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Freshmen In Stakes Spotlight

Published: August 16, 2014 8:45 pm ET

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Many of harness racing's brightest two-year-olds converged at Mohawk Racetrack for a stakes-filled Saturday night featuring the Eternal Camnation and Nassagaweya Stakes.

Shakai Hanover kicked off the Saturday night stakes setting a Canadian season's record of 1:52.4 for two-year-old pacing fillies in the first of three Eternal Camnation divisions, ranging in purses from $76,245 to $77,745. She paid $9.70 to win as the 7-2 third choice.

Driver Jody Jamieson left with Shakai Hanover from post six, clearing to command around the first turn and hitting the first quarter mark in :28-seconds. But once the field straightened up down the backstretch, second choice Bedroomconfessions and Scott Zeron swept up from an early four-hole and took over the top spot at the half, which was clocked in :56.2.

The new leader raced to three-quarters in 1:24.1 and into the stretch with Shakai Hanover launching from the pocket and edging by in the final strides for a new career mark. Happy Becky, the 3-5 favourite, came flying home from mid-pack to finish just half a length back in third for Dave Miller.

Hall Of Famer Carl Jamieson of Rockwood, Ont. trains and co-owns the Well Said-Shes A Fan filly with Winnipeg Racing, Concord, Ont. and Vira Hope Johnson of London, Ont. A $45,000 Lexington Select Sale yearling, Shakai Hanover has already banked $83,000 in purses as a Pennsylvania Sires Stakes and Eternal Camnation champion in just four starts.

North America Cup champion JK Endofanera's little sister, JK Shesalady, is making a name for herself as she continued her undefeated win streak with a wide open 1:53.4 victory in the second division in rein to Yannick Gingras. The 2-5 favourite paid $2.90 to win.

Wicked Little Minx and Jamieson were first to a get a call as they established the lead into a :27.2 opening panel and stole a second quarter breather, reaching the midway mark in :57.3.

Nearing the half, second choice Cashaway and Tim Tetrick were flushed out from fourth and moved up alongside the leader. Meanwhile, Cowgirl Tough and Jack Moiseyev failed to keep up with their cover, prompting a third over JK Shesalady and Gingras to rally three-wide.

Cashaway overtook Wicked Little Minx as they raced by three-quarters in 1:25.3, but JK Shesalady came charging by entering the stretch and drew off by seven lengths for her fourth straight win. Cowgirl Tough came on for second over Cashaway.

The New York-based 3 Brothers Stables owns and bred the Art Major-Presidential Lady filly, who is trained by Nancy Johansson. With the win, JK Shesalady more than doubled her bankroll, which sits just shy of $69,000.

Solar Sister pulled off a 12-1 upset as she prevailed in a three-across finish in the final division of the Eternal Camnation Stakes with Doug McNair in the sulky. She returned $27.50 to her backers at the betting windows.

With the inside post advantage, Palette Tina and Gingras claimed the early lead as a leaving Yes You Can and Jamieson settled into the pocket spot. Palette Tina posted a :27.3 opening quarter, but the lead changed hands into the backstretch as Ideal Nuggets and John Campbell, who were away third, brushed by.

Ideal Nuggets continued to lead the field to the half in :56.2 and three-quarters in 1:24.4 with Solar Sister advancing up alongside from fourth and the Tetrick-driven Float On By following her cover.

Ideal Nuggets maintained a slight lead into the stretch, but was confronted from both sides with Solar Sister to her right and Palette Tina slipping up the inside. Those three fillies battled to the wire with Solar Sister getting up for the career-best 1:54 victory by a neck. Palette Tina finished second, but was placed fourth after judges ruled she went inside one pylon in the stretch and gained an unfair advantage as a result. Ideal Nuggets inherited second and the rallying Float On By was moved into third.

Gregg McNair trains Solar Sister, who earned her second career win in six starts and boosted her earnings to over $55,000. The homebred daughter of Mach Three out of the O'Brien Award winning mare Cabrini Hanover is owned by David Willmot of King City, Ont. and Toronto's Clay Harland Horner.

The Nassagaweya Stakes for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings began with a 69-1 shocker as Sports Bettor overcame an outside post eight start to score a maiden-breaking victory in 1:53.2 with Randy Waples driving in the first of three divisions, ranging in purses from $89,924 to $91,425. The resulting win payout was a whopping $141.50.

