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Bar Hopping Scores 'Classic' Victory; Resolve Prevails In Maple Leaf Trot

Published: September 17, 2016 8:13 pm ET

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Many of harness racing's top trotters converged at Mohawk Racetrack for Saturday's $2.6 million stakes night featuring the $687,000 Canadian Trotting Classic and $632,000 Maple Leaf Trot.

Bar Hopping Scores 'Classic' Victory

Bar Hopping vaulted off cover to defeat the 3-5 favourite Marion Marauder and give trainer Jimmy Takter his third straight victory in the $687,000 Canadian Trotting Classic.

Bar Hopping followed up victories by Pinkman (2015) and Father Patrick (2014) and is Takter's fifth overall winner in the prestigious stakes event.

Dia Monde (Randy Waples) took the lead off the gate from post six and trotted a :27.1 first quarter before Scott Zeron made his move with Hambletonian and Yonkers Trot champion Marion Marauder. The elimination winner, who was also victorious at Mohawk in the Goodtimes Trot earlier this year, swept up to take over the lead just past the half in :55.4. As Marion Marauder raced to three-quarters in 1:24.2, Southwind Frank (Yannick Gingras) moved underway from mid-pack with Bar Hopping and Tim Tetrick following the cover. Marion Marauder continued to lead the field into the stretch, but Bar Hopping burst onto the scene late and drew off by four lengths to win in 1:53.1. Bee In Charge (Chris Christoforou) finished third.

"There was enough speed in there and I was trying to find a good horse to follow," said Tetrick of his racing strategy. "I saw Yannick not getting away as good as I think he wanted and I got a good trip following him all the way to the promise land. Scotty's horse was putting up decent enough fractions and my horse got to track him all the way to the top of the lane and he did the rest from there."

Bar Hopping earned his fifth win in 13 starts this year and first in a stakes final against Marion Marauder and Southwind Frank, who he defeated in their Canadian Trotting Classic elimination last week.

"He's been really close [to Marion Marauder and Southwind Frank this season], but just hasn't got it done, but not lack of trying," said Tetrick. "He put it all together tonight. There's still a lot of money to go for the rest of the year."

"We've got a lot of partners, and great partners, and I am so happy for this win," said Takter. "I really thought we had the Hambo winner after his elimination -- he looked fantastic. Unfortunately, the storm came up and it was windy and he didn't come up good in the second heat. The horse has been drawing bad; he drew bad in Pocono, he had the nine-hole and he raced a tremendous race and finished third [in the Beal]...These three horses here, they've been fantastic. I was due to win this race, a big race, with this horse because he's a very, very nice horse."

Bar Hopping will look to keep his winning momentum rolling as he heads to The Red Mile's Grand Circuit meet in Kentucky next.

The Muscle Hill-Cocktail Hour colt, whose earnings soared over $900,000, gave Ontario owners Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld another Saturday stakes victory following their homebred two-year-old filly Ariana G's Peaceful Way win earlier in the night. Takter's wife Christina and the Ohio-based Hatfield Stables also share ownership of Bar Hopping.

The winner returned $10.10 at the betting windows as the 4-1 third choice.

Resolve Prevails In Maple Leaf Trot

Hannelore Hanover was looking to make it back-to-back wins for the mares in the $632,000 Maple Leaf Trot following the currently sidelined Bee A Magician's victory in last year's edition, but Resolve avenged his 2015 defeat in the trotting classic for trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt.

Hannelore Hanover (Yannick Gingras), the 3-5 favourite after being supplemented to the Maple Leaf Trot for $45,000 and winning her elimination with ease, retook the lead from 70-1 longshot Musical Rhythm (Mario Baillargeon) past the :26.4 first quarter before coming under attack by Canada's reigning Older Trotting Horse of the Year. Svanstedt right-lined Resolve from third approaching the half in :55.3 and gained a neck lead outside, but Hannelore Hanover fought back on the way to three-quarters in 1:23. The battled continued into the stretch, with Resolve eventually taking over and drawing one length clear just before the wire to win in 1:51.4. Hannelore Hanover finished second with Shake It Cerry (David Miller) closing off cover to make it a 2-3 finish for the mares.

Resolve, who also won his elimination last weekend in a older trotting horse track record time of 1:51.1, paid $4.30 to win as the 2-1 second choice. The five-year-old millionaire son of Muscle Hill and Anikawiesahalee now boasts stakes wins in the Cutler, Cashman and Maple Leaf Trot following his Spring campaign in Sweden.

"He's a great horse and he did a good job today," said Svanstedt in a post-race interview. "He left very fast and then he was first-over the second half. He did a very good job.

"She [Hannelore Hanover] raced very good. She's just four years old and she's a mare; she was very good."

Up next, Svanstedt said he is hoping Resolve will be invited to the International Trot at Yonkers Raceway.

Royal Charm Upsets In Elegantimage

Royal Charm pulled off a 32-1 upset with her late mile heroics in the $436,000 Elegantimage Stakes for three-year-old fillies.

