All four of the winners in Thursday night’s two-year-old pacing colt Grassroots action at Woodbine Mohawk Park picked up their second victory of the Ontario Sires Stakes program and marked themselves as horses to be reckoned with heading into the postseason.
In the first $23,150 division Proline and driver Bob McClure eased away from Post 1 into seventh as Kyuquot led the field to a :27.3 opening quarter. As Mustang Beach completed the third lead change heading by the :57.3 half, McClure was tipping Proline out behind fan favourite Stonebridge Rex, who shadowed Rau Ru. The challengers marched steadily forward and although Mustang Beach had a two length margin at the 1:25.3 three-quarters, he was soon under heavy attack. Rolling out from behind Stonebridge Rex, Proline unleashed a :26.3 last quarter to claim the victory in a personal best 1:53.1. Stonebridge Rex was one and one-quarter lengths back in second and Rau Ru was two lengths back in third.
“He’s got lots of speed. I’m very pleased with him now,” said Campbellville, ON resident Luc Blais, who trains the colt for Determination of Montreal, QC. “His last two races, we can’t get better than that I think with the way he did that.”
The win was Proline’s second straight in Grassroots action, with the first coming in the Sept. 8 leg at Woodbine Mohawk Park. With two wins and one sixth, the speedy youngster finishes up the Grassroots regular season in sixth spot in the standings with 103 points.
No Plan Intended and driver Jody Jamieson also employed a come-from-behind strategy to capture the second division from Post 7. The fan favourites powered down the stretch to a two and one-quarter length victory in 1:53.1. Proline’s stablemate Shazam Blue Chip finished second and Big Bang Bang completed the top three.
“Honestly tonight he didn’t seem as strong as last week (Sept. 8), but a couple of two-year-olds in the barn have been coughing. We did take his blood the other day and he didn’t show any signs of sickness, but we might have to keep an eye on him because he didn’t finish as strong, not terrible, but he was a lot better last week,” said trainer Stephanie Jamieson. “He’s got a lot of heart that horse, he’s a tough little bugger.”
Moffat resident Jamieson trains No Plan Intended for her father-in-law Carl Jamieson of Puslinch, ON and Brian Paquet of Quebec, QC. The partners also bred the son of Up The Credit, who the elder Jamieson trained and the pair co-owned through his $1.3 million racing career.
With two wins, one second and one sixth in his Grassroots career, No Plan Intended heads into the postseason in a two-way tie for second with 128 points.
Sharing second spot with No Plan Intended is Take Control, who cruised along on the front end to a one and one-half length victory in the third division. In rein to Louis-Philippe Roy, the Control The Moment son stopped the teletimer in a personal best 1:52.3. Big Teddy finished second and Last Bet was third.
“The 10-hole last week (Sept. 8), he kind of didn’t get into the race, but he finished really strong. So today was good that he had a chance to get into the race,” said trainer Dan Lagace of Cambridge, who shares ownership of the gelding with Ben Mudry of Toronto, ON. “He’s been a nice little colt. He was only $8,000 so with a good finish in the next couple of weeks he’s had a pretty good year.”
Thursday’s victory boosted Take Control’s earnings to $30,982 through seven lifetime starts. Unlike Proline and No Pan Intended, he posted his first Grassroots win in the Aug. 22 leg at Hiawatha Horse Park and finished sixth from Post 10 in the Sept. 8 leg.
The final $23,150 division saw Second Bruiser romp to his second straight 1:51.4 victory, hitting the wire one and one-quarter lengths ahead of Cadillac Bayama. Watch My Beverage was seven lengths back in third.
“He’s pretty awesome. He was amazing last week and I think he was even better tonight,” said driver James MacDonald. “It’s a cool night, a little breezy and 1:51.4 for a two-year-old this time of year, and the way he did it, he’s just a really nice colt. Hopefully he keeps progressing. He could be anything.”
Guelph resident MacDonald drove the Believeinbruiser son to the win, his second in three lifetime starts, for trainer Vernon Cochrane of Fergus and his co-owner Stefan Piekos of Palgrave, ON. The win netted Second Bruiser 100 points and puts him in seventh spot in the standings. The top 20 point earners now advance to the Oct. 1 Semi-Finals from which the top five finishers will move on to the $75,000 Grassroots Championship at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Oct. 10.
On Friday night the three-year-old pacing colts resume their Gold Series rivalry at Woodbine Mohawk Park after taking a break to compete in Grand Circuit action in recent weeks. The colts will battle for $156,400 in Race 8 on the program, which gets under way at 7 pm. Fans can download a program here.
Featured Image: Bob McClure drove two-year-old pacing colt Proline to a 1:53.1 Grassroots win at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept. 17, 2020. (New Image Media photo)