INNISFIL, ON — A total of $192,000 is up for grabs at Georgian Downs on Tuesday, Aug. 9 as the Innisfil oval plays host to eight Grassroots divisions for the province’s talented three-year-old trotting fillies.
After missing the third Grassroots skirmish due to sickness, Spanish Mama returns to provincial action at her hometown oval, taking on the eleventh race field from Post 4. The Rob Walker trainee finished third in her Grassroots debut at Flamboro Downs on June 25, one of four third-place finishes the consistent youngster has recorded through her eight lifetime starts.
“She’s nice to drive, she’s great gaited; a little bit more speed she’ll be a nice filly,” says Walker, who also owns and drives the daughter of Holy Guacamolie and Cinnamon Kid. “She likes to chase horses, which is nice. She likes her work.”
Sharon, ON resident Walker purchased Spanish Mama out of the 2009 Canadian Open Yearling Sale and started her once last season before deciding a three-year-old campaign might be better suited to the filly’s spicy temperament.
“She’s always been great gaited, but she’s always been really flighty around the farm,” explains the horseman. “In her first start at Kawartha Downs as a two-year-old, the track was quite hard, and she thought she’d leave 100 miles an hour and made a break. And I thought I’d just quit while I was ahead and try her as a three-year-old.
“She’s still kind of flighty around the farm, but she’s 100 per cent on the track, kind of the opposite of most,” he adds.
Ironically, the only strategy the filly has not employed in her seven sophomore outings is a sprint away from the starting gate. She and Walker are typically sitting in mid-pack at the quarter pole and clawing their way toward the front through the race or in the stretch. In addition to her four third-place finishes, Spanish Mama captured an overnight event at Grand River Raceway on June 6 and finished second at Georgian Downs on July 23. Her only finish out of the top three this season was a fifth in her May 23 sophomore debut at Grand River.
“She’s a pretty intelligent mare. It’s always nice when you have a smart animal to work with,” notes Walker.
At this stage in her career, the only thing about Spanish Mama that makes Walker shake his head is her exaggerated aversion to one corner of his training track.
“The boogey man down in the one corner that she seems to find every day,” he says wryly. “It doesn’t matter which way of the track you’re going, it’s the same spot.
“Other than that she does everything pretty much 100 per cent.”
Spanish Mama will be looking to extend her consistent streak on Tuesday in an effort to edge up the three-year-old trotting filly point standings. With her sole third-place finish she has earned 12 points, with the current cut off for a post season berth sitting at 55 points.
Among the fillies hoping to prevent Spanish Mama from accumulating a few more Grassroots points in Race 11 are previous Grassroots division winners Magical Paige, Honey Thorn and Extraordinaire at Posts 1, 6 and 9, and former Gold Series competitor L A Freeway from Post 5.
The sophomore trotting lasses will be featured in Races 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10 and 11 on Tuesday, with Georgian Downs sending it’s first race in behind the starting gate at 7:25 pm.
To view Spanish Mama’s previous Grassroots start please go to: Spanish Mama
For complete entries please go to: Georgian Downs Entries — Aug. 9, 2011