INNISFIL, ON — Ontario’s talented two-year-old pacers stopped at Georgian Downs on Tuesday night and for the second straight week driver Robert Shepherd and trainer Dave Menary teamed up to capture a pair of Grassroots trophies.
Aboard Menary trainee Panongahela in the sixth race, Shepherd let the No Pan Intended son float off the starting gate from Post 8 and was sitting ninth when Regal Hope paced by the quarter pole in :27. Shepherd caught a wind break moving up the outside toward the half, clocked in :56.1 by Mckinney, and then circled out three-wide heading for the 1:24.4 three-quarters to take the lead.
Fan favourite Panongahela sailed home a six length winner in 1:54.2, leaving Mckinney and Regal Hope to battle for the second and third-place shares of the $24,000 Grassroots purse.
Peter Pan Stables Inc. of Pepper Pike, OH bred and owns Panongahela, who has tallied three wins and one fifth in four Grassroots starts this season. The colt also tested his skills at the Gold Series level, with his best result coming in the June 29 Gold Eliminations at Mohawk Racetrack where he finished second.
Three races later Shepherd guided Panongahela’s stablemate Panpero Firpo onto the racetrack and opted for front end tactics with the youngster, sailing directly from Post 7 to a two and one-quarter length victory in 1:54.4. Fan favourite Sly Ruler had to settle for second, hitting the wire one length ahead of third-place finisher OK Ferrari.
Also owned and bred by Peter Pan Stables, Panpero Firpo wrapped up the regular season with three wins and one second in four Grassroots appearances for a total of 175 points, 20 more than his stablemate. The No Pan Intended son also made four starts in the Gold Series, recording one fourth, one fifth and two sixths.
Both Panpero Firpo, tied for second, and Panongahela, sitting fifth, will now begin preparations for the Grassroots post season, which gets under way with Semifinal action at Grand River Raceway on Sept. 21. The top four finishers from each Semifinal will earn a berth in the $100,000 Grassroots Championship on Sept. 29.
Validus Deo will be joining the Menary trainees in the post season after a victory in Tuesday’s fourth race launched the Lis Mara son up the standings from twenty-ninth into a tie for fourteenth. Only the top 16 point earners advance to the Semifinal round.
Scott Zeron engineered the come from behind trip that saw Validus Deo sprint down the stretch to a two and three-quarter length victory over Sweet Colt Of Mine and Makers Mach. The 1:53.3 clocking was a new personal best for the colt.
Tony Alagna conditions Validus Deo for Alan Alber of Thornhill and Cheap Speed Stable of Steger, IL. The youngster was also a winner in his Grassroots debut at Kawartha Downs on July 21, giving him a total of 100 points.
Both Brenin and Starlite Kid also assured themselves of a post season berth with front end victories at Georgian Downs on Tuesday.
Mach Three son Brenin and driver Doug McNair captured the first Grassroots division of the evening with a 1:54.2 effort, hitting the wire one length ahead of Twin B Famous and Get Around Town. McNair piloted the fan favourite to his second Grassroots win for trainer Murray Brethour and owner-breeder Dr. Huw Llewellyn of Allenford.
The remaining Grassroots trophy went home with James Kelly of Ilderton, who bred and owns Starlite Kid. The Badlands Hanover colt logged a 1:54 personal best to defeat a hard closing Up Up And Out and Urbana Bayama. Dustin Jones trains Starlite Kid for Kelly.
Georgian Downs fans will get their next dose of Ontario Sires Stakes excitement on Sept. 25 when the two-year-old trotting colts arrive in Innisfil to battle in Gold Elimination action.
For complete results please go to Georgian Downs Results — September 11, 2012