Grand Circuit Mania To Hit Mohawk Park

Bulldog Hanover
Published: August 23, 2022 08:44 pm EDT

The annual late-summer Grand Circuit season at Woodbine Mohawk Park is set to kick off this Friday and Saturday.

The Casual Breeze Stakes, plus a pair of Opens, will launch the busy weekend on Friday, while the William Wellwood Memorial and Peaceful Way finals will be the headlined events on a Saturday that includes the Canadian Pacing Derby eliminations, Nassagaweya and Eternal Camnation.

Here’s a preview of this weekend’s Grand Circuit action.


The $665,000 William Wellwood Memorial for two-year-old trotters and $362,000 Peaceful Way for two-year-old filly trotters are the main events for Saturday’s 12-race card.

The rich Wellwood Memorial also comes with the added incentive of the winner receiving the last slot in the Mohawk Million.

Lindy Farms will send out a strong one-two punch in elimination winners Winners Bet (PP4, Dexter Dunn) and International Man (PP6, Yannick Gingras). The Domenico Cecere trainees each picked up their second win of the season last Saturday.

Cecere is well-represented, but trainer John Bax will do him one better by sending out three starters in Saturday’s final. Elimination winner Oh Look Magic (PP5, James MacDonald) leads the Bax trio, which is completed by Southwind Coors (PP8, Mike Saftic) and Snowpiercer (PP9, Paul MacDonell).

Bax’s son, Matt, drove Oh Look Magic to victory in the elimination, posting the fastest mile of 1:55.1. Team Bax has listed Woodbine’s leading driver James MacDonald for Saturday’s race.

The Wellwood Memorial is carded as Race 10. The full field is listed below:

1 – French Wine (Andy Miller/Julie Miller)
​2 – Ghostly Casper (Sylvain Filion/Ben Baillargeon)
​3 – Gaines Hanover (Louis-Philippe Roy/Richard Moreau)
​4 – Winners Bet (Dexter Dunn/Domenico Cecere)
​5 – Oh Look Magic (James MacDonald/John Bax)
​6 – International Man (Yannick Gingras/Domenico Cecere)
​7 – Tuscan Prince (Bob McClure/Luc Blais)
​8 – Southwind Coors (Mike Saftic/John Bax)
​9 – Snowpiercer (Paul MacDonell/John Bax)
​10 – Dahlquist Hanover (Trevor Henry/Desiree Jones)

Team Bax will also be prominent in the Peaceful Way, sending out a pair of starters.

Elimination winner Righteous Resolve (PP3, MacDonell) leads the Bax charge, which also includes Quite Fast (PP9, Matt Bax). Righteous Resolve has won four of five starts, including a pair of Ontario Sires Stakes Gold events.

Shawn Steacy trainee Warrawee Yes (PP5, Louis-Philippe Roy) captured last Saturday’s other elimination. Both elimination winners stopped the clock in 1:55.3.

Trainer Tony Alagna will also send out a pair of starters in the Peaceful Way. Graceful Patty (PP2, Doug McNair) and Heart On Fire (PP4, Dunn) both finished second in their eliminations as the race-favourite.

The Peaceful Way final is carded as Race 5. The full field is listed below:

1 – Tactical Planner (Tyler Jones/Dustin Jones)
​2 – Graceful Patty (Doug McNair/Tony Alagna)
​3 – Righteous Resolve (Paul MacDonell/John Bax)
​4 – Heart On Fire (Dexter Dunn/Tony Alagna)
​5 – Warrawee Yes (Louis-Philippe Roy/Shawn Steacy)
​6 – Northern Magenta (James MacDonald/Scott McEneny)
​7 – Shesundertheradar (Sylvain Filion/Ashley Lendvoy)
​8 – Winooski (Yannick Gingras/Dustin Jones)
​9 – Quite Fast (Matthew Bax/John Bax)
​10 – Horn Player (Trevor Henry/Dominic Gladu)


Bulldog Hanover, the world’s fastest Standardbred, will make his return to Woodbine Mohawk Park in one of two eliminations for the Canadian Pacing Derby.

A total of 14 older pacers were entered for this year’s Pacing Derby and have been split into a pair of seven-horse $40,000 divisions. The top-five finishers from each elimination will advance to the final on September 3.

Jack Darling’s Bulldog Hanover will make his first start at Mohawk Park since establishing the new fastest mile in harness racing history of 1:45.4 on July 16 at The Meadowlands. The Ontario sired four-year-old has won eight of nine starts this season, including The Graduate Series, William Haughton Memorial and Dan Patch.

Bulldog Hanover’s competition on Saturday for the second Derby elimination includes top OSS graduates Desperate Man and Tattoo Artist. Dexter Dunn will steer ‘Bulldog’ for owners Darling and Brad Grant.

The first elimination will feature the likes of Jimmy Freight, Warrawee Vital and Rockyroad Hanover.

The Tony Alagna trained Rockyroad Hanover has been living in the shadow of Bulldog Hanover, finishing second to the sport’s top horse in three of his last four starts. The four-year-old has two wins this season, including a sizzling 1:46.2 career-best in the Roll With Joe on July 2.

Local favourite Jimmy Freight returns to Woodbine Mohawk Park with more questions than he left. The seven-year-old posted a career-best 1:48 game victory in the Mohawk Gold Cup on June 18, but suffered an injury in the weeks following and has made just one start since that occasion.

