The marquee races in Canada for pacing freshmen now have their finalists following a pair of eliminations for the $970,000 Metro Pace and the $540,000 Shes A Great Lady on Saturday night (Sept. 16) at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
Legendary Hanover and Clever Cody built cushions on the lead to take their $40,000 Metro Pace eliminations.
Driver James MacDonald floated Legendary Hanover from the outermost post in the first elimination to race fourth behind a :27.1 skirmish for command. MacDonald methodically moved Legendary Hanover into the backstretch and seized the lead from Booming Economy past a :55.1 half and strolled through the final turn. Past three-quarters in 1:23, Legendary Hanover started scooting away from his rivals in progress to a 1-1/2-length score in 1:51 over fast-closing Captain Luke, who came from last for second. Lous World persisted through a first-over push in the final turn to hold third at 92-1 with Storm Shadow and Chain Gang completing the top five.
“He’s a big, strong horse. He should be able to handle [getting strung out], I think,” said trainer Anthony Beaton after the race. “This colt’s just done it every way. Nothing seems to bother him. He’s very easy on himself overall. He can get a little temperamental – he was a little agitated in the paddock tonight, but after warming up, he settled down and he was super.”
Legendary Hanover rung up the score to now stay unbeaten from six starts while pushing his bankroll to $173,600 for owners Eric Good, West Wins Stable and Mark Dumain.
Sent off as the 1-5 favourite, the son of Huntsville paid $2.70 to win.
Clever Cody fought for a tepid lead that readied him for a back-half sprint to hold victory in the second Metro Pace elimination.
Leading by a :27.3 first quarter, Clever Cody lost the lead into the backstretch to Remember The Alamo before circling back to the top and landing on the lead just before a :57 half. With Gem Quality pushing first over out of fourth, driver Sylvain Filion entered sprint mode with Clever Cody to click three-quarters in 1:24 and fire for home with 7-5 favourite Captains Quarters swinging wide and barrelling down the center of the track. Clever Cody coasted to the line to keep a length up on Captains Quarters in a 1:50.4 mile with Gem Quality holding third, Remember The Alamo taking fourth and Calicojack Hanover completing the top five.
“We could’ve raced [next] Thursday on Jug Day for 125 [thousand] American and been the 1-9 favourite,” said trainer Dr. Ian Moore on putting Clever Cody, the Ohio Sires Stakes champion, in the box for the Metro Pace. “But there’s five of us partners and the other four wanted to try him here, so here we are and it turned out pretty good. I just didn’t want to make him look bad here, so he made himself look good tonight. I didn’t know what to expect really, because the style of racing he was doing in Ohio probably wouldn’t work for this track, but it seemed to tonight.”
With the victory, Clever Cody has now made six visits to the winner’s circle from nine tries while banking $311,050 for owner Clever Cody Stable.
The son of The Panderosa, off as the 2-1 second choice, paid $6 to win.
The post position draw for the $970,000 Metro Pace will take place Monday, Sept. 18 at 6:30 p.m. on Woodbine Racing Live.
Its A Love Thing and Caviart Belle took their respective $35,000 eliminations for the Shes A Great Lady by narrow margins earlier on the card.
In the first elimination, driver James MacDonald sent Its A Love Thing for the front from the outermost post in the sextet and clicked a :27.3 first quarter before 3-5 favourite My Girl EJ swung off the pegs from third. My Girl EJ grabbed the lead before a :56.3 half and coasted around the far turn as MacDonald revved Its A Love Thing from the pocket to three-quarters in 1:24.4. Its A Love Thing then slid to the lead into the final eighth and held My Girl EJ at bay while under a hand drive to win by a half-length in 1:50.4. My Girl EJ settled for second with Genie Hanover another five lengths behind in third. Stonebridge Halo and Rocket Deo rounded the finalists.
“I can’t give [James MacDonald] enough credit for the job he’s done with her, teaching her how to race,” said winning trainer David Menary. “She was a little bit green starting off in here [and] she’s the exact opposite at home, so it made her a little tougher to rig. All winter long, she dominated my group of babies and could’ve trained with open-type horses. Everything’s heading in the right direction at the right time.”
Its A Love Thing has now won five times from eight starts and earned $216,446 for owners Eric Good, Thomas Biederman and Josh Green.
The daughter of Bettors Delight went off as the 6-5 second choice and paid $4.40 to win.
Caviart Belle swept to the front before the half and held firm on the lead to take the second elimination in 1:50.2.
Odds On Platinum posted a :26.4 first quarter as driver Yannick Gingras readied a charge out of fourth with Caviart Belle, who cleared control to a :56 half. Caviart Belle kept rolling to three-quarters in 1:23.1 and spun for home with an anxious challenger in Odds On Platinum pulling outside to take a shot at the 1-9 favourite late. Gingras kept Caviart Belle to task and she responded to hold a half-length on Odds On Platinum at the finish while Bettor Sisters took third and the last two final berths going to Watching You and Elodie Hanover.
“She definitely wasn’t as sharp,” Yannick Gingras said of Caviart Belle’s tight victory. “Even in the post parade she was a little lazy on me, and that’s really not her thing. I didn’t want to wake her up or nothing like that, so I just left her alone. I was hoping it was a good sign, but she was a little tired finishing. I think she’ll be that much better next week. Last time, she did it with the plugs in, but obviously we asked her [today] – I thought Sylvain [Filion and Odds On Platinum] had me in the stretch. She showed she had some class; she wanted to put her nose in front.”
Caviart Belle bagged her fifth win from seven starts and has now earned $157,513. Nancy Takter trains the daughter of Captaintreacherous for owner Caviart Farms.
She paid $2.10 to win.
The top five finishers from each elimination for the Shes A Great Lady received their draw for the $540,000 set for next Saturday night, Sept. 23. The post positions are listed below.
1. Elodie Hanover
2. Odds On Platinum
3. Caviart Belle
4. Rocket Deo
5. Its A Love Thing
6. Genie Hanover
7. My Girl EJ
8. Watching You
9. Stonebridge Halo
10. Bettor Sisters
AE. Bronx Barista
For full results from the Saturday card of harness racing at Woodbine Mohawk Park, click the following link: Saturday Results - Woodbine Mohawk Park.
(With files from Woodbine)