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Mohawk Preps For Stakes Mania

Published: September 9, 2014 8:36 pm ET

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The $682,000 Canadian Trotting Classic – annually Canada’s richest race for trotters - headlines an outstanding stakes-filled card this Saturday evening at Mohawk Racetrack.

Along with this year’s ‘Trotting Classic’, the $409,000 Elegantimage Stakes, the $390,000 William Wellwood Memorial and the $385,000 Peaceful Way Stakes are also carded for Saturday night. In total, over $2 million in purses are up for grabs on the 13-race card.

Established in 1976, the Canadian Trotting Classic has been won by some of harness racing’s greatest trotters including Armbro Goal (’88), Yankee Paco (’00), Windsongs Legacy (’04), Donato Hanover (’07), Deweycheatumnhowe (’08) and Muscle Hill (’09).

Leading the group of seven for this year’s edition is the Jimmy Takter-trained duo of Father Patrick and Trixton.

Father Patrick (PP6), last year’s Two-Year-Old Trotter of the Year on both sides of the border, has won 18 of his 21 career starts and is coming into the Canadian Trotting Classic off victories in the $340,000 Zweig Memorial and the $260,000 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes Championship.

A son of Cantab Hall–Gala Dream, Father Patrick, who will be driven by Yannick Gingras, won last year’s William Wellwood Memorial at Mohawk and is undefeated in three starts over the Campbellville oval. Father Patrick enters the $682,000 ‘Trotting Classic’ with career earnings of more than $1.5 million.

Trixton (PP5), this year’s $1 million Hambletonian winner, is looking to defeat his stablemate once again in a rich stakes event and continue his dominance at Mohawk. Driven by trainer Jimmy Takter, Trixton captured this year’s Hambletonian on August 2 at the Meadowlands, but never got the chance to go head-to-head with his stablemate as Father Patrick made a break at the start.

A son of Muscle Hill–Emilie Cas El, Trixton has had plenty of success at Mohawk this season. He won the $272,100 Goodtimes Stakes on June 14 and most recently captured the $218,076 Simcoe Stakes on August 30. He also holds the Mohawk Track Record for a three-year-old trotter of 1:51.3. Trixton has won 12 of 18 career starts and is approaching millionaire status with $961,876 in career earnings.

Takter is seeking his third Canadian Trotting Classic title as a trainer and second as a driver. He trained and drove Red Xing to victory in 1997 and conditioned the great Kadabra in 2002.

While most of the fanfare will surround the Takter duo, local standout Harper Blue Chip will be looking to steal the spotlight. Trained by Mark Steacy, Harper Blue Chip (PP2) has dominated the Ontario Sires Stakes circuit this season and has held his own against Grand Circuit company.

Harper Blue Chip finished third in the Hambletonian, won by Trixton, and fourth in the $500,000 Beal Memorial at Pocono, which was won by Father Patrick. Steacy will be looking for his second ‘Trotting Classic’ crown after he won the 2006 edition with Harper Blue Chip’s sire, Majestic Son.

Most recently, Harper Blue Chip made a rare appearance off the board when he finished fourth in the Simcoe Stakes, but driver Sylvain Filion was happy with the way his colt raced.

“I thought he raced really well. He had a real bad post (post position ten),” said Filion. “He trotted large down the lane and had lots of trot at the wire.”

The luck of the draw was on Harper Blue Chip’s side in the ‘Trotting Classic’, as he will start from post two and Filion hopes to build off that luck.

“There’s a lot of good horses in there, but we drew good and with a lucky trip you never know.”

As for what kind of trip Harper Blue Chip will need, Filion believes in a small field of seven the closer the better.

“I think you’ve got to try and be close, especially in a short field like that. If you stay back there probably won’t be a lot of early speed, so you will need to be close to the front.”

The son of Majestic Son–Winning Jonlin has won eight of 18 career starts and has a bankroll of $547,749.

The other four starters in this year’s Canadian Trotting Classic are E L Titan (PP1 – Chris Christoforou), Muscle Matters (PP3 – Mario Baillargeon), Il Sogno Dream (PP4 – Aaron Merriman) and Damfoolrmillionair (PP7 – Randy Waples).

The ‘Trotting Classic’ is carded as Race 9 this Saturday night.

The $409,000 Elegantimage Stakes, which has normally been contested in June, will be making its Canadian Trotting Classic night debut. Eleven of the sport’s best sophomore trotting fillies will contest the rich final.

Just like the ‘Trotting Classic’, Jimmy Takter sends out the favourite in the Elegantimage.

