Heading into the final quarter of the 2023 harness racing season, Trot Insider takes a look at some of the top ranked Standardbreds in Canada for wins, earnings and records.
Preferred pacer Shark Week has the most wins in Canada this year after devouring his competition 15 times. Campaigned by the father-son, trainer-driver team of Rod and Mike Hennessy in Alberta, the five-year-old Vertical Horizon gelding is currently riding a 10-race win steak stretching back to May that includes his historic sub-1:50 mile in Western Canada -- a 1:49.2 record victory on June 3 at Century Downs. With his 15 wins, Shark Week is tied for second in all of North America with Covered Bridge (whose three wins in Canada include the Camluck Classic and Gold Cup & Saucer) behind Ohio fair star Dunkin, a 20-time winner.
Tied in second place with 13 wins each at Canadian racetracks are: Virtual Horizon, multiple Alberta stakes winner who is undefeated in his sophomore year for trainer/driver Brandon Campbell; The Light Speed, a Quebec stakes champion and top pacer at Rideau Carleton Raceway for trainer/driver Guy Gagnon; popular claiming mare Big Bad Jenn, who has earned the majority of her wins racing out of the Stewart McQueen stable; and Leamington Raceway record-setting pacing mare Arizona, trained by Mike Timpano. The Jacob Roberts-trained mare Tijuana Seelster tops the trotters with a dozen wins.
Following up his lucrative William Wellwood Memorial Stakes victory, two-year-old trotting colt T C I's Mohawk Million mastery just over a week ago boosted his Canadian earnings to $825,000. The Ron Burke-trained son of Cantab Hall is the top money-earner in Canada this year while Metro Pace champion Captains Quarters ($525,904), trained by Herbie Holland, ranks second just ahead of North America Cup winner Its My Show ($525,000) from the Linda Toscano stable.
Warrawee Vital's sizzling 1:46.4 mile in a Preferred at Woodbine Mohawk Park on June 17 for trainer Kyle Fellows not only stands as the national season's record but it also matches the all-age Canadian record. The six-year-old son of Captaintreacherous made Canadian history becoming just the third horse to pace sub-1:47, tying Bulldog Hanover (2022) and Dr J Hanover (2017).
Trained by Nick Gallucci, Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots champion Winmebak holds the national season's record on a five-eighths-mile track, courtesy of his 1:50.2 three-year-old track record-equalling triumph at Rideau Carleton Raceway on Aug. 13.
The fastest winning time on a half-mile track in 2023 is 1:50.1, achieved when trainer Kathy Cecchin's Desperate Man set an all-age track record at Grand River Raceway on Aug. 28 and the Jason Hughes trainee Bee Two Bee became the co-fastest pacer at Charlottetown Driving Park on Sept. 9.
The fastest trotting mile this year in Canada was also one for the record books. Alrajah One IT's stunning 1:50.2 comeback victory in the Maple Leaf Trot on Sept. 2 at Mohawk matched the all-time trot record. Ake Svanstedt had the seven-year-old son of Maharajah ready to go after being scratched with an injury from the 2022 edition.
The fastest trotting winner on a five-eighths track is the Richard Moreau trainee Fashion Frenzie, courtesy of his 1:53 mile in the Honourable Earl Rowe Memorial Invitational on Aug. 20 at Georgian Downs.
Dealin With Dewey holds the season's trotting record over a half-mile track after winning his Grand River Raceway debut in a 1:54.3 track record for an aged gelding on Aug. 28 for trainer Sara Baillargeon.
**All statistics include Canadian starts from January 1, 2023 up to the first Monday in October.
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