John Bax will make two trips to his former home track of Kawartha Downs within the next month. This Saturday night he’s racing a pair of rookie trotting colts in the two $19,150 Ontario Sires Stakes divisions at Kawartha while on September 2 he’ll be back for the track’s signature race, the Goodtimes Invitational, named in honour of his Hall of Fame trotter.
John and his family were mainstays at Kawartha Downs for many years but when the track’s race dates were reduced considerably, coupled with the fact that his son Matt was following in his footsteps as a trainer, they relocated to Campbellville, on the former Glengate Farm to be closer to year-round racing.
On Saturday he’ll start Chief Justice in the first OSS event, race two. This will be the colt’s fourth lifetime start, all in OSS Grassroots divisions where he has been very consistent with two seconds and a third. Steve Byron, who has driven the son of Justice Hall in all of his starts, is scheduled to be in the bike on Saturday as well. In the colt’s last start, on August 3 at Mohawk, he was just a nose shy of the winner.
“Both colts are progressing nicely,” John noted today. “Chief Justice has some trouble with his eyes in that he sees too much and can be a bit spooky which hopefully he’ll grow out of. He seems to come on late in the mile and shows some ability.
“He’s a good looking colt who has always been good gaited, but when he was training down in Florida he wasn’t in my top tier,” noted the trainer who was inducted into the Peterborough and District Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.
“The other colt (Delcrest Holiday) was my cheapest yearling by a lot (at $9,000) and he was good from day one. I’m not high on his post though.”
Delcrest Holiday has been saddled with the outside post eight in the second division, race eight. A son of Holiday Road owned by John’s brother Ken of nearby Cavan as well as John Houston of Cobourg, the Gaelic Stable of Sharon and Bax’s stable, the gelding won his first lifetime start in a Grassroots at Georgian. Through three lifetime starts he has already paid for himself and then some with $11,481 banked to date.
Kawartha will be giving away Ontario Sires Stakes hats and flip flops throughout the evening in addition to their usual second chance draws which occur following the third, sixth and ninth races. Parents are encouraged to bring their youngsters to the Kids’ Activity Centre for games, colouring, snacks and drinks and the chance to win the nightly Kids Club draw where the winner makes a presentation in the winner’s circle following the Kids’ Club race and takes home a complimentary photo.
Those who haven’t visited the Fraserville oval this season will notice many changes throughout the facility from a new bar, named for Bax’s Goodtimes, painting and décor changes throughout the grandstand, an upgraded sound system and revised menus. Added this year has been ice cream from Kawartha Dairy which has been extremely popular.
Post time at Kawartha Downs is 7 p.m.