Canadian Pacing Derby Connections Weigh In

Jack Darling, Kathy Cecchin and Adriano Sorella
Published: September 3, 2022 12:56 pm EDT

With the fastest horse on the planet, a horse that's had his number on more than one occasion, and the early season divisional standout all set to compete in the 2022 Canadian Pacing Derby on Saturday (Sept. 3) at Woodbine Mohawk Park, it's unquestionably one of the most highly-anticipated races of the 2022 harness racing season.

The field is set for the 2022 Canadian Pacing Derby following a pair of $40,000 eliminations on Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

Jimmy Freight and Bulldog Hanover captured their respective eliminations and are rolling into next Saturday's rich final in top form. Each elimination featured a field of seven with the top-five finishers advancing.

A son of Shadow Play-BJs Squall, Bulldog Hanover made it eight straight trips to the winner’s circle with his elimination victory while boosting his record to 23-3-1 from 31 career starts. He's the 6-5 morning line choice on Saturday night, leaving from post four for driver Dexter Dunn and owners Jack Darling and Brad Grant. Darling also trains Bulldog Hanover, whose 1:45.4 winning mile time is the fastest the Standardbred world has ever seen.


"He's coming into the race in good shape," Darling told Trot Insider. "It should be an exciting race. This is a great field of horses and the leading contenders look to be in top form."

Form is definitely on the side of Desperate Man. The 2021 Canadian Horse of the Year is the only horse with more than one victory over Bulldog Hanover. In fact, Desperate Man defeated Bulldog Hanover three times in 2021.

In one of those races, the 2021 North America Cup, Bulldog Hanover qualified for the final after winning the elimination. Desperate man finished second in that elim, just like in last Saturday's Canadian Pacing Derby elim. In the NA Cup Final, Desperate Man drew post six after Bulldog Hanover's connections chose post four. Those two pacers also line up in those same post positions in the Canadian Pacing Derby.

"We were all very pleased with his effort in the elimination," trainer and co-owner Kathy Cecchin said of Desperate Man. "It was by far his best performance since the [Charles] Juravinski final."

Cecchin noted that the son of Shadow Play - Dreamlands Latte came out of his effort last Saturday in good shape and has his work cut out from him on Saturday night.

"We realize he will need to have a career best effort to be competitive in this race, and even that might not be enough to get a cheque. We just hope he gives his best effort and, whatever the outcome is, we are still proud that he made it into the final."

Sporting a summary of 7-6-4 from 27 starts with more than $1.083 million in earnings, Desperate Man is owned by Cecchin along with her husband John and Nikki & Paul Davies. He has never paced faster than the 1:48.2 individual time he paced in his elim.

Desperate Man definitely impressed in his effort. Jimmy Freight gave notice that he's still a serious in his second race back from a layoff an injury with an eye-catching victory in the other CPD elim. With familiar face Louis-Philippe Roy in the race bike, Jimmy Freight was full of pace late and stormed home down the lane to win in 1:49.1.

Owned by Let It Ride Stables Inc. and Jimmy Freight Stable, the seven-year-old son of Sportswriter - Allamerican Summer has yet to face Bulldog Hanover but his co-owner Adriano Sorella relishes the opportunity to face off against the sport's now horse.

"He’s coming into the race good," Sorella told Trot Insider. "It’s tough being sidelined two months for an injury with 12 sutures in his front fetlock, then having to be tossed right back in with the best open pacers. 

"He’s always gives it everything, and he looked good last week despite it only being his second start back.  Classy field, and he’s a classy horse."

The field for the Canadian Pacing Derby final is listed below. Who do you like? Have your say in our latest SC web poll.

1. Rockyroad Hanover (Todd McCarthy - Tony Alagna) - 10-1
2. Jimmy Freight (Louis-Philippe Roy - Richard Moreau) - 4-1
3. Abuckabett Hanover (Tim Tetrick – Tony Alagna) - 12-1
4. Bulldog Hanover (Dexter Dunn - Jack Darling) - 6-5
5. Poseidon Seelster (Bob McClure - Donald Lindsey) - 15-1
6. Desperate Man (Trevor Henry - Kathy Cecchin) - 8-1
7. Lous Pearlman (Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke) - 15-1
8. Tattoo Artist (James MacDonald - Dr. Ian Moore) - 10-1
9. Workin Ona Mystery (David Miller - Ron Burke) - 15-1
10. Warrawee Vital (Sylvain Filion - Rob Fellows) - 15-1
AE. My Pal Joe (Doug McNair - Gregg McNair) - 20-1

To view the entries for Saturday's card of harness racing at Mohawk, click the following link: Saturday Entries - Woodbine Mohawk Park.

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