The road to the 2021 Mohawk Million winner's circle now goes through King Of The North, the first horse officially entered in the million-dollar event by virtue of his victory in the $640,000 William Wellwood Memorial for two-year-old trotters on Saturday (Sept. 11) at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
Sent off as the 4/5 choice despite not winning in his elimination last week, King Of The North was settled into sixth early by pilot Mark MacDonald as Letsdoit S (Dexter Dunn) made the opening call in :28.3. Temporal Hanover (Tim Tetrick) brushed to the top from third, with stablemate Periculum (Doug McNair) out to pressure before making a break approaching the :57.2 half.
With the break of Periculum, elim winner Duly Resolved (Paul MacDonell) faced a first-over grind against the temposetter with King Of The North on his helmet second over. Duly Resolved continued his attack through a 1:25.3 third station and eventually powered past Temporal Hanover turning for home. MacDonald fanned King Of The North off cover and urged his trotter as Duly Resolved dug in to his inside. Despite drifting in the lane, King Of The North got up for a one length victory in 1:54.2 over Duly Resolved, with Letsdoit S rounding out the triactor.
"Last week he raced well and like I said, we tweaked him a little bit and changed his shoes tonight and I thought he trotted a little cleaner," said MacDonald. "He was just kind of on that line again, so we just have to tweak him a little bit more and try and get him really good for the Mohawk Million, we're pretty excited to be into that."
King Of The North now has a summary of 6-1-0 in seven tries to date for $601,000 earned. Ray Schnittker, who raced the colt’s very talented dam Check Me Out (a winner of $1.9 million), trains the Walner-sired homebred he co-owns with Arden Homestead, Nolamaura Racing and Steve Arnold.
The William Wellwood Memorial is in named in honour of one of the most respected and talented horsemen who made his career on the WEG circuit and beyond. Inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2001, William Wellwood passed away two years later. His widow, Jean, approached WEG about naming a race in his honour and thus the former Campbellville Stakes became the William Wellwood Memorial in 2005.
The 2021 William Wellwood Memorial was contested on a stakes-packed card anchored by the 2021 Pepsi North America Cup. Read all the recaps from Cup night in the 2021 Pepsi North America Cup News Centre.
(with files from WEG)