Driver Trevor Henry and Usurper kicked things off in the first race with a front-end effort from Post 1 that saw them hang on for a nose victory over a hard-closing Remembering Shorty. Aces Rock rounded out the top three in the 1:54.3 mile.
“He’s a consistent colt, doesn’t do nothing wrong and just goes about his work,” said Henry. “He can do it from anywhere I think. He drew good the last few times, and he’s good gaited, so he finds himself close to the front.”
The win was Usurper’s first in Grassroots action after finishing second and third in the first two legs. Dr. Ian Moore of Cambridge, ON trains the Sportswriter son for Next Generation Stable of Stratford, PEI, who offered up $22,000 for the full-sister to $659,193 winner Voracity at last fall’s Harrisburg Yearling Sale.
Henry also won the last $23,150 division with Quick Tour, opting for another front-end effort that saw the fan favourite go gate-to-wire from Post 4 in a personal best 1:53.2. Better B Swift was one length back in second and Lous Delight was another length and one-quarter behind in third.
“He’s a really nice colt. He’s real handy, you can do whatever you want with him,” said Arthur, ON resident Henry. “He was kind of a steal at the sale.”
Quick Tour is owned by trainer Mark Horner of St. Marys and R A W Equine Inc of Burlington, ON who acquired the Mach Three son for a modest $7,000 at the 2018 Harrisburg Yearling Sale. In four lifetime starts the gelding has already netted $30,480 and with two wins and one second in Grassroots action, he currently sits atop the two-year-old pacing colt standings with 125 points.
Driver James MacDonald also made two appearances in the Grassroots winner’s circle on Thursday, steering Bettors Delight sons Delightful Terror and Day Delight to wins in the second and third divisions.
Starting from Post 2, MacDonald settled Delightful Terror in fourth as Doc Fanelli took the field to a :28 opening quarter. Heading by the :56.3 half MacDonald sent the fan favourite after the lead and the pair had things well in hand by the 1:25 three-quarters. Delightful Terror then opened up a two and one-quarter length margin on his peers before the 1:53 finish. Dontblvmejustwatch and Night Watchman closed well to claim second and third.
“It just took him a couple starts to get his feet underneath him, and then I rushed him there a couple weeks back (July 16) and he made a break. Since then he got a couple nice trips and won and he’s starting to figure out what to do,” said MacDonald. “He’s a good little racehorse. He was more than willing tonight.”
MacDonald steers Delightful Terror for trainer Shawn Steacy of Guelph and owners Shelly and Robert MacMillan of Waterloo, Doug Millard Stables of Woodstock and Vivian Bell of St. Thomas, ON. A $32,000 purchase out of the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, Delightful Terror has now won his last three starts, Thursday’s Grassroots division and two overnight events at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
“He’s learning more and more every week and willing to do it, and every time you ask him for a little more he’s always got lots left,” added Guelph, ON resident MacDonald. “Hopefully if he keeps improving he should be tough to beat going forward.”
In the third division MacDonald and Day Delight lined up at Post 6 and went straight to the front. Never tested through fractions of :27.3, :55.4 and 1:24.1, Day Delight drew away to a six and one-quarter length win in a personal best 1:52.1. Beach Demon and Menlo Park finished second and third.
“He was big, good gaited, strong — strong from start to finish,” said MacDonald, who was making his first appearance in Day Delight’s race bike. “I had actually driven his mother and he looked a lot like her and acted like her, and she was a good two-year-old.”
The colt’s mother, Kims Royal Day, was one of the top two-year-old pacing fillies in Ontario in 2012 and earned $328,803 in her career. She has already produced $205,934 Shadow Play gelding Levis Day, so owners Bill Manes of Rockwood, Lloyd Stone of Portland, numbered company 10462217 Canada Inc of Gloucester, ON and Wayne MacRae of Fall River, NS offered up $55,000 to acquire Day Delight from last fall’s Lexington Selected Yearling Sale.
Victor Puddy trains Day Delight — who had one win in overnight action to his credit before Thursday’s outing — and the Mountain, ON resident let MacDonald know the colt was ready for battle in his second Grassroots start.
“Victor’s in PEI right now, but he texted the groom and said he got kind of a tough trip last time, just kind of got shuffled around and didn’t get much of a chance,” said MacDonald. “And he said he thinks he’s ready to win and try and race him on the front if you can, and no problem tonight, he was very ready.”
My Land captured the other $23,500 division, picking up his second Grassroots win with a 1:52.1 personal best that saw him stalk pacesetter Bee Two Bee through the early going before circling to the front and pulling away to a one and one-half length victory. Better Take It and Mission Bay closed hard to finish second and third.
Phil Hudon drove My Land to the win for trainer Gerard Demers and owners La Ferme Tag Inc. of Papineauville, QC. The Badlands Hanover son was a $10,000 acquisition at last fall’s London Selected Yearling Sale.
On Friday evening the Gold Series two-year-old pacing colts will step to centre stage at Woodbine Mohawk Park, competing in Races 4 and 8. Friday’s program gets under way at 7:50 p.m.
The two-year-old pacing colts will return to Grassroots action on Sunday, Sept. 1 at Clinton Raceway.