The September to remember at Woodbine Mohawk Park reaches its crescendo on Saturday (Sept. 25) with Canada's richest night of harness racing featuring more than $3 million in purses up for grabs, headlined by the $1,000,000 Mohawk Million for two-year-old trotters.
In addition to the Mohawk Million (slated as Race 9), the Saturday card also features Grand Circuit action with the $824,000 Metro Pace for two-year-old pacers (Race 7), the $500,500 Shes A Great Lady Final for two-year-old filly pacers (Race 6), $240,000 Milton Pace for older pacing mares (Race 3) and the $157,975 Simcoe for three-year-old trotters (Race 4).
After the Grand Circuit stakes conclude, two of harness racing's top three-year-old pacers — 2021 Pepsi North America Cup winner Desperate Man and 2021 N.A. Cup elim winner Bulldog Hanover will compete for the first time since that million-dollar event in a $155,600 Ontario Sires Stakes division (Race 10).
The undercard also features a $34,000 Preferred Pace (Race 11) with some of the best older pacers in the country entered in the field of six.
Two of the best two-year-old trotters in harness racing this year — King Of The North and Venerable — headline the 2021 Mohawk Million. Both Venerable and King Of The North competed on the North America Cup undercard and emerged victorious.
Venerable will start from post nine in the Mohawk Million following her most recent victory in the $392,000 Peaceful Way for driver David Miller and trainer Richard ‘Nifty’ Norman. She’ll tote a seven-for-seven record into the contest and a bankroll that stands at $511,255 for owners David McDuffee of Rye, N.H., Mel Hartman of Ottawa, Ont., Paul Bordogna of Fair Lawn, N.J. and Steven Arnold of Purchase, N.Y.
At the other end of the starting gate is 2021 William Wellwood winner King Of The North, starting from post two. The son of Walner - Check Me Out sports a summary of 6-1-0 in seven tries to date with $601,000 earned for trainer and co-owner Ray Schnittker and co-owners Arden Homestead, Nolamaura Racing and Steve Arnold of New York.
The $824,000 Metro Pace for two-year-old pacers has attracted a field of 12, including world record holder Caviart Camden, who has drawn post nine.
Owned and bred by Caviart Farms, the Huntsville-Caviart Christa colt set a 1:48.3 world record in a leg of the Kentucky Championship Series at The Red Mile on August 24. The Tony Alagna trainee has three wins from six career starts and earnings of $53,200. Alagna campaigned last year's 35-1 upset winner in the Metro, Exploit, and will also send out Atlas Hanover (post one) and Nautical Hanover (post 10).
Battle of Waterloo champion Betterhavemymoney will start from post five for trainer Nick Gallucci and Millar Farms. The homebred Betterthancheddar-Whosluckierthanme gelding has never missed a pay cheque through seven career starts and boasts the highest earnings in the field with a bankroll totalling $288,162. His four wins also include a pair of OSS Gold divisions.
Undefeated freshman fillies Prohibition Legal and Niki Hill delivered with dominant efforts to win their respective $35,000 eliminations for the Shes A Great Lady on Saturday (Sept. 18), and those two dynamite divas appear to be the ones to beat in the $500,500 Shes A Great Lady Final.
Prohibition Legal overcame the outermost post of her octet in the first elimination to post a 1:52 victory as the 6-5 choice. Undefeated in six starts, Prohibition Legal has banked $260,491 for owner-breeder Millar Farms and trainer Nick Gallucci.
Niki Hill toyed with her competition to post a 1:50.2 victory in the second elimination for the Shes A Great Lady. Winning in all four of her starts for owner Tom Hill and trainer Chris Ryder, Niki Hill has earned $64,791 thus far and faces her stiffest stakes test to date this Saturday.
Sent postward as the overwhelming 2-5 favourite, Roses Are Red Stakes champion Lyons Sentinel delivered a 1:49 winning effort in the first $35,000 Milton elimination for owner Threelyonsracing of Brantford, Ont., trainer Jim King Jr. and catch driver James MacDonald. Tim Tetrick will be back aboard the four-year-old Captaintreacherous-Tutu Hanover mare this Saturday as she will leave from post three in search of her sixth straight victory.
Karma Seelster pulled off a 35-1 upset in the second elimination, closing late to score in 1:49.2 for trainer Gregg McNair, driver Doug McNair and owners Eileen Waples, Karen Hauver and Shady Hill Racing Stable. The connections of the Ontario Sires Stakes graduate selected post four for the Milton Final.
Eight male sophomore trotters will contest the $157,975 Simcoe, consisting mostly of competitors from the Goodtimes Trot and / or Canadian Trotting Classic. The race features a trio of contenders from trainer Luc Blais — On A Streak (PP3, Sylvain Filion), Inaminute Hanover (PP6, TBD) and Macho Martini (PP7, Bob McClure), two each from Shawn Steacy and Nancy Takter and 2021 Dream Of Glory Trot winner Publicity Seeker.
To view complete entries for Saturday's star-studded card of harness racing at Woodbine Mohawk Park and complimentary past performance pages, click on the following links: Saturday Entries -- Program Pages (courtesy TrackIT).