ELORA, ON – JUNE 29, 2020 – Chocolate Pie is more than just a harness racing starter in theSeries at Grand River Raceway on Wednesday, July 1. The three-year-old trotting colt is a building block in trainer Kyle Bossence's long-term plan to shift his stable toward developing and racing young horses.
"That's the game plan. I kind of grew up around (Gregg) McNair's and that's what I know. I got to train a lot of babies down around there," said Bossence. "That's kind of the goal, but I mean you've got to start somewhere, right. The racehorses help, in the wintertime, help pay for the babies."
Currently ranked second in the trainer standings at Grand River, Bossence has sent out 18 starters in the last month and won five races. Chocolate Pie was among the winners, going gate-to-wire in 2:01.4 on June 17. One week earlier theson finished second in his sophomore debut and Bossence is hoping the trotter is on track for a more consistent season than he delivered at two. In his freshman campaign Chocolate Pie recorded one win, one second and one third in seven starts for earnings of $13,800, qualifying for the Grassroots Semi-final where he made a break and finished tenth.
"He won his first Grassroots last year with no trotting hopples or nothing on, but as he progressed he just got a little warmer and needed the hopples just to kind of keep him sensible," said Bossence, who purchased Chocolate Pie from the 2018 London Selected Yearling Sale for $17,000. "And he really started to grow halfway through the year and that kind of hurt his two-year-old season."
Chocolate Pie will make his sophomore OSS debut from Post 7 in the fourth $23,150 Grassroots division on Wednesday. Regular reinsman Colin Kelly will steer the colt, facing off against a field of eight that includes 2019 Grassroots finalist Remember Titans from Post 1 and 2019 Gold Leg winner Crossfit Mouse from Post 3.
"He's matured a lot and he grew a lot and filled out, so we hope for some luck. I was hoping for a little better post position, but we'll see how he makes out," said Bossence. "He's good on a half, but I mean post position can really help you on a half-mile track."
In addition to Chocolate Pie, the Arthur resident has three other sophomores and six two-year-olds in his stable. Bossence has been pleased with the progress of some of his two-year-old pacers and hopes at least one will prove talented enough to compete in Grand River Raceway's signature Battle Of Waterloo eliminations in late July.
"We've got a couple two-year-olds I think are all right," said the trainer. "I've got a couple paid into the Battle of Waterloo – that's one race I've always wanted to win so we'll see how that goes – hopefully they're good enough by then to at least make the (Aug. 3) final."
Chocolate Pie gave Bossence his first provincial stakes win last July and pacing colt Doc Fanelli added another in September. The trainer will be looking to add to that number this season as he makes progress toward his long-term goal.
"The game plan was always to get away from the claimers," said Bossence. "Eventually it would be nice just to have the younger ones, and a few conditioned horses."
Chocolate Pie and his peers will battle in Races 2, 4, 6, 9 and 10 on Grand River Raceway's Wednesday evening program, which gets underway at 6:30 pm. While fans cannot cheer the trotting colts on in person, downloadable programs and a live stream are available on the Grand River Raceway website.
From the Ontario Sire Stakes