INNISFIL, ON — The road to Tuesday’s two-year-old trotting filly Grassroots event has been rockier than trainer David Jim King anticipated, but with an advantageous post at Georgian Downs, and a veteran driver in the race bike, the Barrie resident is hoping fortune is ready to smile on Windsong Feline.

“I’ve been actually kind of wishing that she’d been to the races before now,” says King of the freshman trotter he trains for Maple resident Mario Delgobbo. “But she’s had a couple of little problems, and we just had to give her time, to let her become her original self.”

King and Delgobbo acquired the filly out of the June 8 Two’s In Training Sale for $36,000, based on an impressive training mile she logged over the Mohawk Racetrack oval. They attempted to qualify the Via Blaze daughter on June 21 at Mohawk, but she made an early break and finished well back of the field, so King opted to take a step back and wait until she had sorted through her issues.

“With two-year-old trotting fillies, you have to let them predict their way,” says the trainer. “Then give them a chance to do it.”

Just over two months after she arrived in his barn, King sent Windsong Feline out in a second qualifier at Mohawk and the filly finally delivered the kind of performance that had originally caught his eye. With driver Mario Baillargeon in the race bike, Windsong Feline accelerated away from Post 1 and was sitting third at the :31.1 opening quarter. En route to the 1:01.4 half Baillargeon sent the filly after the lead and she fought off a challenger heading by the 1:32.1 three-quarters before yielding in the stretch to finish second in the 2:01.3 mile.

“I wasn’t expecting that kind of qualifier. I was looking for 2:04, 2:03, just enough to get qualified for the Sires Stakes,” admits King. “She was a little hot. She wanted to go 100 miles an hour off the gate.”

King has made a few equipment changes to help relax Windsong Feline in preparation for Tuesday’s contest, which will see Baillargeon send her after a share of the $20,000 Grassroots purse from Post 3 in the fourth race, but the horseman also says that racy temperament is one of the things he loves about the half-sister to $198,545 winner Mapleton.

“I’m lucky to have her, and I kind of think she might be a little on the special side. She seems to be a little different than the majority of ones I’ve been around,” muses King. “Just the fact that she wants to do it on her own, you don’t have to coax her.”

After her impressive qualifier, King and Delgobbo considered taking a run at the Gold Series fillies, but decided the Grassroots would provide Windsong Feline a better introduction to racing and give them a better opportunity to assess her skills.

“As of right now, we’re waiting to see what she’s got, to show what her ability is,” he explains. “I am crossing my fingers and touching wood every day, but with a good post and a guy like Mario to drive her, everything seems to be coming together for her first start.”

Windsong Feline and Baillargeon will face off against a field of four Grassroots veterans, one filly dropping down from the Gold Series and two others making their Ontario Sires Stakes debuts in the fourth race.

The other Grassroots divisions go postward on Tuesday evening as Races 1, 2, 6, 7, 9, and 10. The two-year-old trotting fillies will get things rolling at Georgian Downs at 7:25 pm.

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