Four Wheelin scored his third Grassroots win at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Monday, Sept. 14 and wrapped up the regular season atop the two-year-old trotting colt standings with a perfect total of 150 points.
“I like the way he’s coming on. He seems like he’s getting stronger every start,” said trainer Marcel Barrieau. “Talking to Louis Philippe he said, ‘Geez, it never took nothing out of him, he was strong right to the end’, so that’s a good sign.”
Louis Philippe Roy piloted Four Wheelin to the front-stepping victory from Post 4. The fan favourites put up fractions of :28.3, :59.2 and 1:29 on their way to a three length victory in a personal best 1:57.1, the fastest of the three $23,000 Grassroots divisions. Pocket-sitter Rosies War Bonds finished second and Tymal Chrome was third.
Cambridge, ON resident Barrieau shares ownership of Four Wheelin with Gestion Mastel Inc of Longueil, QC. In six career starts Four Wheelin has not missed a cheque. In addition to his trio of Grassroots victories, the Wheeling N Dealin son delivered two fourth-place efforts against the Gold Series colts and was third in an Aug. 11 overnight at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
“He wasn’t always strong. My other colt was stronger than him, Stoked Blue Chip, and it’s funny, when I got back to Canada after Florida they just turned around, this one got stronger and the other one got weaker,” said Barrieau. “That’s one thing I’ve learned, you can’t tell training or nothing. When you put them behind the gate, that’s when you find out what you’ve got.”
Stoked Blue Chip delivered a third-place effort in the second Grassroots division to finish the regular season with 45 points and give Barrieau two colts in the top 20. The top 20 point earners advance to the Oct. 1 Grassroots Semi-Finals, with the top five finishers earning a berth in the $75,000 Grassroots Championship on Oct. 10 at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
Stoked Blue Chip finished seven lengths behind Highland Mowgli, who also delivered a commanding front-end performance. Starting from Post 3 with Yannick Gingras in the race bike, Highland Mowgli took command from Rocketing just after the :28.2 quarter and then rolled through a :58.2 half and 1:28.2 three-quarters on the way to a 1:58.1 victory. Kilauea finished second, six lengths behind the fan favourite.
Gingras crafted the win for trainer Amanda Fine of Guelph and her co-owner Highland Thoroughbred Farm of Inglewood, ON. The win was the Archangel son’s first in eight tries and was doubly satisfying for his owners, who were not sure the colt would ever make it to the races let alone win an Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) event.
“He got really, really sick and we just weren’t sure if he was even going survive. He was really that sick,” said Fine of the rocky start to Highland Mowgli’s two-year-old year. “He’s pretty special to us all.”
After his recovery Fine said Highland Mowgli was babied through the spring, but still managed to qualify in time for the first leg of the OSS program. The colt made his debut at the Gold Series level and logged one fourth and one second before Fine opted to drop him down to the Grassroots. In his Aug. 25 debut in the Grassroots program, Highland Mowgli finished second to Four Wheelin, so he heads into the post season in eighth spot with 75 points.
The final division went to Lifelong Wish, who also started his career with a pair of Gold Series starts before joining the Grassroots program in the fourth leg. The fan favourite, with Mike Saftic in the race bike, left smartly from Post 5 and powered through fractions of :27.4, :57.4 and 1:27.3 before digging in down the stretch for a narrow victory in a personal best 1:58. Moscow Moon was a head back in second and Insanity was one length back in third.
“He gets a little excited so Mike tried to back him off, but he didn’t want to. He thought he would be a little bit quieter leaving the gate, but once he got there it wasn’t happening,” said trainer Pam Forgie of Goderich, who shares ownership of the gelding with Donald Sholdice of Brussels, ON. “He might have got a little bit tired at the end there, but that was a big effort, front end trip the whole way. He doesn’t like to give up, that is for sure. He sticks it out to the end, he is tough that way.”
The win was the Royalty For Life son’s second straight in Grassroots action, giving him 100 points and a share of fourth in the standings.
On Tuesday, Sept. 15 the two-year-old pacing fillies will wrap up their Grassroots regular season with a quartet of $22,800 divisions in Races 1, 3, 7, and 9. Post time for Tuesday’s program is 7 p.m.
To view results for Monday’s card of harness racing, click the following link: Monday Results – Woodbine Mohawk Park.