Trotters Shine In Grand Circuit Stakes

Published: September 4, 2015 11:00 pm EDT

Grand Circuit week continued on Friday night at Mohawk Racetrack with the Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old trotting fillies and the Champlain Stakes for two-year-old trotters.

A group of 12 three-year-old trotting fillies contested a rich $223,193 division of the Simcoe Stakes.

Roger Mayotte trainee Elegant Serenity was sent off as the 3-5 favourite from post six after a victory in last week's Casual Breeze Stakes.

Driven by Mayotte, Elegant Serenity and several fillies flashed early speed heading into the first turn. The public’s choice was parked around the first turn, but quickly cleared to the front ahead of Danielle Hall in the second quarter. Lock Down Lindy pressed at Elegant Serenity in the middle-half, but Mayotte put away the challenger in the third quarter and took his filly by the station in 1:25. In the stretch, Elegant Serenity showed plenty of determination and trotted home in :28.2 to win by a length over a hard-closing Speak To Me. Bee The Queen finished third, while Danielle Hall was fourth.

A daughter of Kadabra out of the great Elegantimage, Elegant Serenity is owned and bred by Doug Millard of Woodstock, Ont.

Following the race, Millard talked about his homebred star filly.

“She’s really come on strong the last two or three starts,” said Millard. “Middle of winter I was about ready to breed her because she was quite a handful. Sandra [Burns] had to really work at her to get her right. She got her right and we turned her over to Roger and he’s done the rest.”

Elegant Serenity now has five victories from seven starts this season after going winless in seven starts last season. The sophomore trotter increased her bankroll to over $288,000 with the victory. The clocking of 1:53.2 was a new career-best for the Mayotte trainee and she paid $3.20 to win.

Elegant Serenity will now head to the race named for her mother, the Elegantimage Stakes.

A total of 19 two-year-old trotting colts were split into two divisions of the Champlain Stakes.

In the $117,406 first division, Southwind Frank continued his dominance of the rookie trotters with a 1:54.1 victory -- his fifth win in a row -- while just missing Father Patrick's stakes record by one-fifth of a second.

Driven by Yannick Gingras, Southwind Frank got away third, but was quickly moved to the front in the second quarter and reached the half in :57.1. The Ron Burke trainee trotted his third panel in :29, before drawing away from his rivals with ease in the stretch to score a four and a quarter length victory. Brooklyn Hill, who got a two-hole trip, held position for second, while Zlatan was third.

A son of Muscle Hill, Southwind Frank added the Champlain Stakes to his impressive resume, which includes the Peter Haughton Memorial and the New Jersey Sires Stakes Championship.

"I baby raced him first time at Gaitway and absolutely loved him," said Gingras. "He was really good through the Sires Stakes and the Peter Haughton he won, but I don't think he was as good that night as he was maybe in the Sires Stakes final or even tonight. He was very good and obviously did enough to win the race, but tonight he was absolutely vicious. I never turned him loose and he had so much left."

Southwind Frank is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Our Horse Cents Stables and J And T Silva Stables LLC. He was purchased for $100,000 at last year’s Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. Southwind Frank’s record now sits at six wins from seven starts and earnings of over $312,000. The Burke trainee paid $2.50 to win.

Dominion Beach capitalized on breaks made by the favourites to win the $118,907 second division.

Driven by Brett Miller, Dominion Beach showed good early speed to grab the front heading into the first turn. Tony Soprano, the 3-2 second choice, got away second, but made a break in the first turn. Deep Impact, the 6-5 favourite, inherited the second spot following the break, but he made a miscue of his own in the second quarter. Dominion Beach was able to take full advantage of the situation by posting middle fractions of :59.2 and 1:28 before trotting home in :28 to score a maiden-breaking victory by a length and half in 1:56. Lean Hanover finished second, while Dreamliner rounded out the top three.

"He actually trained down really well and I expected big things out of him," said Marcus Johansson, husband of trainer Nancy Johansson. "He's had a little bad luck, but today luck was on his side."

A son of Muscle Hill, Dominion Beach is owned by Courant Ab and was purchased for $90,000 as a yearling at Harrisburg. The rookie trotting colt was making his sixth career start on Friday and bumped his earnings to over $86,000 with the victory. Dominion Beach paid $15.50 to win.

Friday's card also included a $34,000 Preferred Trot, which was won by Master Of Law and driver Brett Miller in 1:53.3. Jimmy Takter trains the son of Deweycheatumnhowe for his wife Christina, Lindy Racing Stable, Brittany Farms, and Adam Victor And Son Stable.

The five-year-old gelding went first up at the half and took over the lead from Daylon Magician heading into the stretch en route to the one and a half length victory. Even-money favourite Market Share came through inside for the runner-up honours over Whiskey Tax, who followed the winner's cover and finished third. Master Of Law paid $13.10 to win.

With three wins on the undercard, trainer Carmen Auciello took over the top spot in the Mohawk standings, edging Richard Moreau by one victory on the season (48-47).

The three-year-old trotting fillies and two-year-old trotting colts will return to Mohawk Racetrack next Friday (September 11) for more Grand Circuit action. Up next for the fillies is the Elegantimage Stakes eliminations, while the rookie trotters will contest the eliminations for the William Wellwood Memorial.

Grand Circuit action continues Saturday night with over $2.4 million up for grabs. The $685,000 Canadian Pacing Derby and $685,000 Metro Pace headline the rich card. Post time is 7:05 p.m.

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

(With files from WEG)

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