CLINTON, ON — Lucky Herb found his way to the winner’s circle for the first time on Sunday afternoon at Clinton Raceway, and recorded the quickest mile of six Grassroots divisions getting there.
In his five previous starts, two of them at the Gold Series level, Lucky Herb had been a consistent cheque earner, but the two-year-old pacing colt had been unable to edge his way into the winner’s club. Starting from Post 3 in the second $20,000 Grassroots skirmish on Sunday, driver Brad Forward decided to fire Lucky Herb out to the front and the pair hit the opening quarter in :28.3. Through a :57.1 half and a 1:27.1 three-quarters the Camluck son extended his lead to four lengths and a steady tempo down the stretch earned him a three and three-quarter length victory in 1:57.3.
M A Sailor delivered an outstanding closing kick, sprinting from 13 lengths back at the three-quarters to finish second, and Contemporary Art was another length back in third.
Through six starts Lucky Herb now boasts a record of one win, two seconds, one fourth and one fifth for earnings of $22,600 for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor and his partners Dave Boyle of Bowmanville and C S X Stables of Liberty Center, OH. McIntosh and C S X Stables also bred the colt, who is the first foal of Coriander Hanover.
Driver Bruce Richardson picked up a Grassroots double with wins in Races 3 and 10. The Arthur resident piloted fan favourite The Ladies Man to a 1:58.3 win in the third division, and followed that up with a 1:59.3 score aboard Spanker in the last.
The Ladies Man delivered an impressive first over effort to score his first provincial victory, sitting on the shoulder of pacesetter Ala Carte Bill throughout the last half of the mile and then sprinting down the stretch to post a three and a half length victory. Run For Copper sat in the pocket throughout the mile, but could not match The Ladies Man’s finishing kick and had to settle for second, while Ala Carte Bill was relegated to third.
Trainer James Ritchie of Grand Valley, Paul Ritchie of Orangeville, Murray Cox of Rockwood and Greg Majkowski of Novi, MI own The Ladies Man, who now sports a record of two wins and a third in four starts. The son of Modern Art and $149,379 winner The Lady Is Lucky was a $16,000 acquisition at last fall’s Forest City Yearling Sale and has already returned all but $350 of that amount to his delighted owners.
Richardson opted for a different strategy with Spanker, and had the colt on top before the field reached the 1:00 half. The Mantacular son controlled the tempo though the remainder of the race and was able to hold off the challengers in the stretch to record the one length victory. Rambaranonbroadway earned the second-place finisher’s share, and Portland Seelster edged out favourite Medoland Glenno for third.
Sunday’s victory was Spanker’s second in Grassroots action and the win, combined with the second he earned at Rideau Carleton Raceway on Aug. 14, elevated him into top spot in the division point race. Gary Hodgson of London bred, owns and trains Spanker, who has not missed a cheque in six starts.
The other three Grassroots divisions went to In A Craze in 1:59.1; Medoland Machoman in 2:00; and Shortstacked in 1:57.4.
The talented two-year-old pacing colts wrapped up Clinton Raceway’s 2008 Ontario Sires Stakes season in fine style, and will now head into the second half of their Grassroots campaign on Sept. 13 at Woodstock Raceway.
For complete results please go to: http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/results/data/rclntnsu.html.