Elora, ON --- Seven $16,560 divisions of the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series for 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters took place on Wednesday (July 30) at Grand River Raceway. Hemi Seelster padded his lead atop the group with a 2:02 victory in the sixth split.
With Steve Byron in the bike, Hemi Seelster was well clear of his rivals through opening-half fractions of :29.1 and 1:00.4. Pocket-sitter Tarot (Riina Rekila) made up ground in the third quarter, but Hemi Seelster was still on the point at the 1:31.4 three-quarters. In the stretch Tarot looked to get around the tempo-setter, but Hemi Seelster proved too tough for Tarot, drawing off to win by 2-1/4 lengths. Olympic Son (Anthony MacDonald) finished third.
Hemi Seelster, who is trained by John Bax for his Parkhill Stud Farm, Matthew Bax, Goin To The Show Stable and John Houston, is now a perfect three-for-three in Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series action and has won three of his four starts overall, earning $25,020 in the process. Sired by Holiday Road, Hemi Seelster was bred by Seelster Farms Inc. and sold for $19,000 at last year’s Forest City Yearling Sale. His dam is Hollywood Beauty, who is by Angus Hall. Hollywood Beauty scored a victory in an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series elimination as a 2-year-old.
Also staying unblemished in OSS Grassroots company was Pridecrest, who stepped to a 2:05 victory in race four for driver Roger Mayotte. Pridecrest posted panels of :31.2, 1:03 and 1:34.3, then fought off passing lane pursuer Snapshot Springs (Trevor Henry) through the stretch drive to win by a neck. Cheque The Magic (Anthony Haughan) grabbed third.
After an unsuccessful try at the OSS Gold level, Pridecrest dropped into the Grassroots Series and has won both of his tries for trainer Susie Kerwood and owner/breeder Langcrest Farm. The son of Angus Hall and the Wesgate Crown mare Spilled Milk has put away $16,650 to go with his pair of victories.
The fastest section was won by Pilgrims Joy (James MacDonald), who broke his maiden in an impressive 2:01.2 over the half-mile oval. Pilgrims Joy, who was competing in the fifth Grassroots test, came first-over past the half, took over the lead at three-quarters, and wound up winning by 1-3/4 lengths over early leader Ontheroad De Vie (Rick Zeron). Jayport All Muscle (Trevor Henry) checked in third.
Johnathan McKinnon trains the victorious Pilgrims Taj colt for owner/breeder Len Kordy. Pilgrims Joy, who pushed his bankroll to $13,187, is the last foal out of the late Incredible Abe mare Joy Of Pleasure. Joy Of Pleasure was also an Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots winner as a 2-year-old.
Also getting to celebrate Ontario Sires Stakes success were:
The next Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series test for the freshman colt and gelding trotters will occur on Aug. 8 at Mohawk Racetrack. For full results and charts of Wednesday night’s races at Grand River Raceway, click here.