When the gates folded, Lyons Levi Lewis and Gingras fired across the track from post seven with Sports Bettor following to his outside and dropping into the pocket spot. Lyons Levi Lewis led the way through fractions of :28.1, :57.1 and 1:24.1 and he looked to be getting away on the field by the third quarter station, but Waples pulled Sports Bettor from the two-hole in the stretch and collared the pacesetter near the wire. The quick-closing Rollin Ring Afire, driven by Sylvain Filion, finished three lengths behind the top pair in third.

Mark Austin trains the homebred Sportswriter-Shellys Delight colt, who was making his sixth stakes start, for owner Frank Gentile of Beaconsfield, Que. His earnings soared over $77,000.

Traceur Hanover led Waples right back to the winner's circle in the second Nassagaweya division as he also prevailed from the pocket for a career-best 1:53.3 victory in his first stakes race. The 4-1 fourth choice paid $9.80 to win.

Traceur Hanover emerged with the lead off the gate, but gave way to the oncoming Battle Of Waterloo champion Go Daddy Go and Campbell as they raced into the first turn.

Go Daddy Go raced by the quarter in :27.2 and the half in :56.1 before shrugging first over challengers Western Pioneer and Miller past three-quarters in 1:24.1.

He could not hold off the pocket pulling Traceur Hanover, however, as that colt wore him in down in the stretch for the three-quarter length victory. Trading Up and Zeron came through from last to show.

A $100,000 Harrisburg Sale yearling purchase, the Western Ideal-Transference colt is now three-for-four with $61,212 earned for owner Richard Berthiaume of Pointe-Aux-Trembles, Que. Normand Bardier Jr. is the winning trainer.

Artspeak continued his undefeated streak, winning the fastest Nassagaweya division of the night in 1:52.4 with Zeron aboard. The 2-5 favourite returned $2.90 to his backers.

Working to the lead from post eight, Tony Alagna trainee Artspeak assumed command past the :28-second opening quarter and cruised through middle splits of :56.2 and 1:25 while rebuffing a mild first over challenge from Sporting The Look and Jamieson en route to the two and a quarter length victory. Early leader Lyons Again and Gingras followed in second while Some Power and Miller finished third.

The Western Ideal-The Art Museum colt is owned by breeders Brittany Farms of Versailles, Kentucky and Toronto's Marvin Katz, along with partners Joe Sbrocco of Brecksville, Ohio and In The Gym Partners of Staten Island, New York. Artspeak boasts a perfect four-for-four record with earnings over $116,000.

Saturday's undercard also saw 2013 U.S. Pacer of the Year Captaintreacherous ($3.50) return to the Campbellville, Ont. oval where he remains undefeated. A winner of the Nassagaweya, Metro Pace and North America Cup at Mohawk, Captaintreacherous added a victory in the $34,000 Preferred to his $3 million resume, scoring in 1:50.1 for team Tetrick and Alagna.

The 3-5 favourite took over command from early leaver Fool Me Once and Gingras down the backstretch, and after giving way to Sunshine Beach and Chris Christoforou, he came through along the pylons to prevail by one and a quarter lengths. Ellis Park and Steve Condren rallied off cover to edge out Sunshine Beach for second.

The victory was Captaintreacherous' first since winning his season's debut in the Meadowlands Maturity. The four-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere and Worldly Treasure is owned by Captaintreacherous Racing of Versailles, Kentucky.

Springing a 30-1 surprise, Swan In A Million ($63) and trainer/driver Dustin Jones went from last to first in the matching Preferred Trot, named in honour of Kerry Davies, winning by three-quarters of a length over Charmed Life and Jamieson in 1:53.2. Pennsylvania's Diamond Creek Racing owns the six-year-old son of Andover Hall. Flanagan Memory rounded out the top three finishers over two lengths behind for Christoforou.

For many of the freshman pacers, the Nassagaweya and Eternal Camnation Stakes served as preps for next week's eliminations for the Metro Pace and the Shes A Great Lady Stakes. The $685,000 Metro Pace final and the $450,000 Shes A Great Lady Stakes final will take place, along with the $650,000 Canadian Pacing Derby, on Saturday, August 30 at Mohawk Racetrack.

To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Mohawk Racetrack.

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