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Butenschoen, Callahan Claim 'Classic' Elims

Published: September 9, 2017 7:54 pm ET

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Corey Callahan completed a sweep of the Canadian Trotting Classic eliminations on the Saturday, September 9 card at Mohawk Racetrack alongside eliminations for the Elegantimage and divisions of the Simcoe, winning with Bills Man and Dover Dan for trainer John Butenschoen.

Bills Man rolled wide to take the first $40,000 elimination for the Canadian Trotting Classic in 1:53.2.

Sitting fourth as Victor Gio It trotted a quarter in :27.3, driver Corey Callahan pulled Bills Man first over after a :56.4 half, gaining on the leader moving into the turn. What The Hill, sitting in the pocket, edged off the rail coming to three-quarters, forcing Bill's Man wide in 1:25.2 as the two pursued Victor Gio It with Dancer Hall moving up the rail into fourth.

Drifting in the stretch, Dancer Hall shot up the rail as Victor Gio It dropped out of contention. What The Hill attempted to challenge the new leader between horses while Bills Man rallied down the center of the track, soon overtaking Dancer Hall with What The Hill finishing third and Lindy The Great picking up fourth.

A three-year-old colt by Credit Winner out of the Yankee Glide mare Silver Springs, Bills Man, racing for owners William Wiswell and M and L of Delaware LLC, won his third race in 14 starts this season and his fifth in 26 overall, amassing $319,427 in earnings. Trained by John Butenschoen and driven by Corey Callahan, he returned $7.20 to win.

"I knew I had David [Miller and What The Hill] beat, but then I saw [Doug] Mcnair [and Dancer Hill] there," Corey Callahan said, "but my horse had plenty of trot and we just wanted to get through there error free and move onto next week.

"I didn't really want [David Miller] coming out of there. I was pretty much almost there, and when he came out I really had to check [Bills Man] for a second. I think if I could've just steamrolled there first up he could've won really easily."

Corey Callahan claimed the second Canadian Trotting Classic elimination, completing his sweep for trainer John Butenschoen, winning with Dover Dan in 1:52.3.

Controlling the tempo, Dover Dan set fractions of :27.4 and :56.1 before being challenged by pocket-sitter Long Tom turning into the stretch. International Moni, tracking Long Tom around the turn, angled three wide while Seven And Seven progressed up the inside in fourth.

The trio blitzed Dover Dan from both flanks approaching the line, with Dover Dan maintaining a slight edge over Long Tom in second, International Moni in third, and Seven And Seven fourth. Southwind Cobra, inheriting fifth following a break around the turn by Dunbar Hall, completed the finalists.

Winning his fourth race in 14 starts and his eighth race in 25 overall, Dover Dan, a three-year-old colt by Andover Hall from the Royal Troubador mare C R Kay Suzie, has earned $352,047 for owners William Wiswell, Jean Goehlen, and Eugene Schick. He paid $14.40 to win.

"He has always been better for me when I leave with him a little bit and kind of get him interested," Corey Callahan said. "I told John [Butenschoen] before the race 'Scotty [Zeron] usually ducks [International Moni] off, so I was going to push off and hopefully follow [Tim] Tetrick [and Long Tom], but [Tetrick] was content to follow me. I kept the fractions honest and everything worked out.

Corey Callahan will opt to drive Bills Man in the Canadian Trotting Classic final.

"I picked off of Dover Dan last week and [Tim] Tetrick picked it up and won the Pennsylvania [Sires Stakes] final, but I think [Bills Man] is the fastest of the two even though [Dover Dan] went a bigger heat tonight. Pure speed wise, I think [Bills Man] is quicker."

Ariana G glided going first over, gaining the lead in the stretch and going on to a 1:53.2 win by three lengths over Magic Presto in the first elimination for the Elegantimage.

Floating away fifth moving to the turn, Ariana G tipped wide to pursue pacesetter Sweet Of My Heart following a :27.1 opening quarter. Advancing to third after a :56.3 half, Ariana G matched strides with the tempo setter circling the final turn, clearing the front at three-quarters in 1:25.4 and cruising down the lane while Magic Presto, riding her cover, took second. On A Sunny Day held third to the inside of Lady Grey, who took fourth, and Sweet Of My Heart rounded out the finalists in fifth.

