Local filly triumphs in Grassroots at Hanover Raceway
After battling against the province’s best two-year-old pacing fillies for the last two months, Power Of An Angel returned home to Hanover Raceway and found her way to the winner’s circle in the first of five $21,450 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots divisions on Sept. 4. “Finally something went our way and we got a little lucky,” said trainer and Hanover resident Roger Gebhardt. “I always liked her. She was a very nice filly. I broke her and trained her down and then I sent her down to Martin Lachance for four months, expecting her to do well in the Golds, and things didn’t turn out. She had some really bad luck in the Gold Series.” Fortune smiled on Power Of An Angel on Sept. 4 as she left well from Post 2 and tucked in behind fan favourite Warrawee Xpat. As that filly rang up fractions of :28.4, 1:00.1 and 1:29, and then fought off a challenge from Speaker Nancy around the final turn, driver James MacDonald of Guelph waited for his opportunity with Power Of An Angel. Coming off the turn he slid Power Of An Angel out three wide and the filly sprinted home to a one-length victory in 1:58.2. Speaker Nancy finished second and Warrawee Xpat settled for third. “I was just really fortunate, a lot of times you don’t get out of the two-hole there, but I got to kind of swing out across and when she saw some real estate at the top of the stretch she went by,” said MacDonald, who was making his first appearance in the filly’s race bike. Power Of An Angel made two starts in the Gold Series, finishing sixth and eighth, and also took on North America’s best in the Aug. 28 Eternal Camnation where she finished sixth. The Sunshine Beach daughter’s only top three finish came in a July 29 overnight event at Woodbine Mohawk Park where she was second by a neck. “Martin (Lachance) had her ready, it just wasn’t working out, so I decided to bring her home and race her,” said Gebhardt, whose wife Carol Gebhardt owns Power Of An Angel. “I thought she was a better filly than what she’s turned out to be, but who knows, it’s surprising how they get a bit of confidence, she might, she’s faster than what she’s shown so far. Anyway, we’re quite happy today to finally get the monkey off our back.” Gebhardt expects Power Of An Angel will make her next start in the fifth Grassroots Leg at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept. 20, with an eye to finishing among the top 20 point earners and qualifying for the Sept. 30 Grassroots Semi-Final. The top five finishers from each semi-final advance to the Oct. 9 Grassroots Championship. In addition to Power Of An Angel, MacDonald also drove Girl Scout Cookie and In The Mood to their first Ontario Sires Stakes victories on Sept. 4. “It was a terrific day in Hanover,” said MacDonald. “It rarely happens, you go to those half-mile tracks and it’s pretty tough, I guess I just had the right ones and the right posts today.” Immediately after steering In The Mood to her third lifetime win, MacDonald was heading home to prepare for a big night of Grand Circuit racing at Woodbine Mohawk Park with drives in races totalling $1.76 million. The other two Grassroots divisions were won by division point leader Dewitt For Josie, piloted by Guelph resident Louis-Philippe Roy, and T Time Pat, with Bob McClure of Rockwood in the race bike. Complete results from the afternoon of racing are available at standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0904hnvrn.dat and replays can be viewed on Hanover Raceway’s YouTube channel. Live racing is to wrap up for the season at Hanover Raceway on Sept. 18. Post time is 1:30 p.m. A charity barbecue and free concert is also planned that day.