Even though Whiskey Tax finished within striking distance of Manofmanymissions in his Canadian Trotting Classic elimination last weekend, trainer Tom Durand has gone on the record as saying he is switching things up heading into the $1-million final this Saturday
at Mohawk Racetrack.
After having started from Post 7 in his elimination, the Randy Waples-driven son of Revenue S crossed over early and worked out a two-hole ride into the lane. Racing at odds of 21-1, the bay gelding trotted home with a :28.2 final quarter and finished third, two and a quarter lengths in arrears to Manofmanymissions, who stopped the clock in 1:54.
“He came out of the elimination just perfect," said Durand, who added that he was going to change Whiskey Tax's routine heading into the CTC final. "I’m going to train him a little harder and hopefully he will be a little tighter.”
At odds of 30-1, Whiskey Tax (PP1, Mario Baillargeon) has been installed as the second-longest shot on the morning line for the CTC. Having produced a second-place finish while racing at odds of 39-1 in the Hambletonian earlier this summer, Whiskey Tax has proven he can step up despite long odds. Like his student, Durand isn't paying much attention to the tote board, either.
“I think it’s going to be a terrific race," Durand told the Woodbine Entertainment Group's media office. "There isn’t much that separates the entire field and I think racing fans are in for a real treat. Any horse could win that race and there could be seven or eight horses within one length of one another at the finish. “There is no real standout. It’s the typical case of whoever gets the best trip will likely win, even a longshot could come in and if that happens, hopefully it’s us.”
Although Durand has received a lot of credit for the success of Whiskey Tax this season, he is quick to point out that the man behind the gelding's shoeing is no slouch, either.
“Steve (Tom Durand's 23-year-old son) took over shoeing this horse about a year ago and he’s done a terrific job with him. He’s so particular with a horse and finds things that most trainers don’t. Every angle is so precise and his attention to detail is flawless. Everyone has their calling in life and this is Steve’s. He’s a big reason why ‘Tax’ is racing so well.”
The CTC, which will head to post for Race 7 (9:38 p.m.) on Saturday, will be televised live on The Score during a special one-hour program which will kick off at 9:00 p.m. (ET).
Besides the CTC, Mohawk's 12-dash program is still loaded with stakes tilts. The $447,000 final of the Peaceful Way Stakes for two-year-old trotting fillies has been carded as Race 4 (8:19 p.m.) and the $469,000 William Wellwood Memorial for two-year-old trotters has been programmed as Race 9 (10:23 p.m.). A pair of eliminations for the Milton Stakes has also been carded, as has an Open and Preferred 2 Pace.
To view the harness racing entries for Saturday at Mohawk Racetrack, click the following link: Saturday - Mohawk Racetrack.
(With quotes from WEG)