Owned by Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, Ariana G, a three-year-old filly by Muscle Hill out of the Cantab Hall mare Cantab It All, won her eighth race in 10 starts this season and her 17th race in 21 overall, compiling $1,449,272 in earnings. Trained by Jimmy Takter and driven by Yannick Gingras, she paid $2.10 to win.

"Last week she was very good, but I think tonight she was vicious," Yannick Gingras said. "She came down on Jody [Jamieson and Sweet Of My Heart] and, at the top of the stretch, I just asked her a little bit and she turned another gear.

"I changed my mind twice in the first eighth of the mile of this race; when Trevor [Henry and Magic Presto] wasn't leaving, I figured I'd take control of the race, and then, when I got closer, I saw Jody's filly was a little aggressive and David [Miller and Mrstery Bear] was there too, so I changed my mind and decided I'd race her from mid-pack. She's just so easy to drive - I can change my mind and there's no set plan with her."

Dream Together flew down the center of the track to catch Feed Your Head in the second Elegantimage, winning in 1:53.3.

Feed Your Head was left unchallenged through fractions of :27.2, :57.2, and 1:25.4 before being braced by Dream Together's uncovered rush through the stretch. The two were clear of Winter Sweet Frost, who took third after 6-5 favourite Thats All Moni broke into the stretch. Dream Together passed Feed Your Head coming into the final sixteenth, strolling away while Winter Sweet Frost, Glitzey Gal, and Dream Baby Dream, who broke before the start, rounded out the top five.

Competing for owner Determination Inc. and trainer Luc Blais, Dream Together, a three-year-old filly by Muscle Hill out of the Andover Hall mare Danae, won her sixth race in 15 starts, earning $230,934. Driven by Daniel Dube, she paid $8.30 to win.

"Last time at the Meadowlands [in the Hambletonian Oaks], I left early and moved first over and she raced real good," Daniel Dube said. "Now, she finally got a better trip and she raced good."

Art Scene swept to the lead moving into the final turn, sprinting away by open lengths to take the $162,838 Simcoe Three-Year-Old Pace in 1:49.4.

Penzance Hanover and Classic Pro battled on the front through a :26.2 quarter before Classic Pro took the lead entering the backstretch. Art Scene, sitting fourth, rushed uncovered passing three-eighths to slide to the front following a :55 half.

Circling the far turn, Art Scene separated from the pack as Classic Pro chased lengths behind in second, pressured by Rebellious from first over while Art Scene passed three-quarters in 1:22.1. Through the stretch, Art Scene strolled as Ocean Colony and Hurricane Brush fanned wide off cover to rally for second and third respectively while Nascar Seelster weaved through horses to get fourth.

By American Ideal from the Artsplace mare Lover Of Art, Art Scene, owned by Brittany Farms and In The Gym Partners, won his third race in 14 starts, earning $256,636. Trained by Tony Alagna and driven by Scott Zeron, he paid $4.40 to win.

"He has raced really well in his last two races over at Yonkers but [he] was impressive," Scott Zeron said. "I drove him at Tioga [Downs for the Empire Breeders Classic]; he was good in the elimination, and in the final he was just a bit disappointing, then he bounced back great at Yonkers and tonight as well.

"We really had to be patient with him. Tony [Alagna] did a great job with him all throughout the year - we really thought he'd be a top colt at the beginning, but it took us awhile to get to the point we're at right now, but it's exciting to have a horse finishing off the year and peaking right now - there's still a lot left."

Bettors Up catapulted off cover, drawing away by open lengths to take the $163,872 Simcoe Three-Year-Old Filly Pace in 1:50.

Stonebridge Sundae sent for the front from the inside, setting a :26 quarter before sitting the pocket to Obvious Blue Chip moving into the backstretch. Even-money favourite Idyllic Beach tipped first over through a :54.2 half, advancing towards Obvious Blue Chip and coming a neck from the lead at three-quarters in 1:22.3.