Three-time Elegantimage Stakes-winning driver Paul MacDonell worked out the trip aboard the Majestic Son-Queen Of Grace filly for trainer Mark Steacy of Lansdowne, Ont.

Dream Child (David Miller) fired out from post nine and crossed to command in the first turn over insider Emoticon Hanover (Sylvain Filion) with Celebrity Eventsy (Jody Jamieson) and Flowers N Songs (Yannick Gingras) left parked out as the other fillies settled in line.

Dream Child carved out fractions of :27, :55.4 and 1:24.4 with Celebrity Eventsy grinding away first over and Flowers N Songs tracking her cover. Meanwhile, down the backstretch, MacDonell had positioned Royal Charm third over. The 1-9 favourite, Caprice Hill, was locked in along the pylons at that point.

As Flowers N Songs rallied off cover in the stretch, Royal Charm was also closing in on the far outside and she went by to score her first Grand Circuit stakes victory in a career-best time of 1:54.4. Dewdle All Day (James MacDonald) closed outside of Royal Charm to finish three-quarters of a length behind in second. Flowers N Songs was third.

"It's a prestigious race and I'm just happy to do it for Mark and his connections; they've been supporting this filly right through," said MacDonell. "She's been coming up to a good race and she did it tonight."

Royal Charm is owned by David McDonald of Cornwall, Ont., Shelly MacMillan of Waterloo, Ont., Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, Que., and Bridle Path Stables Ltd. of Ossining, New York.

A $77,000 yearling purchase from the Lexington Selected Sale, she made just three starts as a freshman and earned her sixth win from 14 starts this year. Saturday's stakes victory boosted her bankroll over $315,000.

"She doesn't leave very well, it's been her thing all year," noted MacDonell. "She just struggles to get away from the gate. As it turned out tonight, she was within five lengths at the quarter pole so that was good. And then the flow just started to develop on the outside and she got up third over and she always has a good kick coming home."

"She always showed speed, even last year, but she had a breaking problem, maybe immature," explained Steacy, who is already enjoying a fantastic season as the leading trainer in the Ontario Sires Stakes program. "It started out that way this year, but each time she went she got a little better and better, and Paul's done a great job with her and this is where we are."

Royal Charm returned $67.50 a whopping for a $2 Win ticket.

Seven And Seven Wins Wellwood

Seven And Seven turned in a 1:55.3 career-best performance for his local connections in the $350,000 William Wellwood Memorial Trot for two-year-old colts.

The homebred son of Chapter Seven is owned by Puslinch, Ontario-based trainer Tom Durand and his wife June, along with partner Allan Smith of Oakville, Ont.

International Moni (Scott Zeron) fired off the gate from post seven with Signal Hill (Randy Waples) also leaving to his outside. International Moni established the early lead over Seven And Seven with Signal Hill parked through the :28 first quarter before clearing.

Signal Hill then led the field past the half in :57.1 and as he approached three-quarters in 1:26.1, Campbell tipped Seven And Seven to the outside and picked up cover into the stretch as International Moni pulled the pocket in front.

International Moni overtook Signal Hill in the stretch, but Seven And Seven powered past that rival down the center of the track and trotted away to win by three lengths in 1:55.3. Jake (Sylvain Filion) gained ground along the pylons as the outer flow developed on the backside and came on to finish second off his ground-saving trip over International Moni.

Seven And Seven was the 5-2 second choice to fellow elimination winner What The Hill, who broke stride in the stretch, and paid $7.30 to win.

Showing he was special from day one, the colt out of the Durand-campaigned mare Ally Oop was a buyback at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale for $17,000. He now has four wins in seven career starts, but this was his first outing with Campbell in the bike.

"I just had a few things to iron out," said Durand, who drove his trainee leading up to the Wellwood final. "He was a little fussy behind the gate and I got that smoothed out and I said it was time to turn the reins over to the most experienced driver in the world."

"That was a great surprise when I saw the late changes and I was down on him," said Campbell of picking up the catch-drive. "I had followed him and I knew what he was capable of and how well he had raced for Tom all along. I thought he was coming into the race very good.

"He's just perfect to drive. I mean, anybody could drive him, he's just like a pro. He got out of the gate good and landed third. There was no pressure to come from behind until later on, and when I did move him, the horse in the two-hole came out in front of him and he had cover right into the stretch. From there, he just did all his work."

Campbell said it was a thrill and honour to win a race named after the late Bill Wellwood.

"The Wellwood and Campbell families go back to the 1940s -- my grandfather racing against Bill's uncle and then my dad racing against Bill and me racing against Bill," said Campbell. "Our families have been friends for so many years."

Seven And Seven will now enjoy a month off as he prepares for his next big assignment, the Valley Victory at Woodbine Racetrack.

"The plan was to keep him right here at home in Ontario and it's probably a good thing for a two-year-old not to get too many starts in them," noted Durand.

