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Bax hopes to ‘Graduate’ at the top of the class

February 1, 2023

MILTON, February 1, 2023– John Bax is hoping for the same old magic in the new Ontario Graduate series at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

Coming off his final official season as a trainer, Bax, a winner of 925 career races, will still be a major player on the Standardbred scene, including his work with 2021 O’Brien Award winner Duly Resolved.

A son of Resolve, Duly Resolved is being pointed towards the newly unveiled Ontario Graduate series for four-year-old trotters. The other two Graduate divisions are for Ontario-sired four-year-old pacing mares and Ontario sired four-year-old pacing horses and geldings. Each series consists of three $25,000 legs and a final. The $75,000 finals will take place on Saturday, May 6.

“That’s nice to see this [series] come up,” said Bax. “That kind of helped in our decision to keep him. For sure, this is a nice way to start him out, racing against his own age group. We’re typical Canadians at times, where we don’t blow our own horn, but one thing you can say is that if you’re competitive at Mohawk, you’re competitive at any track.”

Last year, Duly Resolved, a $30,000 purchase at the 2020 Lexington Select Sale, had an uneven campaign, going 2-2-1 from 14 starts, with his biggest victory coming in the $102,200 OSS Gold three-year-old trot final at Western Fair on October 4.

Duly Resolved and driver Paul MacDonell winning the SOBA Stakes for Three-Year-Old Colt Trotters on May 30, 2022 at Woodbine Mohawk Park (New Image Media)

Long regarded as one of the sport’s top trotting trainers, Bax, who set a slew of personal bests in 2022, including earnings ($1.93 million) and UTRS (0.307), is hopeful Duly Resolved will get back to his winning ways this season.

“He’s doing really good,” he said, of the bay gelding who is 7-7-1 from 26 career starts, including a rookie campaign that yielded five wins, five seconds and $631,659 in earnings from 12 engagements. “He’s putting on some weight and eating well. We’re hoping he’ll get a little bigger, thicker and stronger, and prove us right.”

While his name won’t appear as trainer in the program – Bax’s son, Matt, has taken over those reins – the man who amassed more than $26.8 million in career purse earnings will develop the operation’s younger talent over the winter months at Palema Trotting Center in Florida.

Bax is looking forward to tracking the success of those under his tutelage in the Sunshine State, and to seeing how Duly Resolved shows his resolve in 2023.

“It was a little disappointing last year,” offered Bax, whose list of award-winning trotters includes Hall of Famer Goodtimes and divisional champions such as Riveting Rosie, Stubborn Belle, Duke Of York and Define The World. “He just didn’t seem to have the same fight in him. He didn’t eat well, and we had stomach issues as well. So, as bad as the year was, he still made decent money. When you make over $600,000 in the first year, you think that might happen every year, but obviously, it doesn’t.”

Seeing Duly Resolved earn top marks in the Graduate Series would be just fine with Bax.

“It’s great to have this series and we’re all looking forward to seeing him out there competing again.”

For more on the Ontario Graduate Series (nominations are due February 15), visit:

John Bax at Woodbine Mohawk Park (New Image Media)

Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms

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