Jimmy Freight returns to the care of trainer Richard Moreau for the Pacing Derby and reunites with regular pilot Louis-Philippe Roy.

Warrawee Vital has been the hottest pacer this summer in Ontario, posting victories in four of his last five starts. The Rob Fellows trainee has twice paced sub-1:48 miles, holding a career-mark of 1:47.1 from an Open victory on July 30 at Mohawk Park.

The Canadian Pacing Derby eliminations are carded as Races 6 and 9 on Saturday. The fields for the eliminations are listed below.

Elimination #1

1 – Lous Pearlman (Yannick Gingras/Ron Burke)
​2 – Jimmy Freight (Louis-Philippe Roy/Richard Moreau)
​3 – Warrawee Vital (Trevor Henry/Rob Fellows)
​4 – Rockyroad Hanover (Todd McCarthy/Tony Alagna)
​5 – Southwind Gendry (David Miller/Ron Burke)
​6 – Poseidon Seelster (Bob McClure/Don Lindsay)
​7 – Cold Creek Cabo (Sylvain Filion/Murray Brethour)

Elimination #2

1 – Desperate Man (Trevor Henry/Kathy Cecchin)
​2 – Workin Ona Mystery (David Miller/Ron Burke)
​3 – Tattoo Artist (James MacDonald/Dr. Ian Moore)
​4 – This Is The Plan (Yannick Gingras/Ron Burke)
​5 – My Pal Joe (Doug McNair/Gregg McNair)
​6 – Abuckabett Hanover (Tim Tetrick/Tony Alagna)
​7 – Bulldog Hanover (Dexter Dunn/Jack Darling)


An ‘All-Star’ field of 10 will compete in the Maple Leaf Trot final on September 3.

The entry box for this year’s event closed Tuesday morning with 10 entrants, which eliminated the need for elimination races. From the 10 entrants, six will compete in a $50,000 Open on Friday evening.

Alrajah One IT is the headliner for this year’s Maple Leaf Trot. The six-year-old is a perfect three for three since arriving in North America and joining the barn of Ake Svanstedt. All three victories have come in stakes action, with the most recent win being a 1:50.3 rallying score in the Cashman Memorial on August 6 at The Meadowlands.

Ecurie D DK is another Svanstedt stable star that will compete in the Maple Leaf Trot. The six-year-old debuted in North America last fall with great success by winning four of six starts, including last year’s Breeders Crown.

Both Alrajah One and Ecurie D will make their Canadian debut in the Maple Leaf Trot.

Superstar mare Atlanta will be making her fourth Maple Leaf Trot appearance. The Ron Burke trained seven-year-old won the 2020 edition and earlier this summer returned to Mohawk Park to win the Armbro Flight.

The Maple Leaf Trot will include plenty of local flavour with standouts Fashion Frenzie, Forbidden Trade, Logan Park and Perfetto among the entrants.

The field of 10 for the Maple Leaf Trot is listed below in alphabetical order.

Alrajah One IT (Ake Svanstedt)
​Atlanta (Ron Burke)
​Back Of The Neck (Ake Svanstedt)
​Ecurie D DK (Ake Svanstedt)
​Fashion Frenzie (Richard Moreau)
​Forbidden Trade (Luc Blais)
​Its Academic (Ron Burke)
​Locatelli (Harry Poulton)
​Logan Park (Rob Fellows)
​Perfetto (Dagfin Henriksen)

A $50,000 Open on Friday will serve as a prep for six of the Maple Leaf Trot entrants.

1 – Forbidden Trade (Bob McClure/Luc Blais)
​2 – Logan Park (James MacDonald/Rob Fellows)
​3 – Locatelli (James MacDonald/Harry Poulton)
​4 – Its Academic (David Miller/Ron Burke)
​5 – Atlanta (Yannick Gingras/Ron Burke)
​6 – Perfetto (Dagfin Henriksen/Dagfin Henriksen)


Woodbine Mohawk Park will offer up Grand Circuit action each weekend from now until the end of September.

Friday evening’s main event is the $145,000 Casual Breeze for three-year-old trotting fillies. A field of seven will clash with Warrawee Xenia and OSS star Adare Castle squaring off.

The Casual Breeze is carded as Race 6.

Rookie pacers will have their first of several Grand Circuit engagements at Mohawk Park in this Saturday’s Nassagaweya and Eternal Camnation Stakes.

A total of 19 two-year-old pacing colts and geldings have been split into a pair of Nassagaweya divisions (Races 3 and 8). Both divisions will go for $127,000-plus.

The Eternal Camnation for two-year-old pacing fillies also attracted 19 entrants and will offer a purse of $117,000-plus per division. The Eternal Camnation splits are carded as Races 4 and 7.

Post time for Friday and Saturday is 7 p.m.

(Woodbine Mohawk Park)




Next two weekends are going to be action packed and very exciting for Ontario racing fans. Let me tell you something that I feel will top these next two weekends. Something that most Canadians and Ontarians have never seen is a standardbred horse time trial. So let's forget about the red mile, let's time trial the big dog, Bulldog Hanover at Mohawk. This would be a very exciting day or night for Ontario harness racing.

I'llHaveAnother - Ontario Needs Racing

I remember making this same comment here at SC last year, and it's true once again in 2022: Every Saturday night from now through the end of September, Mohawk will host the best harness racing card in North America.

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