Ontario’s two-year-old trotting fillies wrapped up their Grassroots regular season at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Thursday evening.
Zebs Flur kicked off the finale with a bold move that saw her circle out three-wide heading by the three-quarters to secure a head victory in a personal best 1:57.4. Yen finished second and Ready To Deal was a length and one-quarter behind the duelling leaders in third.
The win was the second straight for Zebs Flur, who was also victorious in the Sept. 4 Grassroots event at Grand River Raceway. Stephen Byron drove the filly to both wins and said the Muscle Mass daughter is heading into the Sept. 27 Semi-Finals in top form.
“She is pretty steady and now she is showing speed,” said the Thornton, ON resident. “I’m really happy with her. She’s coming into the Semi-Finals sharp.”
Byron steers Zebs Flur for trainer John Bax and owners Bax Stable of Campbellville, Don Allensen of Wyoming and Goin To The Show Stable of Peterborough. Through six starts the filly has tallied two wins, one second and two thirds for earnings of $48,114 with both wins and both thirds coming in Grassroots action. She will head into the Semi-Finals with 124 points, putting her third in the two-year-old trotting filly standings.
In the second $23,850 division Scorched Romance and driver Paul MacDonell left smartly from Post 6 and shadowed fan favourite Goddess De Vie through fractions of :28.2, :58.3 and 1:28.1 before slipping out in the stretch and reeling in the pacesetter by a neck in a personal best 1:57.1. Warrawee Vulcan was four lengths back in third.
“We kind of liked her all along, she was a good gaited wee thing but she just took a little while to grow up and get the hang of things,” said trainer Richard “Nifty” Norman. “But now she looks like she can leave the gate, and she’s getting more versatile, and she’s got her confidence. She’s got the Semi-Final and Final coming, hopefully, so she might be able to make a little bit of money here late in the year.”
New Jersey-based Norman trains Scorched Romance for Melvin Hartman of Ottawa, ON, Herb Liverman of Miami Beach, FL and David McDuffee of Delray Beach, FL. In six starts the Kadabra daughter has recorded two wins and two thirds for earnings of $29,525.
Like Zebs Flur, Scorched Romance was a winner in the Sept. 4 Grassroots event. With two wins, one third, one fourth and one sixth-place finish in Grassroots action she accumulated 123 points and heads into the Semi-Final ranked fourth. The top 20 point earners advance to next Friday’s Semi-Finals at Woodbine Mohawk Park, with the top five finishers from each Semi-Final moving on to the Oct. 5 Grassroots Championships.
While Zebs Flur and Scorched Romance were already among the top 20 point earners before Thursday’s contest, Shes Kadabra Cool was sitting among the bottom 20.
The Kadabra miss made her debut in the July 30 Grassroots event at Woodbine Mohawk Park, finishing sixth. She stepped up to the Gold Series on Aug. 9, where she finished fifth, but then made breaks in two overnight starts. Needing to requalify after the breaks, Shes Kadabra Cool missed the Sept. 4 Grassroots event, so a win on Thursday was the only way to extend her Ontario Sires Stakes season.
Starting from Post 5 the filly and driver Sylvain Filion sat seventh through the first half of the mile, moved up to fifth by the three-quarters as other fillies moved into the outer lane, and then muscled their way through a gap in the stretch to secure a one and one-quarter length victory in 1:58.2. Fan favourite Moana finished second, just ahead of third-place finisher Zakarina.
“She’s always had the talent, she just was very green and always looking at stuff. She’s just finally starting to get it… I think,” said trainer Scott McEneny. “I think she just needs to learn, and I think that was a great trip for her, to get up the rail and have somebody outside of her the whole time, and she did some body-checking there through the lane and got out, and did it at the right time.”
Puslinch resident McEneny shares ownership of Shes Kadabra Cool with Martwest Racing Stable of Mississauga and breeder Harry Rutherford of Mount Pleasant, ON. The win was the filly’s first on the board finish in five lifetime starts and gave her a total of 53 Grassroots points, just ahead of the 50 point cut-off for the post season.
The Grassroots regular season comes to a close on Friday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park as the two-year-old pacing fillies wrap things up in Races 2, 3, 6 and 9. Friday’s program gets under way at 7:50 pm.
Complete results from Thursday’s program are available at Woodbine Mohawk Park Results.
(Photo courtesy New Image Media)