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Repeat Winners In Hiawatha Grassroots

Friday, July 8, 2011  By: Standardbred Canada

Repeat Winners In Hiawatha Grassroots

A trio of three-year-old trotting colts were able to pick up their second straight Grassroots trophies in Ontario Sires Stakes action at Hiawatha Horse Park on Thursday evening.

Count Strike led off the repeaters with a gate-to-wire score in the first $24,000 Grassroots division, sailing under the wire one and three-quarter lengths ahead of Here Comes Numbers in 1:58.3. JR Alber recovered from an early break in stride to claim the third-place finisher’s share.

Scott Coulter piloted the Striking Sahbra son to his ninth victory of the season for trainer Wayne Preszcator of Exeter and his partners Harness Racing Canada 12 of Ajax, Shawn Dixon of London and William Seplowe of Westbury, NY. Count Strike opened the Grassroots season with a 1:57.1 personal best effort at Kawartha Downs on June 25 and currently shares top spot in the sophomore trotting colt standings with the other two repeat winners, Frill Seeker and Traverse Seelster.

Frill Seeker logged the quickest mile of the seven Grassroots divisions, reeling in pacesetter Edit through the stretch to record a one length victory in 1:56.1. Fan favourite Edit had to settle for second, and Major Herbie rounded out the top three.

Frill Seeker is now three for five this season for trainer Ron Waples Jr. and owner Ebbsfleet Stables of Stratford. The Angus Hall gelding was piloted to the new personal best by Roger Mayotte.

In the tenth race, Traverse Seelster managed to hang on for a head victory over a charging Mandinga to retain a share of top spot in the division standings. Another son of Angus Hall, Traverse Seelster led through most of the mile and had to dig hard in the stretch to secure the 1:57 victory. Calipari completed the Triactor, finishing four lengths behind the dueling leaders.

Franco Cianci of St-Laurent, QC, Isidoro Russo of Montreal, QC and Vincenzo Monticciolo of Laval, QC share ownership on Traverse Seelster, who boasts a record of four wins, two seconds and two thirds in eight starts this season. The gelding is conditioned by Frank O’Reilly and was driven to victory on Thursday by Mike Saftic.

Saftic scored another trip to the Hiawatha Horse Park winner’s circle in the sixth race aboard Bob McIntosh trainee Put Your Dukes Up. The pair swept from fourth to first in the stretch to post a half length victory over favourite Winford Hanover and Psychic Turmoil in 1:58.

Windsor resident McIntosh bred and owns Put Your Dukes Up in partnership with Dave Boyle of Bowmanville and C S X Stables of Liberty Center, OH. Thursday’s victory was the Duke Of York gelding’s first lifetime through 15 starts.

Trainer-driver Bradley Kramer also made two stops in the winner’s circle Thursday, with Big Strike and Blazin Benny.

Striking Sahbra son Big Strike sailed along on the front end to a 1:57.3 score in the third division, besting Assignment and Incredable Frank. Lennon, MI resident Kramer shares ownership of Big Strike with E C S Racing LLC of Rockford, MI.

Making his Grassroots debut, Blazin Benny got a neck in front of P L Eureka and favourite Daily Blog to stop the teletimer at 1:58.4. The recent addition of trotting hopples to the Angus Hall gelding’s equipment bag may prove to be the difference maker for him on the provincial circuit this summer. Kramer, E C S Racing LLC and Timothy Hall of Burton, MI share ownership of Blazin Benny.

The other Grassroots division went to Over And Out, who hit the wire five and one-quarter lengths on top in 1:56.3. Finely Honed and B C Lulu picked up second and third. Billy Davis, Jr. piloted the Ken Warkentin colt to his first win of the season for owner-trainer Marcel Bouvier of Rockwood.

The three-year-old trotting colts make their third Grassroots start at Hanover Raceway on Aug. 6. On Saturday, Aug. 13, Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Hiawatha Horse Park with the fourth Grassroots event of the season for the two-year-old trotting fillies.


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