Filion On Harper Blue Chip

Published: September 12, 2014 04:15 pm EDT

Mohawk Racetrack offers a stakes laden card Saturday, September 13 which is anchored by the $682,000 Canadian Trotting Classic that has two top Ontario-sired colts taking on five very talented sophomores.

The card also features the $385,000 Peaceful Way Stakes final with several OSS fillies in contention, the $390,000 William Wellwood Memorial with one lone Ontario-sired colt, and the $409,000 Elegantimage final with four OSS girls vying for their turn in the winner’s circle.

In addition to those great trotting races, the program will also headline the top pacing mares in North America in two eliminations for the Milton Stakes, which feature three OSS graduates including a Breeders Crown winner.

In the showcase event, Harper Blue Chip will attempt to duplicate his sire, Majestic Son’s, 2006 Canadian Trotting Classic victory. Mark Steacy of Lansdowne, Ont. trained Majestic Son, who won the ’06 CTC by more than six lengths over a very talented field, and also conditions Harper Blue Chip. A son of Angus Hall, Majestic Son was a dominant force in the OSS during his sophomore season, winning seven of 10 OSS events. In total, he won $622,000 in the provincial program during his career.

Majestic Son now stands at Tara Hills Stud Farm in Port Perry, Ont., and Harper Blue Chip, with $547,000 in earnings, is his second richest performer to date, behind only Charmed Life ($592,000). So far this year, Harper Blue Chip has a summary of 4-2-2 in 10 starts, and although he’s won two OSS Gold events and swept the Canadian Breeders, he’s best known for finishing third in the $1,006,125 Hambletonian last month at the Meadowlands.

The Hambletonian winner, Trixton, is also slated to start in the CTC final, with Post 5. Trainer Jimmy Takter will drive the colt who has won eight of 10 starts this year. Takter’s other talented colt in this division, Father Patrick (also eight for 10) is right alongside in Post 6. It’s a formidable duo facing Harper Blue Chip, whose driver, Sylvain Filion, is cautiously optimistic, especially given that the colt has finally drawn a decent starting position (Post 2) compared to Post 10 in the Goodtimes final and Post 9 in the Hambletonian.

“He’s been drawing real bad all year and he finally gets a good post,” Filion noted earlier this week. “We’ve got a tough bunch of horses to race against, but he’s very good right now.

“I’m hoping for a good, close-to-the-front trip and hopefully some top horses won’t be on their game, because we’ll need a lot of luck to beat those horses. It’s a very high quality group.”

The other OSS colt joining Harper in the CTC final is Muscle Matters, a son of Muscle Mass who will start beside Harper Blue Chip in Post 3. Mario Baillargeon will be at the lines for his brother, Ben, who handles the colt’s training.

Yet to win a race this year, Muscle Matters has been close, with five second-place finishes in six starts, three of those to Harper Blue Chip.

The CTC final has been carded as Race 9 on the card. In the third race, the $385,000 final of the Peaceful Way Stakes, there are six OSS fillies in the mix, including a pair trained by John Bax, Stubborn Belle (Post 1, Paul MacDonell) and Juanitas Fury (Post 9, Steve Condren). Both fillies have two OSS wins to their credit this season and both finished second in their respective Peaceful Way elims.

Stubborn Belle was aptly named according to Bax. “She’s always been a lot like her name, that’s why she was named Stubborn Belle. She’s been a little hard to get to do it the way we want her to.” Despite that, the daughter of Taurus Dream, owned by Bax of Peterborough and Al Libfeld of Pickering, Ont., has set two records so far this year – a track record at Rideau Carleton Raceway (1:55.4) in an OSS Gold event and a stakes record in a division of the Champlain Stakes (1:54.2).

Bax also starts the Muscle Hill filly Southwind Champagne in the Peaceful Way. She has Post 6 with Steve Byron at the controls.

The other OSS rookies attempting to capture the event named for one of the greatest Ontario-sired trotting mares of all time, $3.2 million winner Peaceful Way, include Daneille Hall (Post 2, Jody Jamieson), Elegant Serenity (Post 4, Roger Mayotte), Amoureuse Hanover (Post 8, Doug McNair) and Lady Caterina (Post 10, Phil Hudon).

The dam of Elegant Serenity, Elegantimage, is the namesake for the seventh race on the program. A star of the OSS in the late 1990s, Elegantimage earned just shy of a million dollars during her impressive racing career. A quartet of three-year-old Ontario-sired fillies will attempt to capture the $409,000 event including Bax’s Riveting Rose (Post 3, Paul MacDonell), Tosca (Post 2, Per Henriksen), Sweetie Hearts (Post 8, Randy Waples) and Muscle Babe (Post 10, James MacDonald).

The other major trotting stakes event on the program is named for one of Canada’s most respected horsemen of all time, the late William Wellwood, a member of Canada’s Horse Racing Hall of Fame and a successful participant in the OSS since its inception 40 years ago.

The only Ontario-sired rookie colt in contention for this event is a son of Infinitif, Dont Rush, who has drawn Post 4 with Chris Christoforou in the bike. The colt captured a division of the first Gold event for this group in early July which surprised his trainer/owner and breeder Dustin Jones of Waterdown, Ont.

“If you had told me in October he was going to win a Gold the first week of July, I don’t think I would have believed you,” laughed Jones. “He’s exceeded my expectations since I brought him in the barn.”

The OSS graduates competing in the two Milton eliminations are Monkey On My Wheel, a Breeders Crown winner at three and 10-2-6 in 24 starts this year for owner/breeder Mac Nichol of Burlington, Ont. The winner of $1.5 million to date in her career has Post 7 in the sixth race, which also features the Camluck mare Camille ($1.1 million to date) in Post 4. Voelz Hanover ($1.5 million lifetime) is the lone Ontario-sired distaffer in the second Milton elim (Race 10).

In addition to all of the on-track action, Mohawk is also celebrating its fans with Fan Appreciation Night Saturday, featuring a first bet on the house, giveaways after each race and a $5 food voucher to the first 1,000 fans.

To view the harness racing entries for Saturday at Mohawk, click the following link: Saturday Entries – Mohawk Racetrack.


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