Front end control was the name of the game at Grand River Raceway on Monday, Aug. 2 as the winners of both $101,400 three-year-old pacing filly Gold Series divisions and all five $21,000 Grassroots divisions controlled the tempo on their way to victory.
Taking top billing on the 31st annual Industry Day program was Voelz Delight who captured the first Gold Series division in a track record equalling 1:52.4, matching the record set by Neon Moon during the 2018 edition of the Elora oval’s signature event.
Starting from Post 3, driver Sylvain Filion fired the Bettors Delight daughter to the front and led the field of eight through fractions of :26.4; :54.1 and 1:22.4. Jody mounted a late charge, but Voelz Delight sailed home a one length winner in the 1:52.4 clocking. Favourite Dabarndawgswatchin settled for third.
“Last week she had a bad week, the last Gold (July 23). Some kind of a virus was going through the barn and she wasn’t 100 per cent, and she still raced real good, but I knew she would come back good today,” said trainer Ben Baillargeon of the filly’s third-place effort on July 23. “She warmed up good and I told Sylvain, ‘If she gets to the front, you’re the boss’. She had nothing to prove really, to nobody. She’s a true Gold horse, she proved herself last year and she proved herself this year again, some people, looks like they had doubts in her today, but now we just proved them wrong.”
Guelph, ON resident Baillargeon trains Voelz Delight for owner-breeder Richard Berthiaume of Pointe-Aux-Trembles, QC. The win was the filly’s second in Gold Series action this season and her third lifetime. In seven sophomore starts the filly boasts a record of five wins and two thirds for earnings of $146,328.
Scarlett Hanover padded her lead atop the division standings with a 1:53 win in the second $101,400 Gold Series division. In rein to Ed Hensley, Scarlett Hanover rolled through fractions of :26.3, :55.2 and 1:23.3 and then held off favourite Western Wish in the stretch to record the one length victory. Best Head West completed the top three.
“She’s got really good gate speed, so she uses that to her advantage, and today it seemed like the front end was holding up so it worked out good,” said trainer Ashleigh Hensley of the 2020 Battle Of The Belles champion who is undefeated in four starts at Grand River Raceway. “It was nice to see a lot of people out there, and it was good day for it.”
Hensley, of Dundas, ON, trains the Bettors Delight daughter for Burke Racing Stable LLC of Fredericktown, PA, Frank Baldachino of Harvey Cedars, NJ, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby of Delray Beach, FL and Weaver Bruscemi LLC of Canonsburg, PA. Through five starts this season the 2020 division champion has two wins, both in Gold Series action, and one second for earnings of $127,390.
Three of the Grassroots winners, Beach Moment, Sweet Pink and Alumni Seelster, halted the Grand River Raceway teletimer at 1:53.3.
Beach Moment kicked off the Industry Day program in the first race, laying down fractions of :27.1, :55.4 and 1:24.2 and then out-duelling La Petite Grise for a one-half length 1:53.3 win. Twin B Sunkissed finished third. Favourite JM Sportsfan finished sixth.
“She’s a nice filly, great on the half-miles,” said driver Bob McClure of Rockwood, ON. “She raced good her last start (July 22), just got screwed up at the gate.”
Blake MacIntosh of St. George, ON trains the Control The Moment filly for Hutt Racing Stable of Malvern, PA and Mortgage Boys Stable of Fayetteville, NY.
In the fourth division, Sweet Pink took command heading by the quarter-mile pole and pocket-sitting favourite Sports Duchess was never able to threaten as the Bettors Delight daughter sailed home to a two and one-quarter length win in 1:53.3. Sports Duchess settled for second and Share The Moment closed well for third.
James MacDonald of Guelph engineered the win for trainer Nick Gallucci and owner-breeder Millar Farms of Stouffville, ON.
Alumni Seelster scored her 1:53.3 victory in the last $21,800 Grassroots division, holding off favourite Amini by three-quarters of a length in the stretch after carving out fractions of :26.3, :55 and 1:24.2. Ourlittlemiracle rounded out the top three.
“She raced great,” said driver Doug McNair of Guelph, ON. “I was over the quarter and the half a lot faster than I needed to be, but she fought tough in the lane.”
Dr. Ian Moore of Cambridge trains State Treasurer daughter Alumni Seelster for Paul MacDonald of Burlington, ON and Sally MacDonald of Souris, PEI.
McNair also captured the third Grassroots division with Docs Delight, who sailed along unchallenged to a 1:54.1 victory over Sports Check and favourite Jackieofalltrades.
“She got off the gate well and did everything right,” said McNair. “She deserved to win last week (July 22) so it was nice to get it today.”
Blair Burgess of Campbellville, ON trains Docs Delight for owner-breeder Dr. Andrew Roberts of Lexington, ON. The Betterthancheddar daughter finished second to Sweet Pink in the July 22 Grassroots Leg at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
Favourite Shes Got It All captured the other Grassroots division with a 1:54.1 personal best for driver Trevor Henry of Arthur, trainer Rick Zeron of Oakville, ON and owner Hutt Racing Stable of Malvern, PA. The daughter of Bettors Delight and Regally Ready bested Saulsbrook Olympia and Spittin Chicklets for her first win of 2021.
“She’s a nice filly. She’s like her mother, who I trained. She goes out and does her job the best that she can do and that’s all you can really ask from any racehorse,” said Zeron. “Trevor gave her a perfect drive today. I’m glad to see her win for the owners.”
The three-year-old pacing fillies were the opening act for the $251,050 Battle Of Waterloo Final for Ontario Sired two-year-old pacing colts and the $145,060 Battle Of The Belles Final for Ontario Sired two-year-old pacing fillies.
The favourites delivered in both events as pacing filly Love That Smile and driver Louis-Philippe Roy cruised to a 1:54.4 victory over Big Bettor Hanover and Warrawee Xpat, and pacing colt Betterhavemymoney and driver James MacDonald held off Erinwood Yves for a 1:52.4 win. Century Inspector completed the top three in the Battle Of Waterloo Final.
Rene Bourassa of Fergus trains and co-owns Sportswriter daughter Love That Smile, who was also victorious in her July 26 elimination, with M & S Racing Stable Inc. of Rockwood, Gilles Caouette of Sudbury, ON and Marc Gelinas of Shawinigan, QC.
Nick Gallucci trains Betterhavemymoney for owner-breeder Millar Farms of Stouffville, ON. The son of Betterthancheddar remains undefeated through four lifetime starts, including two Gold Series victories.
The three-year-old pacing fillies will make their next Gold and Grassroots Series starts on Aug. 22 at Rideau Carleton Raceway. The two-year-old pacing fillies head to Woodbine Mohawk Park on Aug. 13 for Grassroots and Aug. 17 for Gold Series action and the two-year-old pacing colts compete at the Campbellville oval on Aug. 14 and 16 in Gold and Grassroots action.
Ontario Sires Stakes excitement returns to Grand River Raceway on Wednesday, Aug. 25 with the third Gold Series Leg for the three-year-old trotting fillies.
Feature Image: Voelz Delight equalled the three-year-old pacing filly track record at Grand River Raceway on Monday, Aug. 2, winning her $101,400 Gold Series division in 1:52.4 for driver Sylvain Filion of Milton, trainer Ben Baillargeon of Guelph, ON and owner-breeder Richard Berthiaume of Pointe-Aux-Trembles, QC. (Tiffany Chantel Photography)