"I'd like to dedicate this race to my uncle George, whose been in the horse business life long," added the horseman. "He couldn't make it tonight due to illness and he's one of my biggest fans."

Ariana G Perfect In Peaceful Way

Undefeated two-year-old trotting filly Ariana G kicked off the $2.6 million stakes night with a 1:54 victory over her stablemate Thats All Moni in the $363,000 Peaceful Way final for trainer Jimmy Takter.

Ariana G was the overwhelming 1-9 betting favourite while her fellow elimination winner Thats All Moni was the 8-1 second choice with the rest of the field vying for a double-digit upset. The favourites dominated though as Thats All Moni and Tim Tetrick swept to the lead after the :27.3 first quarter with Ariana G and Yannick Gingras taking over at the half in :56.1. With multiple breakers during the third panel, the stablemates gained some separation from the rest of the field on the way to three-quarters in 1:25.1 and cruised home with Ariana G leading the way by more than three lengths. Magic Presto and Trevor Henry came on for third at odds of 99-1.

"She's just incredible," said first-time Peaceful Way Stakes winner Gingras of Ariana G. "Like I said last week, from the first time I trained her, she was just a pure professional. She feels like a three-year-old filly; you can do whatever you want with her."

"She's been special from day one," agreed Takter. "She's just a fantastic filly. She's just unique at this point, she can't be better."

The homebred daughter of Muscle Hill and Cantab It All is this year's top-earning two-year-old trotter in the sport with $467,000 banked from seven stakes victories for owners Marvin Katz of Toronto and Al Libfeld of Pickering, Ont.

Katz and Libfeld also share ownership of Thats All Moni with Brittany Farms.

Field Set For Milton Stakes

Older pacing mares also competed on Saturday's stakes card to secure a position in next weekend's $311,000 Milton Stakes.

Wrangler Magic pulled off a 52-1 shocker in the first elimination while Lady Shadow delivered on her 3-5 pari-mutuel promise in the other division.

Wrangler Magic followed in the pocket as Waasmula (Trevor Henry) led the field through fractions of :26, :55.1, and 1:23 with Stacia Hanover (David Miller) challenging first over. On the final turn, Sylvain Filion tipped Wrangler Magic out ahead of 3-5 favourite Solar Sister *Doug McNair) as that mare gapped cover and then rallied home down the center of the track to win in 1:51.2 by two lengths. Sandbetweenurtoes (Jody Jamieson) came on from the backfield to finish second over Solar Sister, Venus Delight (Tim Tetrick) and Waasmula.

Stephane Larocque trains the four-year-old Mach Three-Ja El Shamrock mare for owners Thomas Kyron, Dr. Maurice Stewart, Brian Paquet and Bayama Farms Inc.

In the second elimination, the :26.2 first quarter leader Delightful Hill (Jonathan Drury) was overtaken by Our Hot Majorette (Rick Zeron), who then set middle fractions of :55.1 and 1:23.2. Meanwhile, Bedroomconfessions (Randy Waples) applied first over pressure and struck the front down the stretch, but Lady Shadow powered home off cover for driver Yannick Gingras to win by two lengths in 1:51 flat. Frost Damage Blues (James MacDonald) rallied impressively from last to grab the runner-up honours over fellow closers Storm Point (David Miller) and Yagonnakissmeornot (Jody Jamieson). Bedroomconfessions finished fifth.

Ron Adams trains the five-year-old daughter of Shadow Play out of Lady Camella who was a runner-up to Venus Delight in last year's Milton Stakes. The millionaire mare is owned by David Kryway, Carl Atley, Edwin Gold and Bfj Stable.

The field for the final of the Milton Stakes is listed below in post position order:

1. Wrangler Magic
2. Yagonnakissmeornot
3. Lady Shadow
4. Solar Sister
5. Storm Point
6. Frost Damage Blues
7. Sandbetweenurtoes
8. Waasmula
9. Bedroomconfessions
10. Venus Delight
AE1. Empress Deo

Shamballa Stars In Preferred Pace

Returning to Mohawk's $34,000 Preferred class on Saturday's undercard, Grand Circuit stakes competitor Shamballa stole the show with a last-to-first victory in 1:48.2.

Handicapped outside his rivals, this year's U.S. Pacing Championship winner Shamballa trailed the field of eight early on, but followed the live cover of Preferred star Nickle Bag (Trevor Henry) and sprinted his final quarter in :27 to defeat that foe by one and a half lengths. Reigning Horse of the Year State Treasurer (Chris Christoforou), who had taken the lead after the :26 first quarter and led through middle splits of :54.1 and 1:20.4, finished two and a quarter lengths behind in third.

Shamballa paid $4.60 to win as the 6-5 favourite. Local trainer/driver Rick Zeron shares ownership of the six-year-old Somebeachsomewhere-Bolero Takara gelding with Tao Racing LLC, Howard Taylor and Cool Cat Racing Inc.

To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Mohawk Racetrack.

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