CLINTON, ON — Clinton Raceway fans will find it easy to spot local filly Nics Regal Lass in Sunday’s Grassroots competition — the two-year-old pacing filly is dainty in stature and she demonstrates her disdain for hopples by refusing to pace until things really get rolling.

“She’ll probably be running behind the gate,” says trainer Kevin Campbell. “She still does not like the hopples, but once she gets going she’s fine with them.”

The filly’s dislike of her hopples dates back to last fall when Campbell first introduced them, and the trainer says the youngster demonstrated such intense disfavor toward the equipment that he trained her down to about 2:30 free-legged. Nics Regal Lass was born at Campbell’s Goderich area farm, and he says she had been of such sweet disposition as a youngster that her reaction to the hopples took him by complete surprise.

“She is probably the nicest horse you’ll ever paddock or jog or anything,” he explains.

“She’s such a happy little thing; she always puts a smile on your face when you’re out jogging her,” he adds.

And through the early stages of her racing career, the Stonebridge Regal miss has given Campbell and owners Greg Hayter of Stratford — who is also the filly’s breeder — and Michael Tam of Mitchell a fair bit to smile about. In her debut at Hanover Raceway on July 6, Nics Regal Lass finished fourth in a two-year-old schooler, pacing her own mile in 2:04. In against more experienced competition at Hanover Raceway on July 16 driver Stuart Sowerby floated the filly away from Post 6 and let her sprint home to a sixth-place result in 2:02.

Campbell then entered Nics Regal Lass in the Future Starz Series at Hanover and the filly earned a runner-up finish in the July 27 leg, clocking in at 2:00.2, and a third-place finish in the Aug. 3 final, where she was race timed in 2:00.

“She had a tough trip there in Hanover. If she’d had a little better trip and a little better post I think we would have done better there. Of course I can say that now,” says Campbell with a chuckle.

“This will be the test on Sunday,” he adds. “But I do think she will be competitive in there.”

Nics Regal Lass will start from the trailing Post 8 in Sunday’s second last $24,000 Grassroots division, facing off against a seasoned group of Ontario Sires Stakes competitors including division co-leader Eat Me Up from Post 7 and fourth-ranked Grins Little Flirt from Post 2. The filly has logged several training miles at Clinton Raceway, and Campbell does not think the trailing post will be an issue for the drivable youngster, who prepped for her Grassroots debut with a sharp training mile on Monday.

“I took her to Clinton last Sunday (Aug. 14) to school her and of there was a downpour, so I decided not to,” notes the horseman. “So I took her into Goderich and gave her a pretty good tightener there on Monday (Aug. 15).”

If Nics Regal Lass holds her own in Sunday’s Grassroots, the filly’s connections are looking forward to watching her compete in the last two events on the two-year-old pacing filly calendar, but Campbell is quick to point out that the filly’s health and well-being will dictate the remainder of her freshman schedule.

Clinton Raceway fans who qualify as finalists in Sundays Win The Thrill draw will be on hand to watch the culmination of the two-year-old pacing filly Grassroots season on Championship night at Mohawk Racetrack Oct. 1. By placing a ballot in Sunday’s designated Win The Thrill race, fans could earn a Clinton Raceway betting voucher and a shot at the Grand Prize draw which will be held at Mohawk on Oct. 1.

The Grand Prize winner of the Win The Thrill contest will be part of the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association’s (SBOA) New Owner Mentoring Program, being guided in the purchase and ownership of an Ontario-sired yearling by trainer Tony O’Sullivan and long-time harness racing participant Brian Webster.

More information about the Win The Thrill contest and the SBOA New Owner Mentoring program is available at www.ontariosiresstakes.com and www.standardbredbreeders.com. Ballots and details are available in the official Clinton Raceway program.

Post time for Clinton Raceway’s Sunday, Aug. 21 program is 1:30 pm and the two-year-old pacing fillies will show off their ever-growing skills in Races 1, 2 and 4 through 10.

For complete entries please go to: Clinton Raceway Entries — Aug. 21, 2011