FRASERVILLE, ON — Start Livin prevailed in the most thrilling finish of the semifinal round, and trainer Dan Creighton is looking forward to sending the two-year-old trotting colt back onto the Kawartha Downs oval for the $100,000 Grassroots Championship on Saturday.
“I think every race he gets better,” says Creighton. “He’d get a little nervous leaving the gate, get a little too aggressive, but I think he’s getting over that.”
Start Livin did not make his debut until the Sept. 1 Grassroots event at Woodstock Raceway, and he made a break in that first outing, finishing well back in seventh. After a steady qualifier at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 7, Start Livin tried his hand in a two-year-old conditioned event at Mohawk, but made another mistake and finished eighth.
Creighton crossed his fingers and sent the Striking Sahbra son back into the Grassroots fray on Sept. 27 at Kawartha Downs, and Start Livin pulled off a six length victory in 2:02. Since then the colt has been undefeated, capturing a Grassroots division at Grand River Raceway on Oct. 8 with a 2:02.1 effort and last Saturday’s Semifinal in a personal best 1:59.2.
“I’d like to say it was a master plan,” says Creighton when asked about the colt’s late start. “But all my colts got sick just about when they were ready to get rolling, so they all got backed up.
“I always thought he was a really talented colt, with a good attitude and a good gait, but he came on the scene too late to tackle the Gold horses,” adds the horseman.
Bowmanville resident Doug Brown piloted Start Livin to his Semifinal victory, and will steer the colt from Post 5 this Saturday, a spot Creighton says should be ideal for the novice trotter.
“Any green trotter can make a mistake, and I think it is easier to get them away out of the centre of the track,” explains the horseman, who bred and owns Start Livin with his partners in the Danterra Racing Stable of Strathroy. “With a green pacer I’d love the rail, but with a green trotter I’m happier to have them in the centre of the track.”
Creighton’s second starter of the evening will also start from Post 5. Tymal Cameron will tackle the top three-year-old pacing colts in the last $100,000 Grassroots Final, making just his second start for the Strathroy resident.
“I love the horse. He’s a real nice horse, great mannered, a good attitude,” enthuses Creighton. “I’d like to be closer with him, but, you know, it’s better than the eight-hole.”
Don McElroy piloted the Mach Three gelding in the Semifinal, hitting the wire in second, one length behind Junior K, and the veteran reinsman will be back in the race bike Saturday. Junior K will start to Tymal Cameron’s left at Post 3, while the other Semifinal winner, Hes A Lion, will labour from Post 8.
Creighton predicts an epic battle for the Grassroots crown, and would love to see Tymal Cameron in the thick of it.
“There are definitely some real good horses in there,” says Creighton, who trains the gelding for Audrey and Robert McKinley of Clinton. “I’d like to see him get off the gate good and sit close until he had to use him, but I imagine everybody will be thinking the same thing.”
Among the colts Tymal Cameron will face in the Final are two of his former stablemates from the Paul Taylor barn. Gunsmoke VMW starts from Post 2 with Jason Brewer in the bike, and Blatantly Good gets Post 4 and regular reinsman Trevor Henry.
All eight Grassroots Finals, slated as Races 2 through 9, promise to be exceptional showcases of Ontario-sired talent. Kawartha Downs raises the curtain on its $800,000 evening at 7 pm this Saturday, Oct. 27.
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