The sport’s finest trotters will be on display at Mohawk Racetrack this Saturday (September 10) for the Maple Leaf Trot and Canadian Trotting Classic eliminations, as part of a stellar Grand Circuit card of racing.
An outstanding group of 12 older trotters were entered for the eliminations of the 65th Maple Leaf Trot, while the Canadian Trotting Classic attracted 13 three-year-old trotters.
Each event will feature two $40,000 eliminations with the top five finishers in each division advancing to their respective finals on Saturday, September 17.
Many eyes will be on the second Maple Leaf Trot elimination, as supplemental entry Hannelore Hanover and Swedish star Nahar will line up.
The connections of Hannelore Hanover put up $45,000 to supplement their trotting mare to the event and she will start from Post 5 in her elimination with regular driver Yannick Gingras. The Ron Burke trainee has tasted defeat just once in 14 starts this season and has earned $699,134.
European invader Nahar will start to the right of Hannelore Hanover in Post 6. The Robert Bergh-trained 11-year-old will have Ake Svanstedt in the sulky.
Nahar, who won the 2013 Elitlopp, is owned by Daniel and Henrik Sedin of the National Hockey League’s Vancouver Canucks and is 39-time winner with career earnings of over $1.8 million.
Saturday’s Maple Leaf Trot elimination will be Nahar’s first start in North America.
The first elimination features local stars Flanagan Memory and Musical Rhythm along with last year’s Maple Leaf Trot runner up Resolve.
Trained by Rene Dion, Flanagan Memory has torn up the Mohawk Preferred this season with all four of his 2016 victories coming in the circuit’s top trot. The six-year-old and winner of over $1.1 million is coming off back to back third-place finishes in the Cashman Memorial and Crawford Farms Trot. He will be driven by Chris Christoforou.
Musical Rhythm was the talk of the circuit during his dominating winter and spring run. The Ben Baillargeon trainee has won 12 of 18 starts this season, including the $250,000 Graduate Series final for four-year-olds. The son of Cantab Hall will be looking for his first major victory against older rivals and will start from Post 6 with driver Mario Baillargeon.
Svanstedt trainee Resolve will start from Post 5 in the first elimination. The five-year-old son of Muscle Hill was last year’s O’Brien Award winner for Canada’s older trotter and is having another strong season.
Resolve travelled to Sweden and finished second in the Elitlopp earlier this year. Since returning from his adventure, he has made four starts and captured the Cutler Memorial and Cashman Memorial. The Svanstedt trainee will start from Post 5 Saturday with his trainer in the bike.
The top five finishers from each Maple Leaf Trot elimination advance to the $632,000 final. The eliminations have been carded as Races 6 and 9.
The Canadian Trotting Classic eliminations will see the return of Hambletonian champion Marion Marauder to home soil. The Mike Keeling and Paula Wellwood trainee will start from Post 6 with driver Scott Zeron in the seven-horse first elimination.
Marion Marauder, whose last start at Mohawk was a victory in the Goodtimes final, is coming into the Canadian Trotting Classic off a victory in last Saturday’s $500,000 Yonkers Trot. The son of Muscle Hill has won eight of 10 starts this season and earned over $1.1 million to bring his career total to $1.5 million.
Marion Marauder became the first Canadian-trained horse to win the $1 million Hambletonian since Glidemaster in 2006.
Powerhouse Southwind Frank headlines the six-horse second elimination.
The Ron Burke trainee finished second in the Hambletonian to Marion Marauder, but turned the tables in the Colonial on August 20, as he defeated his rival in the $500,000 event.
Southwind Frank has won six of nine starts this season after having won 11 of 12 as a rookie. The son of Muscle Hill has earned over $1.8 million in his career and is undefeated in five starts on the WEG Circuit. Last season, ‘Frank’ won the Wellwood Memorial and Breeders Crown.
He will start from Post 3 Saturday with driver Yannick Gingras.
The top five finishers from each Canadian Trotting Classic elimination advance to the $687,000 final. The eliminations are carded as Races 2 and 3.
While trotters will be front and centre on Saturday, the Pepsi North America Cup champion, Betting Line, will also share the spotlight. The Casie Coleman-trained sophomore pacing colt headlines a field of 10 for the $204,040 Simcoe Stakes.
Betting Line is currently on a 10-race win streak, but will have to overcome Post 10 in order to keep his streak alive. David Miller will drive the winner of over $1.7 million, who also has victories this season in the Battle of Brandywine and Carl Milstein Memorial.
