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Big Fields For Simcoe, Champlain

Published: September 7, 2012 8:54 am ET

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On top of the two Canadian Trotting Classic eliminations that are slated for Saturday night at Mohawk, some of harness racing's top freshman and sophomore pacers will also be in the spotlight as they contest their respective divisions of the Champlain and Simcoe Stakes.

The Simcoe dash for three-year-olds has been carded as race five and the Champlain split for rookie fillies will be race eight, with the two-year-old open division set for race 10.

In the $252,521 Simcoe division, high-profile glamour boys will go head-to-head. The Ontario Sires Stakes divisional leader, Michaels Power, will look to add to his impressive bankroll. He is the richest sophomore pacer this year with $1,035,650 in earnings. Driver Scott Zeron and the gelded son of Camluck will leave post eight for owner/breeder Jeffrey Snyder.

Among the wins for Michael’s Power are the Confederation Cup final, where he beat Cane Pace winner Dynamic Youth and Cane Pace runner-up Pet Rock, and the Upper Canada Cup. He also won a division of the Somebeachsomewhere in June by besting Dapper Dude, who last weekend won the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. And while Michaels Power might not be a household name yet, particularly in the U.S., but that could be about to change.

“He’s had a tremendous year,” said Coleman, who trains Michaels Power. “I’ve never seen a horse that won over a million dollars that has received almost zero press. It’s been unbelievable, but we’ll just keep collecting the purse checques and not worry about that. He’s been just awesome all season.”

Michaels Power won his first four races of the year before finishing sixth in his elimination for the North America Cup, failing to advance to the $1.5 million final. Michaels Power was second for much of the mile, but got trapped in the stretch behind fading early leader Mel Mara. He was beaten by 1-1/4 lengths by Dapper Dude and missed grabbing a spot in the final by three-quarters of a length.

“I don’t think there is much question in anybody’s mind that he was going to win and get to pick his post (for the final) if he gets out,” Coleman said. “You don’t know what’s going to happen in the final, obviously, but he was much the best in that elim. It was just unfortunate, but he’s gone on and won pretty much every start since then. We’ll just look to keep going forward with him.”

Michaels Power is a son of Camluck, out of the mare Michelles Jackpot, who won the 1996 Three Diamonds Stakes. He is a full-brother to millionaire Michelles Power and his second dam, Jefs Magic Trick, is the mother of 1994 U.S. Horse of the Year Cams Card Shark. Michelles Power holds a share of the Canadian record for pacing fillies on a five-eighths-mile track (1:51.1) and Michaels Power holds the mark for a gelding (1:50).

As a two-year-old, Michaels Power won two of three starts. He was lightly raced, in part, because Coleman’s Canadian-based stable endured a difficult winter in 2011.

“All my two-year-olds were very lightly raced because we got ready so late,” Coleman said. “Jeff didn’t send him up to me until about the middle of December, so he started very late. He was a pretty bad actor, so we had to geld him and that cost us some more time.”

Coleman admitted to being surprised by Michaels Power’s ability to compete in open company, beyond his success against Ontario-sired rivals. But she is a believer now.

“He’s just so tough,” Coleman said. “He’s wicked fast off the gate and then you can manage him and take ahold of him real easy. That’s a big plus. No matter what the fractions are, he doesn’t seem to give up. He’s always digging right through the wire.”

Following the Simcoe, Michaels Power’s schedule is uncertain. The Little Brown Jug on September 20 is a possibility, but it conflicts with an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold final on September 22 at Mohawk. Michaels Power is 3-for-3 in Gold finals, which carry a purse of $130,000.

“I hope we go because I want to win the Jug very badly and you’ve got to be in it to win it, but it’s up to Jeff,” Coleman said. “He’s going to decide after this race.

“He wants to go to the Jug, but he’s won the Jug twice already and this horse is a gelding and we want to race him as an aged horse. The double heats sometimes take a toll on them. And he’s going to have to miss a Gold, where he’s been the dead favourite and hasn’t been beaten yet, if we go.”

As for the Simcoe, it represents another challenge for Michaels Power. He enters the race off a win in a Gold final at Rideau Carleton, with his time of 1:50.2 being the fastest ever by a three-year-old at the track.

“He’s got the eight hole in a 12-horse race, so I don’t like that as much, but the horse is sharp and healthy coming into the race,” Coleman said. “Hopefully he should be just fine.

“It’s one of the toughest races he’s been in yet. Dapper Dude was awesome in his last start and (A Rocknroll Dance) has been very good every time he races. It’s a tough, tough race, but my fella is right there. He’s tough as nails and I’ve never seen him go a bad start hardly, so hopefully he keeps doing what he’s doing.”

In the lone $226,763 Champlain event for two-year-old fillies, world-record holder I Luv The Nitelife will take on 10 rivals.

The Chris Ryder trainee enters the rich event with a three-race win streak. After capturing her Eternal Camnation division on August 18 at the Campbellville oval, the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover returned to victory lane with a 1:50.1 world-record performance in her Shes A Great Lady elimination, which was also followed up by a victory in the $610,000 final.

Having only missed the board once in her six starts, the pacing miss has amassed a $402,474 bankroll for owners Richard and Joanne Young, making her the richest filly in the field. Driver Jack Moiseyev and I Luv The Nitelife will leave post 11.

In the $261,829 Champlain division for juvenile pacers, Odds On Equuleus headlines the field of 12.

This past Saturday, the Robin Schadt trainee unleashed a :26.4 final frame to finish a close second to Captaintreacherous, who stopped the clock in a 1:49.2 stakes record, in the Metro Pace final. The son of Art Major will once again team up with Hall of Fame driver John Campbell.

The bay colt has an impressive record of 4-1-1 from six outings, including a victory in his Nassagaweya Stakes division, along with $338,471 in earnings for owner Odds On Racing.

The rookie will go toe-to-toe with the Ben Wallace-trained Apprentice Hanover, who finished third in the Metro Pace.

Saturday’s 13-race card will get underway at 7:10 p.m. To view entries, click one of the following links: Saturday Entries - Mohawk Racetrack -- Saturday Program - Mohawk Racetrack

(with files from WEG and HRC)

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