Two-year-old trotters Father Patrick and Harper Blue Chip won their respective $30,000 eliminations for the William Wellwood Memorial early Friday night at Mohawk Racetrack.
Fresh off a Canadian record performance in last weekend's Champlain Stakes at the Campbellville, Ont. oval, Father Patrick overcame an outside post 10 start and survived a judges' inquiry to win the first Wellwood elimination for trainer Jimmy Takter.
With Yannick Gingras flying in for the drive, he settled the heavy 1-9 favourite away mid-pack while Odds On Amethyst (Dan Daley) fired to command after leaving the gate one position to his left. Odds On Amethyst clocked the first quarter in :28-seconds before insider Special Agent Man (Sylvain Filion) leap-frogged around him to take over command into the backstretch.
Special Agent Man carved out middle fractions of :58.1 and 1:27.1 with Credit Fashion (Doug McNair) advancing first over and Father Patrick following his cover.
Credit Fashion pushed ahead into the stretch while Gingras kept a steppy Father Patrick together and came flying by with his earplugs still in to score the one and three-quarter length victory in 1:55.3. After reviewing footage of the stretch, the judges ruled Father Patrick did not commit any racing violations.
Credit Fashion finished second with P L Hercules (Chris Christoforou) coming on for third. Fourth and fifth-place went to Odds On Amethyst and Raise The Curtain (Paul MacDonell), respectively.
Following the race, the jet-setting Gingras explained via Twitter that Father Patrick is "always a little fussy with his mouth and I had to grab him when Daley came out and it pissed him off."
Father Patrick paid $2.20 to win. The Cantab Hall-Gala Dream colt is now six-for-seven in his career with earnings totalling $262,345 for the New Jersey-based Father Patrick Stable.
Already boasting victories in the Peter Haughton Memorial and Champlain, Father Patrick will look to collect another stakes trophy in the $365,000 final of the William Wellwood, scheduled for next Saturday's Canadian Trotting Classic undercard at Mohawk.
Mark Steacy trainee Harper Blue Chip will also be vying for the trophy for his local connections after winning the other elimination as the even-money favourite.
Massive Talent (Scott Zeron) established the early lead from the seven-hole with the parked out post nine starter Massacaia (Doug McNair) working his way to the top past the :28-second opening quarter. Massacaia's lead was short-lived though as the forwardly-placed Damfoolrmillionair (Randy Waples) rushed by as they raced down the backstretch towards the half in :57.4.
As Damfoolrmillionair led the field to the next marker in 1:27.3, Il Sogno Dream (Paul MacDonald) advanced first over from the middle of the field with Harper Blue Chip and Sylvain Filion in tow.
Damfoolrmillionair maintained his lead into the stretch, but a late-rallying Harper Blue Chip charged by to win by one and a half lengths in 1:56.1 with a :27.4 final frame. Il Sogno Dream finished second over Damfoolrmillionair while Muscle Midas (Mario Baillargeon) and Massive Talent earned the final paycheques in fourth and fifth.
Harper Blue Chip, an Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots winner to Grand Circuit champion courtesy of his Champlain victory last weekend, is owned by Lansdowne, Ont. trainer Steacy along with Landmark 6 Racing Stable of Kingston, Ont., David McDonald of Cornwall, Ont. and David Reid of Glenburnie, Ont. The Majestic Son-Winning Jonlin colt has now won half of his six starts while banking $70,633 in purses.
"He's coming along just the way we want," said Steacy in a post-race interview. "We started him out slow, we didn't want to throw him in against he bears right away and I think it's turned out to be the right thing for him."
Harper Blue Chip paid $4 to win.
The post positions for the $365,000 final are listed below.
1. Massive Talent
2. Raise The Curtain
3. Harper Blue Chip
4. Father Patrick
5. Il Sogno Dream
6. P L Hercules
7. Odds On Amethyst
8. Credit Fashion
10. Muscle Midas
To view Friday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Friday Results - Mohawk Racetrack.
(Photos courtesy New Image Media)