Driver Scott Zeron swept the $40,000 Canadian Trotting Classic eliminations with a pair of lightly raced sophomore colts Your So Vain and Master Of Law on Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack.
In the first elimination, Your So Vain and Zeron sat sixth for most of the mile before picking off popular tempo-setter Royalty For Life (Brian Sears) in deep stretch with a :26.4 final frame to win in 1:52.4. Hambletonian champion Royalty For Life settled for second one length behind the winner after leading through fractions of :27.4, :56.3 and 1:24.4. Smilin Eli (Tim Tetrick), All Laid Out (Yannick Gingras) and Pine Credit (Corey Callahan) finished third through fifth.
"He's a closer and it was a small field and it worked out very well," said co-owner Paul Van Camp of the Port Perry-based P G Van Camp Stables. "Scott drove him perfectly."
Brad Maxwell trains the Donato Hanover-Tennis Lover colt, who won a division of the Simcoe Stakes last weekend proving his soundness after a bone chip caused him issues during his freshman year.
"He's always had the ability, there has just always been an issue and I think Brad has the issues fixed," said Van Camp, who is looking forward to competing against the sport's top three-year-old trotters next weekend.
"There are some unbelievable horses," he noted. "Royalty For Life, Smilin Eli, they're awesome, Corky, Master Of Law, it's just and honour to race against horses like this."
Favourite Master Of Law and Zeron settled away fifth in the second elimination and began a first over attack down the backstretch after Punxsutawney (Corey Callahan) and Corky (David Miller) traded turns on the lead through opening fractions of :27.3 and :56.2. Master Of Law moved up to apply pressure to the leading Corky at the 1:25.3 third quarter mark and took over command into the stretch. Punxsutawney dropped inside while Wheeling N Dealin (Sylvain Filion) rallied off cover, but Master Of Law prevailed by a neck in 1:53.4. Finishing second through fifth were Punxsutawney, Wheeling N Dealin, Corky and Toocool Forschool (Jody Jamieson).
"When you're sitting there at [odds of] 2-5 everybody wants to follow you," said Zeron after the race. "I was fine with coming first up, I just didn't want to have to put him on the front again tonight."
Frank Antonacci trains the Deweycheatumnhowe-Possess The Magic gelding for Lindy Racing Stable of Enfield, CT, breeder Brittany Farms, Versailles, KY, and Adam Victor And Son Stable, New York, NY. He now boasts six consecutive wins, including the Kentucky Sires Stakes Championship last weekend.
"I know how talented he is and so does Frank -- even at the beginning of the year -- but he just wanted to take his time and let him mature a little bit. He's a little tough to handle in the race and we wanted to bring him along nice and easy. We tripped him out his first few starts and then at Lexington [in the KYSS] we let him go to the front and he impressed and he did again tonight."
With the victories comes a difficult decision as the young Oakville, Ont. reinsman now must choose between driving Your So Vain and Master Of Law in next weekend's rich final.
"One benefit of having the two elim winners is we get to pick our posts," noted the undecided driver. "I don't know. We'll talk to both of the trainers and owners and go from there."
The field for the Canadian Trotting Classic is listed below in post position order:
1. Wheeling N Dealin
3. Master Of Law
4. Your So Vain
5. Toocool Forschool
6. Royalty For Life
7. Pine Credit
9. All Laid Out
10. Smilin Eli
For full coverage of tonight's Simcoe and Champlain Stakes, click here.
To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Mohawk Racetrack.