OTTAWA, ON — Jason Gilchrist will harness a pair of two-year-old trotting fillies in Friday’s regular season finale at Rideau Carleton Raceway, and both Perkiest Hanover and Ballade need a top three finish to extend their Grassroots campaign another week.

Perkiest Hanover will start things off for the Gilchrist stable, aiming for a few more Grassroots points from Post 3 in the first $24,000 division. Through her first four Grassroots starts the filly logged one win and two fourths for a point tally of 66 and currently sits just shy of the post season cut off in seventeenth.

“It would work a lot better if she would win this one to get to the Semifinal,” says Gilchrist with a chuckle.

Owned by A K Malik Stable of Ottawa, who offered up $12,000 for the daughter of Majestic Son and Puffed Up at last fall’s Harrisburg Yearling Sale, Perkiest Hanover was a difficult filly to break, but Gilchrist thinks the fiery youngster might be catching on to the racing game.

“She is getting a little bit smarter race wise and she’s gotten a little more relaxed,” notes the Iroquois resident. “She was a bit of a hot head.”

Mario Baillargeon will steer Perkiest Hanover in her fifth lifetime start, and Gilchrist is hoping the veteran reinsman can craft a covered up trip for the novice trotter.

“She seems to be one that needs a target,” he explains. “If you had somebody that kind of pulled you to the lane, that would help keep her mind on things.”

Perkiest Hanover heads into Friday’s test off a fourth-place result in an Aug. 24 overnight at Rideau Carleton Raceway, while her stablemate Ballade heads to the Ottawa oval off a schooling session that saw Gilchrist tinkering with equipment in an effort to improve the filly’s drivability.

“She’s hard on herself and she’s hard to manage,” says the trainer. “And she’s even harder to drive because she wants to drive herself.

“I schooled her this week,” he continues. “She seemed good there, so hopefully she’ll behave when it comes to race time.”

Gilchrist will drive Ballade himself on Friday, sending the filly after her second Grassroots trophy from Post 4 in the second division. She posted her first win in the July 5 season opener at Kawartha Downs and has since added one second and one fifth for a total of 80 points.

The Ken Warkentin daughter, a $6,000 purchase out of last fall’s Canadian Yearling Sale by Dr. Frederick Albert of Prescott, has had outside posts in five of her six starts and Gilchrist is hoping the move closer to the rail will also improve Ballade’s chances of earning a berth in the Sept. 21 Semifinals at Grand River Raceway.

Stormont Hotplate was not so fortunate in the post position draw, landing Post 7 in the eighth race, but with 105 points earned in her first three Grassroots appearances the filly is virtually assured of a berth in the post season.

Napanee resident Kevin Benn trains Stormont Hotplate for owner-breeders Stormont Meadows of Long Sault and says the filly has been a delight to work with since the moment she stepped into his barn.

“She’s been perfect all the way along. She’s good around the barn, a pleasure to take to the track, she’s a good honest little horse,” says the horseman.

“She hasn’t shown any really lightning speed, no 28 second quarters or anything, but she stays trotting and she does okay,” he adds.

The daughter of Kadabra and $248,120 winner Grill Now posted her personal best 2:00.2 winning her Aug. 7 Grassroots division at Georgian Downs and Benn would like to see her deliver another strong effort Friday to ensure her spot in the Sept. 21 Semifinal. The filly’s older sister Stormont Fried has already secured her spot in the sophomore trotting filly Semifinal after posting a runner-up effort at Hanover Raceway on Sept. 8.

The two-year-old trotting fillies will bask in the Rideau Carleton Raceway spotlight in Races 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 10, and 12 on Friday, with the first division getting under way at 6:30 pm.

To view Perkiest Hanover, Ballade and Stormont Hotplate’s previous Grassroots starts please go to: Ballade; Perkiest Hanover; Stormont Hotplate

For complete entries please go to Rideau Carleton Raceway Entries — September 14, 2012