Clinton Raceway wraps up 2018 in fantastic fashion
SEPT. 2, 2018 – Clinton Raceway closed out its 2018 season with an outstanding afternoon of racing on Sunday featuring the 38th annual Charity Driver’s Challenge and four Grassroots divisions for the two-year-old pacing fillies.
Contested over the first eight races, the Charity Driver’s Challenge was a fierce battle between Jody Jamieson, Doug McNair and Bob McClure. Heading into the final leg of the challenge McNair was leading with 160 points, McClure sat second with 137 and Jamieson was in third with 128 points. With a gritty first-over effort aboard Grande Seelster, Jamieson claimed the victory and with it his sixth Clinton Charity Driver’s Challenge title.
“To win number six today was a bit of a shock really. Some of the top young drivers in the country were here today, so you never know how it will play out,” said Jamieson, who hails from Moffat, Ontario. “Fortunately, I had the best horses today and made it look quite easy.”
The participating drivers and Clinton Raceway fans raised just over $5,000 for the Tanner Steffler Foundation, which aims to support Huron County youth aged 12 to 24, and their families, with issues surrounding mental health and addiction, with the long-term goal of building a treatment and wellness facility within the county.
All eight drivers — Natasha Day, Jonathan Drury, Ryan Holliday, Jamieson, James MacDonald, McClure, McNair and Scott Wray — were enthusiastic participants in the annual event, both for the friendly rivalry and the cause they were supporting.
“I was leading until the last race and then got beat by Jody,” said McNair. “But it was all for a good cause. It is important for people to realise that everyone and anyone can have mental health challenges, and no one should feel like they are different because of it, or be unable to find help.”
Once the challenge had come to an end Jamieson, McNair and McClure continued their dominant performances in the Grassroots events, with each reinsman piloting one two-year-old pacing filly to victory.
McClure kicked things off with Lady Driver, delivering an impressive performance from Post 7 that saw them battle up the outer lane to a head victory in 1:59. Pacesetter and fan favourite Twin B Friendly settled for second and Hard Eight was third.
“She’s a nice little filly,” said McClure, who piloted Lady Driver to the win for trainer Mike Keeling. “She’s great gaited and that makes her very handy on the small tracks.”
The win was the first of the season for Sportswriter daughter Lady Driver, who is owned by CTC Stable of Chestnut Ridge, NY, and David Hamm and Michael Hall of Dagsboro, DE.
Jonathan Drury interrupted the Jamieson-McNair-McClure show with a victory in the second $18,800 Grassroots division, guiding favourite Clearly Better to her first Grassroots victory in 2:00.3. From Post 2 the Betterthancheddar daughter controlled all the fractions and bested Better Now and Three Rocks by one and one-half lengths. Cambridge resident Blake MacIntosh conditions Clearly Better for his partners Stuart McIntosh of Essex, Ontario and Hutt Racing Stable of Paoli, PA.
Jamieson was back in the winner’s circle following the third Grassroots division with Jack Darling trainee Free Exchange. The fan favourites took command going by the quarter and sailed home to a one and one-half length victory in 1:59. Loves Delight was second and Turn Back Time completed the top three.
“Free Exchange is getting stronger with each start,” said Jamieson. “She is definitely one of the best Grassrooters around and I’m glad Jack has stuck with me to drive her.”
The win was Free Exchange’s first Grassroots victory and her second lifetime. Exeter native Darling, who now calls Cambridge home, owns and trains the Betterthancheddar daughter.
McNair wrapped up the program, and the Clinton Raceway season, in thrilling fashion, steering Sports Flix to a track record effort for his father Gregg McNair of Guelph and owner James Fraleigh of Dresden, Ontario. The Sportswriter daughter came from off the pace, swinging out three-wide at the three-quarter pole, and powered down the stretch to a four and one-half length victory in 1:57. Karans Choice was second and Aumydarlin was third.
“She raced really good, that’s a big mile up here,” said the reinsman.
The clocking took one-fifth of a second off the 1:57.1 standard established by Bourbon Seelster in an August 2015 Grassroots event. Sports Flix now has two Grassroots victories to her credit and sits atop the two-year-old pacing filly division with 117 points as they head into the fifth and final regular season Grassroots event at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept. 10.
In addition the Charity Driver’s Challenge and Ontario Sires Stakes action, Clinton Raceway also hosted its first-ever Weiner Dog Race and the victorious canine was Zinc from Post 8. The six-year-old Zinc was cheered on to his victory by handlers Maggie and John.
Racing will return to Clinton Raceway in 2019 with more Ontario Sires Stakes action, family friendly events and community fundraising activities.
Submitted by OSS News