ELORA, ON — Grand River Raceway fans will be treated to five $24,000 Grassroots divisions for the Ontario Sires Stakes program’s marquee division — the three-year-old pacing colts — on Wednesday evening and trainer Chris Matthews is hoping the latest addition to his stable can deliver a solid effort in front of his large contingent of local fans.
“Tom’s coming, with about 10 people, and the other owner is coming down too,” says Matthews, who conditions pacing colt Rileys Luck for his longtime friend Tom Warren of Burlington, John Fewster of Guelph, Desmond Scott of Orangeville and Douglas Lee of Hillsburgh. “There will be quite a decent crowd for him.”
The partners acquired the son of Camluck and Out Of School after Matthews watched him race in an overnight event at Clinton Raceway on July 24 — where Rileys Luck was a 1:57.2 winner — and in a Grassroots division at Woodstock Raceway on July 29 where the colt finished just three-quarters of a length back in third. In his first start for his new connections, Rileys Luck delivered a second-place effort in his Grassroots division at Rideau Carleton Raceway and Matthews expects the pacer to be even better at Grand River on Wednesday.
“I didn’t have him hung up quite like Rod (Duford) did and he got a little rough gaited in Ottawa,” says Matthews of the pacer’s performance in the Aug. 11 Grassroots event. “But we were pretty happy with second, for sure.”
Matthews opted to give Rileys Luck a rest heading into Wednesday’s Grassroots contest and says the break seems to have given the colt an extra spring to his step.
“I trained him yesterday (Friday) and he trained pretty good, so he’s ready to go,” notes the horseman, who works full-time for trainer Gregg McNair in addition to training two horses of his own.
“He’s a stud and he was real quiet when we first got him, but he’s right on his toes now,” adds the Guelph resident. “He’s getting pretty sharp.”
Doug McNair will steer Rileys Luck from Post 1 in Wednesday’s second Grassroots division, taking on a field that includes six other veterans of the provincial stakes circuit. The pair will be looking to add to the 37 points Rileys Luck accumulated in his first two Grassroots starts, a tally that has him just below the current cut off for a berth in the lucrative post season at the halfway mark on the sophomore pacing colt calendar.
Whether the colt can deliver another top three performance or not, Matthews says the owners are having fun with their new purchase, particularly Warren, who is enjoying his first experience as an owner.
“He’s a friend of mine I grew up with,” says Matthews of Warren. “This is the first time he’s ever owned a racehorse, so he’s pretty excited.”
Rileys Luck will be looking to maintain his owner’s enthusiasm in the fourth race on Wednesday. The lightning fast three-year-old pacing colts will also be featured in Races 3, 6, 7 and 9 on Grand River Raceway’s mid-week program. The Elora oval sends its first race in behind the starting gate at 7:10 pm.
Grand River Raceway fans who qualify as finalists in Wednesday’s Win The Thrill draw will also be excited about the prospects of owning a Standardbred racehorse. By placing a ballot in Wednesday’s designated Win The Thrill race, fans could earn a Grand River Raceway betting voucher and a shot at the Grand Prize — a share in the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association’s (SBOA) New Owner Mentoring Program — which will be drawn on Grassroots Championship night at Mohawk Racetrack on Oct. 1.
More information about the Win The Thrill contest and the SBOA New Owner Mentoring program is available at www.ontariosiresstakes.com and www.standardbredbreeders.com. Ballots and details are available in the official Grand River Raceway program.
To view Rileys Luck’s previous Grassroots starts please go to: Rileys Luck
For complete entries please go to: Grand River Raceway Entries