Eliminations for Hanover’s Dream of Glory and Grand River Raceway’s Battle of Waterloo and Battle of the Belles are on tap over the next three days.
by Sandra Snyder | Sponsored by Ontario Racing
Over the next three days, Hanover Raceway and Grand River Raceway will hold eliminations for the biggest events on their 2019 calendar.
On Saturday, July 27 Hanover will see three eliminations of the Dream Of Glory for 3-year-old trotters go postward and on Monday, July 29 Grand River will be invaded by 2-year-old pacers competing in two Battle Of Waterloo eliminations and three splits for the Battle Of The Belles.
Carrying the hometown banner in the $7,500 Dream Of Glory eliminations is trotting filly Giving It All, who calls Hanover Raceway home. The daughter of Angus Hall and Marathons Jade will line up at Post 6 in the last division on Saturday, with Ryan Holliday in the driver’s seat. Giving It All is one of six fillies taking on 11 geldings for a spot in the Aug. 3 final.
Racing in the Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) Grassroots this season Giving It All boasts a record of one third, one fourth and one sixth. At two she was a regular on the top OSS circuit and won a division of the season opening Gold leg and an elimination of the Balanced Image, Hanover Raceway’s feature event for two-year-old trotters.
“She gave us our first Gold win, which was kind of nice, because it takes a lifetime to win a Gold it seems,” said Hanover resident Randy Rier, who shares ownership and training duties on Giving It All with his brother John “Jack” Rier of Kitchener, ON. “Charmbo Chrome paid for her. He had an over $60,000 3-year-old year so we decide to go to the sale and, my brother had picked out three or four that sold for more money, but I liked this mare so I bought her.”
Giving It All will be the third starter the Rier brothers have sent out in the Dream Of Glory. Charmbo Chrome, now five, finished third in his elimination and fifth in the final and his dam, Hetties Charm, won her elimination and finished third in the 2004 final.
“Certainly any time we can do it at home or in Clinton it’s kind of nice,” said Rier. “We took Charmbo Brie to the Kin Pace in Clinton. She was third in the first leg, in tough as heck and drew a good hole, and in the final we drew the seven-hole and you know what that’s like at Clinton — she’s extremely tough when you’re in extremely tough. We did manage to get a fifth, so we were happy.”
The brothers have had a solid run of luck over the last three years with homebreds Charmbo Chrome and Charmbo Brie, and Giving It All. To date, the trio have amassed four Ontario Sires Stakes wins, one Gold and three Grassroots, after a decade-long drought for the owner/breeders in the provincial program. Charmbo Brie and Giving It All have also joined Charmbo Chrome with more than $60,000 in earnings.
In addition to working with the horses, Rier also serves as president of the Hanover, Bentinick and Brant Agricultural Society, which operates Hanover Raceway, and says Dream Of Glory Night is the premier event on the track’s calendar. Post time for the Saturday, Aug. 3 program is 6:15 pm, an hour earlier than normal, to accommodate fireworks after the races.
McNair sending four to Battle
Trainer Gregg McNair will send out four starters in the Battle eliminations on Monday, July 29, one colt and three fillies. The Guelph, ON resident is a three-time winner of the Battle Of Waterloo — Trail Boss (2008), Three Of Clubs (2103) and Magnum J (2015) — and captured the Battle Of The Belles with Lady Shadow in 2013.
“I think we’ve always put something in one or the other,” said McNair. “I remember one other time we didn’t have anything for the colts at all, but I like to go up there if I can. It’s kind of our home track.”
All of McNair’s winners came with son Doug McNair in the race bike and the 29-year-old reinsman says the Elora, ON oval has been a key part of his career.
“I can remember it just like yesterday, I can’t believe 11 years has gone by already,” said the younger McNair of his first Battle of Waterloo win with Trail Boss. “In the final I got away third and come first up early with him, and come hard with him, he was just meant to win that race that’s all. Looking back now, nothing I did was the reason the horse won, it kind of maybe was meant to be because it kind of got me going. Right after that I started getting more and more drives on the smaller tracks and Grand River especially.”
The McNair’s entrants for the 2019 Battle eliminations are Hes Watching gelding Colima, who will start from Post 4 in the seventh race on Monday, Sportswriter daughter Beach Sports, who gets Post 4 in the first race, Mach Three filly Landry Seelster, who drew Post 2 in the fourth race, and Sportswriter miss Karma Seelster, who makes her bid for the final from Post 2 in the eighth race.
“Dad’s got three fillies in there. I think the best chance he has in the fillies —well it’s tough to say yet — but Karma Seelster I think is the best one he has right now,” said the driver. “The other two, Landry Seelster, I think she’ll do real good there because she feels like she’s going to be able to carry her speed and she’s great gaited, can leave the gate, so that’s really going to help her on the small track. The other one, Beach Sports, I think she’s slick gaited and if she gets the right trip he’ll hopefully get all three of them into the Final.”
Owned by Hall of Famer Keith Waples, Eileen Waples and Karen Hauver of Durham, ON, Karma Seelster has two Gold Series starts under her belt, recording one third and one second, while Beach Sports and Landry Seelster have been competing in the Grassroots. Both fillies won their division in the season opener with Landry Seelster adding a second and Beach Sports a third in the second leg. Ross Family Farms Ltd. of Wingham own Beach Sports and Gregg McNair, Ilderton Boys Stable of London, ON and Dany Fontaine of Ormston, QC share ownership of Landry Seelster.
Colima, bred and owned by Bloomingwood Farms Ltd. of Harriston, has been racing in the Grassroots and had a tough start to his season, suffering interference in the first leg and finishing at the back of the field. He rebounded with a third in the second leg and Doug McNair is hoping the colt’s slick gait will help him qualify for the final.
“He’s good gaited, that’s going to help him. Hopefully he makes the final,” said the driver. “I think we’ve won it (Battle Of Waterloo) three times since I started racing, but it’s always nice to have a good shot in either one or the other, so hopefully a couple of them get in there.”
The finals are part of Grand River Raceway’s Industry Day card on Monday, Aug. 5, which gets underway at 12:30 pm. In addition to the Battle finals the track will play host to the third OSS Grassroots leg for the 3-year-old pacing colts and offer up non-stop entertainment for fans. Children’s activities, draws, and the annual Bouncy Pony stakes are all on tap again this year for the popular event.
“It’s fun,” said Doug McNair. “A bunch of my friends were there, I’d just got out of high school the first time that I won it, and a bunch of them still come every year.”
Stakes action July 26 to Aug. 1:
Hanover Raceway – Dream Of Glory eliminations
Grand River Raceway – Battle Of Waterloo, Battle Of The Belles eliminations
Woodbine Mohawk Park – Dream Maker Series, Leg 1
Woodbine Mohawk Park – OSS Grassroots (2ft), Whenuwishuponastar Series, Leg 1
Woodbine Mohawk Park – Define the World and Pure Ivory Series’, Leg 1
Ontario handicapping picks
A deep selection of handicapping picks for Ontario racetracks — featuring the talents of Garnet Barnsdale, Michael Bozich and Michael Carter — is available on the Ontario Racing website.