When two-year-old pacing filly Cyclone Sister swooped to the lead for a 1:53.2 victory in the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Championship at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Saturday night, Joel Straatman of London, Ont. became a new horse owner thanks to the Win A Share In A Racehorse Contest.
Presented by the Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS), Straatman has won a share in the LandMark 14 Racing Stable, valued at $2,000. LandMark 14 horses are trained by Shawn and Mark Steacy and this fractional ownership group is coordinated by Howard Pearce.
Ten finalists from across the province were drawn from hundreds of contest entries, and each finalist was matched with a horse in the Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly event. The luck of the draw went to Straatman who was matched with Cyclone Sister. Driven by Jonathan Drury and owned and bred by Millar Farms, Cyclone Sister scored her third win in nine starts, and the $37,500 payday boosted her season’s earnings to $99,682. Nick Gallucci trains the Shadow Play filly, who paid $31.40 for a $2 win ticket.
Straatman grew up working with Standardbreds at Seelster Farms in Lucan, Ont., and has spent a lot of time in the grandstand as a harness racing fan at his favourite track, The Raceway at Western Fair District in London.
“I am part of the Seelster family and worked on the farm while I was both a high school and university student, and have since moved on to a software developer position in the London area,” Joel explained. “I am a harness racing fan. I definitely don’t watch as much as I used to but it’s still something very near and dear to me.”
Left: Joel with Atlantic Seelster; Right: Joel after graduating from McMaster in Software Engineering
Despite his involvement, Joel has never owned a racehorse. Now that Straatman has won the share in LandMark 14, he can’t wait for this next year of racing and being involved in the industry again, but this time as an owner.
“Watching this race with my friends and family, while it wasn’t in the grandstand like I’m used to, was still one of the most fun experiences I’ve had watching the races in my entire life. I’m so grateful to the OSS and LandMark for putting this contest together, and am extremely excited for the next year of racing!”
In previous years the ten finalists would travel to Woodbine Mohawk Park to enjoy dinner and take in the racing action trackside. However, due to COVID restrictions this year, the contest was modified to be online and the ten finalists joined a virtual call to watch the race as a group, and each finalist received a prize package from the Ontario Sires Stakes.
This is the fourth consecutive year for the Win A Share contest. Shannon Henderson won the 2019 contest and share in LandMark 13, Monique MacLean won the 2018 contest and a share in LandMark 12 while Susan Johnson was the inaugural winner in 2017 and took home a share in LandMark 11.