Christopher enjoying his new role as Standardbred owner

by Sandra Snyder

Campbellville, ON — Less than two years after he bought a share in his first racehorse, Leonard Christopher will be rearranging his Canada Day weekend plans to catch freshman pacing fillies Mach Star and Bluebird Creek in action on Sunday evening (July 1) at Mohawk Racetrack.

“I’ve got to go to the cottage; I haven’t been up there in a month. I heard my grass is looking like hay,” says Christopher with a laugh. “I might try to make it back, get my grass cut and make it home on Sunday.”

The fillies are competing in the Grassroots season opener, with Mach Star making her debut from post five in the first C$24,000 division and Bluebird Creek hoping to overcome post nine in the third. Both fillies will get the services of Steve Condren, who also piloted them in an early season qualifier and one overnight start.

“Glenview, Robert Schlegel, he recommended we put Condren down, he won’t hurt them for babies,” says Christopher. “It’s nice to see him back after what he went through.”

Recently returned to the race bike after a year-long battle with colon cancer, Condren piloted Mach Star to a runner-up finish in her June 15 qualifier at Mohawk and a third-place finish in a 2-year-old filly contest on June 21. The daughter of Mach Three and Beach Jenny will be looking to maintain her streak of top three finishes on Sunday as she faces off against a field of eight.

Christopher, Schlegel’s Glenview Livestock Ltd., Steven Papillon and Dan Manes share ownership of Mach Star, who was a $30,000 yearling at last fall’s Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. A half-sister to $604,238 earner Versado, the filly is trained by Shaun McDonald.

“We had a guy named Murray Brethour looking at the horses for us, so he told us what to pick and what not to pick,” says Christopher. “Like I said I’m new at it, I’ve still got a lot to learn about it.”

Since buying a share of Life Signature in the fall of 2010, Christopher has been on a rapid learning curve. Thanks to Life Signature’s success — the pacer has banked $79,533 to date — Christopher and his wife now own shares of 10 young hopefuls.

“A good friend of mine, Bill Manes, and I bought a horse between the two of us and we did half-decent, and then I went off from there,” explains the new owner. “I met the trainer that he had, and their owners there, Glenview. I got in with them and from there we never looked back yet.”

Christopher and Glenview share ownership of Bluebird Creek, who was a C$30,000 yearling from the Forest City Yearling Sale. The daughter of Santanna Blue Chip and $162,044 winner Jacks Creek finished fourth in her June 15 qualifier and eighth in her June 21 overnight test after suffering interference at the halfway marker. Andrew McCabe handles training duties on the half-sister to $274,176 winner Goose Creek.

The Christophers are hoping both fillies can find their niche in the Ontario Sires Stakes program this summer so that they can enjoy more of the traveling and visiting they experienced last season with Life Signature.

“It’s a lot of fun. We have a great time socializing, meeting different people,” notes Christopher. “Last year we went over to Ottawa, we went to Clinton, we went to Flamboro, Kawartha, when they were running.”

The 2-year-old pacing fillies will make their Grassroots debuts in races two, four, six, seven and nine on Mohawk Racetrack’s Canada Day program, which begins at 7:10 p.m.

Related Articles:

  • Owners cap off long weekend with Grassroots triumph (Monday, July 02, 2012)
    The 2-year-old pacing filly Mach Star made a drive home from the cottage worthwhile for her connections, capturing the first of five C$24,000 OSS Grassroots divisions at Mohawk Racetrack on Sunday evening.

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