The talent pool in this year’s two-year-old pacing colt and gelding division is incredibly deep, and as a result fans will be in for quite a treat when next week’s final of the Metro Pace rolls around.
Two eliminations were contested Saturday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park for this year’s Metro Pace, with Tall Dark Stranger and Capt Midnight coming away victorious in their respective $40,000 assignments.
Tall Dark Stranger brought his undefeated record into Saturday’s assignment, and he had to dig down deep to keep that unblemished record intact.
Papi Rob Hanover marched to the lead while Tall Dark Stranger stalked him from the pocket spot for nearly the first three-quarter of the mile. Papi Rob Hanover led through intervals of :27.2 and :55.3 before Tall Dark Stranger angled off the rail and prompted him to the three-quarter pole in 1:23.2. Tall Dark Stranger’s :26.3 closing quarter was enough to earn him the head decision over Papi Rob Hanover in 1:50.1.
Also advancing to next week’s final were Seeyou At Thebeach, Team Best and Captain Kirk.
Sent off as the 2-5 favourite, the Nancy Johansson-trained son of Bettors Delight-Precocious Beauty improved his record to 5-for-5 for the partnership of Crawford Farms Racing, Marvin Katz, Caviart Farms and Howard Taylor. He’ll tote a cash stash of $124,533 into next week’s final.
Capt Midnight was a powerhouse winner in the second elimination for the tandem of driver Andrew McCarty and trainer Tony Alagna.
Sent off as the 1-9 favourite, Capt Midnight got away third while stablemate Esai Hanover shot to the lead and carved out the opening quarter in :27.4. McCarthy moved Capt Midnight to the top in the backstretch and then cruised through middle panels of :57 and 1:24.2. A final quarter clocked in :27.2 earned the youngster the 1:51.4 decision by 4-1/2 lengths over YS Mathis.
Rounding out the top five finishers were Beach Blanket Book, One For Julius and Esai Hanover.
The son of Captaintreacherous-It Was Fascination, who has now won five-in-a-row, will enter next week’s final looking to add to a bankroll that has climbed to $212,819 for partners Marvin Katz, Kenneth Jacobs, Brad Grant and Capt Midnight Racing.
Here's how the field will line up for the $750,000 Metro Pace.
1. Ys Mathis
2. Seeyou At Thebeach
3. Capt Midnight
4. Tall Dark Stranger
5. Captain Kirk
6. Team Best
7. One For Julius
8. Esai Hanover
9. Papi Rob Hanover
10. Beach Blanket Book
AE – Allywag Hanover
Be sure to check out the rest of the recaps from Saturday's stakes-packed card in SC's News Centre
To view results for Saturday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Saturday Results – Woodbine Mohawk Park.