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First-time Grassroots starters storm to victory in Campbellville

“She floated up an easy first over on a slow third quarter and drew off in the stretch to a comfortable win.”

(Photo of Magical Glider and driver Chris Christoforou, Jr. courtesy of New Image Media)

A trio of fresh faces graced the Ontario Sires Stakes winner’s circle at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Thursday evening in the first Grassroots event of the three-year-old trotting filly season.

Making just her second lifetime start, Magical Glider captured the first division off a confident steer from Campbellville, Ontario resident Chris Christoforou, Jr. Starting from Post 3 Christoforou eased Magical Glider into sixth as Princess Stephanie stepped out to a :28.4 opening quarter. The fan favourites continued to sit sixth through the :59.3 half clocked by Sheza Chunkymonkey, but Christoforou soon tipped Magical Glider to the outside and the filly started to advance on the leaders. One and one-half lengths back at the 1:30.2 three-quarters, Magical Glider pulled away from her peers in the stretch, reaching the wire three lengths ahead in 1:59.3. Princess Stephanie finished second and Kant Afford It was third.

“She’s a nice filly,” noted Christoforou. “She floated up an easy first over on a slow third quarter and drew off in the stretch to a comfortable win.”

Christoforou crafted the win for trainer Dustin Jones of Waterdown, Ontario and owner-breeders Andrea Lea Racing Stables Inc. of Lakefield Gore, Quebec. Heading into Thursday’s Grassroots start the daughter of Glidemaster and Serenas Genie had logged just two qualifiers and a runner-up finish in a May 31 overnight at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

The quickest of the three divisions was clocked by Stormont Chef, who overcame the outside Post 10 to record a 1:57.2 victory in the third $19,850 contest. Getting away tenth, Stormont Chef watched favourite Ezee Tiguan ring up fractions of :27.4, :57.4 and 1:27.2 from the back of the line in the outer lane. Eighth, and eight and one-half lengths behind the leader, at the three-quarters, Stormont Chef found a whole new gear in the stretch, sprinting home to a head victory over Ezee Tiguan and Uvie Hanover.

“She raced great, because the flow wasn’t all that great from where I was,” said driver Phil Hudon. “She dug deep to get the job done. She’s an honest filly and she trots nice.”

The Guelph resident drives Stormont Chef for trainer Kevin Benn of Napanee and owner-breeders Stormont Meadows of Long Sault, Ontario. A Gold Series competitor at two, Thursday’s outing was the Angus Hall daughter’s first at the Grassroots level. The 1:57.2 clocking was a personal best for Stormont Chef, who was also a winner at Woodbine Mohawk Park in an April 30 overnight.

The other division went to Stpattysday who, like Magical Glider, had just one start on her resume prior to lining up behind Post 6 in Thursday’s fifth race. Like Stormont Chef, Stpattysday was tenth at the :28.3 quarter, and she was last heading to the :58 half. Still eleventh as pacesetter Zorgwijk Sophia reached the 1:28 three-quarters, driver Mario Baillargeon shifted the Majestic Son daughter out wide coming off the final turn and Stpattysday powered down the stretch to snatch a neck victory away from Zorgwijk Sophie. Galary Girl was three-quarters of a length back in third.

Acton resident Baillargeon picked up the drive aboard Stpattysday on her arrival at Woodbine Mohawk Park from Hippodrome Trois Rivieres, where she made her first lifetime start on May 29. Sylvain Cote of Joliette trains the filly for his partners Les Ecuries St-Thomas Inc. of St-Thomas De Joliette and  Laurent Daviault of Saint-Lambert, Quebec.

The three-year-old trotting fillies will make their second Grassroots start at Clinton Raceway on July 8.

Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday, June 22 with the second Grassroots event for the three-year-old pacing fillies.

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