Grand River Raceway wraps up its 2020 season with eight $15,000 Prospect Series Finals on Friday, Sept. 25 and local trainers Chris Matthews and Don Lindsey are hoping their colts can finish off the season on a winning note.
Kodiak Seelster leads the freshmen pacing colts into the final with 100 points from two Prospect Series wins, both of them from Post 1, and Matthews and the Sunshine Beach colt will be back at the rail in Friday’s sixth race.
“He’s horrible on the front. I don’t think he even won a training trip all year on the front end,” said Matthews with a laugh. “But he had the rail that start at Grand River (Aug. 21) and on the half I figured you better use your post to your advantage, and he just barely held on that night. Then at Flamboro (Sept. 15) he made front and he actually was a lot better on the front in that race. So he’s maybe figuring it out.”
Guelph resident Matthews trains and drives Kodiak Seelster for his co-owners Desmond Scott of Orangeville, Jeff Bryan of Amaranth and Todd Williams of Guelph, ON. The group acquired Kodiak Seelster from last fall’s London Selected Yearling Sale, offering up $29,000 for the half-brother to $1 million winner Kendall Seelster and $416,632 winner Karma Seelster.
“I bought him out of the ring to be honest with you. I said, ‘Holy geez, we really can’t let that colt go that cheap’. I think I bid once on him and then we hit him one more time and we owned him. I didn’t think we’d be able to afford him, but you know what, we’re happy with him,” said Matthews, who worked with Karma Seelster as part of trainer Gregg McNair’s staff. “It’s a tough year for colts so thank God for the Prospect Series. He can get a little experience and get a little money on his card.”
Kodiak Seelster started his season at the Grassroots level, finishing fourth in the July 20 leg at Woodbine Mohawk Park, but a lackluster effort in an Aug. 13 overnight event at the Milton oval prompted Matthews and his partners to try the Prospect Series.
“He was always really nice gaited, nicest gaited colt I’ve ever trained down. He always paced the turns great training down. We even paid the payment for the Jug, because I said if there’s one thing he’s going to be good at is on a half,” said Matthews. “So he threw in a bit of a stinker at Mohawk and I said well, the Prospect is at Grand River and I wanted to try him on the half, so I told my partners, let’s try him there and see how he handles it, and he liked it. So we’ll see what happens Friday, hopefully we got lucky with the post and we can get lucky the win.”
Like Kodiak Seelster, Don Lindsey trainee Hall Of Secrets heads into the three-year-old trotting colt final off a win in the last regular season leg. The Angus Hall son and driver David Boughton cruised to a front end victory at Flamboro Downs on Sept. 13 and will be looking for their third win of the season from Post 3 in Race 11 on Friday.
“He was very good his last start. He’s been inconsistent this summer,” said Fergus, ON resident Lindsey. “He’s showed some really good miles and he’s showed some not spectacular performances. I thought when we shut him down last year that he would fill out and be a big strong horse and be a little better than he turned out to be. He seems to be getting a little better lately, but he started off the year just a little behind where we thought he might be.”
Hall Of Secrets finished the regular season in second spot in the standings with 108 points, 92 behind leader Los Ballykeelamigo who went undefeated in four Prospect Series starts. Los Ballykeelamigo and driver Scott Young will start from Post 5 in Friday’s final, and Lindsey is hoping Boughton can use that to his advantage.
“I’m very happy that we drew inside the Ballykeel horse, he’s definitely the one to beat,” said Lindsey. “I imagine Dave can work something out if we’re inside. He showed a good turn of foot last time, so I imagine he can race him either way.”
The trainer’s father Paul Lindsey of Fergus, ON owns Hall Of Secrets, who was a $15,000 purchase out of the 2018 London Selected Yearling Sale.
Post time for Grand River Raceway’s 2020 finale is 6:30 pm and the Prospect Series divisions will wrap up the Friday, Sept. 25 program in Races 4 through 11. Attendance is limited to 100 registered guests (click here for registration information), but fans can download a program and watch all the action on the Grand River Raceway live stream.