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>Ontario Sires Stakes action rolls into Hiawatha Horse Park on Thursday evening with seven Grassroots divisions for the two-year-old trotting colts.

Trainer Allen Tomlinson tested two young trotters over the Hiawatha oval on June 28 and brings Scottish Blue and Risky Business back to Sarnia for Thursday’s Grassroots event. It will be the second Grassroots appearance for the pair, who both picked up cheques in the season opener at Clinton Raceway on July 8.

Scottish Blue will be first out of the paddock for Tomlinson, making his bid for a share of the $24,000 purse from Post 7 in the eighth race. The Angus Hall son finished fifth with a 2:07 clocking in his Grassroots debut, surprising Tomlinson and his partner Duane Chippi of Cass City, MI. Mark Williams, who piloted Scottish Blue in his June 28 qualifier at Hiawatha will steer the gelding from the outside post on Thursday.

“The post is not so good, but none the less,” says Tomlinson philosophically. “He (Williams) qualified him for me there, so I’ll put him back up and give him a chance.”

Williams crafted a 2:06 fourth-place finish for Scottish Blue in the June 28 qualifier and will be looking to match or improve on that result Thursday. Among the colts Williams and Scottish Blue face in the fifth Grassroots division are four making their second provincial start and three making their debut in the Ontario Sires Stakes program.

Stablemate Risky Business landed his second straight Post 2 for Thursday’s outing and comes into the event off a runner-up finish in the July 8 Grassroots season opener. Another son of Angus Hall, out of the $100,000 winner Royal Vic, Risky Business finished just one-quarter length behind the winner in the 2:08.2 mile.

“He raced good there,” says Tomlinson of the colt’s performance at Clinton Raceway. “He’s a bigger colt, a decent size. He’s a little more erratic than the Scottish Blue colt — he’d tend to jump it off once in a while even training — but he can go more than the other colt.”

Risky Business demonstrated his twitchy nature in the June 28 appearance at Hiawatha, making an early break in the non-winners of one race contest and finishing at the back of the pack. Tomlinson was pleased to see the gelding deliver on his potential at Clinton and hopes the youngster continues to mind his manners this week.

“Risky Business, I’m just waiting to see if he’s good enough for the Gold,” explains the Mason, MI resident. “Hopefully he is, but we’ve got to stay where we can keep our pants on for a while.”

Tomlinson says the trotters prepped for Thursday’s event on Monday morning and seem in fine fettle for their second provincial outing, especially Risky Business. Training alongside promising two-year-old trotting filly Lady Laker, who has already posted a 1:59.4 win at Hazel Park, the gelding more than held his own.

“We trained this morning and the filly I trained him with is in at Mohawk Thursday night — a two-year-old in a late closer, she’s not an Ontario-bred but a real nice filly — and man he smoked me off the gate,” recalls the trainer. “But you don’t dare let him just roll out like that at the track because you don’t know what’s going to happen, you want to get him settled.”

Tomlinson shares ownership of Risky Business, who was a $27,000 purchase in Lexington, with Janice Chippi of Cass City, MI. Like Scottish Blue, the gelding and driver Jason Brewer face a field made up of five colts with a Grassroots start under their belt and two first time starters.

Post time for Hiawatha Horse Park’s Thursday, July 19 program is 6:30 pm, with the two-year-old trotting colts battling for Grassroots glory in Races 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10 and 11.