The final of the inaugural New Holland Trotting Series looks to be a wide-open affair after the opening pair of legs produced four different triumphant trotters.
On Monday (March 13) Woodbine Mohawk Park hosted the second New Holland Trotting Series leg with two $30,000 divisions. Last week's winners were Ritson and Itstimetogohome, so there was a decent chance one of those horses wouldn't repeat in the second session given they were both entered in the first division against each other.
In that first split, Ritson and driver Scott Young attempted to employ the same tactics from a week ago by making the front end and playing catch-me-if-you-can. Last week, they couldn't catch him. This week was a different story.
After a :27.1 first quarter and :56.2 half, Ritson felt the pressure of stateside invader Sermon. Bob McClure had that trotter angled out from fourth and advancing approaching the far turn. Ritson and Sermon were matching strides to the 1:26.2 third station but that's where Ritson raised the white flag. Through a :27 final quarter, Sermon pulled away from the pack and hit the wire a length and a half to the good in 1:53.2. Itstimetogohome (Doug McNair) showed good late trot to finish just ahead of favoured HP Mama B (Louis-Philippe Roy) as the top three finishers.
Per Engblom trains Sermon (Muscle Hill - Letsjusttalkaboutme) for owners Longbridge Trotting Inc. of Delray Beach and Consus Racing Stable Inc. of Vero Beach, Fl. The six-year-old trotter now sports 10 career tallies with $282,677 in career earnings. As the second choice, he paid $9.60 to win.
Locatelli was favoured in the second New Holland division and he delivered with a confident effort for his connections and supporters.
James MacDonald settled the 6/5 shot into fourth early behind second choice Toccoa Falls (McNair) as Dealin With Dewey (Austin Sorrie) punched out a :28.2 opening panel. McNair right-lined from third down the backside, with MacDonald right on his helmet with Locatelli. Toccoa Falls landed on the lead through a :57.2 half but that lead was short-lived as Locatelli steamrolled by heading around the far turn.
After clearing to the top and hitting the third station in 1:25.4, Locatelli needed just a :28.4 closer to seal the deal and score in 1:54.3. Franks Angel (McClure) was flying late to finish second, just three parts of a length off the leader with Swan Trixie (Trevor Henry) the third and final piece of the triactor ticket.
Harry Poulton trains Locatelli (Muscle Hill - Girlie Tough) for Thestable Locatelli Group of Guelph, Ont. and Hutchison Harness LLC of North Ridgeville, Oh. The five-year-old trotting gelding boasts a dozen wins in his career with a bankroll of $375,276. The favourite paid $4.50 to win.
The top 10 declared money earners will compete in the $60,000 New Holland Trotting Series final on Saturday, March 25.
Trainer Richard Moreau sent out 10 horses from his stable on Monday night and Canada's leading conditioner came home with three winners.
Patriarch Hanover (Doug McNair; 1:54; $4.20) kicked off the hat trick in the third and as the saying goes, good things happen in threes. Moreau's next winners came in the sixth and ninth races courtesy Hammer Time (James MacDonald; 1:54; $5.40) and Twin B Powerball (MacDonald; 1:53; $5.80).
After Monday's card, Moreau sports 73 seasonal wins with $1,124,260 in earnings. Both of those totals are tops in the nation among trainers.
To view the results from the Monday card of harness racing at Mohawk, click the following link: Monday Results - Woodbine Mohawk Park.