Flamboro Downs will be awash in pink on Saturday afternoon as the Dundas, Ont. oval will host 11 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots divisions for the three-year-old trotting fillies along with the $221,000 final of the Ellamony Classic for aged pacing mares.
In addition to the on-track girl-power there will be a full slate of trackside activities to enjoy during the event --- an annual fundraiser for the Breast Assessment Centre at the Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre --- including sampling stations, a hat sale, and a special appearance by Canadian crooner Matt Dusk.
Hoping to deliver a performance as smooth as Dusk’s vocals is Fiorentina, who has already found her way to the Flamboro Downs winner’s circle on four occasions this season.
“She races good there all the time,” says trainer-driver Eddie Green of Ohsweken, Ont. who has piloted the daughter of Angus Hall to a record of four wins, one second and one third in nine sophomore starts.
Fiorentina recorded her personal best 2:00.2 in a leg of the Ontario Prep Series at Flamboro on May 2 and delivered a runner-up finish in the final one week later. Green opted to rest the filly after the May 9 final and she heads into Saturday’s Grassroots test off a tightener at Woodstock Raceway on June 15, her first race in over a month.
Green conditions Fiorentina for Kristine Hill of Ohsweken and the pair purchased the filly from Carl Jamieson at the Summer Sizzler Sale last August. Jamieson had started the filly in two Gold eliminations and one Grassroots event last summer, and she showed enough potential that Green offered up $9,700 for the half-sister to $357,537 winner Torch.
“I seen her race a couple times while I was at the racetrack driving and I kind of liked her so I bought her off Carl in the sale,” Green recalled. “I raced her twice, I believe, after I got her. I finished third with her in Sarnia and I win with her in Windsor, so I shut her down because I liked her, and brought her back a little bit early this year for that prep series.”
The decision has paid dividends, as Fiorentina banked $35,780 through the early months of 2012. The filly will make her sophomore Grassroots debut from Post 4 in the ninth division and Green is hoping she can take advantage of the post and her familiarity with the racetrack to earn a share of the $24,000 Grassroots purse.
“Especially for the half-mile track, you want something that you can get out of there and get spotted good,” says the horseman of his post position draw. “She’s kind of a filly that likes to race on the front, seems to be the best place.
“She's a little hot at the gate, but that doesn’t really seem to bother her,” he added. “I can take a pretty good hold of her and I’m not scared of her running. A lot of them there you grab a hold of them too much they just run all over the place on you.”
Green, who trains eight trotters, says the filly was an easy-going addition to his stable, earning favoured status amongst her feminine peers.
“For a filly, too, she’s pretty much the same every day, she’s not up and down. I’ve got about four fillies out here and she’s probably one of the better ones for attitude-wise,” he explained. “She’s real well mannered.”
Green and Fiorentina face a field of seven in Saturday’s Grassroots season opener, including Destinys Magic, a two-time Gold elimination winner last season, who has drawn Post 6. The three-year-old trotting fillies are featured in Races 1 through 11 on Saturday’s program, leading up to the Ellamony Classic in Race 12.
Flamboro Downs’ annual all-girl program gets under way at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. More information about the afternoon’s festivities is available at flamborodowns.com.