Southwind Frost picked up his second straight win in Grassroots action as the three-year-old trotting colts and geldings wrapped up their regular season at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Thursday evening.
Sent off as the heavy favourite from Post 3, Southwind Frost watched from fourth as A Royal Line led the field to a :27.2 opening quarter. As Royale Elite took over heading for the :56.1 half, trainer-driver Michiel Vanderkemp sent Southwind Frost up the outer lane behind Gold Edition. Gold Edition made steady progress forward and had a one-half length lead by the 1:24.4 three-quarters, but once Vanderkemp gave Southwind Frost a clear look at the wire the colt powered away from his rivals to a two length victory in a personal best 1:54.1. Gold Edition would settle for second but finish atop the division point standings, and P L Matt closed hard to be third.
“He was pretty good there tonight,” said Vanderkemp, who trains Southwind Frost for Michael Andrew of Gorham, ME. “He won pretty easy, actually probably the best he’s been.”
Southwind Frost won his first Grassroots division on Aug. 19 at Woodbine Mohawk Park and followed that up with a third-place effort in an overnight event at the Campbellville oval on Sept. 5. Although the E L Titan colt hit the board in last week’s prep race, Vanderkemp was not entirely satisfied with the youngster’s effort and was looking for improvement on Thursday.
“As far as last week, he was just so-so, but the track was very dry and loose last week and he couldn’t really grab it in the turn, and in the stretch he kept getting pushed wider and wider,” said the Fergus, ON resident. “His line was still good, but he didn’t look that good. But he had a couple little excuses.
“He should be good from here on in, stay good for another two hopefully,” added Vanderkemp.
With two wins and one second in three Grassroots appearances, Southwind Frost finished second in the division standings with 125 points and will advance to the Sept. 28 Semi-Finals at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The top five finishers from each Semi-Final will return to the seven-eighths mile oval on Oct. 5 for the Grassroots Championships. Vanderkemp noted that the quirky youngster will likely go straight to the Semi-Final from Thursday’s start.
“I think it’s two and half weeks, so, he seems to go better fresh, so maybe we’ll save it for the elimination and final,” said the trainer.
Wings Of Speed squeaked into a spot in the Semi-Final with a victory in the second $23,150 division, reeling in pacesetter Priceless Ruler on the final turn and accelerating away to a three and one-quarter length victory in 1:55.4. Northern Tailwind finished second and CT Conabra was third.
The win was the Archangel son’s first lifetime and boosted him from fifty-second in the point standings to sixteenth. Acton resident Mario Baillargeon engineered the timely victory for his brother, trainer Ben Baillargeon of Guelph, ON, and owners Legendary Standardbred Farm of Mt. Morris, NY.
Magical Winner K captured the first division with a 1:54.1 personal best, trotting under the wire three-quarters of a length ahead of Judge Ken and Esa. Milton resident Sylvain Filion piloted the Kadabra colt to his fifth win of the season on behalf of trainer Rod Boyd of Cambridge and owner-breeder Robert Key of Leechburg, PA.
After a pair of starts at the Gold Series level, Thursday’s appearance was Magical Winner K’s first in the Grassroots program, which makes him ineligible for the post season.
Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday, Sept. 13 with a $155,600 Gold Series contest for the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings. The first race goes postward at 7:50 pm and the talented pacing colts and geldings will face off in Race 6.
To view results for Thursday’s card of harness racing, click the following link: Thursday Results – Woodbine Mohawk Park.