Trainer Julie Miller thinks Whatever It Takes has got what it takes to compete with the best.
The three-year-old is among the 15 trotters entered in the Canadian Trotting Classic at Mohawk Racetrack
. The field was divided into two elimination groups that will race Saturday night for the right to return September 17 for the $1 million final. The top five finishers from each division will advance.
Hambletonian winner Broad Bahn is in the opening division, with Whatever It Takes. The second elim includes Beal Memorial winner Dejarmbro, Colonial winner Manofmanymissions and Simcoe Stakes division winners Pastor Stephen and Whiskey Tax.
Whatever It Takes has won four of 13 races this season and earned $221,764. His victories include the $283,475 Empire Breeders Classic, where he edged multiple-stakes-winner Dejarmbro by a head from Post 7 at Vernon Downs, and a $50,000 Townsend Ackerman division at the Meadowlands.
Last year, Whatever It Takes was winless in two starts.
“He got sick,” Miller said. “Instead of pushing the envelope and being aggressive, we elected to turn him out and let him grow up to be a three-year-old. He showed talent. He showed size. That’s why we gave him the time.”
Despite the limited schedule, Miller liked what she saw.
“If you’ve sat behind enough of them for long enough, you kind of can see a little talent,” she said. “That’s where we were with him. There was something there, so we wanted to preserve him and try to make a nice three-year-old out of him rather than force the issue at [age] two.”
The move paid off as Whatever It Takes won three times, finished second three times and third once in his first eight starts this year. He then was slowed by throat woes, which required him to miss the end of June and all of July. When he came back, he won a Townsend Ackerman division by one and three-quarter lengths over Evil Urges in 1:52.4.
“He came back this year really nicely and did everything we asked,” Miller said. “He won that race at Vernon and that was a wonderful way to begin the season. He had a great day in the Townsend Ackerman at the Meadowlands, which showed he could be able to compete with the top three-year-olds.”
Whatever It Takes was off his game and finished seventh from Post 7 at rainy Harrah’s Chester in the $500,000 Colonial in mid-August, but was third in a division of the Zweig Memorial at Tioga Downs (won by Charlie De Vie in a 1:53.2) and third from Post 10 in a division of the Simcoe Stakes last weekend at Mohawk (won by Pastor Stephen in a stakes-record 1:52.4).
“I’m kind of throwing [the Colonial] out,” Miller said. “Last week, to leave out of the 10 hole like he did and still salvage a third and trot home, I was very pleased.”
A son of Credit Winner out of the stakes-winning mare Caper Caillie, Whatever It Takes was purchased as a yearling for $125,000 (under the name Credit Caper) at the Lexington Selected Sale. His family includes two-time Breeders Crown champion Wesgate Crown.
“He had a nice pedigree and conformation,” Miller said. “They tell me that’s the winning combination, so I’m hoping so.”
Here is a look at the Canadian Trotting Classic elimination fields in post position order, with listed drivers and trainers.
To view Saturday's harness racing entries, click on the following link: Saturday Entries - Mohawk Racetrack.
This story courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, visit www.ustrotting.com.