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Maple Leaf Trot, Trotting Classic Set

Published: September 15, 2015 5:07 pm ET

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The bright lights will be shining on the finest trotters Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack for the $2.7-million Maple Leaf Trot and Canadian Trotting Classic card.

Both storied events, the Maple Leaf Trot will be contested for the 64th time, while the Canadian Trotting Classic, Canada’s richest trotting event, will crown a 40th champion on Saturday.

The Maple Leaf Trot – Presented by HPIBET – will feature a stacked group of older trotters vying for the winner’s share of $680,000. The top three-year-old trotters in harness racing will look for division supremacy in the $700,000 Canadian Trotting Classic.

Following last week’s eliminations, the Maple Leaf Trot appears to be a wide-open contest.

Verlin Yoder’s Natural Herbie was a 12-1 upset winner in the first elimination over superstar trotting mare Bee A Magician. A five-year-old gelding, Natural Herbie had been relatively quiet this season before his breakout win last Saturday.

Trainer/driver Yoder admits Natural Herbie is a “once in a lifetime horse,” who he believes gets better as the season rolls on.

“He’s always been late showing up,” said Yoder, following his elimination victory. “He’s not trotting slower than he did last year, but he took his sweet time getting there.”

Yoder selected Post 3 for his prized-trotter in this Saturday’s final.

Bee A Magician, the only mare in this year’s final, appeared to have the elimination won, before giving way late to Natural Herbie and finishing second. A five-year-old daughter of Kadabra, Bee A Magician will look to become the first mare to capture the Maple Leaf Trot since Peaceful Way in 2006.

The Richard ‘Nifty’ Norman trainee was the 2013 Horse of the Year in both Canada and the U.S. and earlier this season beat the boys in the Cutler Memorial at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Bee A Magician will be driven by Brian Sears and they will start from Post 2.

Ake Svanstedt trainee Resolve lived up to his connections’ expectations and won the second Maple Leaf Trot elimination. The connections of the four-year-old put up $45,000 to supplement their trotter to this year’s event and that appears to be money well spent.

Resolve captured his elimination easily by three and a quarter lengths in 1:52.4 for his second victory of the season. The Svanstedt trainee has only missed the board once in 10 starts this season.

Svanstedt will be look to avenge his loss in last year’s final with the great Sebastian K and starts from the rail with his trainee on Saturday.

There are plenty of other storylines to follow in the 64th Maple Leaf Trot. Intimidate, last year’s upset winner, is back to defend his title for trainer Luc Blais and driver Sylvain Filion. World record holder JL Cruze was also a $45,000 supplement to the Maple Leaf Trot and he will seek another classic victory to go with his over $620,000 earned this season.

The Maple Leaf Trot has been carded as Race 7 and will head to post at approximately 9:37 p.m.

Trainer Jimmy Takter will be seeking back-to-back Canadian Trotting Classic titles this Saturday and the Hall of Famer conditioner is loaded with four talented trotters.

Pinkman, this year’s Hambletonian champion, returned to the winner’s circle last Saturday in his elimination with a strong two-length victory in 1:52.2. The Takter trainee has won nine of 13 starts this year, including the $1 million Hambletonian, $500,000 Earl Beal Memorial and the $370,000 Zweig Memorial.

Although Pinkman dropped three starts in a row heading into the ‘Trotting Classic’ eliminations, driver Yannick Gingras said the gelding was back on track Saturday night.

“He sure was really good tonight,” said Gingras, following Saturday’s elimination. “(I) kicked the plugs out half way down the stretch and he got into another gear and was trotting real strong through the wire.”

A son of Explosive Matter, Pinkman is the sport’s highest earning trotter this season, with over $1.2 million in earnings. The Takter trainee could go over the $2 million career-mark with a victory on Saturday. Owned by Christina Takter of New Jersey, John and Jim Fielding of Toronto, Ontario, Joyce McClelland of Ohio and Herb Liverman of Florida, Pinkman will start from Post 4.

Brian Sears will look to add the Canadian Trotting Classic to his list of major wins in the three-year-old trotting division this season with elimination winner Uncle Lasse. Trained by Takter, Uncle Lasse prevailed in a win photo over Crazy Wow in last Saturday’s first elimination.

A son of Donato Hanover, Uncle Lasse has raced in the shadow of his stablemate this season, but has put together an impressive season with over $490,000 earned.

Owned by Solveigs Racing Partners and Goran Falk, Uncle Lasse will start from Post 3 with arguably the best driver for this spot. Sears captured the $1 million Hambletonian last month with Pinkman, the $500,000 Yonkers Trot with Habitat two-weeks ago and this Saturday has another strong chance to score a major stakes victory in the three-year-old trotting division.

Takter also sends out French Laundry from the rail and The Bank from Post 10 in Saturday’s final.

A local trotter will look to spoil the Takter party Saturday. Dustin Jones trainee Dont Rush was last year’s Ontario Sires Stakes champion and this season has won three of nine starts. Dont Rush will start from Post 2 with driver Chris Christoforou

The $700,000 Canadian Trotting Classic will go postward at approximately 10:45 p.m. as Race 10.

The Maple Leaf Trot and Canadian Trotting Classic undercard features three lucrative trotting events.

World champion Mission Brief headlines the $404,000 Elegantimage Stakes for three-year-old trotting fillies. The Ron Burke trainee won her elimination last Friday by 15 lengths and the Hambletonian heat winner is seeking her 16th career win.

Rookie trotters will also be on display in the $410,000 Peaceful Way Stakes for two-year-old fillies and the $373,000 William Wellwood Memorial for two-year-old colts and geldings.

In total, Saturday’s 13-race card will feature over $2.7 million in purse money and is the second-richest card of the season at Mohawk Racetrack.

Saturday is also Fan Appreciation Night, as the first 1,000 patrons through the doors will receive a free program, a $5 food and drink voucher and their ‘First Bet On Us.’ Mohawk and the ‘I Love Canadian Harness Racing Fan Club’ will also be honouring the recently retired San Pail with a winner’s circle retirement ceremony.

Doors open for Maple Leaf Trot and Canadian Trotting Classic night at 5 p.m. and post time is 7:25 p.m.

Here is how the trotters will lineup in the Maple Leaf Trot and Canadian Trotting Classic.

$680,000 Maple Leaf Trot

1. Resolve – Ake Svanstedt
2. Bee A Magician – Brian Sears
3. Natural Herbie – Verlin Yoder
4. Flanagan Memory – Tim Tetrick
5. Lindys Tru Grit – Scott Zeron
6. JL Cruze – John Campbell
7. Daylon Magician – Jack Moiseyev
8. Whiskey Tax – Sylvain Filion
9. Intimidate – Sylvain Filion
10. Obrigado – Mark MacDonald
AE: Market Share

$700,000 Canadian Trotting Classic

1. French Laundry – Jimmy Takter
2. Dont Rush – Chris Christoforou
3. Uncle Lasse – Brian Sears
4. Pinkman – Yannick Gingras
5. Iron – Scott Zeron
6. Muscle Up The Goal – Jody Jamieson
7. Muscle Diamond – John Campbell
8. Crazy Wow – Tim Tetrick
9. Centurion ATM – Ake Svanstedt
10. The Bank – David Miller
AE: Jetpedia

To view the harness racing entries for Saturday at Mohawk, click the following link: Saturday Entries – Mohawk Racetrack.


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