The forty-eighth Ontario Sires Stakes season will kick off on Saturday, May 22 at Woodbine Mohawk Park with the Gold Series opener for the talented three-year-old pacing colts.
The event will renew the rivalry between freshman Super Final champion Bulldog Hanover, division point leader Desperate Man and O’Brien Award winner Lawless Shadow.
“I’m looking forward to it, very much so,” said trainer and co-owner Dr. Ian Moore from his winter base in Florida, where he is preparing Lawless Shadow for the three-year-old campaign. “I just love sitting behind him, jogging him. He’s just, you’ve got this power in front of you and I’m really optimistic for his three-year-old year.”
The 2021 Grassroots season will begin on Sunday, May 23 with the sophomore pacing colts featured on Flamboro Downs’ Confederation Cup card. Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) competitors will also take a star turn on Camluck Classic night at The Raceway at Western Fair District, on Clinton Raceway’s Kin Pace Final card, as part of the Industry Day program at Grand River Raceway and during a quartet of Grand Circuit events at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
Grassroots and Gold Series competitors will accumulate points through five regular season events for each age, sex and gait, aiming for a berth in the post season. The Grassroots Semi-Finals are slated for Thursday, Sept. 30 and Friday, Oct. 1 with the Championships on Saturday, Oct. 9 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The Gold Series Super Finals will go postward at the Campbellville, ON oval on Saturday, Oct. 16. The complete 2021 schedule is available here.
“We take a lot of pride in the Ontario Sires Stakes and being very competitive in it. When we go to buy yearlings, that’s what we gear towards.” — Shawn Steacy
Trainer Shawn Steacy is prepping 39 Ontario Sired two and three-year-olds for the 2021 campaign and hoping to defend the Johnston Cup title he earned last season.
“It’s exciting. My dad and I, we take a lot of pride in the Ontario Sires Stakes and being very competitive in it. When we go to buy yearlings, that’s what we gear towards,” said the Brantford, ON resident, who is following in the footsteps of his father, three-time Johnston Cup winner Mark Steacy. “It’s no pressure or anything after winning last year. It’s a fun, competitive thing to follow, that’s all.
“I thought Gregg McNair bought a bunch of nice yearlings last fall and he was on our heels all last year, so I’m scared to see what he’s going to do this year. I’m hoping he has really nice American-breds, put it that way,” added Steacy with a laugh. Four-time Johnston Cup winner McNair finished just three points behind Steacy in the 2020 point standings.
For those Ontario Sired youngsters who do not find their niche in the OSS, Ontario Racing’s Prospect Series returns for a second year with five events for each age, sex and gait culminating in a final at Grand River Raceway on Friday, Sept. 24. Complete details about the Prospect Series can be found on the Ontario Racing website.
For more information about the Ontario Sires Stakes program please visit the website or contact the Program Administrator at email@example.com.
Feature Image: Bob McClure drove then two-year-old pacing colt Lawless Shadow (Shadow Play) to a Gold Series win at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept 5, 2020. (New Image Media photo)