LONDON, MAY 27, 2022 – The four $22,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots divisions on the $414,000 Camluck Classic presented by Seelster Farms card at The Raceway at the Western Fair District were split between driver Trevor Henry, and the driver-trainer-owner trio of James MacDonald, Nick Gallucci, and Millar Farms.

The first of four Grassroots divisions for three-year-old pacing fillies went in race two with Henry driving Fade Out, a daughter of Sportswriter, to a come from behind win.

The Arthur, Ont., resident positioned the filly sixth at the quarter-pole, settling off a 56.4 half-mile pace set by Louis-Philippe Roy and Addictivebehaviour, before moving past everyone over the next quarter mile and winning by two lengths.

“It was a really good trip,” said Henry. “They slowed up the third quarter and I think it kind of caught Louis off guard a bit. She felt good, and that’s why I moved her there. She raced great.”

Fade Out, a trainee of Gregg McNair, now has $113,141 in OSS earnings for McNair and his ownership partners Dean Lockhart and McKinlay & Fielding.

In race four, the second Grassroots division, Henry drove Goudawon to a gate-to-wire win. Leaving from post two, he manoeuvred the Betterthancheddar filly into first position by the quarter-pole and never looked back.

Halfway through the evening the former top driver at the London oval was enjoying his return.

“I like it here, and I have some fairly live drives, so that makes it nice, and everything is good,” said Henry.

It was the second career Grassroots victory for the Murray Brethour trainee and pushed her over $40,000 in career earnings for owners Brenda, Mark, and Anthony Lane of Norwood, Ont.

SECOND HALF BEGINS

The final two Grassroots divisions saw Millar Farms homebreds trained by Nick Gallucci take over, with James MacDonald in the race bike.

In division three, and race six, MacDonald piloted Velvet Stinger home in a final quarter mile of 29.0 to overtake Girl in a Tavern (Big Jim) and hold off Power Of An Angel (Sunshine Beach).

“She has such a good late kick that I was able to flip her three deep in the turn, and that’s where she paces her best,” said MacDonald. “Velvet Stinger was Velvet Stinger. She hipped and skipped but got there first.”

The Bettors Delight daughter is now two for two as three-year-old, after being held out of the winners circle in her novice campaign.

Raptors Won followed in her namesakes’ footsteps and won the final Grassroots division of the evening, the eighth race on the card. Leaving from the rail as the odds-on favourite, she didn’t disappoint her backers.

“She’s a nice big strong filly,” said MacDonald. “I put her on the gate, and when it opened, it was the first time I’ve asked her, and she blasted pretty good.”

The daughter of Big Jim held off a late charge from Jody Jamieson, and Warrawee Xpat to win by a length. She was unraced at two, but now has two wins on the season, to go along with a pair of second place finishes.

“When Jody popped down the stretch, she had a lot left,” said MacDonald. “Like I said, she’s a big strong filly, and I’m expecting a lot from her this year.”

OSS ALUMNI SWEEP CAMLUCK CLASSIC pres by. SEELSTER FARMS PODIUM

In the featured race of the night, a $150,000 contest for older pacers, the three Ontario Sired starters took the top-three positions in a thrilling finale to the evening.

Poseidon Seelster (Sunshine Beach) was driven to the early lead by Bob McClure from the rail position.

The top choice at post time Tattoo Artist (Hes Watching) ran him down as they headed into the back stretch and held the lead until the stretch run, before Jimmy Freight (Sportswriter) powered past everyone to his sixth straight win, and over $1.7 million in career earnings.

Jimmy Freight now has 10 wins for owner Adriano Sorella of Guelph, Ont., since returning to racing in December 2021 after a two-year layoff since entering the breeding shed. The Richard Moreau trainee has 31 wins from 70 career starts.

Tattoo Artist held on to finish a game second, and Poseidon Seelster rounded out the top three.

Click here to view results from the entire race card.

Click here to view updated OSS Standings.

Image: Fade Out wins a Grassroots division at The Raceway at the Western Fair District (John Watkins Photo)