Dresden Resident Triumphs In Grassroots Championship
“I keep getting texts here and it’s crazy, everybody I work with, everybody involved with harness racing, there’s a train of people behind me that just can’t believe it’s happening,” said a delighted Fraleigh, who had barely dared to hope that Sports Flix would emerge victorious in the $50,000 Grassroots final.
“I looked at the program, as everybody did, and I didn’t think we were ever going to get to Freya Seelster, because she was such a dominant mare,” the owner admitted. “But I thought if this filly ever got a chance she would take a run at them, and tonight just happened to be that night.”
Driver Sylvain Filion hustled Sports Flix away from Post 9 and led the field to a :27.3 opening quarter before yielding to Freya Seelster. From there Sports Flix sat on the heels of Freya Seelster as she rang up a :56.4 half and 1:25.2 three-quarters and then accelerated by the pacesetter in the stretch and on to a two and three-quarter length victory in a personal best 1:54. Shadow Sparks also closed well to be second, leaving Freya Seelster to settle for third.
“I drove her last week for Gregg McNair for the first time. I ended up first-over, but she really impressed me the way she did it and I knew if I could get her in a position to win, she had a good shot,” said Filion. “When I saw the nine-hole I said, oh my god, that will be tough, but she left the gate good, we got a two-hole trip and she just win easy.”
Gregg McNair trains Sports Flix for Fraleigh, who purchased the daughter of Sportswriter and former Gold Series competitor Moving Pictures at last fall’s London Selected Yearling Sale for $13,000. In six starts Sports Flix has tallied three wins and two thirds for earnings of $49,515.
“After the Clinton race (Sept. 2), where she win in 1:57, Gregg said, this mare has kind of turned a page, and I said, really? And next thing you know she finished third (in the Sept. 20 Semi-Final) and then we had the shot at this and it was just unbelievable, you couldn’t write this stuff, I tell you,” said Fraleigh.
“I’ve drove, I’ve trained, I’ve bred horses, I’ve had a couple in the past that have done well, but not to this scope, not to this scope.”