view counter
 
view counter
 
 

Mohawk Million A 'Dream' Come True

Published: September 25, 2020 10:34 am ET

No Comments | Jump to Comments

Gina Ghent, the woman at the helm of Dreamland Farm, isn’t interested in changing its storied history. She is, however, hoping to add to it.

Sitting on 105 acres at 18 Schoolhouse Road, in Cream Ridge, N.J., is where you’ll find the aptly named Dreamland Farm, a picturesque property built in 1992 by husband and wife, David and Clara Molski, and now run by their niece, Gina.

It was sometime during the building of the farm when the couple had a conversation about Standardbred racing, specifically, David telling Clara that it wasn’t a business where money was to be made.

Her eventual response wasn’t in verbal form. It was a fleet-footed filly by the name of Yankee Dreamboat who did the talking.

The pair bought into the trotting daughter of Speedy Crown, a low-risk investment that enabled them to test the waters of horse ownership.

When Yankee Dreamboat won the 1992 edition of the $287,500 Goldsmith Maid by a head at Garden State Park in 1992, Clara, without saying a word, answered her husband’s question.

And with that victory, Dreamland embarked on what is now a four-decade tie to the sport, an operation that has seen triumph, tumult and tragedy.

In the fall of 1996, the Molskis purchased Hardie Hanover, the 1994 Breeders Crown sophomore pacing champion, for broodmare duty. She was eventually sold back to Hanover Shoe Farms, but provided Dreamland with several successful offspring.

There have been other noteworthy names attached to Dreamland over the years.

Dreamlands Hardie, who enjoyed a strong rookie campaign, finished third to Lady MacBeach and future Horse of the Year Bunny Lake at Lexington in 2000. As a broodmare, her first three foals – Livestrong, Kisskissbangbang and Dreamlands Latte – all reached the six-figure mark in earnings.

Dreamlands Latte made it to the final of the Breeders Crown juvenile filly pace in 2007, mere months after David passed away.

While the race didn’t produce a storybook finish -- the bay finished 10th -- Clara, who along with David had the mare Gabrielle ($139,376) contest the 1996 Breeders Crown Three-Year-Old Filly Pace, made the decision to carry on the Dreamland name.

Much like her husband, she was a hands-on owner, not content to simply the pay the bills.

Buoyed by her love of horses, Clara, who also ran a successful design company, continued to keep a watchful eye over the farm, tracking every move of the Standardbreds competing at the races while taking meticulous care of the foals.

She did it all, faithfully, until her passing this February.

Questions surrounding the future of Dreamland were quickly answered by Ghent.

“Clara always told me, ‘You’ll know what do,’” said Ghent (right), a digital asset entrepreneur and investor who studied law at the University of London, while also earning an MBA at Cornell University. “This was her dreamland.”

In many ways, it still is.

The stable is one of nine ownership groups to have purchased a spot in the inaugural Mohawk Million, a $1 million (USD) race for two-year-old trotters that headlines a $2.5 million-plus card on September 26, 2020.

A slot in the Mohawk Million costs $110,000 (USD) and is considered an entity, which can be sold, traded or leased. The tenth and final spot was awarded to the connections of the 2020 William Wellwood Memorial winner at no cost.

Dreamland’s decision to be part of the race was prompted, in large part, to social media and a conversation on the property.

Just over a week following Clara’s passing, Ghent, one day, found herself looking out of a window above one of the farm’s stables.

“I have a beautiful place upstairs here and it has a half-moon window. Attached to the paddock where the baby horses are is a three-car garage. I look down and there is a cat on top of the garage. I run downstairs and the young fella who is training, Bryan Andersen, is standing there. I asked him to help me get the cat down. As soon we start talking, the cat comes down. So, we talk some more and before he walks away, he shows me a piece of paper. It’s an ad from Facebook, talking about the Mohawk Million. I looked at him and said, ‘Listen...we’ve got to be in this race.’

Some things just happen to fall into place.

Brad Maxwell trainee Full Of Muscles has been secured to race in the slot of Dreamland Farms. The son of Muscle Mass just missed a victory in last Saturday’s Ontario Sires Stakes Gold at Mohawk Park and has four runner-up finishes in six starts.

Everyone at the farm has had the race date circled on their calendars for months.

Excitement is running high. Daily texts, emails and chats over morning coffee are the norm.

“For us, it’s extremely exciting,” said Ghent. “I’ve been doing cartwheels, handstands and backflips since the moment we bought in. We’re beyond thrilled to be part of this whole experience. I would love to win for David and Clara, to add another chapter to Dreamland’s success story. I’m so happy we’re doing this, and doing this with a such a great team here.”

Although it won’t be a horse under his care, Bryan Andersen, who trains the Dreamland string, can’t wait for Saturday night.

“Being part of a race like this is a dream,” said the up-and-coming driver/trainer. “I’m a young guy, and to have a chance to run a barn with these horses is unbelievable. I’m beyond grateful to be in this position. To think that I saw that ad on Facebook, and just happened to have it with me when I saw Gina... this is where we are now. This is history in the making. It’s the first race of its kind. To be in a race that is this prestigious is a gift. My parents used to train up here at Dreamland, and I was born here. It’s come full circle for me. These horses, this farm, this race – it means a lot.”

Bryan’s mother, Cindy Andersen, who has lifelong ties to the sport, handles administrative and operational duties for the farm.

She was brought back, at Ghent’s behest, when Clara passed away.

“When you’re horse business your whole life and you have the opportunity to have great horses to race, it’s a wonderful thing,” said Cindy. “You work your whole life to be able to do this. I had leased the farm -- my daughter was in grammar school here -- I met Bryan’s father, Ken (her husband), here and we were married here. Clara and Dave bought it from the people we were leasing it from. I hadn’t been back here until last year -- I run estate sales -- when Gina needed help. And now with the opportunity to be in this race, to have Bryan training the horses and also driving them, and Gina doing everything to honour her aunt and uncle...it’s a win-win in every way. It’s full circle for me too.”

Now all that’s left to complete the Hollywood fairytale ending is a win on Standardbred racing’s big stage.

“Dreamland...the name fits,” offered Ghent. “After losing my uncle and then my aunt, this race is a bright beacon for all of us. And I know that this is what they would want. It would be their dream.”

Here's the field for Saturday's Mohawk Million:

1. Iznogoud AM S
2. Warrawee Whisper
3. Donna Soprano
4. Full Of Muscles
5. Altar
6. Tokyo Seelster
7. On A Streak
8. Bravado Fashion
9. Insta Glam
10. Venerate

The $1 million Mohawk Million is the main event of Canada’s richest night of harness racing. The Mohawk Million card also includes the $720,000 Metro Pace, $455,000 Shes A Great Lady and $215,000 Milton Stakes.

First post time for Saturday’s rich card is 7:00 p.m. To view the entries, click the following link: Saturday Entries - Woodbine Mohawk Park.

(Ontario Racing)


view counter
 
 
 

© 2020 Standardbred Canada. All rights reserved. Use of this site signifies your agreement and compliance with the legal disclaimer and privacy policy.

Firefox 3 Best with IE 7 Built with Drupal