DUNDAS, ON — Lukas Rossi wrapped up an undefeated Grassroots season with a track record equalling performance in the two-year-old trotting colt Championship at Flamboro Downs on Friday evening.
Burlington resident Randy Fritz eased the Roadshow Hall son away from Post 1, sat third through the early going, and then rolled out to the front heading for the three-quarter mark. Once he shifted into gear, Lukas Rossi simply powered away from his peers to the three and three-quarter length victory in a smart 1:59.3.
“I was a little concerned leaving again, he’s just a little funny out of there, but it was the perfect trip,” said trainer Ron O’Neill after the race. “Perfect, absolutely perfect.”
The win marked Lukas Rossi’s fifth visit to the winner’s circle in six starts, and his fourth in Grassroots action, including an effortless win in last week’s Semifinal. The 1:59.3 clocking matched the two-year-old trotting colt track record set by Ontario Sires Stakes competitor Australian Stock in 2006, and was a new personal best for Lukas Rossi, who also matched the track record at Hiawatha Horse Park in his Sept. 27 Grassroots division.
P C Wellwood Enterprises Inc. of Cambridge and Nancy Stephens of Woodstock share ownership on the gelding with O’Neill, and the horseman says the group will be sitting down this week to decide whether to bring Lukas Rossi’s career to a halt or to give him one test against the Gold Series colts before wrapping things up.
“We’ll talk it over see what they think — should we shut him down, or go should we go for one more and see what happens,” said the Cambridge resident.
“I’m hoping we’re doing the right thing in the way we went; we were teaching him how to race,” added the horseman. “We kind of knew the speed was there and everything, but the manner part, you’ve got to work on that. Hopefully this works out.”
While Lukas Rossi’s fractious temperament has caused his connections a few headaches along the way, trainer Philip Coole says three-year-old trotting colt champion Windsun Pride could not be more laid back. The Puslinch resident had to wake the gelding from his afternoon nap to ship him to Flamboro on Friday.
“This afternoon to go and race, I had to wake him up,” said Coole with a laugh. “If a horse is sleeping or laying down, I never wake them up, but it was like 3:30 pm and we were supposed to leave at 3:30 pm, and he’s still sleeping. He didn’t even want to get up then.”
Once race time rolled around, the Angus Hall son showed no sign of drowsiness as driver Dave Wall fired him to the front from Post 4 and never looked back. The pair never faced a challenger and cruised under the wire four lengths the best in 1:57.
Through six regular season Grassroots starts the ultra-consistent youngster scored three wins and three seconds to finish at the top of the division standings, then rocked to an eight length victory in the Semifinal round last week. Coole shares ownership on Windsun Pride with Stoney Island Stable of Kincardine and Dr. Peter Johnston of Peterborough, and conditioned the Angus Hall son to a record of 10 wins and three seconds in 20 stars for earnings of $127,750.
“It’s been a great ride this year,” said the trainer. “He got very lucky, you know, post positions and everything else. Everything worked out in his favour.”
Everything worked out for driver Jody Jamieson in the three-year-old trotting filly championship, as the Cambridge resident picked up a catch drive on Pleasure Girls and turned it into a 1:59 victory for trainer Richard Moreau of Lachenaie, QC and his partners 2095589 Ontario Inc. of Toronto and Jean Dessureault of Candiac, QC.
“I started her up a little bit to get up close with Trevor (Ritchie), I didn’t want him to get away with too easy fractions, and it worked out that I got around him and kept rolling with pretty good fractions,” said Jamieson, referring to fan favourites Trevor Ritchie and Dornello. “She had enough left in the tank to come home in :29.2 and win.”
The win boosted the Dr Ronerail daughter’s record to seven wins and six seconds in 19 starts, and pushed her sophomore earnings to $140,800. In addition to three wins in the Grassroots regular season, Pleasure Girls also scored a Gold Elimination victory at Rideau Carleton Raceway on Oct. 5 and finished second in the Gold Final one week later.
The other Grassroots champions crowned at Flamboro Downs on Friday evening were: two-year-old pacing colt Fast Pay, teamed to a 1:54.2 victory by Aaron Byron for trainer David Menary of Caledon and Steve Heimbecker of Waterloo; three-year-old pacing colt Legal Litigator, who scored a 1:53.4 triumph for driver Trevor Henry, trainer Paul Taylor and owner-breeder Robert Hamather of Exeter; two-year-old trotting filly Stonebridge Marita, who got a front-end steer from Hall of Fame horseman Bill O’Donnell to hit the wire in 2:01.1 for trainer Mark Steacy and breeder Angie Stiller of Arva and her partner Robert Kauffman of New Albany, OH; two-year-old pacing filly Tomorrowpan, who logged a 1:56.2 score for driver Brad Forward, trainer Bob McIntosh and owner-breeder Peter Pan Stable Inc. of Pepper Pike, OH; and three-year-old pacing filly All Accounted For, who got a classic come from behind steer from veteran reinsman Don McElroy to hit the wire in 1:54 for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor and his partners Paul Ysebaert of Mooretown and C S X Stables of Liberty Center, OH.
For complete results please go to: http://www.previewsc.ca/racing/results/data/r1024flmdn.dat.