition over Lady Shadow.
"When you're lucky, you're lucky," said MacDonald of his back-to-back wins in the Milton. "Last year, I was lucky enough to pick up Venus Delight and she was razor sharp at the time, and tonight, Ronnie asked me to drive 'Lady' and she's tough as whale bone so I've been lucky."
Leaving from the inside post, Wrangler Magic (Sylvain Filion) secured the early lead through a :26.4 first quarter with Frost Damage Blues (Jack Moiseyev) tucking into the two-hole ahead of 3-5 favourite Lady Shadow. MacDonald then sent Lady Shadow after Wrangler Magic down the backstretch and battled head-to-head with the front-striding mare past the half-mile mark in :54.4 before pulling clear. Lady Shadow proceeded to three-quarters in 1:21.4 with Frost Damage Blues advancing up to second, but Lady Shadow began to open up on top turning for home and earned her ninth win of the season in 1:50 flat. Yagonnakissmeornot (Louis-Philippe Roy) came on for second and Waasmula (Trevor Henry) finished third.
"When you're 2-5, you kind of hope to get some respect. I know Sylvain wanted to stretch me out a little bit, but it doesn't matter to her," said MacDonald. "I've seen her go some of the craziest trips you could ask a horse to go this year. She got stung pretty hard tonight and she's just such a good mare, she overcame it."
"Everyone is here to play hardball," noted Adams. "I was a little worried going to the half -- she was parked pretty good and pressing -- but she's gone big trips like that and I was confident in the lane she as going to hang tough."
Lady Shadow also boasts stakes wins in the Roses Are Red, Golden Girls and Lady Liberty this year.
"She's definitely having a career-year," said Adams, who trains Lady Shadow for owners David Kryway, Carl Atley, Edwin Gold and the Bfj Stable. "She's just been tough and stayed tough the whole year and she's just getting better, I think, with every start."
Lady Shadow is being pointed to the second weekend of stakes at The Red Mile's Grand Circuit meet next.