(Photo of Hudsons Ya Ya, driven by Paul MacDonell, courtesy of New Image Media)
Mohawk Racetrack hosted the second leg of the World Driving Championship on Monday evening and Ontario’s talented three-year-old trotting fillies showed off their skills to the international audience in four $19,150 Grassroots divisions.
Reigning Grassroots champion Anikadabra opened the program with her first victory of the season, touring the Mohawk oval in 1:56.4. Sent off as the fan favourite, the Kadabra daughter controlled the tempo for most of the mile, reaching the wire three-quarters of a length ahead of Kuil Diva and Millers Song.
Oakville resident Rick Zeron piloted Anikadabra to the win for trainer Rob Fellows of Rockwood and owner-breeders Edward Wilson of Seagrave, ON and Michael Pozefsky of Saratoga Springs, NY. Bested just once in Grassroots action as a two-year-old, Anikadabra now has one win and one third under her belt in two sophomore starts.
The second division saw Hudsons Ya Ya earn her first Ontario Sires Stakes win, powering out of Post 7 to take control of the lead and trot home a three-quarter length winner over favourite Inner Drive and Late Shift in 1:57. Guelph resident Paul MacDonell crafted the victory for trainer John Bax of Campbellville, Glengate Farms of Mississauga, Don Allensen of Wyoming, ON and Dave Hudson of Dallas, TX.
“She always had a lot of potential,” said Bax. “She’s from a pretty good mare, and we thought a lot of her — we paid a lot for her — but I hope now that she’s kind of over the hump.
“She’s got lots of power, she’s a big strong mare, but now she seems to be getting a little racier and a little more sure-footed.”
The daughter of Kadabra and $224,136 winner Angostura was a $70,000 purchase out of the 2015 Harrisburg Yearling Sale. She made eight starts last season, four of them in the Ontario Sires Stakes program, and recorded one win and one third in overnight action. This season she has made 10 starts and now has two wins and two thirds to her credit for lifetime earnings of $38,691.
“She had a bunch of issues last year and she was a little slow getting going this year. I’ve had a viral issue in the barn for most of the spring and part of the summer,” explained Bax, “The bloods are just starting to get back to normal, so I’m hoping that it’s onward and upward from here.”
Moffat resident Jack Moiseyev piloted Gisele Treelane to her second Grassroots win of the season in the third division, closing from fifth to first through the final quarter. The fan favourites stopped the timer at 1:55.4, one and three-quarter lengths ahead of Whole Lot Of Sugar and Moni Justice.
Murray Brethour of Sunderland, ON trains the daughter of Daylon Magician for owner-breeder Patricia Whittaker Trust of Aspers, PA and bumped the filly up to the Gold Series level after she won her division of the Grassroots season opener at Mohawk on June 13. One fifth and one third-place finish prompted the return to the Grassroots and Monday’s win boosted Gisele Treelane into third spot in the Grassroots point standings. The top 10 point earners after six regular season events will compete in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship at Mohawk on Sept. 30.
In the evening’s final division, Bustingattheseams moved into second place in the point race with her second Grassroots win. Another daughter of Kadabra, Bustingattheseams hit the wire in a personal best 1:55.2, three-quarters of a length ahead of Crystal Gumdrop and Ticket To Seattle. Milton resident Randy Waples steered Bustingattheseams to the victory for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor and his partner Dave Boyle of Bowmanville, ON.
In addition to competing in the four races that contributed to their World Driving Championship rankings, four of the drivers also made an appearance in the Ontario Sires Stakes events. Canada’s representative James MacDonald of Guelph had mounts in all four divisions, finishing third twice (Late Shift and Ticket To Seattle), fourth and eighth. Marcus Miller, representing the United States, finished fifth in the first division, Bjorn Goop, who represents Sweden, finished sixth in the third division and Dexter Dunn, the defending world champion from New Zealand, finished seventh in the last division.
The World Driving Championship makes its third stop at Georgian Downs on Tuesday evening, with a first race post time of 7:15 pm.
The three-year-old trotting fillies will make their fifth Grassroots start at Georgian Downs on August 27, while their Gold Series peers arrive at Mohawk Racetrack for their fourth leg on Thursday, August 17.