ELORA – Five Grassroots divisions took place on the fourteen race $176,300 Opening Night card on June 3 at Grand River Raceway.
Each division was won by a different driver-trainer combination, highlighted by a win for a special trainer owner partnership in the closing division.
In the final $22,200 Grassroots division, Kipper Whipr Snipr, piloted by Louis-Phillipe Roy, set the fastest mark of the five winners, trotting a mile in 1:57.1 for trainer Rob Fellows.
“I was expecting that, he trains on a half,” said Fellows. “It was a perfect trip. He got around the first turn, he settled in, and he made his move. Other horses came at him, and it was a pretty good mile. “
The son of Royalty For Life won a Gold division at Flamboro as a two-year-old, and was third in the 2021 Super Final. The gelding is a special horse for Fellows because he’s owned by Edward Wilson.
“He’s the first person I ever caught horses for, back in the early 70s at the Port Perry Fairgrounds,” said Fellows. “That’s where I started this journey. I’ve known him for 50 years of my life and he’s still a big part of it.”
Hp Maestro (Il Sogno Dream) was second for owner, and breeder Claude Hamel. Brett MacDonald drove the Benoit Baillargeon trainee. Dave Boughton drove Royalty for Life son Come Home For Life to a third place finish for local owner-trainer Don Lindsey of Fergus.
In the first Grassroots division second choice Tuxedo Attire at 4-5, left from post three and Doug McNair moved the son of Archangel to the front heading into the first turn. The gelding led at each quarter mile marker for a two-length win in 1:57.2 for trainer Stephen Bossence.
“He had better post position than some of the better ones in there, and I thought if he could stay ahead of them leaving the first turn it would be good,” said Mcnair. “He trots the turns perfect, so that’s what makes him excel on this track.”
Owned by Bossence, and partners Stephen Palermo, Richard Thompson, and Derek Reid the gelding now has three wins from six starts in 2022.
Louis-Philippe Roy and Archery Seelster made a move through the far turn, but the Wheelin N Dealin colt couldn’t catch his rival after leaving from post seven. The Marcel Barrieau trainee moved over $49,000 in career earnings for Barrieau and co-owner Gestion Mastel Inc. Lenis (Il Sogno Dream) rounded out the top three for owner Christopher Leonard.
Marvin Hagler, a son of Crazed, got a pocket trip for Jody Jameison and powered to a two-length win in the second Grassroots division.
“I was able to get good position off the gate, which is always important on a half-mile track, and I was able to turn that into a win,” said Jamieson. “The strategy was to get away close and keep him trotting. When I moved him, he responded to win pretty handily.”
The Mark Macquarrie trainee moved over $42,000 in earnings with the win for Macquarrie and fellow owner Mary Padden.
Gary Lance trainee Fireinsidemyveins (Muscle Mass), driven by Chris Christoforou, led until the stretch run, before finishing second for owners Gary Lance, Brian Samis, and Sandy Moulton. Johnny William son, and 2021 Grassroots Champion Armstead Cole was third for owners James Armitage, Grant Watson, Sheryl A McDiarmid, and Dr. Roland Armitage.
After two odds-on winners to open the evening Ricky Resolve went off from post three at 14-1 to win the third Grassroots division.
A back-and-forth first half-mile featured multiple leaders before Anthony Haughton moved the Resolve gelding into first at the three-quarter marker, and he held on for a half-length score. Trained by Mark Johnson it was the first OSS win for the Denise Ball homebred.
Radio Lab earned second position, finishing gamely after sitting seventh at the half-way point for trainer-driver, and husband-wife duo Ashley and Ed Hensley. The son of Crazed now has two second place finishes in three starts this year for the Hensley’s. Mass Attack (Muscle Mass) finished third for owners Peter Clements and Barry Klages.
Star Power Hanover reverted the trend back to favourites in the fourth Grassroots division, with Samuel Fillion driving him to an impressive five length score over Promise For Life.
A Wheelin N Dealin son who was entered into the Mohawk Million last season, the Luc Blais trainee adds a Grassroots win to a Gold division score as a two-year-old, in his sixth career OSS start. He has over $120,000 in career earnings for owners Determination.
Promise For Life (Royalty For Life), owned by R A W Equine Inc/S&r Racing Stable, and driven by Bruce Richardson gave a challenge around the far turn, but the Rene Dion trainee couldn’t match the star power. Resolve gelding, Resolute Bay was fifth for TheStable.ca