Shake It Cerry (PP7) has won 16 of 21 career starts and banked over $1.2 million in career earnings. A daughter of Donato Hanover–Solveig, Shake It Cerry was a Breeders Crown champion as a two-year-old and this year has won events such as the Del Miller Memorial and Zweig Filly Trot.

Takter, who also sends out Scream And Shout (PP6 – Brett Miller), has already won the Elegantimage three times with Southwind Allaire (’03), Pampered Princess (’07) and Lantern Kronos (’08).

The Elegantimage Stakes is carded as Race 7.

The top freshman trotters will also be on display Saturday night.

The $385,000 Peaceful Way Stakes, for two-year-old filly trotters, features a World Champion in the group of ten that will line up behind the gate.

Mission Brief, a daughter of Muscle Hill, won her elimination last week in a world record time of 1:52.1. Trained by Ron Burke, Mission Brief had equaled the World Record in the Merrie Annabelle Stakes on August 2 at the Meadowlands, but in her Peaceful Way elimination she took sole possession of the World Record with her 3-¾ length victory.

Following the elimination, driver Yannick Gingras said she could’ve gone even faster.

“She had plenty left, she is scary scary fast,” said Gingras. “When she raced in the Merrie Annabelle I told Ronnie (Burke) after the race I still have another second…believe me she could’ve won in 1:51 and change tonight.”

Mission Brief’s connections selected post position five as her starting spot on Saturday night.

The other elimination was won by Jolene Jolene, a daughter of Muscle Hill trained by Jonas Czernyson, in a career best-equaling 1:55.1. Driven by David Miller, Jolene Jolene has won three consecutive starts and finished second to Mission Brief in the Merrie Annabelle. She will start from post position three on Saturday evening.

The Peaceful Way is carded as Race 3.

Two eliminations were contested last Saturday to decide which ten two-year-old colts and geldings would advance to the final of the $390,000 William Wellwood Memorial.

Uncle Lasse, a full brother to Shake It Cerry, won the first elimination in a career best time of 1:54.4. Trained by Takter, Uncle Lasse has won three of six career starts and has never been worse than third. He will start from post position three with driver Ron Pierce.

The second elimination went to Lookslikeachpndale, a son of Muscle Hill trained by Luc Blais, in a career best 1:56.2. The elimination victory broke the maiden of Lookslikeachpndale and allowed his connections to select their post for the final. Lookslikeachpndale will start from post position two with driver Sylvain Filion.

The William Wellwood Memorial is carded as Race 5.

Also on Saturday, two $35,000 eliminations for the Milton Stakes will be contested.

Sixteen of the sport’s finest pacing mares have been split into two eight-horse eliminations (Races 6 and 10).

The first elimination features millionaire pacing mares Drop The Ball (PP2 – Corey Callahan), Camille (PP4 – Yannick Gingras), Krispy Apple (PP6 – Tim Tetrick) and Monkey On My Wheel (PP7 – Chris Christoforou).

Completing the field are Aunt Caroline (PP1 – Scott Zeron), Mattie Terror Girl (PP3 – Scott Zeron), Summertime Lea (PP5 – Yannick Gingras) and Jerseylicious (PP8 – Brett Miller).

In the second elimination, Rocklamation (PP8 – Yannick Gingras), last year’s Milton Stakes winner, is back to defend her title. Trained by Ron Burke, the six-year-old daughter of Rocknroll Hanover has earned over $2 million in her career.

However, Rocklamation is not the richest mare in the field as that honour is held by Anndrovette (PP7 – Tim Tetrick).

Trained by PJ Fraley, Anndrovette, who won the Roses Are Red Stakes back in June for the third consecutive year, has career earnings of more than $3 million.

The other seven mares in the field are Charisma Hanover (PP1 – Yannick Gingras), Radar Contact (PP2 – Jack Moiseyev), Voelz Hanover (PP3 – Randy Waples), Ferrari Sena (PP4 – Sylvain Filion), Yagonnakissmeornot (PP5 – Jody Jamieson) and Shelliscape (PP6 – Tim Tetrick).

The top five finishers from both eliminations will advance to the $286,000 final on Saturday, September 20.

This Saturday night, Mohawk will also be holding ‘Fan Appreciation Night’

The first 1,000 fans on-track will receive a $5 food voucher and prizes will be given away after every race.

Post time this Saturday is 7:25 p.m.


To view entries for Saturday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Saturday Entries – Mohawk Racetrack.

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