Muscle Mass daughters swept a trio of $23,150 two-year-old trotting filly Grassroots divisions at Grand River Raceway on Wednesday, July 29, with Imextraspecial, Tipsy In Dixie and Top Of The Bar reaching the winner’s circle.
Imextraspecial kicked the evening off with an effortless gate-to-wire victory, her second in Grassroots action, for driver Trevor Henry of Arthur, trainer Paul Walker of Owen Sound and owner Keith Coulter of Mono, ON. Starting from Post 2, the fan favourite rolled through fractions of :30.1, 1:01.2 and 1:31.1 on her way to a personal best 2:00. HP Mama B finished second and All Muscle N Sass was seven more lengths back in third.
“I’ve never been able to just put a handle on her. Although she won at Mohawk (July 13), I wasn’t totally impressed with her. Tonight was a better race; she put in a better performance,” said Walker. “She looked well in hand actually. She’s got us thinking now whether we’ll move into the Gold for a race and see what she can do.”
Coulter offered up $95,000 to purchase Imextraspecial from last fall’s London Selected Yearling Sale, with the assistance of Walker’s brother Larry. Walker was initially asked to take the filly to his winter base in Georgia to train, but when he returned to Ontario the engagement was extended.
“First of all he asked me to take her to Georgia, break her in and train her, and then he said well you might as well keep her then too,” said Walker with a chuckle. “That’s fine, we don’t take too many outside horses now, but you don’t often get somebody handing you one that’s that kind of calibre. She’s been good to work with, I mean really she’s quite professional in every way. That part I really like about her, so we’re hoping that she’s maybe going to come and reach expectations yet.”
The second division saw Tipsy In Dixie and driver James MacDonald emulate the example set by Imextraspecial and Henry. Also starting as favourites from Post 2, MacDonald sent Tipsy In Dixie to the front where she rang up fractions of :29.4, 1:01.3 and 1:31.3 and then cruised home to a two and three-quarter length victory in 2:01.3. Mag N Lady and Salome finished second and third.
“She’s a nice little filly. She qualified good and she’s just great gaited, so I knew coming here it would suit her. And she trained down on a half so I knew that wouldn’t be a problem,” said MacDonald, who drove Tipsy In Dixie to a second-place result in the Grassroots season opener. “Harry (Poulton) had her good, she just coasted to the lead and I never really had to open her up much. It’s a good win for her.”
Tipsy In Dixie is trained by Harry Poulton of Milton for fractional ownership group TheStable Tipsy In Dixie, based in Guelph, ON, and a few of her delighted owners were there to greet her when she arrived in the winner’s circle. A total of 100 owners were permitted in the outdoor area alongside the racetrack for the first time on Monday, July 27 and TheStable.ca members were quick to get their names on the list for Tipsy In Dixie’s second start.
“It’s great to see some owners in the grandstand and hear them cheering and stuff for their horses,” said Guelph resident MacDonald. “There’s always a good row when a Stable horse goes by, that’s for sure.”
Top Of The Bar captured the final division with a late rush that saw her get a head in front of pacesetting favourite Fortune Tellers K for the 2:03.2 win. Liminary Hanover completed the top three.
Trainer Mark Etsell of Rockwood drove Top Of The Bar to her first lifetime win for his co-owners Robert Newton of Walkerton, Graham Hopkins of Chesley and Peter Porter of Port Dover, ON. The filly, a $25,000 purchase from the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, finished third to Imextraspecial in the July 13 Grassroots leg.
“I had her sister, Tymal Tempest, so I kind of knew what the family was like. This one is a lot nicer than the other; Tymal Tempest was a terror, just nasty. She could go, but she was handful,” said Etsell of Top Of The Bar’s half-sister, who earned $146,847 in her career. “She’s not an aggressive filly like some Muscle Mass’s, she’s pretty laid back, pretty lazy, but she’s willing and she’s good gaited. I think she’ll get nothing but better, but she just does what she has to do and that’s fine with her.”
The freshman trotting fillies will make their third Grassroots appearance at Woodbine Mohawk Park on August 17, while those that opt to step up to the Gold Series will be back at Grand River Raceway on August 19.
Complete results from Wednesday’s program are available at Grand River Raceway Results.
Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Grand River Raceway on Monday, Aug. 3 as the three-year-old pacing fillies compete in five Grassroots and two Gold Series divisions on the Elora oval’s annual Industry Day program, which is highlighted by the $128,149 Battle Of The Belles Final for two-year-old pacing fillies and the $200,964 Battle Of Waterloo Final for two-year-old pacing colts.
Featured Image: Trevor Henry drove two-year-old trotting filly Imextraspecial to a Grassroots win at Grand River Raceway on July 29, 2020. (AG Photography)