Grassroots Dreams On The Line Saturday

The Ontario Sires Stakes dreams of 58 owners will come to fruition at Kawartha Downs on Saturday evening when the Fraserville oval rolls out the red carpet for the two-year-old pacing fillies’ Grassroots debut.

David Snowden bred and owns Deliciouslynaughty, so the Bowmanville resident has had more than two years to imagine the Mach Three daughter stepping up behind the starting gate in an Ontario Sires Stakes event. The longtime breeder says that while the full sister to $231,489 Themachmanprophecy was unremarkable as a foal, the possibilities gained shape once she was introduced to a harness by trainer Mark Etsell.

“Mark’s liked her since Day 1,” Snowden explains. “He liked her attitude right away.”
Etsell trained the filly’s mother Naught Enough Hare, and taught Themachmanprophecy his early lessons, so he knew her pedigree held potential. What the veteran conditioner found in Deliciouslynaughty was unbridled enthusiasm for her job, and some speed to go along with it.

“She was almost too sharp,” notes Snowden. “The main thing all winter was throttling her down instead of sending her. Mark’s done a good job that way; keeping her within herself.”

Snowden says Etsell spent a significant number of hours preparing the filly for the racetrack, schooling her at Georgian Downs several times before he even entered her in a qualifier so she could get comfortable with the new sights and sounds.

Finally, on June 27 Deliciouslynaughty stepped in behind the Georgian Downs gate for a qualifier, but she made a miscue at the halfway marker and finished well back of the field. Seven days later Etsell took her back to the Innisfil oval for a second attempt, and this time Deliciouslynaughty delivered a flawless nine length victory in 1:58.4.

Etsell will steer the filly from Post 8 in the seventh race on Saturday, the fifth Grassroots division, and Snowden is circumspect about her chances.

“She’s in tough enough. That horse (Lyons Anitacol) that won in 1:56.4 over Sarnia will be tough,” notes the longtime owner. “She’s just come off a couple of slow qualifiers.”

The breeder would love to see the filly follow in the footsteps of her mother and sibling. Themachmanprophecy was a Grassroots winner at two, and Naught Enough Hare won a Grassroots event at Kawartha Downs.

“It’s close to home, our home track. Her mother won a Grassroots at Kawartha for us at three,” recalls Snowden.

If Deliciouslynaughty can deliver a solid effort over Kawartha on Saturday, she might also earn her way into a stakes appearance outside the Grassroots program.

“She’s paid to the Battle of the Belles if she’s good enough,” says Snowden, referring to the $150,000 stakes event hosted at Grand River Raceway with eliminations going postward July 27. “She’s got lots of speed.”

In addition to Lyons Anitacol, who will start from Post 5 in Race 7, Deliciouslynaughty will have to overcome seven other fillies hoping to fulfill their owner’s dreams of Grassroots glory.

Those dreams will also be on the line in Races 1, 3, 4, 5, 8 and 9 on Saturday, with the first race contestants thundering away from Kawartha Downs’ starting gate at 7 p.m.

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