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Venerate Wins Mohawk Million

Published: September 26, 2020 11:37 pm ET

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Julie Miller trainee Venerate stormed through the stretch to nail 4-5 favourite Donna Soprano and win the inaugural edition of the Mohawk Million, which went for a purse of $1,320,000, on Saturday (Sept. 26) at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

Starting from the second tier, Venerate floated into position to race seventh as Altar emerged on top of a five-horse blitz to the front before a :27 first quarter. Driver Andrew McCarthy tipped Venerate off the pylons entering the backstretch in a flow developing.

On A Streak cleared command from Altar off the first turn and led the field to a :56.1 as Insta Glam readied a first-over charge from fifth. Donna Soprano loosely followed that cover and soon raced uncovered to three-quarters with Insta Glam setting the speed.

Opening her lead to three-quarters in 1:24, Insta Glam began to tire in the stretch while Donna Soprano surged to the lead. Venerate tipped off his cover and challenged Donna Soprano into the eighth pole, drawing to equal terms and then downing the Peaceful Way champ in the final sixteenth of a 1:53.2 mile. On A Streak held third with Insta Glam taking fourth.

“I was hoping I got out of there a little closer,” McCarthy said after the race, “but after scoring him down I knew I couldn’t make him accelerate too fast, so I just wanted to get out of there upright. I knew he’s a very strong horse—I’ve seen that. I figured I’d have to get through that first turn and worry about where I’m going from there. It worked out where the speed was pretty tough early, so it worked out where I could end up getting a pretty good trip.”

A colt by Love You out of the Muscle Hill mare Peaceful Kemp, Venerate won his fourth race from seven starts, earning $848,766. The colt competes for the Pinske Stables and Andy Miller Stable Inc. and raced in the Mohawk Million under the slot purchased for $110,000 by Brad Grant, whose $1.1-million yearling Maverick did not make the race.

“We really believed in this race when we bought our slot,” Brad Grant said after the race. “What Woodbine Mohawk has done is something new. I think it’s great—it had a buzz to it all night long. Its unfortunate our colt [Maverick] didn’t get here but [we] talked to Julie Miller and one quick conversation we had a deal done. Just wonderful people to work with. I’m happy it worked out for them and I’m really happy it worked out for us.”

Venerate paid $6.80 to win.

The Mohawk Million was one of the handful of major stakes events on the Saturday card at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Recaps from the other races are available at the following links:

To view the results from Saturday's card of harness racing at Woodbine Mohawk Park, click the following link: Saturday Results - Woodbine Mohawk Park.

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