The Simcoe field also includes notables Lyons Snyder (PP1, Yannick Gingras), Magnum J (PP5, Doug McNair) and American Passport (PP8, Scott Zeron). It has been carded as Race 10.
The newest star of harness racing, Beyond Delight, will compete in the Champlain Stakes a week after having captured the $661,000 Metro Pace.
The Tony O’Sullivan-trained two-year-old pacing colt will start from Post 4 in the second of two $105,474 Champlain Stakes divisions.
A son of Bettors Delight, Beyond Delight was winless in seven starts before winning his elimination and then the final of the Metro. Sylvain Filion will be back in the sulky behind the rookie.
The second division also features Metro Pace finalists Classic Pro (PP1, Randy Waples), Windsong Napoleon (PP2, Jody Jamieson), Blood Line (PP5, Yannick Gingras) and Bettors Dream (PP9, Tim Tetrick).
Metro Pace finalists Ideal Wheel (PP6, David Miller) and Bobcat Bound (PP7, Jody Jamieson) along with Metro Consolation winner Odds On Delray (PP1, Yannick Gingras) are three of the nine rookies that will compete in the first Champlain division.
The Champlain divisions have been carded as Race 4 and 8.
Rookie pacing fillies will also compete in their Champlain Stakes on Saturday. Six of the 13 fillies entered competed in the $427,000 Shes A Great Lady final last Saturday. The Champlain Filly divisions have been carded as Race 1 and 11.
Post time for Saturday’s sensational 13-race card is 7:30 p.m.
To view the harness racing entries for Saturday at Mohawk, click the following link: Saturday Entries – Mohawk Racetrack.
Below are the full fields for the Maple Leaf Trot eliminations, Canadian Trotting Classic eliminations and Simcoe Stakes.
Race 6: Maple Leaf Trot – Elimination #1 – Purse: $40,000
1. Lookslikeachpndale – Sylvain Filion – Luc Blais
2. Shake It Cerry – David Miller – Jimmy Takter
3. Whiskey Tax – Randy Waples – Tom Durand
4. Flanagan Memory – Chris Christoforou – Rene Dion
5. Resolve – Ake Svanstedt – Ake Svanstedt
6. Musical Rhythm – Mario Baillargeon – Ben Baillargeon
Race 9: Maple Leaf Trot – Elimination #2 – Purse: $40,000
1. Il Sogno Dream – Scott Zeron – Chris Beaver
2. JL Cruze – John Campbell – Eric Ell
3. Etruscan Hanover – Mario Baillargeon – Ben Baillargeon
4. Windsun Revenge – Rick Zeron – Jeff Durham
5. Hannelore Hanover – Yannick Gingras – Ron Burke
6. Nahar – Ake Svanstedt – Robert Bergh
Race 2: Canadian Trotting Classic – Elimination #1 – Purse: $40,000
1. Blenheim – Chris Christoforou – Per Henriksen
2. Waitlifter K – Matt Kakaley – Andrew Harris
3. Winter Harbor – Jody Jamieson – Tony Alagna
4. Brooklyn Hill – Corey Callahan – Jonas Czernyson
5. Merchandiser – Sylvain Filion – Greg Peck
6. Marion Marauder – Scott Zeron – Mike Keeling
7. Tony Soprano – John Campbell – Bob McIntosh
Race 3: Canadian Trotting Classic – Elimination #2 – Purse: $40,000
1. Dia Monde – Randy Waples – Tom Durand
2. Will Take Charge – Paul MacDonell – John Bax
3. Southwind Frank – Yannick Gingras – Ron Burke
4. Bee In Charge – Chris Christoforou – Per Henriksen
5. Warrawee Roo – Sylvain Filion – Luc Blais
6. Bar Hopping – Tim Tetrick – Jimmy Takter
Race 10: Simcoe Stakes – Purse: $204,040
1. Lyons Snyder – Yannick Gingras – Jimmy Takter
2. Major Hill – Jody Jamieson – Dave Menary
3. Cruise Patrol – Yannick Gingras – Ciaran Morrison
4. Nocturnal Bluechip – Tim Tetrick – Mark Steacy
5. Magnum J – Doug McNair – Gregg McNair
6. Easy Lover Hanover – Doug McNair – Ben Wallace
7. Voracity – David Miller – Tony Alagna
8. American Passport – Scott Zeron – Tony Alagna
9. Tom Hill – Randy Waples – Tony Alagna
10. Betting Line – David Miller – Casie Coleman