Carried into contention second over, Bettors Up fanned wide into the stretch, sweeping by Idyllic Beach to take the lead coming into the final eighth. Dudesalady tracked her move to take second as Stonebridge Sundae slid into the mix moving into third approaching the line, both passing Idyllic Beach, who settled for fourth.

Winning her 10th race in 23 starts, Bettors Up, by Bettors Delight out of the Western Hanover mare Fresh Idea, has earned $631,964 for owners Brad Grant, Teresa Davidson, and Michelle Mceneny. Trained by Scott Mceneny and driven by Doug Mcnair, she paid $12.60.

"I didn't want to be first up like the race before," Doug Mcnair said. "I floated and found a good spot and had live cover - in the last turn, I still thought I was in a good spot; she felt good. That's the best she's been since the Fan Hanover, I'd say."

"She does good over in the states, too, but there's a lot more shipping going on over there," Scott Mceneny said. "She raced on Sunday in the [Pennsylvania Sires Stakes] consolation cause of a bad trip the week before, but she was coming here one way or the other."

In the first $97,200 Gold division, driver Trevor Henry sent Shadow Moon directly to the front from post seven, and the pair led the field through fractions of :27.1, :56.4 and 1:24.4. In the stretch it appeared that fan favourite Declan Seelster would collar Shadow Moon, but the pacesetter dug in for a neck victory in 1:53. Declan Seelster and Avalon Hanover, both trained by Dave Menary of Cambridge, ON, finished second and third.

“I said to Trevor, ‘He all right’, because he almost got beat there, and Trevor said, ‘Well he kind of waits for them’. He watches for them, he turns his head and watches for them. He has a Murphy blind on the outside and he likes to take them on when they come,” said trainer Dr. Ian Moore of Shadow Moon’s narrow victory. “He’s like that when I’m out jogging, if somebody comes along in a hurry, he’ll take them on jogging.”

The win was Shadow Moon’s second in Gold Series action and his fifth of the season.

“He’s just gotten better and better over time. He’s only a little guy, he’s not real big, but he has the desire and grit to go,” Dr. Ian Moore said. “He’s about the same size as State Treasurer was as a two-year-old, he’s got the same kind of attitude as him, so hopefully that will carry him a long way.”

Dr. Moore shares ownership of Shadow Moon with R G McGroup of Bathurst, NB, Serge Savard of St-Bruno, QC and Gordon McComb of Fall River, NS. The partners offered up $60,000 for the youngster at last fall’s Harrisburg Yearling Sale and have recouped $195,337 to date.

Shadow Moon will start next in the Metro Pace Eliminations at Mohawk Saturday, September 16.

“We’re very happy and we are going to try the Metro,” said Dr. Moore. “That was six races tonight, so hopefully there’s a couple more in him.

“It’s hard to keep them going at that level for that long, I’ve always found anyways. When I think about it, I’ve only had one horse that was as good at the end of November as he was the first of May, and that was Shadow Play,” added the horseman, who trained sire Shadow Play through his $1.5 million racing career.

In the latter $96,400 Gold split, Jonathan Drury sent Jimmy Freight to the front from post four and faced immediate pressure from favourite Western Passage and driver Yannick Gingras. Drury drove on and Jimmy Freight paced through fractions of :27.1, :55.2 and 1:24.1 on his way to a one-and-a-half length win in 1:52.3. Simple Kinda Man closed hard to be second and Sharp Action Money was third, giving sire Sportswriter a sweep of the top three.

“[Gingras'] horse got running out pretty good in the first turn there and didn’t really want to clear, so I figured I might as well keep going. I was able to get a little breather in the third-quarter and I think that helped a lot,” Drury said. “He’s a real handy little fella, you can get out of there quick with him and he just settles right down as soon as you clear and you can do whatever you want.”

The win bumped Jimmy Freight’s lifetime earnings to $118,526 and his Gold Series point tally to 112, 13 points behind Shadow Moon and 37 ahead of Declan Seelster.

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

(With files from the Ontario Sires Stakes)

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